• Isabell Noiba, Child 47, Journal Entry 16.

    Hello again. I know that I haven’t written in the past couple of months, but I honestly don’t like writing down every single thing that happens to me every day. It’s annoying, and, quite frankly, not necessary. But Mrs. Eraf doesn’t seem to care. I mean, honestly, that woman is deranged to think that I’m going to start to listen to her now when I’ve been in the orphanage for years and haven’t done a thing she’s told me to. If she is deranged, she’s gotten smarter at it. Now she’s making me write while she sits in front of me with that very creepy ruler in her hand while she glares. I think she’s trying to seem menacing. She’s so missed the mark it’s not funny anymore.

    So, just to get her away so I don’t start cracking up and get into more trouble, I’m gonna start writing about my beyond boring day. I woke up at morning bell, and then Jiinah dragged me down three flights of stairs, and not the elevator, because she thinks that I need more exercise (Which I don’t! I weigh a perfectly fine 126 pounds.) And then she let me wouldn’t let me the eat pancakes. We only get those pancakes once every other week. So not right.

    Then again, maybe what’s not right is that I actually let a seven-year-old boss me around like that. Yeah, that’s probably it.

    On to what I did later in the day, I played hide-and-seek with the Youngers like I always do. Then Mrs. Eraf hunted me down like a wild animal to force me to her office so she could yell at me for not doing something or other that I didn’t really listen to anyways. Then she shoved this tiny book at me with a pen that smells strangely like her hairspray and told me to write or she wasn’t going to let me get back to my game.

    I totally realized that the threat worked. I am so pathetic. I’m an eighteen year old girl and the only threat that has any affect on me what-so-ever is ‘do it or you can’t play hide-and-seek with small children’. Actually, I think I’m going to change the subject before I begin to wallow in self pity.

    I have one more thing to say before I run out of here screaming. I keep having this strange dream. I don’t really understand it but I’m dancing. Now, I am not one to dance, but there I am swaying and then I realize that there’s a guy with me. I can’t see his face (For all I know he could have demon eyes and no mouth) but somehow I know that I trust him. Oh, and if the dream itself isn’t odd enough, when I wake up I feel….I think the word would be ‘blissful’, like if all the things that trouble me in life were just gone. Then again, maybe that’s always a side-effect of happy dreams, I wouldn’t know, I don’t really remember my dreams. Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve said that d word like every three letters.

    So then this is goodbye. Hopefully forever but Mrs. Eraf will probably force to write some more later.

    Slowly, I looked over what I had written. That should be enough to satisfy Madame Demon in Human Form. I don’t actually call Mrs. Eraf that in the journal because I’m fairly certain that she reads them. Like she needs another reason to despise me. But that’s beside the point. When I was done checking over the page and a half that I had written, I slammed it shut with as much power as I could and then handed it back up to Madame without looking at her directly.

    “You can go now, Isabell.” I felt her take the journal and quickly I shoved the chair back and stormed over to the door. And then she had to interrupt my brilliant exit with her saying, “Oh and one more thing.”

    Groaning, I turned around and faced her office. I guess it’d be described as a principal’s office, which I guess would about right, even though I’ve never been in a principal’s office. She had the clear plastic desk, with the micro foam chair behind it. Metal picture frames covered the walls, and most of the pictures in them were kind of stupid. Basically it was devoid of all color and interesting life. This also described Mrs. Eraf pretty well too.

    She was about five foot three of pure control freak. Everything about her screamed it. Light grey hair pulled back into tight bun, black cat-eye glasses that I’m not entirely sure that she needed, perfectly smoothed outfit of knee-length brown skirt, white turtle neck, and strange maroon colored jacket. Actually, what she was wearing was uniform of the orphanage that nobody followed anymore. Maybe a total of five people followed it years ago, but I wouldn’t know, I didn’t exactly count them.

    I was jerked out of my thoughts about the retard uniform when Mrs. Eraf coughed. “Yes, Mrs. Eraf?” I asked between very tightly clenched teeth. I also considered a sarcastic curtsy from almost two thousand years ago, but thought that I was probably under enough trouble as it was.

    She squinted her eyes, almost as if she had read my mind. Using her middle finger she shoved her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “I’ve been meaning to ask about….” She veered off like she couldn’t find the way to ask. This never happened except when around one subject. And the reason she was asking was probably the guy in question was missing currently.

    “I didn’t do anything to him, I swear.” I turned back to the door, and, without asking for permission, walked out. Under my breath I muttered, “Trust me, if I did hurt him, you’d find the body.” There weren’t too many people in the hall with me, but they backed away when they saw my facial expression. From the watching of me with ‘certain others’, they’ve learned that when I’m in a mood and you bother me, blood spills. I tried to calm myself down, knowing who was going to pop out from around the corner at any moment.

