Hello once again for day 3. And….. that’s all I have, no really, writing all of this really is draining especially with everything else going on. So I’m gonna have to cut these short for a while until something interesting happens…. But here you go, chapter 3 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
It wasn’t long before Ryan had arrived at the decrepit building. It was well hidden in the midst of the forest. To any passerby, it might have came off as an abandoned building. It might have given off the vibe of adventure, but despite that, to Ryan it felt warm. The walls were almost all covered in moss and vines, but the windows and door were well kept. Curtains veiled over the building, and not a single peep was made from the inside. The clearing that Ryan had arrived to was far too quiet, he thought. It might have been because of how deep in the forest he was, but for some reason, Ryan could understand how well hidden the building was. It barely stood over the trees, but it was wide enough that it would catch an odd pair of eyes.
“We’re here, mister,” Runner said, “We’re home,” Sunflower added. Runner began walking forward, his hand had long detached from Sunflower’s. His strides were weak, but at the same time Ryan could sense a feeling of relief. Sunflower lagged behind him, but she gave off the same feeling. It was like coming back from a long day of work. However, to Ryan, it merely seemed like a feeling of longing. As they came to the front door of the building, Runner stopped Ryan.
“Wait here. I’ll go get Lorna. You stay with him, Sunflower.”
“Wait–” But before Sunflower could finish, Runner had already entered the building. Sunflower sighed, and then looked dangerously at Ryan. After a few moments, she lowered her stare, and sat on the doorsteps. Sunflower looked indifferent as Ryan continued to stand by the door. Eventually she gave in and spoke to Ryan, “The reason why you can’t go in is because the inside is being watched.”
“Watched?” Ryan responded methodically, almost too quickly for his own comfort, but he was interested in the topic.
“The lock is broken, so that’s why it’s always open. When you open the door, a bell rings on the inside, and unless you say the secret password, we all think you’re a bad guy.”
“He said that before, about the bad guys. Who are the bad guys?” Ryan’s own curiosity surprised him. His uncaring attitude had became construed into a nest of sticks. With every word he spoke and with every continued interaction he had, Ryan felt increasingly uncomfortable. The norm he had broken into, and the norm that he had abandoned were all too striking. But Ryan knew that if he were to ever stride back on his path of normality, that he would have to walk away. Ryan would have to feign ignorance, however, he could never bring himself to it. The words that stuck at the back of his mind circled around him in a mist of uncertainty. They came back before he knew it, and they chained his fate to the building’s.
“Unneeded, unwanted, and unattended.” Those three words continually appeared and disappeared from Ryan’s mind, seeming to want Ryan to engage in a cat-and-mouse.
“The bad guys are people who will take us away.” Before Ryan realized it, Sunflower had spoken again. His mindful stupor had taken freeze, and he made sure to leave it for the cold. If Ryan wanted to satiate his running mind filled with words of similarity, he had to act natural; as natural as he can.
“Did this Lorna tell you that?”
“Yeah. We all trust Lorna. She would never lie to us. She won’t let the bad guys take us away. She promised.”
“Who is…. Lorna?”
“She’s all of our big sister!” It took Ryan a few moments to process what Sunflower had said. He ran the words over and over in his mind, until finally he came to the conclusion that she was simply mistaken.
“She’s all of your big sister? That can’t be.”
“No, mister. Not sister-sister, but sister!” Ryan gave Sunflower an even more confused stare. Sunflower couldn’t quite understand Ryan’s denying statement, but neither could she understand that it was genuine doubt.
“She’s your sister? And Runner’s sister?”
“Yeah! And Hailstone, and Walker, and Spark! She’s all of our big sister!” Ryan never realized it, but Sunflower’s tone had considerably gone up. When the topic of Lorna was concerned, Sunflower seemed to radiate brightness. She seemed cheerful, loud, but uplifting.
“Sometimes Lorna would even bake us cookies! She even made cake too! And there was one time when Runner got in an accident and Lorna looked everywhere for him. Lorna is always here for us. She would never leave us. She will protect us from the bad guys!”
“You seem to like her a lot. She sounds reliable.”
