“’Maggie Archer? No wonder. You do look like them, even after all these years,’ the man muttered.
‘Who do I look like? What do you mean?’
‘We’ll explain everything soon, I promise,’ he said dismissively.”
I didn’t expect to wake to the warmth of silk sheets. Nor did I expect the gigantic room decorated with champagne-colored furniture, or the soft bed covered with thick layers of blankets. I was used to the comfort of hard pavement beneath me, and unwanted newspapers.
I didn’t remember who brought me here. All I remembered was walking back to my usual spot in a gloomy alley when something approached me. I couldn’t make out the object because my vision started getting blurry… until it was pitch black.
A knock on the door woke me from the trance cast by a magnificent room. I answered in a hurry and found a maid carrying freshly washed sheets. The maid had her hair up in a tight bun, and a french maid’s uniform like in a movie.
“Good morning Ms. Philips,” the maid said in a quiet voice.
Philips? My name was Maggie Archer. Where did she get Philips from? I thought.
“Umm, excuse me, but my last name is Archer, not Philips,” I said.
“No, no, no, your name is Clara Philips,” she replied matter-of-factly.
I was utterly confused, but I didn’t show it. After all, Clara Philips was a good name, if not a bit sophisticated for a girl from the streets.
Once the maid left, a short and stern woman came in wearing a black topcoat, a pencil skirt, and high heels that didn’t make her look any taller. She also wore her hair in a tight bun, which pulled her facial skin taut as a drum.
“Here’s your schedule for the day,” she said in a businesslike manner. “Be on time for everything. I will be checking on you after lunch and before dinner.”
“Who are you?” I said before she could go.
“I am your assistant. I make sure you get your schedules. By all means, Clara, you should now who I am by now. I’ve been here for about a week. It isn’t my fault you go through assistants every ten days.”
After my assistant left in an annoyed huff, I looked through the schedule, eager to see what awaited me.
Schedule for the month of January
10:00- 11:00am Breakfast
1:00 -2:00pm Combat Training
4:00 -5:00pm Supper
5:00 -6:00pm Piano Lessons
8:00 -9:00pm Dance Lessons
I decided to roll with my new life. After all, it was better than living on the streets. After an hour of deliberating over what to wear, I went with a pair of simple jeans and a blouse.
I raced down to what I assumed was the dining hall. It had several long dining tables set for about fifteen guests, just like the ones in Harry Potter. The room was full of teenagers happily munching away on breakfast food.
I quietly entered and sat down at the end of the table, closest to the door. A few minutes later, a maid approached me with a plate in her hand.
“Here’s your breakfast, Miss,” she said hurriedly.
When she left, I looked down at my plate neatly stacked with three pancakes and a swirl of whipped cream on top, next to a pile of scrambled eggs.
History was next, according to the schedule. When I finish breakfast and entered room 255, no one was there except a short man with streaks of silver in his chocolate brown hair.
What’s with short people here? I thought.
The man was too busy reading a book to notice me, so I politely sat down. I guess he could sense the presence of someone in his room, so he lifted his head and stared straight at me.
“Hi,” I said weakly.
“Good morning, Clara,” he said.
“My name is Maggie Archer. I don’t know why people keep calling me Clara Philips, much less why I’m here,” I said, on the verge of yelling.
“Maggie Archer? No wonder. You do look like them, even after all these years,” the man muttered.
“Who do I look like? What do you mean?”
“We’ll explain everything soon, I promise,” he said dismissively. “By the way, my name is Marcus Stepler. You can call me Mr. Stepler.”
With that, he raced out the door, leaving me to stare into oblivion.