Hello once again. The time has come. The time is near. The ending is here. The characters will get their last laughs and screams. This chapter is something else, especially near the end. Please do read till the end. I rather like what I did at the end. Sorry if the chapter is a bit long though. It is, the biggest chapter I think? But these next few chapters will bring everything in nicely, I think. Yeah, things are going to end. People are getting betrayed. Lorna is missing. That’s big. This finale, is going to be awesome. I’m proud. I think I am. No. I am. Word count: 58,801. Here you go, chapter 27 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
“Morning,” Winter said as she stood over Ryan. He stayed overnight at the orphanage. He was given a guest room on the second floor. However, every room was practically a guest room, he thought. The building was convoluted, but it wasn’t a bad feeling, Ryan concluded.
“Do you want something to eat, Ry–” Winter stopped. Her face soured and she made a notion not to look into Ryan’s eyes. Everyone in the building had heard the loud shouting Ryan and Lorna had done. One point that stirred their minds was the inclusion of Ryan’s name. Ryan was Ray, who was Ryan. The kids had only ever operated on a strict no-name policy. Runner was Runner. Spear was Spear. And Winter was Winter. Lorna was Lorna, but Ryan was Ray, and Ray was Ryan.
“It’s fine. Just call me what you want.” Ryan shrugged it off. To Ryan, the concept of a nickname was foreign. Ryan had a sense of it. However, that sense was fleeting.
“Okay,” Winter meekly said. Winter took a moment to think, but It didn’t require much strain for her to know her answer. The norm set out by Lorna, and the norm that Winter has straddled for herself had already found its place in Winter. She had no qualms about the happenings of the world, nor did she confront the travesties that unveiled themselves.
“Then–” Winter paused. She looked up at Ryan and smiled. It was a smile filled with warmth. It was a smile that despite the cold winds that blew across the morning fields, was warm.
“Would you like to eat, Ray?”
“Yeah,” Ryan smiled back. They made their way towards the stairs and towards the kitchen. As Ryan opened the door, he was immediately greeted by the turning of seven heads. The only one missing, was the one that mattered the most, Ryan thought.
“Lorna’s out,” Walker said with a monotone expression. Walker was sitting in a corner of the room, eating indifferently by himself. He was trapped in his own world. but not in the same vein as someone like Ryan. He was gleefully trapped, Ryan thought.
“In case you’re wondering, she was really mad at you,” Walker added.
“She spent all night pacing back and forth in the break room,” Carrier said.
“She was fending off spirits! I heard her mumbling!” Spear insisted.
“Aren’t you worried?” Hailstone said. Her usual brash nature was missing from her tone. It was strange, Ryan thought, It felt too warm. Things were too warm. For some reason, Ryan was uncomfortable.
“I am,” Ryan said, “I’m worried.”
“Don’t worry, Ry-” Sunflower paused. But once her thoughts had gathered, and once her words had lined, she continued.
“Ray. Lorna will be back. She’s worried about you, too.”
“The ‘bad guys’ are coming over, right?” Spark jumped in with his usual go-getting attitude. The room felt the shift as Spark was still valid. The issue of those in power who can end their norm was still looming on their heads. Ryan was curious. Amanda was coming. Lorna was gone.
“The ‘bad guys’ can’t hurt us,” Carrier said. His voice was reassuring to some as Carrier was often strong and reliable. However, even Carrier’s strength was not everlasting. Carrier couldn’t stop the tree from growing. He could cut the branches that sprouted, and he could rip the roots, but the tree had sprouted
“Lorna told us to leave if they came. We’ll be safe,” Carrier added.
“She gave us a note, right?” Runner asked; Lorna did. Lorna had written the note in front of Ryan. However, he couldn’t catch onto what was written. Lorna had placed the note in front of the door. It faced forward, and she had instructed only to open it in case they came.
“Directions,” Walker said, “She gave us directions. To where we should go.” Walker was the first to stand. He walked to the kitchen door and left. Walker wanted to stand by the windowsill and keep watch. However, he forgot to mention it.
“Ah!” Hailstone suddenly exclaimed, causing every person in the room to turn their heads.
“I’ve had enough! I’m heading out,” Hailstone jumped from her seat and walked out.
“Wait! Lorna said not to leave.” Winter stepped in front of Hailstone with her arms outstretched. She gave Hailstone a strong stare and tried her best to puff out her chest. Winter wasn’t scared. Winter didn’t want her friends to be in danger, but Winter knew she was small.
“Winter…” Hailstone was torn. She was angry at the stifling atmosphere of the room, but she didn’t want to worry her friends either.
“Fine,” Hailstone said with a breath of resignation. Hailstone turned and began heading to her room, with Winter following suit.
“I’m going to go scout!” Spark said as he ran out and climbed the stairs.
“Guess I’m going to watch him,” Carrier added.
