Part 3

Liz is in the woods behind the orphanage. She doesn't remember coming here, last she knew she was snuggling into her covers, falling asleep...and then she opened her eyes and was here. Looking around, she realized she was deep in the pine trees, so deep she couldn't even see the outline of the orphanage and playground equipment in the light provided by the full moon. Picking a direction, she started walking. That's when she noticed she had shoes on, and was no longer in her bed clothes. With her brows furrowed, she continued on, looking around for any sign of the orphanage.

After a while of trudging through the woods, Liz stops and huffs with annoyance. Surprisingly, she wasn't frightened or feeling the icy coldness of panic. She was only annoyed, and it was steadily growing into full blown anger. When she tripped over a branch it was the last straw. All her anger bubbled up, traveling up her throat and right when she was about to let the scream out, another one beat her to it.

It was a high, piercing shriek of a child. Most likely a girl. Liz finally began to panic. Who just screamed? Was it one of the kids? She whipped her head back and forth, and jumped when the scream sounded again. She began running toward the terrible sound, tripping and falling all over the place.

Suddenly, she was back in her room. Someone was banging on her door, and she quickly jumped up out of bed and answered it. Five kids were on the other side, tears streaming down their faces.

"Rebecca won't stop screaming!" they wailed, flailing their little arms around. Liz bolts from the room, sprinting down the hallway. As soon as she gets to the door to the children's room, another shriek splits the air. Liz slams the door open, and is swarmed by children. Their all yelling and pointing at two things. One of which was little Rebecca, sitting up in bed, sobbing. The other was Jimmy, curled up in the corner farthest away from everybody. The air around him seemed to be dark. Too dark. Liz rushes over to Rebecca, too worried to think about the strange darkness for long.

"Rebecca, what's wrong?" she demanded, taking the girl by the shoulders and giving her a little shake. Rebecca opens her swollen, red eyes and stares blankly at Liz. Slowly, Rebecca's brown eyes begin to focus, and when she locks them on Liz's face, they widen.

"What's wrong? Why is everyone yelling?" she answered, completely confused. Her face suddenly contorts with pain and she jerks over to the side, vomiting onto the floor next to the bunk bed. A chorus of "ewwwwws" comes from the doorway, and Liz quickly shoos the children out, ordering one of them to get Margaret. She returns to Rebecca, cooing and stroking her hair until she was convinced the child was fine. Then she looks over at Jimmy, who was still curled up in the corner. She tells Rebecca she will be right back and moves slowly over to Jimmy, afraid she might scare him. As she got closer, she noticed that he was trembling, and had his eyes tightly closed. When Liz got within two feet of him, she knelt down, feeling like she was dealing with a cornered animal.

"Jimmy? Are you ok, darling?" she asked gently, hesitantly holding out her hand. Jimmy's head slowly lifts up, and he opens his eyes. For some reason she had expected them to be black, but they were their usual clear blue. He stares blankly as Liz, and a small smile appears on his lips.

"You called me darling." he said, sounding happy. He straightens up, and crawls toward Liz, curling up in her lap.

"I did, didn't I? Do you know what happened to Rebecca, Jim-?"

"Darling." he interrupts, staring at her.

"Ok, do you know...darling?" she corrects herself, trying to keep the warm smile on her face.

"No. I was just sleeping like everyone else and she started crying. Maybe it's because she's fake." he responded, continuing to stare.

"You keep saying that. What do you mean by "fake"?" the smile she was trying to keep finally disappeared, replaced with a frown.

"She pretends to be all sweet and innocent." he spat, his face suddenly contorting into a look of utter hate. "She's neither of those things. She's mean and wicked. She spreads nasty lies and kills things for fun."

"How do you know that? You haven't even been here for a full day."

"Zeke knows. He told me. He tells me everything and knows everything." he says, his eyes glittering with pride.

A chill runs down Liz's spine. "Who's Zeke? You mentioned him before."

His face goes blank, and he snuggles into her. He was acting so sweet, so when he growled "None of your business." she jumped, flinching away from him. She scoots back away from him, looking at him with wide eyes. All he does is stare back, sadness flashing across his face before it went blank again. Margaret comes bursting into the room, huffing and puffing.

"Are my babies ok?" she asks worriedly. Noticing Rebecca's red face and the smell of vomit, she quickly rushes over to the girl. She places a hand on the little girls forehead, checking her temperature. Finding it normal, she frowns and excuses herself so she could get something to clean up the mess. She was in and out before Liz could so much as open her mouth. Why hadn't Margaret come in sooner? She was always the first one on the scene when something happened. And Liz was sure the children didn't come banging on her door first. She looks back at Jimmy, who was now standing but still staring at her.

"Maybe you should have your own room for tonight, Jimmy. I'll show it to you now so you can get some sleep." she says, sounding tired. He nods and she gets up. They both walk out of the room, and take a right instead of left, which would have lead to the faculties side of the house. She stops at the only empty room they have, and opens the door for Jimmy.

"Good night, Jimmy. Sweet dreams." she says to him as he walks in and settles in the only bed in the room.

"Good night, Liz."

She gently closes the door, then quickly walks back to the other room, where she finds Margaret mopping up the puke and Rebecca sleeping peacefully in her on the bottom of the bunk. The bunk all to herself again.

"Why didn't you come sooner?" Liz asked.

"I didn't hear a thing until the children came banging on my door a little while ago. They said she had been screaming for ages but I just thought they were exaggerating." she answers, her brows furrowed.

"They weren't exaggerating. She had been screaming and crying long enough to make herself sick. When I came in here, she was sitting up screaming her lungs out while Jimmy was curled up in the corner. And when I tried to get her attention, she had the blankest look on her face..."

"She probably had a terrible nightmare. Not surprising for an orphan." she replies, looking at Rebecca with pity.

"Maybe.."

"Oh, don't worry. You took Jimmy to the spare room, didn't you? You can go ahead and go back to sleep. I'll get the children back to bed after I finish up here." she smiles at Liz.

"Are you sure, I could help-"

"Shoo!" Margaret fans her hands at Liz, pushing her out of the room. "Go to bed!" she orders, before disappearing back into the room. So Liz did as she said, and went to bed. But not before she checked the dark corners of her room and locked her door.

The End

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