Hello once again on this fine Saturday morning/afternoon/night. Things are coming to a close. That’s all I can really say. Two more days, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see. And, in the end, this novella, will be finished. I guess. It was fun, it was really fun. I still wish I could have written more, and I can, but I won’t. This will be finished by the end of it. That is what I told myself. Word count: 60,851. Here you go, chapter 28 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
Ryan woke up with a strange feeling. He looked around him in his guest room. Everything was there. The small table. The small lamp. The scrawled poster. Ryan shifted in his bed sheets and closed his eyes to fall asleep. Seconds ticked by, minutes, but Ryan couldn’t slip into the realm of slumber. Ryan abruptly kicked his bed sheets off and turned his body towards the door. There was a strange feeling. Ryan couldn’t quite think what that feeling was. However, it ate at him, and Ryan desperately wanted to figure out what it was that woke him.
Ryan opened the door to his room, and peered out slowly, wondering if it may indeed be a specter; it wasn’t. Ryan stepped lightly into the second floor hallway, knowing full well by the moon’s light that he had not slept long in the night. Ryan walked over to the window, and took a peek to the fields. The glittering moonlight on the low grass made it seem almost unreal, combined with the low cold winds of nightfall, there was a strange sense of happening. Scheming was among them, Ryan thought. Amanda was near. She had told James to rest, but she had decided to partake in extra groundwork; something she never thought she would suggest. Amanda shuffled through the branches of trees, the outstretches of lush green bushes and broken acorns. She made sure to note every turn and every interesting trunk and every irregular patch she stumbled upon. Amanda was near, she was very near. She knew not of what to tell her superiors or even her division, but she knew she wanted this job done. She knew she wanted to go through and settle on it. Amanda was done.
“Well look at this,” Amanda said to herself. Amanda had stumbled upon a large building in a clearing. It was the same building that Ryan resided in, and it was the same building where Ryan had been peering out from. Ryan had spotted Amanda in the distance, she was small, and in the lowlight of the moon, couldn’t quite make out much. But Ryan knew it was no one good. There was a certain sense of it, she seemed surprised, Ryan thought. It was not Lorna. Lorna was missing. The person Ryan saw, Amanda, was tense, and inquisitive as she walked up towards the building. For a few moments as Amanda marched on, Ryan was frozen still, almost as if he thought she had saw him in the second floor window. Almost as if she was only marching on to investigate the figure. Ryan had planned to be a statue, but Ryan soon realized that it wasn’t the case. Ryan had to move, but he was frozen. He was stuck in place. He had become what he didn’t want to become. An observer. Ryan couldn’t move. He couldn’t do anything. Someone was coming, someone was closing in. It wasn’t Lorna. Lorna was missing.
“Damn it!” Ryan cursed at himself. The figure came closer. She was still a whiles away, and it was evident that she was very cautious. Amanda took note of everything that she saw from the building, how large it was, and how it seemed to be ancient. How it seemed to be ethereal, and how it seemed to be the perfect place for such a crime; Lorna would digress. As the figure came closer, Ryan could see her much more clearly, Ryan could see Amanda. Ryan knew that her arrival meant nothing but trouble. Ryan was stuck in his own frozen intrude, and Ryan didn’t know why. His norm, his feelings were all hinged on a tight rope, but Ryan couldn’t move. Ryan cursed, and he wanted to scream, but he feared that Amanda would hear. Soon enough, something flashed in Ryan’s mind. His feelings rushed across him in a flurry of blurs and whips. His face flourished in pain and his hands shivered in a frigid cold. His body traversed in a valley of complete solitude. Amanda was nearing. The low moonlight reflected off her face, and off her blue. Ryan was unable to move.
“Hello?” Amanda said as she knocked on the door of the orphanage.
“Anyone home?” Amanda sarcastically said, her hand hinged on her sidearm. Amanda wasn’t scared. She was surprised. She was happy. She was, indifferent. But Amanda wasn’t scared. She had partook in missions pertaining to the cloak of the night. She had been shot, she had been wounded, and she had been taken captive. Amanda wasn’t scared. She was relieved. She wanted to go home. She wanted to find Lorna. Amanda had paged James, wherever he may be, and told him that she had found their prize. The division will surely know about this if they down the mission now. This will be on their report. Their travesties. Amanda didn’t care. She would protect James, and she would move on.
“I’m coming in,” Amanda said, to no one in particular. As Amanda opened the door, the bell resounded, and rung loudly in the thick of the otherwise dead of the night. Amanda wasn’t alarmed, she kept quiet, she kept calm. Everyone in the building was suddenly alerted, and Ryan could finally move, as if broken from a spell. Doors opened, and children walked out. As some of the children soon realized, the person who had opened the door, was not Lorna. It was Amanda, and some of them stood in their doorways, terrified by the guest. Ryan ran down as fast as he could, explaining to those he could about who was at the door.
“Oh? Funny seeing you here,” Amanda said as Ryan rushed down the stairs. Everyone had gathered at the front of the building. Kids lined the top of the stairs, and both ends of the hallways. Some had already realized what was going on, and had grabbed their belongings. Spark and Hailstone shuttered at the sight of Amanda, but their hands tensed, and they were ready to pounce.