    Ten minutes passed before I realized that I was still alone. That was weird; she always came when I got in trouble with Madame Demon in Human Form. Hmm, I peeked around the next corner. It was clear except for two people who appeared to be in serious need of a room. Thinking about where ever Jiinah might be, I kept wondering around, glancing around looking for the young girl. Where was she?

    Finally, I decided to just go to the cafeteria and hope that maybe she had gotten hungry. I walked to the elevators, pressed the button with the down arrow on it, and waited for the metal doors to open. Tapping my foot, I stared at the doors, willing the elevator to hurry. When the doors opened, I stepped inside as soon as they were far enough apart for me to fit. Right after that, I said clearly, “Close doors.”

    “I’m sorry, but identification required.” There was that annoying mechanical voice that I think that was supposed to sound female. Who ever made the voice apparently never heard a girl speak.

    I sighed. “Child 47. Close doors. Floor 2.”

    “Certainly.” The door slid together with a loud ding. It dropped quickly and felt my stomach come upward. By the time it was over, I was glad. Stepping out, I was ambushed by smells of lunch. Today seemed to be sloppy joe, with French fries and green beans. Now, don’t think that I have an amazing sense of smell, I saw people eating the food I mentioned. I did a complete circle around myself searching for Jiinah.

    “Isa!” I almost fell as someone launched into me, wrapping her arms around my legs.

    “Hey, Jiinah.” I placed my hand on the little girl’s head and ruffled the short light brown hair. She looked up at me and gave me a smile with about three teeth missing. Great God, that girl was pure adorable and I also purely sure that she knew it as well. “Whatcha’ been doing?”

    She grabbed my hand and dragged me over to a table where she was sitting with her three best friends, Carryn, Tym, and Jorge. I’ve always thought that it was amazing that the four of them could even be in the same social circles, let alone how close. Tym was the loud, blonde haired dreamer, Carryn, the brave redhead who never thought of consequences, the shy dark haired quietness that was Jorge almost seemed to hold the group together, and then there was Jiinah. Being the leader of the group, she was partially quiet but had that stare that made shivers go up and down your spine, so the others followed her example pretty much without protest.

    Sometimes I feel sorry that my influence rubbed off on her so much.

    As soon as I was dragged over to the table, I was met by very loud shouts from two of the girls. “Hey! Where’s you go half-way though our game?” Carryn’s was the loudest, or least is was until Tym looked up and realized that I was there.

    “Ohmygod, Isa! Why’d you disappear like that? Geon thought that you were still hiding. Actually, there he is now.” She stood up and, after giving me a high five, ran off toward her older brother.

    “Mrs. Eraf got me.” I explained as I slid into the seat next to Jorge. “She was ticked because I haven’t been keeping up with my journal. Then she asked me about Jimmy. She thinks I had something to do with his disappearance.”

    All three girls started to laugh at that. Suddenly Carryn spoke up. “Actually we know why he missing.”

    “Technically, he’s still in his room, but he hasn’t come out.” Jiinah added, still giggling.

    “He’s too embarrassed.” Jorge said. “He’ll be gone for a while.”

    “Trust us,” All three ended before the collapsed in laughter again.

    “What?” I think I got whiplash from my head going from girl to girl to girl. They didn’t answer me, as they were too busy gripping their sides and gasping for breath. Every five seconds or so, they’d calm down and then look at each other and lose control again. After a minute or so of this, I was almost afraid that they would all pass out from lack of air. Whatever they had done, it was probably brilliant and I knew I would love it. “What’d you do?”

    “Are you talking about Jimmy?” Tym asked as she came back from talking with Geon. Her brother was right behind her, and when he saw the girls, shook his head sadly and left.

    “Yeah,” I answered and then yelled out to the getting smaller by the second Geon, “See ya later!” He heard me and turned around and mouthed something back which I’m pretty sure was ‘Next time you’ll lose’ but I’m not positive.

    “Oh that!” Tym started to chuckle too, but she was able to reply, “We put some heat activated super glue in his pants when he thought it would be a good idea to pay us to do his laundry.”

    “Where’d you get the idea to do that?” I asked, shocked.

    This time Jiinah had enough control to reply, “From you.”

    I had the awesome intelligence to say, “Say what?”

    “You said once that you were pretty sure that he didn’t wear…uh…..” Jorge stopped, not knowing the polite way to finish her sentence.

    “Boxers.” Carryn added. “You said that he didn’t wear any boxers. Well we wanted to test it out, but not actually see it with our eyes.” She shivered, and I didn’t blame her one bit. “So when he paid us each fifteen bucks to do his laundry, we put some of that heat activated glue that we used in science class and put it in the seat of those pants that he wears all the time. Y’know the ones that have all the pockets in them? We guessed that those would be the ones that he would wear first.”