“Everyone loves Lorna. She was the one who brought us all together. We’re all a family now. And I don’t want anyone to leave.” Ryan didn’t respond. The system known as a family didn’t sit well with Ryan. He knew of it, but was not familiar with it. Siblings, parents, love. Those were words that Ryan could not relate to. Those were words that he felt uncaring for. Those were words apart from the norm. Whether he wanted it to be or not, those were all words that Ryan lost. However, Ryan had forgotten one important fact. This was not a family, it was an orphanage, and even the least cynical of people would have came to realize this. Ryan did not.
“So you all live here?” Ryan asked.
“Yeah! This is our home. We all play, eat, and sleep here. It’s always fun!” Before Ryan could respond, the door opened again. In the doorway was Runner, and a girl who Ryan had never saw before. She was much older than Runner and Sunflower, and Ryan had even considered her to be the same age as him. She could pass off as a student much like him, but there was something strange about her. Ryan felt off about seeing her. She had bright golden hair, much like Sunflower, however, due to her stature, it was much more refined. It reached below her shoulders, and seemed very well kept. Her eyes were a deep hazel, and they were quite shaped to be alluring. Her lips bore a soft red that settled in with her rosy cheeks and she was a bit taller than Ryan. Everything about her was warm, Ryan thought. However, he didn’t understand how he came to that conclusion, nor why he did. She was just a figure of long lost family, something Ryan would never know until it was too late.
“So you’re the ‘mister’ that Runner found, huh?”
“Yeah. My name is–” Before Ryan could respond, Lorna stopped him by placing her hand out.
“No buts. I’m Lorna. You know Runner and Sunflower, but we have a bunch of kids here. Eight to be exact. Nine if you include me. And ten if we have you now.” Ryan couldn’t find a logical answer in Lorna excluding his name when the rest of the kids and Lorna herself did have a name. However, that was the least of his worries. The last part of Lorna’s sentence was what drew him in the most.
“What… is this place?”
“Glad you asked, mister.” The thought of hearing someone that was possibly the same age as him call him “mister” felt extremely uncomfortable, albeit, a bit satisfying; Ryan couldn’t understand it himself.
“This place is the home for the unneeded. The unwanted. And the unattended. You read the card. It’s as simple as that.” Lorna made a point to gesture her hands out towards the building to further emphasize the point. But even that notion didn’t stop Ryan from sensing a discrepancy. Ryan spoke out towards Lorna, not feeling much but curiosity.
“That card, it was ripped from a notebook. Why did you make it?”
“That card is old news. Runner carries it along wherever he goes because it’s an old keepsake. There’s nothing to it. Don’t get many kids as we used to. Now we’re all tightly knit.”
“For many reasons. But, I didn’t expect Runner to bring you in.”
“He seems like a good guy! He picked up my card and brought it back to me!” Runner chimed in. Sunflower remained indifferent, but Lorna seemed to have already made her decision.
“Look–” Lorna leaned in so that only Ryan could hear, “What we have here is a secret. This isn’t any ordinary orphanage. We have a family now, and if you want to destroy that family, I swear I’ll make you pay.”
“Runner mentioned ‘bad guys’, but I don’t think I’m one of them.” Ryan whispered back.
“No. You’re not, the bad guys I’m looking for are wearing blue uniforms. You’re just an ordinary kid, much like I am, and much like they are. But if you’re here, then you’re here for a reason. You don’t look like a runaway, or a stowaway, or a depressed addict. You’re here because you want to be here. You have a family, or what’s supposed to be a family, but you came anyway.” Ryan stepped back from Lorna and looked at her in complete awe. She saw right through him, and what made Ryan surprised was the fact that they had only just met. Lorna remained calm, and put on a cool smile in front of the kids. Ryan didn’t know how to respond, but the last thing he wanted to do was run. The last thing Ryan wanted was to break from this norm.
“If you’re here now, you’re here to stay. I welcome you, to Lorna’s orphanage.” Without further warning, and without indication, Lorna had declared Ryan’s acceptance out loud. Ryan’s surprise was slowly fading and at this moment, nothing could surprise him. Lorna was a walking bundle of surprises, and he had to prepare for that. Ryan didn’t question her sudden revelation, nor did he feel the need to. For some reason, Ryan accepted it with open arms, and without realizing it, he had finally found his puzzle pieces.