Victorian London. The air was barley breathable and thick with smog. Life was hard for everyone but especially young Myrtle; she and her brother live in a run down orphanage where she is hated by the majority of its inhabitance, she has struggled her way through her life orphan but it was about to get harder. Thieves. Rich. Poor. Hate. Love. Death. Her life had been turned upside down by one man...


1. Saint Mary's Orphanage

Icy rain hit the windows of St Mary's Orphanage like cold daggers and the strong wind battered the wooden frames. Everything was quiet, though the clip-clop of a brave lone carriage, delivering a rich man or woman, echoed around the alleys and backstreets. The streets were dangerous at night, thieves and bandits roamed in a predatory state of mind, the carriages were their prey. 

The air was barley breathable, the stench of tobacco, sweat, mould and manure was intoxicating. Sewage wove its way through the streets as it attempted to find its way to The Themes. Rats scurried to and fro, claiming London's EastEnd.

 A thick smog hung low though the moon's eerie glow penetrated the darkness. Tall thin buildings rose above the smog; they swayed slightly and creaked in the wind.

The thousands of chimneys billowed out smoke and soot settled in every crevice: in between room tiles, among the poorly laid cobbles and on the homeless as they slept, the creases in their clothes were full of it and every wrinkle on face too. It settled like a blanket over everything. 

A orphaned girl of seventeen lay awake in her bed next to he brother, thankful for her windows. Her bedroom walls provided no insulation, they could have been sleeping outside, she would have been as cold. Mould was the wallpaper in the room, it had been empty until the two of them arrived and no one had bothered to clean it before they moved in ten years ago. The room was practically empty, the only things in it was a small double bed and a wardrobe. The bed was like a rock covered in a never changed sheet and a tattered grey blanket. Unfixed, the wardrobe stood, the door was coming of its hinges and the oak had large cracks in it. The cold was like a devil, creeping up on them, freezing them every night. The children were always foreboding to go to their rooms at this time of year; it was much warmer downstairs in the kitchen, a blazing fire was lit. On the coldest nights the orphanage's inhabitance would sneak down and huddles in front of the flames until the owner caught them and they were punished. 

The young boy breathed heavily, his breath created a cloud in the air. Shivering, the girl snuggled closer to him but the cold wasn't the only thing preventing her from sleeping; she was to turn eighteen in a couple of months and she would have to leave the orphanage and take her brother with her. Desperate, she had begged to let him stay and be safe, she feared the cruel world. She was meant to leave aged sixteen but the owner had let her stay on as she had no skills really, she didn't want to go to a workhouse, they meant curtain death. Would her brother have to work too? Where would she live? What was the pay, would it support them? She took a deep breath and looked at the moulding ceiling, a large seven legged spider ran across it and began weaving a web. The spider chose a good place, flys were so common this end of London and the orphanage was full of them. The girl closed her eyes and attempted to push her dreads to the back of her mind. Eventually, she drifted into a desperately needed sleep. 

"Myrtle... Myrtle... Wake up," the girl's brother whispered in her ear, "Myrtle!" He shouted. Myrtle jumped, opened her eyes quickly and rubbed them. Grunting, she placed her feet on the floor and received a shock, the tile floor was freezing! It was not surprising, the night had been extremely cold. Staying sat on the bed she addressed her brother, "Ralph, hurry down to breakfast before Emma eats yours." Obediently, Ralph scampered out the door and downstairs. Myrtle yawned and flopped back on the bed and buried her face in her thin pillow.

After a couple of minutes she dawdled over to the wardrobe and pulled out a long red dress and put it on, not caring about how she looked. It wasn't a particularly pretty dress, it was stained and torn under the arms and was fraying at the end. At the bottom of the wardrobe there was a hairbrush, she reached for it and began tackling her very long matted black hair.                  

In the dining room, two girls sat opposite one another, jabbering incessantly. One of the girls was tall and slender with neat ginger hair in a tight plait, she had large emerald eyes and, against her pale skin, her cheeks were very pink. She wore a knee length green dress with blue flowers stitched on and silky slippers to match. Her name was Ginny. Opposite Ginny was a girl not as pretty, this girl was short and quite plump. Her mouth seemed to take up the majority of her face, her breath was awful and her teeth a horrible yellow. Her name was Emma and she wore the most hideous yellow dress that showed her fat calfs and to top it all off she had short brown hair that looked like it had been cut by a little child. Next to Emma sat a tall butch girl named Winnie. She said nothing, just looked down at her porridge, repulsed. It was grey and gloopy and resembled wallpaper paste. The orphanage had a poor budget so it probably did contain wallpaper paste! Gagging, she stirred it with her spoon and frowned at it as if it had offended her. Winnie didn't speak for a reason, she was a mute; as a punishment for pick-pocketing a man, a cruel, disgusting man, he cut her tongue out instead of handing her over to the police. She was quite manly and towered above the rest in the orphanage children. Her scrawny brown hair was cropped like a boys so could have been easily mistaken her as one. The unstable wooden table rocked as Emma kicked it with laughter; Ginny's comments were not that funny. 