    “And we were right, judging how he hasn’t shown his face in a week.” Tym added in, smiling widely, “It would be hard to go to the bathroom with your pants glued to your behind.”

    Suddenly I started to clap loud enough to draw attention from other tables. “Nice.” I was right earlier; I did love it although I did feel bad that I hadn’t thought of it first. I reached over and snagged three French fries from a tray, not really caring whose it was.

    “Hey!” Jiinah smacked my hand to prevent me from eating the fries. They fell back onto the plate, one of them landing in ketchup.

    “I’m hungry!” I protested, then grabbed another and stuffed into my mouth before she could do anything.

    She crossed her arms and gave me an icy blue eyed stare. “Then go get your own.”

    I mimicked her stance. “Maybe I don’t want to.” We lasted a mere moment before we both started chuckling, then howling like a pack of those hyenas that they talk about in science sometimes. In my minds eye, I could see the other girls just roll their eyes and shake their heads sadly. They were used to outbursts like this.

    When we had calmed down, I did go and get myself lunch. Sitting back down three minutes later, I ate a fry and then asked, “Since I wasn’t able to finish our game earlier, you guys wanna finish it after lunch?”

    All four of them looked up from their conversation of whether or not Tym’s brother was cute and gave me a stare that said simply ‘Duh’. After a second they turned back to the discussion. I didn’t really listen to it. I was staring blankly at the other end of the cafeteria. There was something nagging at me from the back of my mind, it was like I was forgetting something important, but it wasn’t quite important yet. It was a strange feeling, you don’t need to tell me, but it was still there.

    I shook the feeling off. If it was important, I’d remember it easily.

    Carryn said something about going to tell some other kids that I was going to play another game. I sighed as she stood up; there were going to be dozens of them there. Rarely did I ever think that me being a celebrity with the Youngers caused me trouble. This was one of those times. By the time that I was done with my meal, fourteen minutes later, there were about fifty-seven and counting. I fought my way though them to throw away my scraps and place my tray on the overhang above the trash can.

    Turning around, I scanned the room then coughed loudly and held my hand up. What chatter was in the room silenced almost immediately. “Okay,” I yelled out,” We’re gonna do this in teams of ten.” I waited as they turned to their friends and then hunted down some more if they were short a couple. After that, there were almost seven even teams. “Now, who had a birthday last month?” Fourteen people raised their hands, six of those from one team. I pointed at that team. “You guys are it. Now the rest of you know the rules. No rooms, common areas only. Once you are found, you return here for the next round. And….” I waited a second to build up tension. “START!”

    Everyone except the ‘it’ team threw themselves toward the elevators. I stood there and then headed toward a door on the opposite side of the room. There was only one door and I opened it, showing the staircase that I think that I’m the only one, besides Jiinah, who remembers it being there. Stepping inside, I shut the door behind me after looking and, making sure that the ‘it’ team had their heads down on one of the tables, started to run up the stairs toward the top floor.

    By the time that I had made it to my goal, I was lucky I wasn’t dragging myself. Maybe Jiinah was right, I might be a little out of shape. But only a little.

    So I walked out of the staircase, checking both sides of the hall to make sure that I wouldn’t be seen. I walked, trying to get my breath back, passing six doors before finding the one I wanted: the library. I hurried inside, getting a stare from the librarian, Mrs. Nymasi. “Isa! Walk please; this is the library, not the gym.”

    “Sorry,” I muttered as I walked past her desk and moved toward the back shelves. The library was huge and every four shelves there was a area that people could sit and read. I passed these until I found the shelf I was looking for. This one was different from the others in certain ways; older so it was a bit wider, next to the wall, and it had a small ladder built into the side. I have no idea why it had that and I’ve never bothered to ask.

    Silently I climbed up the shelf and then pulled myself onto the top. I rolled onto my back so that I staring up at the ceiling. I was actually comfortable with about an inch between my shoulder and the edge. This was one of my favorite places to hide, considering I could sometimes bring a book with me and read to past the time. This time I didn’t because I wanted some quiet to just let my mind wander.

    Suddenly, I began to think about something that I hadn’t even let cross my mind in years. The orphanage. I used to wonder why we were really here. Mrs. Eraf and the other old people told us that our parents didn’t want us anymore so they left us here. I guess that had to be true considering it’s been ten years. Or they could be dead, but there were almost five hundred kids put in here originally. If there was a mass death, someone would have told us. Why wouldn’t they?

    My head started to hurt, it was too confusing. I closed my eyes to calm myself down and then fell asleep two minutes later.