“Lorna told us to pack our things, right?” Sunflower asked Runner. Runner nodded, and then a glow of realization had sprung across his face, “I still need to pack!” Runner made a beeline for his room, which prompted Sunflower to follow shortly thereafter. Sunflower had already packed, but seeing Runner’s nonchalant attitude made her feel at ease.
“I’m going to go investigate,” Spark said as he frantically ran out. Ryan was alone now. He was alone in a room filled with norms, and he was alone in a room filled with memories. That was all going to break soon, Ryan thought. That was all going to crumble, and all Ryan could do was hope that he could do anything. Ryan was lonely. Even surrounded by his friends, and by his new family, Ryan was lonely. Ryan was lonely, and Ryan was sleepy. His eyes started drooping down, and before Ryan could do anything, he had fallen asleep on the kitchen table.
“Hey!” Hailstone began shaking Ryan, but elicited no reaction.
“Ray?” Hailstone continued to shake Ryan. His eyes were closed shut, and Hailstone had to resort to her sure-fire method of waking somebody up.
“Alright. You asked for it.” Hailstone went over to the sink, and filled a cup with water. She then walked back over to Ryan, and began shaking him one last time, “If you’re not awake in the next ten seconds, you’re getting a face full of it!” Hailstone began counting down as she shook Ryan’s sleep filled frame.
“Is he awake yet?” Winter asked impatiently at the kitchen door.
“No. But he will be now!” Hailstone dumped the cup onto Ryan’s head, immediately causing him to stiffen up and take in his surroundings. Water dripped from his face to his clothes, and he soon began feeling a cold shiver down his body.
“What’s going on?” Ryan asked.
“Figured you needed something to do,” Hailstone said. Hailstone grabbed Ryan’s arm and dragged him out of his chair and towards the door way. Winter walked in front of them and they began heading to the second floor.
“Is Lorna back?”
“No.” As they arrived at the second floor, Ryan noticed that it was dusk. They were still safe, Ryan thought.
“Where are we headed?” Neither Hailstone nor Winter answered.
“Where is everyone?” Neither Hailstone nor Winter answered. At the end of the right wing on the second floor was an empty classroom. Much of the desks and chairs were all stacked towards the chalkboard, but the children had moved one particular desk and chair in the middle of the room. The windows were covered in curtains, and as Ryan walked into this room, he noticed a palisade of people. They were all lined up in front of the desk, each taking turns writing inside a notebook.
“What is this?” Ryan asked out loud.
“Oh! You’re here, good!” Runner said from the side of the classroom. He was situated a few steps away from the door.
“We’re all taking turns writing in the diary now.”
“Yeah. We’ve kept a big diary for everyone.”
“We’ve been writing in it for quite some time,” Walker said, somewhere in the line.
“And you want me to–”
“Yeah,” Winter said, interrupting Ryan.
“Why?” Winter gave Ryan a warm smile, and said with a quiet tone, “Because you’re a part of the family.”
“Why else?” Hailstone added. Everyone in the room seemed to agree, and all nodded. Ryan was attended to. Ryan was needed. Ryan was wanted. Ryan had no place in the home for the unwanted, but that didn’t stop him. Ryan would remain there, with everyone. Ryan would care for his friends. Ryan would cry for his friends. Ryan would laugh for his friends. Ryan felt like crying, his eyes were watering, and his heart began aching. The only thing that boggled Ryan’s mind, was where Lorna was. Likewise, Anna and Lenny had begun their search and had filed the authorities about Ryan’s whereabouts. Amanda knew now that Ryan was running away, and Amanda knew that she had let him go. Amanda was angry for herself for letting that by. However, she had more matters at hand to attend to. James was in the forest, scoping out every last branch, and scribbling down every patch of dirt. He was drawing ever so close.
“Thank you,” Ryan said with a weak voice. The only looming shadow over Ryan, was the fact that Lorna was gone. Lorna was missing. Shooter waited. And time seemed to stop for Ryan. Everything around him slowly became clear, and he could clearly see what he needed to see. He could see what he always wanted to see. He could see his feelings erupt from the wooden floor tiles that lined the classroom. He could see his despair, his anger, his happiness, his nostalgia, his jealousy, his kindness, his sympathy, and his loneliness. They all circled across the room, and they all resided within the residents of the building. His feelings were bursting from the seams, and they were wrapping themselves on the neck of each child. Time seemed to stop for Ryan. However, he was suddenly brought aback as his feeling all raged on a storm of dust, and his vision began clouding. Ryan didn’t want to slip back into his fanciful days, Ryan didn’t need to. His stupor wasn’t needed. His fantasy wasn’t needed. Lorna was missing.
“Ryan?” Spark called out as he got out of the seat. Ryan was the last one left. Ryan walked his way over to the desk, and sat down. There would be one empty seat in school today, Ryan thought. And that thought, made him smile. Ryan grabbed the pencil in front of him, and looked at the open notebook. There were eight different excerpts from the page he was looking at. Eight different feelings, and eight different memories. They were all precious, Ryan thought.
