The Orphanage

It's a cold, wet, stormy night, fitting for the dramatic parting of ways...

As the clock struck twelve, a thunderbolt clattered the night sky of Illinois, its fork-like shape etching yellow across the dark blue background for just a fraction of a second. Heavy rain drenched the roads and walkways a town called St Louis; as a result, ankle-deep water was rising at a steady pace and with no end in sight. In the eastern most corner of town sat an Orphanage on a hill, silhouette against the dark sky it sat seemingly deserted and dark. A lone figure stood on the top-most step of the Orphanage, holding an umbrella up against the whipping winds without a flinch and staring blankly towards the deserted driveway. This lady was clearly the person in charge.

She was an older woman with greying-white hair that had been put up in a bun, though her face was rather wrinkly. She had a thick woollen jumper over her collared blouse and tie, a grey knee length skirt with stockings and cleanly polished black old-fashioned shoes. Though she preferred to be called Granny by her children, she was more widely known in the community below as Mother Theresa. Her kindness and gratitude is highly respected upon all who know her; visitors only hear great things about what she does for her orphans and community.

Her lips pursed at sudden movement in the distance. Another flash of lightening lit up the sky, and at the same time a set of headlights appeared through the heavy rain, flooding the empty driveway with a bright light. A limousine came slowly into view, large, dark and smooth, its brilliant surface repelling rain with brilliant ease. It came to an eventual stop at the foot of the stairs, now flooding the Orphanages begonias with light, and after a minute’s pause the driver’s door opened and he came hurrying around. Taking off his hat he came to a halt at the passenger side door, pointlessly brushing the rain off his suit before he opened it. Two silhouette figures rose from the car.

A rather tall, quite lanky businessman dressed in a travellers cloak held an umbrella up against the wind, his arm thin but his grasp firm. He held out a hand to the smaller body, most likely to be his daughter, a young, thin girl who was wrapped in a travelling cloak also. She patted her dress with the suitcase she carried and took her father’s hand. The driver inclined his head and watched in silence as, hand-in-hand, the two figures began to climb the steps. The young girl looked up rather frighteningly at the Orphanage as they reached the top and faced the Mistress.

She, the Mistress, was smiling brightly as they had approached her. She lowered her face towards the young girl, an etching of comfort spread across it. She held out a hand for the young girl to take, who understandably hesitated and looked fleetingly at her father. He let go of her hand and placed it open her head, stroking a strand of her hair. The young girl smiled and returned her gaze to the Mistress, and taking a small breath, took the old woman’s hand. Her hand was so warm, and so soft to touch, that she felt a sudden surge of warmth flurry right through her.

She had not even noticed that, without a word, her father had turned on the spot and began descending the stairs. It took the young girl several moments to realise this and she span around in confusion. Suddenly scared and upset, the young girl released hands with the old Mistress immediately to watch her father reach the bottom of the stairs without the slightest turn of his head. Just as the driver of the car opened the door, the young girl leaped down two steps.

‘Daddy?’

Her father did not react. He merely stepped into the car without a backward glance and the driver closed the door silently behind him. The driver however, stole glance up the steps towards the young girl before putting on his hat and walking around to the front to get in also.

‘Daddy wait! Please, don’t leave me!’

Despite her voice, despite her attempts, the car began to pull out from the driveway and slowly it disappeared from view into the rainy night. A warm arm came to rest upon the young girl’s shoulders, and when she looked up, she saw the Mistress staring down at her, still smiling. The young girl started crying, and without thought she buried her head into the soft woollen jumper and wailed noiselessly into the thunderous night.

‘Daddy please, I love you,’ she whispered breathlessly.

Silently the Mistress patted the young girl’s head, her gaze now on the deserted driveway where the limo had just been. She smiled again and eventually led the girl back up the steps where they retrieved her suitcase and entered the Orphanage.

‘It’s OK Chloe,’ the Mistress whispered, ‘you’re home now.’

The End

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