I stepped into the shower and let the hot water pour over me. For a few moments I just basked in the feeling: the pressure was amazing! At the orphanage we had only a trickle of water to wash ourselves in. I felt the glorious warmth seep into my skin and wash all the dirt and grime away. I sighed heavily and started to scrub myself down with soap. Then I squeezed some shampoo into my hair and began to massage my scalp. I closed my eyes and rubbed my hands through the silken suds covering my hair and grinned. This was a badly needed and very cathartic experience for me. When Liss starts to feel better I’ll have to make her take one too.

Liss. I rushed through the rest of my shower, I hated leaving her side, and it made me nervous. You never know what might happen. As much as I wanted to trust the doctors here, and to believe that none of them meant us any harm, I couldn’t. All my life all I had ever known was bad doctors.

Her face was bloodied and battered. It had been her first time in the room. I really felt sorry for her. I didn’t want her first time to be like mine. For her to wake up and realize that she was completely alone. It didn’t feel good.

I sat beside her for most of the day after my turn. Waiting for her to wake up. She wouldn’t be alone. I wouldn’t let her.

That had been right after our first meeting. I sighed; I had been so inexperienced then. I had no idea the depths of evil residing in the orphanage.

It was her thirteenth birthday and she was crying. I really hate it when she cries; I hate seeing her in any pain at all. I quickly went over to Liss and sat beside her. She leaned against me and I leaned my cheek against her head. “Why do they do this to us? Why can’t they even let me have my birthday off!” 

I had no answer so I just continued to hold her tightly. She was all I had in this world and I was going to take care of her to the absolute best of my ability.

I shook my head to clear it of the memories but they kept on coming.

She was lying on the floor. Her beautiful amber hair spread carelessly over the flat surface. Her skin was so pale you might have thought she was dead except for the slight rise and fall of her chest. I ran to her, what had they done to her this time? I scooped her up; she was ice cold! I hugged her close, trying to warm her up with my own body heat. I winced as I touched a few of the numerous, big, ugly, black bruises that covered her body. They had left her outside for dead. She was only one more orphan to them. What did she matter right? Wrong. She mattered to me, and seeing her like this was slowly breaking me inside, I didn’t how much more I could take.

I quickly dried myself off and pulled on the new set of clothes that the hospital had provided me with. Dark blue jeans that fit perfectly, a cherry-red T-shirt that fit tightly, and finally, a black zip-up hoodie. The clothes felt so nice and new. I had never had new clothes before! I looked down and saw that there was also a pair of black Converse for me to put on. I slipped them on and grinned, my new outfit was the most comfortable thing I had ever felt…except for having Liss pressed against me with my arms around her, but that went without saying.

Once I had pulled all my clothes on I pulled a comb through my hair and then headed back to Liss’s stall as fast as I could. When I got there she beamed at me, “You look great!”

I blushed and quickly moved to her side, relieved to find her still all here and even happy! I caressed a stray lock of hair out of her face and smiled softly at her. “How are you this morning?” I asked.

Liss sat up and spread her arms out for a hug. I was only too happy to oblige her. “I take it that means you’re doing well?” I assumed out loud.

Liss nodded into my chest and I gave her a gentle squeeze before releasing her. “You know, you really should take a shower here! It feels so good! The water actually has pressure, and it is hot!” I closed my eyes, remembering the sheer bliss of allowing the water to cascade against my skin.

Liss narrowed her eyes at me, “What are you saying?”

I grinned as I realized how what I had just said must have sounded to her. “No that’s not what I meant!” I laughed, “I was just saying that the showers here are heaven on earth!”

The police chose that moment to come in, and I quickly placed myself between them and Liss. “We’re here to ask you two some questions about the orphanage.” One officer stated briefly.

The doctor who I had spoken with last night about the orphanage came in after them and sat down next to me. “Do you want me to tell them?”  He asked.

I nodded quickly, so he launched into an explanation of what I had told him last night. I put in a detail here and there when he missed something. After he finished he began to list different proofs of this story like my strength to muscle size ratio, and the Liss’s strange sickness.

When he was completely finished the policemen nodded and got up and walked out. “We’ll inform our superiors about this. You can be sure that something will be done!” they assured us as they left.

As they left the doctor put Liss’s new clothes on a chair and left as well. I quickly left to allow Liss some privacy to change in. As I waited just outside her stall I overheard our doctor and someone else talking.

“What are we going to do with them? We can’t just keep them here!”

“Well we can’t just put them out on the streets again either!”

“Maybe we could send them to an orphanage then, a real one.”

I grimaced heavily and stopped listening right there. No one was going to send Liss and me back to an orphanage. Never again. As soon as Liss told me I could come back I went into the stall. “Liss, we’re leaving. Now.” I told her seriously.

Her face fell. “Why? They’re being so kind to us here!”

I shook my head, “I just overheard some of them talking, they’re going to send us to an orphanage.”

Liss’s eyes widened and she hurried up to me. “Please don’t let them send us to an orphanage again! Please!”

“Don’t worry Liss, there is no way either of us is ever going back there. I won’t allow it.” I assured her. “Now come on, we’re busting this joint.”

Liss followed me as we walked quickly out of the emergency room and into the reception. From there we walked quickly out the door and back onto the streets of San Diego. We passed the policeman and I heard them remark, “Those two must be wacked out, and there is no way that any of this is real, let’s just pretend this never happened.”

I gritted my teeth as we passed them but continued to walk with Liss beside me. Now, to find somewhere to stay and somehow to live. Amazingly enough, we had also been schooled at the orphanage. Both Liss and I already had a college-level education, so we weren’t dumb. Maybe we could get a job! 

The End

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