NOBODY’S CHILD

"Nobody's Child" Cassie is an eleven year old girl who has been in a children's home since she was four years old. Very bright, Cassie excels in most subjects and can play Brahms and Mozart on the piano at the age of only six. Because of her age nobody wants to adopt her. Mrs Cummings the manager of Auton House is a wicked woman who treats Cassie and the rest in her charge badly and beats her with regularity. One day she is sent to clean out the toilet and bathroom and Mrs Cummings comes along to inspect them. Running a white glove over everything and looking for dirt. When she doesn't find any she then reaches up on the door - Cassie is only three feet six inches tall and was unable to reach up to the top of the door and Mrs Cummings sets about her with a cane. She beats her so badly that Cassie runs at her forcing her back where she hits her head on a wash basin. Cassie in her panic rushes out and runs away.- It is there that she meets Don a ex docker who takes pity on the girl - rea

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Don then fed the dog with some dried food mix from the pet shop and gave it some water.

“I won’t be long I will just check on the bath.’

The dog wolfed down its food then lapped up the water.

Then it came to the girl as she sat on a towel from the wash bin that Don had placed over the chair so the wet mud wouldn’t stain the cushions.

She stroked the dog’s ears and the little docked tail began to wag excitingly. Cassie had never had a dog before; in fact she’d never had a pet at all.’

She had lived at the home since she was only four years old. She couldn’t remember her mother or her father come to that. She could only remember being dropped off at the old Edwardian house in a black car by a woman in a fur coat and a policeman.

The home had several dorms and there was many children there of various ages. She was one of the older ones there and the others were either one, or two years old. They didn’t stay at the home very long because they were soon adopted. Because she was now four it was hard for a family to adopt her. She came close once when an elderly man came looking for a girl. She was brought to him and asked to sit on his lap. She refused as there was something about him she didn’t like. He had big bushy eyebrows that met in the middle and a moustache. He was big and clumsy and stank of stale cigar smoke. Cassie looked at him again and he stared back at her with wicked looking eyes that were half closed.

Mrs Cummings asked her to go back to her room and shortly after the man then left.

Mrs Cummings gave her a right smack across the face for not being nice to the man. She cried on her pillow until she could cry no more. Cassie fell asleep and missed her dinner as when she woke it was six o’clock and the time for serving dinner was over.

She sat on her bed reading a book from the library. It was called Benjamin the Rabbit.’

The thin grey book had coloured illustrations inside; Cassie was a good reader for her age in fact she was a very bright child and it wasn’t long before she was reading books that were far older than her years. It was then that she discovered that she had a gift. The home had a tutor who came every day. She was called Miss Elizabeth McAlister. She was very plain looking and she dressed in old maids clothes.

She taught lessons in parrot fashion and the day was spent learning to write what she had written on the black board. She quickly learned arithmetic; she excelled in history and English. She learned to play piano and by the time she was seven years old was familiar with the works of Brahms and Mozart.’

She learned basic cooking skills by the time she was eleven and was familiar with the use of a washing machine, Mrs Cummings was cruel to all the older girls she seemed to relish the idea of punishing someone when they had done something wrong and if they hadn’t she would find fault with something so that someone would be in the firing line. It was during one afternoon and she was sent to scrub out the toilet and bathroom that Mrs Cummings walked in running her bony fingers along the edges of every surface then inspecting them. She checked under the rim of every toilet and scrutinised the sinks. Every tap had to be polished and the basins cleaned top and bottom. She drew in her lips until they were tight because she hadn’t found anything to complain about. Then she reached up above the door and ran her white glove along.

She looked at the dirt stained fingers with a satisfied smile.

“What is this she asked?’

Cassie looked at her horrified; I’m sorry Mrs Cummings, I cannot reach up there.’

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