“Lorna said we might be leaving soon. But I want to still play games with everyone! Even if we leave, we’ll still have lots of fun! Every day will be filled with fun! I hope everyone can still have fun. I hope everyone will still play with me. I don’t want to play by myself. But I know Sunflower will play with me! Sunflower is always with me. I want to always have Sunflower with me. She always plays games with me.”
“If we do have to leave, I hope we all stay safe. Runner might get too excited and want to start playing games with everyone. He might get hurt. I hate seeing him get hurt. But sometimes, when he’s running around and having so much fun, I can’t help but join him. I’m worried about everyone, and sometimes I worry that I might seem too sad. I want to always be happy, and I want everyone to always be happy. Lorna said that I’m really bright sometimes. Lorna is always happy. I want to be like her.”
“If the bad guys come, I’ll fight them! They won’t see what’s coming!…… Lorna, please, I don’t want to leave everyone. I want to stay with everyone. I want to protect my sister. I want to protect Laina. I won’t let them touch her. Or anyone. I’ll fight. I’ll keep on fighting. I’ll break everything they have, and I’ll keep everyone safe. Spark will help me. Spark’s brave. Spark will lead the charge, and then Carrier will be there to help everyone. But we can’t do it alone. Lorna, you told me that we can’t do it alone. You told me this. That we can’t be alone. Lorna, you can’t leave us.”
“Henry here. You know, I don’t usually like talking to people, unless they can keep up. You see, I sometimes tend to trail on, or I zone out. I’m always in my own world, they say. That’s not true. That’s not true at all. You told me this, Lorna. Please, come back. We believe in you. I believe in you. That’s rare. For me to believe in something. I think. Sometimes I say I do, but then I think that it’s not true.”
“Even if aliens come, and even if you do have to fight spirits, I hope you can win. Everyone here is my friend, and every day I can feel at home. Every day is fun, and I have people to talk to. I’ve never had people to talk to. Never. Ever. Had. At all. It’s funny, right? Ha. Ha. Ha. It’s funny. It really is. What a life.”
“Sometimes when I feel cold, I like to think about everyone here. Runner is so energetic, and Sunflower follows him to keep him safe. Hailstone is mean, but she’s really kind. Walker and Spear always talk about complicated things, but they’re really nice too. Carrier and Spark are always up to something fun, but that’s because Spark keeps doing bad things. Carrier is really nice. Even Ray is really kind too. He helped me out when I met him. Lorna sometimes tells me that Ray is learning new things, and that he’s like a baby. I don’t get it. But Lorna seemed to really enjoy it, and she laughed. I like Lorna. She’s warm. Whenever I feel too cold, I like to go to Lorna. She’s really warm.”
“We have to leave this place. I know it. I can feel it. But I’ll still try my best to protect my friends. Especially Spark. All my friends are precious. I like them all. They’ve all helped me become who I am. I can help them. I will help them. I don’t have anywhere else to go, after all. Really, all I can do is follow them, and help them. I will pick them back up, and in turn, they will give me their friendship. I want strength, and they sometimes tell me I have strength. I don’t think I do. That’s why I want it.”
“Hello! Jordan here! You know! Hey, if I keep writing like this, I might end up like Spear. Spear’s a cool guy. My name is cool too. Spark. I like it. I shouldn’t be here. No. I shouldn’t be here. But Lorna let me in. She let me stay. She knows my secret. I shouldn’t be here. That’s why I act so excited all the time. That’s why I try to make everyone follow me. That’s why I’m always the first to go. I want to make the most of the time I have here. I shouldn’t be here. I’m lying. I lied. I’m scared. Please. Lorna.”
“My name is Ryan. No, that’s weird, right? Is that how you start a diary entry? No. Right? Well, either way, I’m writing here. I don’t know what to say, but I’ll just write. Ever since I came here, ever since Runner found me, my life has changed. You know, it’s like winning the lottery. Everything changes. I met people, I had new and fun experiences, and I felt emotions that I never thought I could. Before I came here, to this building, I was broken. I think. I was so contained in my own space that I never bothered to break from it. It was scary how I could have lived like that. But something drew me in here, and I kept coming back. I gained so much. I don’t want to see any of that go. Lorna, you don’t either, right? You told me. You’ll come back, right? Please, let’s go through this together. I know I don’t belong here, but let’s try our best. I’ll try my best. I’ve forsaken my mother, and my uncle, but I know that my family, and my home lies with everyone here. I have to be here. Please, trust me. Like I trusted you. Out of all the new emotions I’ve obtained, I don’t think I’ve ever felt love before. Well, I love you all as family and friends, but I mean love more than that. The kind of love that makes you want to marry. Though, I think, if anything, you’ve come the closet to giving me that. “