“In the orphanage, my life feels a video game, with someone outside the machine controlling every move I make. When the video game gets too old or out of order, I will get out. The video game of life. Obstacles here and there popping up in my face. I wish I was like someone not in an orphanage, someone who has a perfect life.”
I hear my mother making breakfast. The sun’s warmth is on my face, opening the morning to another wonderful day. I walk out of my room down to the kitchen to get breakfast. I eat my breakfast, nice warm pancakes topped with strawberries.
“Ellie, wake up!” I wake up to my friend Claire lightly shaking me to get me up. All the wishes I’ve ever had were in my dream, disappointing me, waking me up to a day trapped in a building I don’t like. I am in an orphanage with other people, people who wish their lives were better. I get out of bed get dressed in the ragged clothes that the orphanage provided for me. I walk out my room, go downstairs to another disgusting breakfast of cold eggs that haven’t been cooked fully. Staring at the eggs, I get the feeling that I should eat them. I have gotten used to it. I’ve been here since I was five. I am fourteen`now, and still stuck in the orphanage.
I remember the day when I was five, waiting for my parents to pick me up at school. It was rainy and foggy. The only person who picked me up was this creepy woman, named Ms. Kunzier. She told me to come with her. She brought me to my house and told me to pack my bags. Then she drove me to this building covered with vines. “You’re staying here now,” she told me. A burst of pain shot up my back; a tear rolled down from my eyes, making its way down to my cheek. She opened the door and walked me to where I was staying. I remember thinking that I would be home soon. But I never went home. An hour later she came back to my room and told me that my parents had been in a car accident.
I used to play outside in my backyard all the time. Now, I cannot go outside whenever I want. The only outside I have is my imagination. I imagine being outside, running free. No one to tell me what to do and what not to do. A big field of grass, trees swaying, the smell of fresh grass. The wind blowing on me. Running away so that no one can find me. Growing up on my own.
No one ever visits this orphanage. I guess it’s because of how creepy it looks. Only once a while someone comes around and takes a tour. I’m probably going to be in here until I’m 18, and then I’ll start a life of my own.
In the orphanage, my life feels a video game, with someone outside the machine controlling every move I make. When the video game gets too old or out of order, I will get out. The video game of life. Obstacles here and there popping up in my face. I wish I was like someone not in an orphanage, someone who has a perfect life.
I go back to my room, get into my bed and lay my head on the pillow. My eyes slowly close into a nice soft sleep. I slowly drift off into a weird dream, where Ms. Kunzier is pulling my arm and taking me to a tiny walk in closet. She ties me up in a chair. I jerk my body away from the chair to brake the rope. but the chair gets up with me and follows me wherever I go. I go to the door of the closet and try to get out, but Ms. Kunzier locked the door to keep me in. My eyes slowly open. It’s just a dream, it’s just a dream, I keep telling myself.
“Hey, people!” Claire says.
“Hey!” Molly, my other friend, replies.
“What’s up?” I say.
“You know, the usual, nothing much,” Claire replies.
“Wait!” Molly shouts.
“Shhh,” Claire and I whisper.
“Sorry, but wait — I have an idea!” Molly says.
“Then what is it?” Claire replies impatiently.
“Um… I forgot,” Molly says.
“Ugh” Claire sighs.
“No, really… what were you going to say?” I ask.
“Well, it was probably a really stupid thought,” Molly hesitated.
“Just tell us,” I reply, ignoring Molly. “We’re your friends.”
“Okay, fine,” Claire says.
“It’s impossible, but it’s sort of about how we can escape from here. I mean, I never wanted to be here in the first place,” Molly blurts out.
“Same,” Claire and I say in unison.
“I’ve just always felt blocked up in a jail cell here.”
“Let’s think about a plan. Meet me in Secret Headquarters after lunch,” I say.
Secret Headquarters is a secret place that no one has discovered yet except for us. There is a little door in the bottom of the wall… actually, it’s not really a door, but a little square shaped hole in the wall that functions like a door. When you go inside, there is a little space where you can sit. When Claire and I met, we found a hiding place, and our friendship began. Six months later Molly came along and joined our little friendship. Claire and I showed her Secret Headquarters, and that is how we all became close friends.