"If your not gonna eat that sis give it 'ere," Emma snorted, "Come on, waste not, want not!" Winnie rolled her eyes and shoved her bowl at Emma, appalled by her piggish behaviour. Ginny wrinkled her nose at her 'friend' as she shovelled the food into her large mouth. 

On the other table, three boys sat- Ralph, Morgan and Hugo. They didn't talk. Ralph sat slumped in his chair, not wanting to communicate, not wanting to eat until his sister arrived. His skinny body took up not even half his chair and his freckled face was mostly concealed by a mop of greasy black hair. He played with the threads of his fraying brown shirt that was in need of mending. Next to him sat 'the annoying boy' (that's what the rest of the orphanage called him) he was short and thin with features that were too small. He was an attention seeker and would do anything to catch Ginny's eye. Gazing at Ginny, Hugo leaned on the table, his head in his hands. 

Morgan sat opposite Hugo, he was quite a reserved character who enjoyed silence and being alone. He was very tall and extremely muscular, there were rumours that he had killed a man with his bear hands because he had pick-pocketed Morgan and stolen a few shillings! He had short blond hair and small brown eyes, no one knew much about him and most were too terrified of him to ask.     

After five minutes or so Myrtle arrived at the dining room. When she entered the room everyone went quiet and stared at her. "Finally you decided to turn up," Ginny smirked; Emma and Hugo giggled at Ginny's witty remark. Myrtle stared at her leather boots as stumbled over to her brother, hanging her head in shame. Ralph shot a menacing look at Ginny who rolled her eyes and began gossiping again. 

"Morning." Myrtle said solemnly, there was no response so she just stared at her bowl that Ralph had placed in front of her. "Porridge again," she said to herself, her stomach grumbling loudly. Just as she was about to put her spoon in her mouth, Rachel, the owner, burst into the room, "Children, breakfast is over now go to your rooms, now!" She put her hands in her pockets to hide her wrists. They all got up and began filtering out the room. Giving them awkward smiles, she touched the scar on her left cheek, hiding it from view.  

As Ginny was leaving Rachel pulled her aside and muttered, "Patrick is waiting by the front door." Ginny beamed, nodded her thanks and skipped out the room. Watching her leave, she prayed that Patrick wouldn't turn out like her Oscar. Again, she touched her scar and reminisced its origin.
Bursting through the doors to the entrance hall, she saw Patrick. As she ran to him floorboards creaked and she narrowly avoided the nails that stuck up from the wood. He smiled at the sight of her and lifted her up in a tight embrace. He held her in his muscular arms and kissed her. He carefully put her down as the children gawped at them. She looked into his hazel eyes and blushed. Brushing his brown hair out of his eyes, she sighed, "Love you."
"I love you more," he chuckled in his deep voice. Ginny giggled and fiddled with her hair then examined his clothes and raised her eyebrows, "That's a nice waistcoat, looks  expensive." 
"How would I know, I nicked it from some foreigner at the market, probably a French man." Ginny giggled. The waistcoat was a scarlet colour with gold buttons, on the buttons were an engraved signatures, also in gold was a zig-zag pattern on the back panel. Patrick took something out of his trouser pocket; it was a silver necklace encrusted with aquamarine. Ginny's eyes lit up, she squealed in delight, Ginny loved jewels (she loved anything that sparkled). Proud of himself, Patrick grinned, "Turn around, I will put it on you," Ginny turned around and pushed her hair over her shoulder; Patrick wrapped the necklace round her neck and did the clasp. The jewels glistened and looked perfect on her, everything looked perfect on her though, Ginny pushed her hair back and turned back to Patrick, beaming, "How do I look?" Patrick didn't know what to say, he was astounded at her beauty, he was tongue tied. Staring in awe, he stood with a dropped jaw, stuttering. "Come on Patrick, say something," Ginny giggled and smiled provocatively.
Patrick finally said, bewildered, "My oh my, you are as beautiful as that necklace, even more, you are the most stunning jem on this earth." The couple embraced. 

They continued talking in flirtatious hushed tones. On the stairs sat Myrtle, partly eavesdropping; she sat she scratched at the walls, jealous. Ginny was pretty, quick-witted and had Patrick. He was kind man who was the very opposite to Ginny's selfish personality, how they were together was a mystery. While she was daydreaming, Emma sneaked up behind her and exclaimed, "Oi! Stop eavesdropping!" Emma whipped her head around and glared evilly at her, she turned back to Patrick and blew a kiss. She stormed over to where Myrtle was and whispered threateningly, "I'll deal with you later. Don't interrupt me, don't you dare. I haven't seen him for two weeks. Leave!" Myrtle gulped and ran, scared, up the stairs, tripping as she went. Ginny turned back to Patrick and smiled, wiping every mark of hatred of her face. Patrick looked at his watch, another stolen good, cursed and kissed Ginny's cheek and hurried out slamming the door behind him. The bang resonated through the walls. Upstairs, Myrtle knew she was in trouble. 

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