Hurt. Tired. Hungry. Cold. I just want to go home. I want mummy and daddy. Where did they go? Did they not love me? Did they not want me anymore? Did I do something wrong?
A young, lonely and lost Serena has been wandering the wilderness for three long days; ever since she awoke at twilight within the dense woods all alone, barefoot, bedraggled, wearing a torn, simple off-white night gown, and her once long and wavy light brown hair with light blonde highlights that reaches her waist is now grubby, knotted and darker in colour. After a miserably wet day and bitterly cold night, her once flawless porcelain skin that held a slight pink blush to her cheeks has since paled and become glistened with her perspiration produced through the toll taken on her body, but she finally succeeds in dragging her weary body through the closely packed woodland and fortunately happens upon a charming little village just breaking through the trees. She found herself guided by a rich, warm and enticing aroma, that made her stomach tighten and grumble and her mouth water in the hopes of obtaining sustenance and the promise of filling her empty stomach that had been deprived of food for many days, originating from an inn close to the treeline at the edge of the woods. A small, timeworn ramshackle inn, filled with many different loud conversations, shouts and laughter, whilst emitting a warm glow through the use of candlelight, that stood proud with the promise of heat and comfort for the forlorn child. Once inside she found the source of the delicious smell and followed it unhindered through the entrance of the inn and to a crowded and bustling kitchen area.
“Shoo! Get out! Street filth are not permitted in here!” Sternly shouted a very large angry man with a soiled, tattered apron fastened loosely around his waist and a large, dripping meat cleaver held in his left hand.
“Come now Felix, look at the poor thing.” An older, gentler and slightly plump lady replied as she walked over to Serena and offered up a welcoming smile towards her as she knelt to be at her eye level. “Now what is your name little one?”
“What a pretty name. Where are your parents child?”
That one, simple question broke poor Serena’s heart and had her in tears right in-front of the kind lady. She looked deeply into the lady’s warm dark chocolate brown eyes as tears flooded her own oceanic blue ones and flowed gently and freely down her cheeks. The kind older lady pulled Serena into a loving embrace and held her tightly to her chest to comfort the poor child in such pain and distress.
“Oh, darling I am so sorry. Come now, let me get you something warm to eat and take you up to a room and get you cleaned up, how does that sound?”
She wiped her eyes and nose with the back of her hand and nodded her head at the nice lady. She then followed her out the door and up the broad uneven steps leading to the residential part of the inn.
After getting her fed and all cleaned up the nice lady found her a clean, petite night gown that would fit Serena’s slight frame, to wear to sleep in that night. “My name is Sibyl. And you can stay in here for tonight and we can talk more tomorrow. My room is just down the corridor if you need anything.”
“Thank you Miss Sibyl.”
She gave the small girl a gentle smile and left the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
The terrible weather of the previous night had made way for the wonderfully clear morning that greeted the residents of the village by the woods. That bright and clear morning was met by Sibyl entering Serena’s current bedroom with a basic breakfast, a clean set of simple children’s clothes and her old night gown she wore upon on arrival the previous night, that had been washed and dried for her. “How did you sleep little one?”
“Good thank you Miss Sibyl.”
A raspy chuckle escaped her mouth before she replied, “Just Sibyl is fine dear. So, what took place last night? And where are your parents?”
“I do not know. I awoke in the woods far from here, all alone. I do not know where my mummy and daddy went. I got scared of the woods and being by myself so I started walking to see if I could find someone to help me.”
“I am so very sorry to hear this dear. Do you know why they left you in the woods? Did something happen to them?”
“I do not know.”
“Well I would love to keep you here Serena, but unfortunately, an inn like this is no place for a young child such as yourself. I will look after you while you stay here one more night, but then I will have to take you to the orphanage tomorrow.” She stated sadly, with wishful and regretful longing in her eyes.
