Late Awakening

Hannah squinted as she opened her eyes to the early morning light that was shining through the window.  She rolled over to see that Trina and Ruth had already left their beds.  She sat up swinging her legs over the side of the bed and rubbing the sleep from her eyes.  Madame Gauthier wouldn’t be happy that she’d overslept.  She was "sleeping away precious daytime hours that could be better spent stealing." 

            Hannah stood up and changed quickly; she splashed water from the bowl at the foot of her bed onto her face and dried it with a towel in an effort to wake herself up.  She moved over to the door on the right and took a deep breath before she opened it.  She eased it open, peeking her head out to look both ways before stepping out.  There was no one about and the house was quiet.  Everyone must have gone out to their prospective assignments already, even Trina and Ruth must have wandered off to rummage around in some trash site.  She would have to be sure to find them before the end of the day they were her responsibility after all.  

            She tiptoed to the front door grabbing her lone coat off of the peg and grasping the door handle, she froze when a throat cleared behind her.  She turned slowly to see Madame Gauthier standing behind her with her hands on her hips.  “Sleeping in are we, Hannah?”

            Hannah looked down at her feet and didn’t answer.

            “That’s a waste of good daylight!  And where are Trina and Ruth?”

            “They went out already.”  Hannah mumbled still not looking up at the woman.

            “They already went out?”  The woman gasped in astonishment, “They’re too young and inexperienced to be out there on their own.”

            “I know, Madame, I was just going out to find them.”

            “See to it that you do.”  Hannah nodded and turned back toward the door.  “And Hannah,” She paused waiting for the woman to speak, “you better not come home without them again.”

            Hannah closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, nodding her assent, “Yes, Madame” with that she opened the door and slipped out into the cool air of the porch she closed the door behind her and took a deep breath before walking over to the outside door and opening it.  There was a chill wind and she took a step back and braced herself before stepping out into the onslaught. 

            She glanced up and down the alley looking for any sign of Trina and Ruth, but saw none.  The dangers to two young thieves were numerous and Hannah knew it would be on her head if anything happened to the two girls.  Madame Gauthier’s unspoken threat rang in her ears, she hadn’t had to put into words the punishment for failing, everyone who came to the house knew the consequences for not living up to Madame’s expectations.  Hannah suppressed a shutter at the thought of living on the streets again, cold and hungry and close to death. 

            Hannah decided to go left towards the outskirts of the city, she had to find the girls quickly so that she would have enough time to do the daily stealing and still get back home before dark

The End

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