When I get to Secret Headquarters, I find Molly quietly reading. “BOO!” I scream.
“Ahhh!” she screams, but then she sees me and starts laughing.
Shortly after, Claire barges into the room. “The worst thing almost happened… well, one of the worst things.”
“What?” I ask.
“Well, Ms. Kunzier stopped me and asked me where I was going, but I said I was going to the bathroom and she let me go,” Claire explains.
“Good thing she didn’t find out about Secret Headquarters,” I say. “Okay, anyway, let’s get started. First, let’s think of a plan.”
“The only way for us to get out of here is to get the key to unlock the main door,” says Claire.
“Well, I know where the key is kept,” replies Molly.
“Where? How do you know?” I question.
“Let’s just say that I went into her room once,” Claire answers.
“Was there actually blood and spider webs in her room?” I ask. Everybody says that Ms. Kunzier’s room is filled with blood marks and spider webs.
“Not at all, surprisingly,” Claire replies.
“That’s good to know,” I mutter. “So, back to the planning… How does tomorrow night sound to you guys for the first attempt of the escape?” I ask.
“Sure, I’m fine with that,” says Claire.
“What do you think, Molly?”
“I’m also fine with that,” says Molly.
“Okay, maybe at 1 in the morning, since Ms. Kunzier is probably going to be asleep… even though people say she sleeps with one eye open,” I add. “So, when she is about to close her door to go to sleep, let’s run up to it and push it a crack open. About one hour later we can get the key to open the front door. Sound good?”
“Yes!” says Molly.
“Sure!” says Claire.
“Okay, remember… tomorrow,” I confirm.
We walk out of secret headquarters, quietly chanting, “Escape attempt number one!”
I go to bed thinking that finally I will get out of here.
The next day, Molly, Claire, and I try to get as much sleep as we can so that we’ll be ready for our big night. We pack what is really special to us. I get an old sack and put my stuffed bunny in it. My stuffed bunny’s name is Bun-Bun. I have had Bun-Bun since I was born. In the sack I also pack a bottle of water and some clothes.
At midnight, Molly, Claire, and I sneak to Secret Headquarters. We discuss what we are going to do, and prepare ourselves for the things coming ahead. At 1:30 in the morning, we hear Ms. Kunzier walking down the hall and going to her room.
”Oh my gosh, she is coming!” Molly blurts out. Luckily, in this case, Secret Headquarters is about a meter away from Ms. Kunzier’s bedroom. We hear Ms. Kunzier approach her bedroom door. We rush out to near the entrance of Secret Headquarters. When she opens the door, we quietly run out and slowly close her door until it is open just a crack. Exactly 45 minutes later we take a peek through Ms. Kunzier’s room and see that she’s snoring.
“Okay, Molly, since you are the quietest and you know where the key is, you are going to get the key,” I whisper. Molly tiptoes down to where the key is. Molly sneezes and Ms. Kunzier turns and moans a bit. Molly runs out of the room.
“That was close!” She whispers, relieved. When we get downstairs to the main door, Molly places the key into the key slot.
“Who is that?” a voice says. Molly, Claire, and I jump up in unison. Ms. Saltine, the orphanage maid, comes into the same room as us. “Found you! Girls, you know you should not be down here at this time of night,” she says.
“Sorry, we didn’t mean to–”
Ms. Kunzier cuts me off by coming into the room. “Girls! Go to your room. All of you will have to wake up extra early tomorrow and help make breakfast. We will be having fresh pancakes, and you girls will have fresh leftovers. And bonus! You will clean up all the dirty dishes!” She walks away and cackles her very annoying cackle. She never gives us orphans fresh food – we always have leftovers.
“Ugh…” We all walk back to our bedrooms.
“Try again on your adventure,” Ms. Saltine says to us the next morning. We are all shocked. We do not understand what just happened. It takes us time to understand what she meant. Even though we just did a lot of work by cooking a meal for 25 orphans and are now eating food scraps, we feel like we just accomplished something. Ms. Saltine is on our side.