There is no sound of stirring coming from her bedroom so I continue my tiptoeing down the hall... The floor changes from wooden to cold marble floor as I enter the store-room where the back door is. I'm running away... and I'm never coming back. I slump my back pack on my shoulder and head out the back door of the orphanage where i have been living for the last one and a half years.
Goodbye prison... hello freedom....
The crisp night air smells of smoke, probably from one of the gypsies' camp fires in the nearby woods. I inhale this air slowly, and it feels as if I am taking my first sip of freedom. I grin despite myself. This is the start of a new life.
A sudden noise makes me jump. I crouch down low on the dew-covered grass of the orphanage's garden and peer over the small rose bush. A familiar silhouette is walking slowly up the path that leads to the orphanage. Madam.
I hold my breath. What is Madam doing outside at this late hour? I watch her toddle up the path. She stops, at the fountain where the paths separates into two. One goes to the back door where I escaped earlier and the other to the main door.
Madam takes the back door one. I feel a pang of surprise and my curiosity grows bigger as she enters the gardener's shed. She goes in and I hear a man's voice, a jolly one ringing out clearly in the silent night. I also hear laughter. I smile again. Madam's got a beau.
I decide to leave my hiding place. The thorns of the rose bush are pricking me and my knees ache from crouching down. I stand up and quietly walk down the garden to the gate. I reach the gate and open it carefully so that it won't squeak.
On our visits to town, me and the other orphan girls would dare each other to make it creak the loudest, just to provoke Madam's annoyance. I was always the one who was the best in this game. I had courage the others admired, the courage to continue my miserable life when my parents died, the courage to endure Madam's painful canings... I stare at the gate again and I manage to open it silently. I step outside of the garden, heart pounding. This is it. I've done it. i've left the orphanage forever. I turn back and gaze at the grey-brick orphanage. I'll never see it again. As I stand there, gazing at it, a hand falls on my shoulder. I turn around and gasp. It is the headmistress of the orphanage.
The headmistress looks down at me with angry eyes and drags be back towards the building by the ear. It hurt! Seriously, adults are so mean. They are meaner than the bullies. I don't understand why they always are around to catch me when try and run away. This is my 3rd attempt and i've failed yet again. The adults in this prison hate me anyway, so why do they always drag me back. I'd think they would be glad to see me go. I'll never understand grown ups.
We were in the orphanage again now and the headmistress finally spoke.
"Now young lady, you'll go back to bed and tomorrow come down to my office before breakfast and you'll get a good talking to. Now march!"
I ran off to my room still with my bag over my shoulder. I may have got caught this time but next time i won't. I'll make sure of that. Maybe i'll also take Maggie, my best friend with me. I don't know why i didn't before. Maggie is my age and she is more like a sister than a friend, she's my closest and loyal friend. Next time i try run away i'm taking my dear Maggie with me.
And next time i won't get caught!
Today's Monday. I just got up and remembered i had to go down to the headmistress's office. I sighed and got out of bed. I quickly washed and got dressed. Then I brushed my teeth and headed downstairs. My heart was thumping and it felt it would burst any minute but i pretended that i wasn't scared. These adults in this orphanange like it when we get scared they get even meaner and tougher. They are not nice at all. I think that if the others weren't so scared of the adults that every single child in the orphanage would try and run away. Now that would be a sight! I was now at the headmistresses's office. I sighed and knocked.
"Come in!" said a sharp pierce voice. I took a deep breath and went into the large room. The headmistress was sitting at her desk holding some papers. She looked up when i came over to her desk and layer the papers on the desk, upside down so i wouldn't be able to see what was on them. She smiled her awful grin. We orphans call this grin the witch's snarl. Our headmistress is actually just like a witch. The worst witch ever!
"Sit down child!" said the orphanage witch.
I sat down and looked up at the adult sitting opposite me.
"Why were you outside so late?" the witch asked.
"I was getting some air." i replied, calmly.
"With your bag?" the witch asked, sharply.
" What bag?" i replied. I was feeling daring. I knew i was going to get told off.
"I know you had a bag. Now your punishment?" the headmistress witch said, opening one of her desk draws.
She took out a think book. Her punishment book. There was a list of punishments for everything. A punishment for not saying thank you, a punishment for laughing in class, a punishment for dropping clean sheets, a punishment for trying to run away and getting caught, a punishment for being awake late at night. There was a punishment for almost everything.
I gulped when she layed the book in front of her on the desk. But i did not show fear on my face. I got a lot of punishments… we all did.
The witch of the school ran a finger down a list of punishments on a page and then looked up and grinned.
"You will have three punishments, my dear." she said, with her witch-grin all over her face.
I smiled back and nodded. Inside i felt sick and jumbled up. I felt like i was on a roller coaster.
"Your first punishment is to clean the corridor from outside your dorm and down the stairs to the back door. Your second punishment is to not go into town wight the other girls for the next four weeks and the last punishment is to do extra homework after class for the next seven weeks. I hope you are glad with those punishments. Now you may go!"
I nodded at the evil orphanage witch and headed out the door and down the hall to the breakfast room where everyone had started to eat.
"Why are you late?" asked Madam, sternly.
I was about to explain when she pulled out her own mini book of punishments. All teachers and Matrons and every other adult had a punishment book. I stared at her as she flipped through the pages.
I started to explain but she looked up at me and told me to SHUT UP!
I looked around at the the other girls at this particular table. I sighed and sat down.
"Your punishment is not to have desert for the rest of the week… in fact nothing sweet for the rest of the month!" Madam said.
I felt like crying. I had four punishments in one day. I hate being an orphan.
"But i already have three other punishments." i told Madam.
She scowled at me and opened her book again. I sighed.
"Do you want another punishment?" she asked.
"No." i mumbled.
"Ok. Then you have four punishments. If you say anything more about it then you will get another." Madam snarled.
She was the second witch of this orphanage.
That breakfast was terrible. I was not allowed jam or anything else sweet. And it had to be like this for the rest of the month.
I'm going to run away again now for sure. I can't live another day with punishments like this. I have to come up with a plan. And i'm taking my friends with me, this time. And we can't get caught!