    It was a party. There were balloons everywhere in every color. Blue, green, yellow, purple, and pink assaulted my eyes and made me want to blink. Looking away from the balloons, I saw a cake on a table in the middle of the room. Hmmm, maybe that could help me find out where I was. I walked over and saw the lettering in pink icing on the white background.

    Happy 8th birthday Isa!

    It was my 8th birthday. Which meant that it was my party, I was eight years old. That would put this at right before my parents abandoned me. But this was a nice party, I saw as I rotated on the spot. There was a piñata, the balloons I mentioned, streamers hanging from the ceiling, and a huge mountain of presents at the base of the table I was standing next to. Wait, there was something missing, a really important part.

    The people. There were no people there, no children and no parents.

    No sooner than I had this thought than my ears were almost started bleeding from the sounds that started from the people that suddenly appeared from nowhere. There had to be about thirty people around me. Shouting ‘Happy birthday’ and smiling. It hit me. These were my friends before the limit of my memory.

    A woman came out, I looked at her face, but all I could see was a shadow. “Okay, everyone. It’s time for hide-and-seek. Then after that we eat cake!” this was met with loud cheers from the children around me. Actually, I guess I should say the other children considering I was one. “Now, we’re going to play outside,” the woman continued, “and the first person to be it is….” I didn’t hear the rest, because I felt someone stand beside me and take my hand.

    “Hey, Isa, I found the perfect place,” I heard someone whisper into my ear. I whirled around to see who it was and saw a boy. He had dark, almost black, eyes. Dark curly hair framed his face and he couldn’t have been too much older than me; maybe nine or ten. But the weird thing was, I trusted him, he was my best friend.

    I felt myself answer. “Cool, Kalib. We gonna be a team?”

    I got a look that I often saw in the mirror at the orphanage. “Duh.”

    Smiling, I heard the woman say that we could start and the boy that I called Kalib pulled me to the door. After a second I ran after him so that my arm wouldn’t be pulled out of its socket. When we were outside, I saw a small swing set and a shed that sat neat the edge of a forest. Kalib led me between the trees, along with some other children. I was behind him as he led me past where the others were hiding behind trees.

    “Kalib, is it too much farther? Mom’ll kill us if we get lost or hurt.” I asked, worried that he’d get bitten by a snake or something if we went in too deep. It was a strange fear. I couldn’t explain it.

    “Yeah,” he looked back at me and smiled. Then he stopped. I bumped into him, but he moved away and was looking at a trunk that was covered by vines. He slipped his hand from mine and parted the vines and showed me a what looked like a ladder. He started to climb up, separating the vines as he went. “Hurry up, Isa, we don’t have all day.”

    “What’s up there?” I asked as I started to climb after him.

    “You have to come up to actually find out.”

    “Oh, and you can’t just tell me now.” I saw him reach up with one hand stuck it between some vines that covered something. My foot slipped and I almost fell and then caught myself. After I was stable, I looked up again, and Kalib was gone. All I could see was a wall of vines. “Kalib, where’d you go?”

    “Right here.” Two hands appeared and pushed the vines away from each other and then Kalib’s head appeared in the space between them. He offered me a hand, and I took so he could pull me past the vines. Once I was inside I saw it was really dark, the only light coming from the gap. I twirled around, wondering where we were and then we were plunged into blackness as Kalib closed the vines.

    “Kalib?” I asked, my voice shaking.

    There was a click and then a beam of light from a flashlight filled the room before he answered. “It’s okay. See? I gotta flashlight with me.” He knew about my fear of the dark, actually he knew about my all my fears: bugs, snakes, heights, and, of course, the dark.

    “What is this?” I asked as I looked around again, seeing wooden walls, some cobwebs, which made me move towards the middle of the room.

    “It’s just some kinda tree house that I found awhile ago. No one will be able to find us for a while.” He grinned, showing white teeth and then sat down cross legged in front of me and put down the flashlight. I sat as well, facing him. “This is where I go, when y’know.” He looked down sheepishly.

    And even though I knew that I should know, I didn’t.

    When I woke up, I realized that it was quiet. Then I remembered that it was library. But, still, it was quiet even for a library. Sitting up, I opened my eyes and saw that it was dark. I must have slept past curfew. Great. I sighed and then pushed myself toward the ladder. As I was climbing down I thought that I heard something above me, but then convinced myself that it was just my imagination. Or that my dreams were still there in the back of my mind.

    When my feet touched the ground, I saw something fall in front of my face. I turned around before I heard something above me again. I looked upward, knowing that something was there. I felt something crush me, pain blossoming as my back hit the ground and I felt weight on top of me pushing the air from my lungs. I arched my back, trying to get room for me to be able to fill my lungs.

    Right before I lost consciousness I saw a pair of dark, almost black, blue eyes fill my vision.