"Alright kiddos, I have to leave now." I hopped off the lowest hanging limb of the fig tree in the backyard.
"We wanna play some more big sis." The kids said in unison.
"Sorry, but I have to get to work now," I explained brushing some dirt off my clothes
"Just five more minutes of playtime." Bargained Ryan, holding up five fingers.
"Yeah! Just five more minutes. Please!" All the children begged, clenching their hands together.
"But I'm already late guys."
The kids stared at me, begging with puppy eyes, purposefully tugging my heartstrings.
"Children! Let Shelly go to work. Besides, that's enough playtime for you all today. It's already past sunset." Mother Theresa urged, standing by the backdoor that led to the back yard.
"But we want to-"
"All of you! Go bathe and get ready for bed." Mother Theresa instructed
"Yes, Mother." The children reacted bummed out and moved sluggishly.
Mother's eyebrows rose and neck leaning slowly. She spoke in a stern and irritated tone.
"What was that!?"
A chill ran down the children's spines, returning life into their tones.
They all dashed to the bathhouse tumbling over one another.
Mother sighed seeing them scurry away to the bathhouse.
"Be careful not to hurt yourselves!"
As the children cleared the corner leaving Mother and me alone together, I sent out a sigh of relief.
"Mother, I owe you one, thanks"
"So you're leaving?" Mother stepped closer to me putting her tough yet smooth hand on my cheek. "The kids are gonna miss you, y'know."
"I know, but I need answers. I can't wait anymore." I answered back holding her hand on my face while looking down.
"It's okay Shelly. I recognized from the start." Mother hugged me. "It's just that the kids are gonna miss their big sis."
I planted my face onto Mother's shoulders.
"I don't want them to cry."
"Well, aren't you the selfish one?"
Mother chuckled. Her smile was delightful and marvellous despite her stern and fierce expression she usually wore on her face a majority of the time.
"You're worried about the children crying when you're are already crying." Mother stroked my hair as I cried on her shoulders. "And the kids already guessed it, that's why they wanted you to play some more. They're smart kids I tell you."
"Mother, I'm scared. What if I fail? What if I never find him? What if he's dead?" All the fears and doubts I had bottled up until that moment, just oozed out.
"Shelly, remember that no one is perfect. You will always pass failure on the way to success but you're braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Mother gave me a little kiss on my head.
"If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you. Shelly, you're off to great places and your mountain is waiting, so get on your way."
"Thank you, Mother." I pulled away from Mother's shoulders rubbing my eyes.
"Shelly, before you leave for good. Give the kids some gifts to remember you by." Mother requested.
"I will," I responded leaping over the fence gate of the Orphanage.
As I departed, a wave of sadness hit me as I remembered all the memories I had here. After my parents were murdered when monsters raided our village, my brother and I ran away but we were separated.
Luckily for me, I stumbled upon this beaten up orphanage and Mother took me in no questions asked. I even became a big sis to the new kids and also one of the breadwinners.
The only jobs available to orphans in these slums were stealing, scamming, prostitution, robbing and drug trafficking. I chose to steal. I worked with others to steal from rich people, buildings and travellers of their valuables and took the money or items back to the higher-ups and we get our cut of the funds.
This was my last job for the boss. After this I'm free. I'll leave this place and travel the world looking for my brother, even if he is dead I need to know. I need closure.
"Shelly! You're finally here, took you long enough." Timothy waved cheerfully.
"Lucky you, we almost left you behind, idiot." Jenny rolled her eyes annoyed.
I lazily waved my hand at Jenny.
"Nice to see you too Jenny."
"Why do you have to be like that Jenny?" Kenny confronted Jenny with a displeased look on his face.
"Oh, okay Kenny! Defend her, like you always do!" Snapped Jenny.
"I'm not defending her." Kenny combated folding his arms.
"Yes you are, you always do and that's your problem." Jenny was up close to Kenny's face pointing her fingers.
"You know what? I'm not doing this right now okay." Kenny turned his back to Jenny.
"Yeah, run away as you always do. Coward!" Jenny turned her back to Kenny and tried provoking him, but he wouldn't budge.
"Well, someone's a little extra bloody this month." Jeered Charles giggling.
"And you too Charles! Always you and those lame jokes." Snapped Jenny again.
"Oops! My bad, maybe some chocolate will calm you down." Charles was clamping his lips shut trying not to laugh out loud.
"Why you!" Shouted Jenny.
"Guys! Stop messing around, we're already late as it is. Let's just leave." I demanded, taking charge of the situation. Although seeing Charles bully Jenny a little more would have been fun.
"She's right, let's just leave." Agreed Kenny dropping his hands to his side.
Jenny rolled her eyes mumbling to herself.
"You always listen to Shelly but never me, your girlfriend. You're both idiots."
This was my crew. Kennedy or Kenny or Ken for short was tall with slightly short, black, rough and straw-like hair and I would describe him as conscientious, devoted, calm and most often agreeable.
Jennifer or Jenny or Jen for short was about the same height and as slim as me. Jenny also had long blonde hair which she liked keeping in two ponytails, tied with two pink bows. I would describe her as being hard-headed, disagreeable most of the time and feelings over facts type of person. Although, I would be a hypocrite if I said I never chose feelings over facts before.
Timothy or Timmy or Tim for short. He was similar in build to a twig, silky brown hair that covered his left eye, timid, gentle and observant. He always wore a scarf around his neck, that his sickly mother who is now deceased, gave him as a present.
Charles was always the vibrant one of the group, cunning and extraverted. He had spiky messy brown hair with a headband wrapped around the base of his hair.
Lastly, Me, Shelly Baker. How would I describe myself? Personality-wise, I believe others think of me as determined, somewhat kind-hearted, most definitely I have a soft spot for children, money-hungry and extremely miserly and cheap. Physically speaking, I have reddish-brown shoulder-length hair along with this weird occurrence of a pale forest green patch of hair that grows out at the front. My mother had the same pale forest green patch of hair at the front. I usually liked to leave it hanging at the front of my face so I could play with it whenever I'm bored.
Kenny and I use to date secretly but I broke up with him because I was going to leave the group soon. So, when he and Jenny started dating she eventually found out we dated and since has been jealous every chance possible.
Charles just liked messing with Jenny for the fun of it.
Timothy was just chill and laidback, never starting any quarrels. He would always observe the others as if they were an exhibition but for the most part, we were like family.
Because we had such a strong bond I didn't want to tell anyone in the group I was leaving, out of fear and uncertainty of their reactions and responses.
Cowardly, isn't it? I agree, and it has been pondering at my heart ever since. We've all been together for a long time now. It wouldn't be fair to them for me to just suddenly leave without at least a goodbye.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Please leave any questions, compliments and criticism in the comments. Also, please give the book a rating or vote.🙏