1 year later
Long periods of time at the orphanage had passed rather uneventfully, but at least Serena had successfully managed to make a small handful of close friends thus far. The very first friend that she had made at this lonely new home, was a very tall and lanky young adolescent boy, with thick, naturally spiked, but unruly straw-like blonde hair adorning his head. His face housed the deepest forest green eyes, with nature itself appearing to reside within them, glowing with life. Throughout this striking green eye colour were subtle textures of leaf like vines spread out in his irises. His name was William, whom was a year older than Serena but looks like a baby-faced adult rather than a mature grown young man that he was and acts very much like an overprotective older brother to herself and many others of the younger children housed at the orphanage. His face was smooth in complexion and creamy in colour with pink blushing his cheeks, it was such clear skin, free of any blemishes or markings. The next friend she successfully made was a young, petite, slender girl with dark brown, almost black, straight but fine hair, styled in a pixie bob. Her hair stopped just above her shoulder, where it gently brushes against the nape of her frail looking neck. A handful of dark cocoa coloured freckles dust over her nose and across her high cheekbones, whilst the rest of her skin lies clear but pale in complexion. The only colour gracing her face are her thin heart shaped, rose coloured lips, and her honey hazel eyes with golden flecks speckled throughout them. Her name was Alice, and she was the same age as Serena but is very mischievous by nature, regularly getting herself into trouble and acting far younger than her age would suggest. But she was very loyal to those she cared for and, on rare occasions, she could be very sensible and protective when the situation requires it. And finally, the last friend she was able to make was a young, rounded, baby-faced boy with adorable little dimples on his rosy pink cheeks. His hair was straight but thick, with a soft sooty black colour to it, that was cropped short and ended at his large ears, ears that hopefully he would eventually grow into as he gets older. His face holds large, doe like eyes that are a dark auburn colour with the same texture and pattern to them as tree bark. This little bundle of energy was named Peter, whom was just a few months younger than the two girls but it much a deeply loving and naively trusting, young brother figure of the group.
The ‘mother’ of the orphanage, Agnes, is a very tall and wiry figured woman with long spindly fingers and a pointed beaklike nose. She is a harshly strict but fairly caring woman that has a soft spot for the younger children at the orphanage, but very little tolerance for the older ones.
Most days were just like any other ordinarily mundane day at the orphanage, however, today was the exception. Today was different, as a troubling and quietening atmosphere settled over the normally bustling orphanage. That unsettling feeling was further worsened when witnessing the pure fear and concern present in Agnes’ eyes; as she notifies all the children present in the dining hall of the visitors that are to come today, to give some of the children a ‘new home’.
Immediately following her announcement, five imposing and threatening looking men dressed all in black walk through the main doors of the dining hall. The group of shabby men are of very different sizes, shapes and physical features but all of them hold the same angry expression and dangerous aura. The group of men spread throughout the dining hall individually and started inspecting the children currently present there, they then followed on to start choosing children and segregating them, pulling chosen ones to one side separate from the rest.
So far they have decided to choose two tall boys, from the older aged section of the orphanage, that appear to be the strongest and in the best physically condition, with toned bodies starting to show and the healthiest looking skin amongst their age group with a healthy colour to their cheeks. Whilst distractedly scoffing, disgustedly, at the younger, paler and weaker children. They have then proceeded to also choose a young boy and two young girls around Serena’s age, one regrettably being Alice, after appearing to smell each child individually before moving on. Luckily for Serena however, she has managed to keep to herself thus far and has not been bothered by any of the men or chosen yet. One of the shorter, slender, more weaselly looking men suddenly decides to take an interest in all the much younger children and starts eyeing and seemingly to inhale deeply around them all independently, and afterwards he proceeds to lick his lips with a perverted look in his eyes and a spine-chilling smirk on his face.
“Enough Ralph, anyone too young is of no use and therefore not necessary.”
“They will be useful to me.” He says with a sickening smile as he grabs a hold of Peter and pulls him close to his side.
“Stop! Please leave him be! Take me in his place and let him go.” Screamed Serena, fearing for the innocent little boy that was like a young brother to her, while warm fresh tears started to trail down his baby-like chubby cheeks.
“Mmm interesting. We have never had anyone willingly come to us. Very well. Leave the boy Ralph and take her, we have all that we need for now.”