-Tara could feel a burning sensation building up in her as she squirmed. It was uncomfortable, but not painful. Her instructor watched her with eyes narrowed. She gripped the desk tightly, trying to concentrate.
"Tara, if you cannot keep still, you will get lashings again." The teacher said sternly. She swallowed hard and nodded. Her backside still hurt from the last set of lashes she had received. Goose bumps rose on her arms as she thought of the disciplinarian. He took too much joy out of giving lashes in Tara's mind. She wasn't aware she was rocking back and forth in her desk until the teacher gripped her upper arm. "I warned you." He told her as he pulled her out of her chair.
"Please, teacher. I'll---I'll be still!" She muttered, calling him foul names in her mind. He dragged her down the hall to the office every child at the orphanage feared. Thoran, the school's disciplinarian, had a small room farthest away from the front of the school. Hardly any light came through the windows, instilling more fear in the youth brought before him. The teacher knocked on the door, waiting until he heard a reply before opening. Tara shuddered as she heard a deep chuckle.
"Well, well. Tara again, is it?" Thoran leaned forward in his chair as the teacher slipped quietly out. "How old are you now, Tara?" She glared at him, her fists clenched at her sides. He snarled, jumping out of his chair. The back of his hand struck her face and she stumbled back a few steps. "You answer when I speak to you, girl."
"Fourteen, sir." She spoke through clenched teeth. Thoran's shook his head.
"And still you act like a small child?" He picked up his small whip he used for punishments. Tara stared at it as if it were a serpent. His brown eyes darkened to almost black. "You know what to do, Tara." She hesitated a second too long, receiving another slap to the face. "NOW!" He shouted. She quickly went to the side of the room, gripping the bar on the wall and bending over. Tears formed as she heard him chuckling behind her.
"Tara! Wake up." Del's voice was unusually frantic. Tara's eyes shot open, and she stared into his worried eyes. "You were screaming." He frowned as she sat up. She used her blanket to wipe her forehead, looking away from him. "You are not going to get away with not telling me what that was about." Tara sighed, turning back to him.
"How can you do that? Make me immediately cave?" She jabbed him in the arm. He chuckled slightly.
"Call it a knack. But I'm waiting."
"Was dreaming about the orphanage." She pulled her blanket around her shoulders. "The disciplinarian." Del inhaled sharply, sitting down on the bed and wrapping an arm around her.
"Forget about him, Tara. He's not a threat to you anymore."
"This is the second dream I've had since leaving the orphanage." She looked at Del with tears in her eyes. "The first was about my mother's death." Del pulled her close, letting her rest her head against his chest. "I don't ever dream, Del." He frowned.
"Something must be causing it then." He squeezed her shoulder gently before getting up. "We're going to find out. Try to get some more sleep. We're going to have a long day." Tara grabbed his hand as he started to go to his room. He turned, and she looked at him pleadingly. He smiled and gave a quick nod, laying on top of the covers next to her as she lay back down.