“You know, you’ve caused quite a bit of trouble, Ryan.”
“Anna and Lenny, your mother and your uncle, are looking for you.”
“Are they?” Ryan played a strange tune, much like what Amanda was used to. However, she didn’t have time to play games.
“I have the right to detain you, and to bring you back.”
“And I have the right to abolish this building and to restrain everyone residing here,” Amanda said with her most authoritative voice. Amanda was lying. However, she knew that no one would know, and she knew that it was the only way to get them to comply. At least, that’s what she had hoped.
“Restrain?” Ryan asked.
“Yes. You will all come with me. Especially you, Ryan. You have someplace to be.”
“Where are you bringing us?” Winter spoke out. Everyone looked at her. It was odd, very odd, Ryan thought. He would never have expected Winter to speak out. But, through her words, and through her notion, it was quite clear to all the residents of the building that the situation was serious. Winter was strong, unbelievably warm, and strong, Ryan thought. Winter was strong, and cold. Her words brought a strange sense of relief. It was like looking at a kid standing up to a bully, Ryan thought. Except the matter was much more than a school trifle.
“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt anyone,” Amanda said. Her statement was weak if one knew of what entailed. Amanda didn’t, and she was simply told to bring them in. She was simply told, to leave matters to those in the proper division, and that no harm will be done. She was simply told to abide.
“Come quietly, and we won’t have any problems.” Hailstone and Spark were ready to leap at Amanda, but Ryan shook his head towards them, urging them not to go, and urging them to wait. Ryan didn’t know what to do now. Ryan really didn’t know what he needed to do. The one person Ryan needed to see, the one person Ryan needed to conference, was missing. Everyone knew that the note was on the door, and that if they wanted to reach the door, they needed to head towards Amanda. Everyone was scared. No one wanted to talk. They knew they had lost. They knew their norm was ending.
“I can’t let you do that,” Ryan said with great bravado. His words resounded as much as Winter’s did, and they were a source of assurance. Ryan needed to be strong. He needed to be stronger. Stronger than everyone here. He needed to make sure that they were safe, and that they didn’t feel scared.
“There’s no need to be scared.”
“Lorna–” Spear suddenly jumped in. His voice was clear, and it wasn’t tinged with what Ryan would expect to be fear. It was tinged with surprise, and most of all, curiosity.
“Told me that if we ever go to the ‘bad guys’ that they will bring us to a place worse than prison.” Amanda was brought back by the inclusion of Lorna’s name. She was confused, but she casted it off, feigning it was someone else, hoping that she hadn’t been involved. Amanda didn’t want to believe that she was involved. It was impossible, Amanda concluded.
“I know what prison is, so I asked Lorna what she meant. She said she didn’t know, but she told me that it was like a training camp. And they told us that people will know about us and how to use us. She said that the system is very dirty and that government officials are not who they seem to be.” Spear finished, and despite his words sounding very solid, it was clear that Spear only had half of the truth behind those words. Even Amanda didn’t know what to say in response. Amanda understood Spear’s sentiments, and knew that what he said, and what he heard might have been true. For all Amanda knows, the people she worked for, are all corrupt and are all hiding a dark secret. If Spear’s words had come from Lorna, the same Lorna Amanda knew, then she would be inclined not to question it.
“Is that true, miss?” Spear asked, still with his questioning tone. It was strange, Ryan thought, it was almost like a child asking their mother about a murder they had just witnessed. It was filled with questions and strange things they learned from even stranger people.
“I-” Suddenly, a loud bang resounded outside. It was a gunshot. It made the birds cry, and it rumbled across the forest. Everyone suddenly closed their ears, and Amanda ran out, frantic. Some of the children used this chance to take their belongings, and once Ryan had saw that everyone was gathered, he reached out for the door and took the note.
“Everyone! Let’s go!” Suddenly, all the children poured out of the building and followed Ryan. Amanda noticed this, but couldn’t do much as they ran far too quickly for her to react. Another gunshot had resounded in the distance, and Amanda quickly turned in the direction, her sidearm now brandished. Amanda’s arm was shaking as she turned back towards the children. Amanda cursed, and quickly paged her division and James. She knew she was done now. Everyone would know, but it was the only thing she could do. She didn’t want to shoot. She couldn’t. Ryan and the children poured into the forest, and headed for the location written on Lorna’s note. The bridge. Shooter was waiting. After Amanda had finished paging everyone about the current events, she sighed, and brandished her gun. Lorna sighed in the distance, watching Amanda stand on the open grass fields, her head held high and her breath blowing beneath her. Lorna pulled down the sidearm in her hand, and dropped it in a bush. She removed the gloves on her hands, and placed them in her pocket, along with Shooter’s note. Lorna took a deep breath in, and then stepped into the moonlight, revealing herself, and calling out to Amanda. Shooter was waiting. Ryan and the children all ran, and they pushed past the forest. They were all thinking the same thing, and they were all worried. Lorna was missing.