"You are mine alone."
I kept looking at those eyes which changed color- green to amber. The voice filled me with a sense of dread. It was surprising, as I was sure that, I had never wronged anyone. As such, no one should have a reason to hate me. Little did I know then, selfish motives apart from being wronged, can also cause one misery.
"Look here Emily, Wait for me.."
The woods vanished. The pond vanished. A faint sound was growing louder.
My room mate and friend, Rita was calling me. At the same time, I could here a sweet sound ringing next to my ears. My hands moved to hit the snooze button of my alarm clock.
Reluctantly, I opened my eyes and was greeted by the sun's rays streaming into the room.
"Wake up sleepy head."
My best friend and room mate, Rita prodded me with a finger.
"It's Sunday. I don't want to go to church."
As I tried to close my eyes and go of to sleep again, my blanket was, yanked off me.
"Ooh, It's cold."
"You are getting late."
"And you're being rude."
"Miss drama hurry up. The warden will ask us to sit by ourselves in the reflection room to reflect, if, we are late."
Rita's words finally awakened me. I wanted to enjoy my Sunday in the sun. I did not want to stay inside the confines of the orphanage. The cold reflection room was the most undesirable place to be at. I hurried to finish my morning tasks before, rushing downstairs.We arrived, just in time.
The warden scowled at our arrival. We had poured water over her dream of scolding us.
"Why is she looking so bad-tempered?," I whispered in Rita's ears.
Rita kicked my leg. The pain was enough to keep me mum throughout the prayer service.
The prayer service lasted for an hour. In my opinion, it was, the longest period of my life.
As soon as it ended and, we could go out. I ran with wild abandon into the forest. Our orphanage and the church were situated on the city's outskirts. It was sparsely populated here. As such we were rarely disturbed by the city folks. Being in the forest was, for some reason, very therapeutic.
Rita, who followed closely behind, hugged me tightly. As we did our own dance, I remembered that we were not alone.
"Behave," I said, as I pushed her away.
"Others will form a wrong opinion about us."
"I don't care, sweetheart."
I rolled my eyes at Rita's words. She was acting in a very annoying manner now.
"I feel like sleeping again. Please watch out for the warden as I sleep."
I smiled at Rita's words and settled on a tree branch to lose myself in the wonderland of sleep. I knew that Rita would alert me if the warden came along.
"Aren't you missing me Emily?"
The voice in my last night's dream had returned, once more.
"Remember not to flirt with any one dear. When I come to take you, I'll fulfil all your desires."
I was sweating now. Even though the voice had previously left me feeling uneasy, the fear it evoked, right now was, unparalleled.
I wanted to run away. But, I was unable to hide from those eyes.
"Leave me....Let me go...," I begged as I tried to free my hand of the faceless voice's grip.
My pale white wrist had red imprint's of what looked like a man's fingers.
His breath was close to my ears .
"Just remember, you'd be my queen in the future. We'd spread darkness around and we'd rule over the world together."
I felt disgusted with whatever I heard. I did not llike the voice. And, I most certainly did not like what he said.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"We'd meet very soon."
"Beware of the dragon prince."
Rita shook me and I fell down from the branch in a moment of carelessness.
I was suddenly glad that I was awake now.
"Why were you frowning?"
"Nothing, just a bad dream."
"What did you dream about?"
"That the warden was chasing you with a cane in her hand."
I ran towards the orphanage and Rita, who was slightly fat, was unable to hit me.
When I arrived at the doorstep, I waited for Rita and the two of us entered together.
"Finished fooling around." The warden's voice greeted us when we entered.
"It's a Sunday."
"Enough. I did not ask you to tell me the days of the week."
"You are being unreasonable."
Don't teach me, young lady"
"Rita you come up stairs with me."
"And Emily you can clean the floors now."
"Oh! and do your job thoroughly, else you can remain hungry."
With that, the warden left for her office and Rita followed suit. I was left to complete a thankless job.
More than three hours had passed, and the kitchen and the hall were yet to be cleaned. The small kids had already been put to bed for an afternoon nap. Those slightly older, had retired to the study hall to study.
I was the only one working now, with not a soul My growling stomach kept me company.
"Oops, I'm so sorry," the queen b***h of the orphanage said.
She had dropped some hot chocolate on the floor that I had just cleaned.
"Please work harder darling." She pulled my hair as she said this. It pained and I could not help but, retort.
"What is wrong with you Ling?"
I gritted my teeth as I spoke to her.
"Nothing, I don't like your presence. You're trash."
"Your parents abandoned you."
She spit on me and went away.
When the warden arrived in the evening, I had just finished my work.
"Wash these clothes in the night."
I remained quiet now. We had school the next day. This woman always made me so tired that, I was usually late for school. All the kids in the orphanage studied at the same school. Needless to say, apart from Rita, none were kind to me.
When I entered the room Rita gave me a few dumplings. They were cold and slightly chewy, but tasted fine.
"Where did you get them?"
"All of us had them over dinner. I saved a few for you."
My eyes watered at her gesture. I was given some leftover rice by the kitchen cook. Even the meat was burnt. I ate it as I was very hungry.
"Thanks, I sobbed.."
Rita hugged me.
"Silly girl.....just lie low. You know the warden loves to pick on you.Wipe your tears now."
I lay down in bed. My roommate and my only friend rubbed some pressure points to relieve my exhaustion.
I was scared of closing my eyes. I did not want that faceless voice to haunt me again. However, once the warmth of the blanket engulfed me, I drifted into an uneasy sleep. This time unpleasant memories of my childhood returned to haunt me again.
Everyone in the school was making fun of me. All the kids from the orphanage were laughing at my miserable state.
"Look, there she is ...... She's unlucky ... she's abandoned."
"You know what....I think she is a jinx......I know at least, we came here when our parents passed away. Her parents did not want her. She brought them misfortune after birth."
When someone left me in the cradle, outside the orphanage, many years ago, they left a note.
She is an unlucky girl. Her parents have abandoned her. You can call her 'The Abandoned girl'.
The warden at that time was a kind woman. She was the one who had picked me up from the cradle and taken me inside. Our present warden, a subordinate then, had looked at me with intense dislike. The senior girls who left the orphanage sometime ago, had told me about this matter.
Things had become worse as all the senior girls, who became off age left in search of greener pastures. Ever since then, people preferred to call me 'The Abandoned girl' instead of Emily. And, post the current warden's assumption of the orphanage's responsibilities, my life had become even more miserable than before.