"So you actually had a family?" Nien asked Tom. The small boy nodded.
"Were they happy?" Another nod. Nien was going to ask more, but Joe came in and ordered
"Get to bed now before I beat you boy!" Tom slide from Nien's bed and scurried next door. Joe looked at Nien and taunted "He's a little young for you isn't he?" A thought hit him and he grinned maliciously. "If you are that desperate for some I could help with that!" He undid his belt and began to take off his pants. Nien grew pale when she realized what he was going to do. She shrunk back and started to scream but Joe covered her mouth with his hand. He threw off the blankets and began to fumble with Nien's own clothes.
"HEY! What the hell are you doing?" Joe stopped and turned in a flash. Looking up Nien caught a glimpse of her saviour... Madge. "HE doesn't want them tampered with you idiot! Can you keep your testosterone on hold for two goddam seconds!" Joe stood up and re-clothed himself. He stared daggers at me but said nothing and then stomped out of the room. It took Nien hours to stop shaking and finally drift into sleep...
The next day Tom was gone. Nien woke up, expecting to see the boy's small brown eyes. It had become a routine with the two of them, but today Nien was startled to see Tom's place at her side empty. Wincing she sat up, changed into school clothes, and began to get ready for the day.
As she made her way to the stairs she glanced in Tom's room. Empty.
Perhaps he was hungry and went to grab some food? She thought. However when she reached the first floor, and walked into the "dining room" there was still no sign of Tom. She looked at the clock 7:30! The bus will be here soon!
All thought of Tom vanished as she gulped down the rest of her meager breakfast, and rushed out the door. She ran as hard as she could down the sidewalk and finally made it to the corner, just in time to see the bus speeding away.
"NO!" She yelled. And began to chase after the bus, with all her remaining energy. She knew that the driver was doing it on purpose because she could see the kids in the back of the bus looking at her. Laughing at her. Nien slowed to a halt. The school was almost a 20 minute drive so there was no hope of making it on time. If she was late, she would be beaten when she made it back to the orphanage.
Nien had never been much of cryer, but now she just wanted to sit down and weep with frustration. It wasn't fair! Why her! Why did this have to happen to her! She collapsed on the sidewalk wondering what to do. She had to get out, but first she had to go back. She had to get her stuff, her computer, maybe some food if she was lucky.
Nien snuck back into the orphanage, and was able to make it to her room without being detected. She began to throw clothes, books, anything she might need, into her backpack. She was getting ready to pack her computer when her floorboard alarm went off. Quickly Nien threw her bag under her bed and began to feign a search. She prayed that it wasn't Joe who came in. "What are you doing here girl?" Nien began to breathe again, it was Madge. She looked up, letting worry flash across her face. "I'm trying to find an assignment that I have to turn in to today! I can't find it anywhere!" Madge stared at Nien. Nien looked back, silently pleading, please believe it, please believe it!
The big woman grunted and turned to leave when, on an impulse Nien blurted "Where's Tom?!?" Madge stopped and slowly turned back to face her. With the ghost of a smile on her face Madge replied. "He was adopted early this morning. Now hurry up and get to school." Then she left.
Adopted? Nien wondered. Who would have come by that early? Why didn't he tell me? Then an odd thought crossed her mind...
He would have said goodbye... what is going ON?