A story full of intelligence, crimes and oodles of personality.
Blue eyes stared at Nien. They flicked over her facial features, over the angular nose, the shaggy cut of her short hair, the pursed lips. They met the mournful eyes, watched the flicker of intelligence, noted the frames of thick eyelashes and black eye liner. Then they briefly skated over her thin body, her flat chest, the sticky arms she possessed, and most of all the large purple bruise that covered most of her right side.
Nien pressed it and winced before sliding her black top back over her head. She turned away from the mirror with a shake of her head; her figure was much like every other day. Nothing had changed, except for the colour and placement of this weeks bruising. Last week it had been her left side, and when she'd last looked, it had been a dirty yellow. Thankfully that had faded, and she now only possessed the purple mark on her right, a souvenir from yesterday's beating.
She sank down painfully on to the hard plastic chair at her desk, and flicked open her laptop. It wasn't technically hers; she'd stolen it from school, but her possession of it and the fact that the crime had never been solved by police meant it was. As she typed in her password, she peered round her room.
It was empty, except for a rusty bed that squeaked when she moved and this desk. Her few clothes, mostly black, were piled in the corner. Black boots, slightly scuffed from the number of times she'd kicked walls in anger, were dumped by the door.
The screen lit up with her desktop and she stopped analysing the emptiness of her dark, dank room to click on the internet file. As that loaded, she opened several files, all labelled 'X', and began to type away. Then suddenly, a creak in the floorboards outside her room made her close the lid of the laptop and slip over to her bed. She opened up the slit in the side of her mattress, slid the laptop in and sped back to her chair. She sat, just in time, as the door flew open and a man marched in.
"Oi, freak! What are you up to?"
"Nothing." She muttered.
"What?" His voice was venemous and slurred by alcohol, while spittle gathered on his ruddy lips and flew to the floor.
"Nothing, sir." She said more clearly, keeping her eyes away from his bloodshot ones.
"Stupid cow." He spat at her. "Want another beating do ya?" He staggered towards her.
"Joe!" A woman's voice came from outside the room. "Joe!"
"Wadda ya want woman?" He yelled back.
"Tom's wet the bed. I think the last lesson you gave him wasn't good enough." Joe's grin split his face, and he began to pull off his belt, turning from Nien to pay a visit to Tom. There was the sound of pitiful crying from down the corridor.
Nien's stomach churned. Tom was a boy of five who had been brought to the orphanage where she was imprisoned last week. He had been so scared of Joe and Madge that he'd not had one night without wetting the bed. Every time he did, Joe hit him with the belt. And as Tom got more upset, he wet the bed more. And so the cycle continued.
The beat of Joe's boots had reached the end of the corridor. Nien seathed as she heard the boy beg for forgiveness, but it was only as she heard the first whip, heard Tom scream in pain, that she kicked back her chair and flew down the corridor. She reached Tom's room within a matter of seconds, and saw Joe hit the boy again with the buckle of his belt. The scream that errupted from Tom's mouth was enough to make anyone cry, but no tear left Nien's eyes. Instead she leapt on Joe, tearing at him with her nails, and biting down on the hand that tried to remove her. Joe's yell satisfied her, but she clung on, now afraid for her own safety, as well as Tom's. When Joe got hold of her, she would be beaten to within an inch of her life.
But she couldn't have let Tom be beaten. She was the oldest, and she looked out for the kids.
A hand dragged her roughly from Joe's back and she saw Madge, a large woman with a red face and a moustache, glaring down at her, as a torrent of abuse came at her.
Then, Joe's boot met her stomach, and after a few kicks, she blacked out.