I sat in the corner of the playroom, trying to look inconspicuous as I read for a dozenth time the most depressing part of any story I have ever read - Will and Lyra's last time together in 'The Amber Spyglass'.
Unfortunately, one of the other children noticed.
"Freak!" they shouted.
The others jeered. "Yeah, who in their right mind would be a bookworm?"
"She writes poems too," one of the girls called.
I winced. If they'd seen my poems...
"What was it you wrote? 'The dappled sunlight hits the tree and leaves dance round the bark in glee'? What kind of a freakish imagination do you have?"
I fought back tears as she mocked one of my favourite poems - one I was especially proud of - called Sunlight. I was now less concerned about seeming a bookish weirdo, I tried to immerse myself in Will and Lyra's world. But now I wanted to cry even more because they were talking about only leaving one portal open for the dead.
Oh damn it, why was I so sensitive?
Yet I liked my sensitivity... I wouldn't be me without it.
"No wonder she hides in her books," the others were saying. "She's too ashamed of her freakish self to come out of Fantasy Land."
"I wonder if she talks to Humpty Dumpty."
Now they were calling me a baby? This was a new one, and new insults always caused me to want to curl up in a ball and never unroll again.
"Hey Daffodil, have you met Humpty Dumpty?"
"Don't even bother - she's too stupid to talk."
I wondered how many new ones they could possibly come up with. Wasn't it enough that I was the freakish, bookworm poet? Couldn't they just leave me alone now?
No. They needed me. They needed someone they could pick on, to let out all the vicious parts of their personalities. Without me, they would fight amongst each other.
And I should let them. The workers didn't care about me, no one cared about me. If someone cared, I would be sitting in a family room, surrounded by warm, loving people. I wouldn't be stuck here, at the Queensborough Orphanage, almost wishing I was dead.
I should go.
It was that afternoon that I decided I was going to run away.