Chapter 1: Monster
The year 1940
“Once upon a time lived a woman, a simple woman that lived by herself with no relatives or friends. The reasons are unknown why she was cast out.” I stop at my story as the girls look up at me with wide eyes.
“So no one knows why she was cast out?” Lilly asks a young girl that is twelve years old with long blond hair and blue eyes with freckles around her nose. I shook my head and place my hands on top of my lap.
“No, this story isn’t Cinderella or Snow White. It has a very sad ending.” I told Lilly. Lilly frowns sadly at my words while the other girls groaned in protest.
“Then tell us a happy story. We don’t want to hear a sad one.” Lilly suggested, making the other girls nod in agreement. I look down at my lap and frowned.
“I don’t have a happy story that is original,” I told the girls. The girls moan in protest.
“Oh, buggy,” Lilly said, disappointed, but then snaps her fingers.
“Mama Zara, then tell us, why don’t you have a boyfriend? Many girls around your age already married or have boyfriends, why don’t you?” Lilly suddenly asks out of the blue, changing the subject fast. I lifted my gaze and felt my cheek flush at her sudden question.
“I have an orphanage to run and many children to raise. Who wants to spend the rest of his life with me raising so many children?” I asked while I stood up from the bed. The four girls look at each other then back at me.
“Ummm.” Lilly began, but Isabella rushed towards me; she’s smaller than Lilly. The six's year old took a hold of my hand causing me to bend down at her level and picked her up in my arms.
“Yes?” I asked her. Her bright brown eyes spark up as she wraps her small arms around my neck. I gently brush her loose brown hair behind her small ear.
“Pops will. He said he can marry you.” she suddenly said. My eyes widen at her sudden words, but then burst out laughing.
“Pops is just being too kind, plus he’s too old for me. He’s eighty-one years old. He's like a grandfather to me. Don’t tell him that, he’ll get his feelings hurt.” I told her. Her expression turns sad, while I kiss her cheek.
“Now, now, don’t mingle with my private life. You know that I just need is all of you so I won’t feel lonely.” I told them.
“Mama Zara, we just don’t want to see you lonely,” Lilly said, running up to me and wrap her arms around me.
“You sure are getting taller,” I change the subject as I ruffle her head. She huffs and walks back to her bed. I cleared my throat.
“Now, go to bed, tomorrow we have lots to do, is the first of the classes,” I clapped, watching all the girls jump into their beds, placing their blanket over them. I smiled gently at them and blew them a kiss.
“Wait, did everyone do their prayers?” I questioned.
“Yes, Mama Zara,” everyone answers me. I couldn’t help but smile at them.
“Good. Remember, if you are lying, you aren’t lying to me, but God knows you just lied. He sees everything, and you’re the only one that has to tell him why you lied.” I simply said. Isabella rose her small hand.
“Yes?” I turned to my right to look at her, she frowns at me.
“Why? Will He get mad?” she asks me. I shook my head, and look around the room.
“No, of course not, but he will get very sad, so you must ask for forgiveness, as we do to others. Is the same.” I explain my best. Isabella nods and smiled.
“God bless to everyone.” with that said. I turned around, heading down the hallway, and reach the two big doors. I turned around to give the room one last look. Is a large, long room and pale white walls. Ten, bed line up on my left and another ten on my right. Four large windows, two on each side and a tall roof. I smiled at my children, but a deep dread filled my heart. Once I had this room filled with so many girls, filled with laughter and joy. Now I have four of them and lately, that laughter and joy are disappearing.
‘I wonder, how long can I keep this up?’
I stare at the mirror for a long time. I am a bit dark complexion, due to the sun. My light caramel eyes look so tired, with bags under. My short curly red hair is a mess. I have little freckles across my face. I am not short but not tall enough to reach the cabinets in the kitchen downstairs. I’m not that skinny normal size for a girl my age. Twenty-nine.
“Where did the time go?” I sigh, wiping my face with my white towel. I turned around to open the brown door and headed out to my small room which is connected to my own personal small bathroom. One bed on the side wall, a small window on my right, and a wardrobe next to my bed. I sat on my bed, and sigh.
‘A man in my life? I doubt it.’ I rub my chest where my heart ached.
‘Who’s willing to help me raise so many children? Especially that they are not mine. I’m not willing to leave them either, just to make one man happy.’
I look down at my lap and frowned shaking off my dark thought.
‘I need to get more money to continue to keep this orphanage open.’ Suddenly thunder roars illuminating my room. I jump in fright. I lifted my gaze, as a loud knock is heard, echoing the whole building.
“Mama Zara!” one of the boys this time yells out, running down the hallway. I bolted out of my bed and put on my nightgown around me. I open my door, to feel eight years old Oscar wrap his arms around me.
“There’s a scary monster outside. I saw him through the window.” he cries out desperately. I bend down and pat his wild curly redhead in a comforting way.
“Oscar remember there’s no such thing as monsters. My little one, it was lightning. Is all.” I simply told him, even though the inside of me, I was scared to death, my heart race in fear. Oscar green eyes filled with fear.
“No, I saw him. He..” but his words are cut off when there’s another knock on the door. This time all the girls and boys came out of their dorm rooms and rushed towards me.
“MAMA ZARA!” My children yell out at the same time. My eight children gathered around me. The eldest of them all, a fourteen-year-old boy, gave me a stern look. His dark short hair is a mess, and he looked worried but annoyed.
“Issac, please watch the kids. Mrs. Morris isn’t here so I’m alone tonight.” I told him. Issac nods and took the two smaller boys by the hands, Daniel and Armando, both are the same age, four years old
“Stay with Issac, don’t wander off, if you do, you know the penalty,” I warned. All of my eight children nod, huddling around the end of the hallway. I swallowed hard, and walk down the hallway. Then I took notice of one of the toys, Issac baseball bat laying against my right wall near the stairs.
“Well, aren’t I happy that they didn’t listen to me today,” I smiled at myself, wrapping my hands around the bat. Slowly I made my way down the small stairs, that leads up to the front gray door.
“Who in the world comes to visit this hour? We basically live in the middle of nowhere.” I said out loud.
Thunder roared, even more, illuminating the front room. I can feel my heart racing a mile-per-second. My hands starting to get sweaty. My heart racing, my hands sweating even more. I licked my lips, as I reach the door. Another pounding echoes the small orphanage.
‘Please God, protect us.’ I prayed as I reach for the doorknob. I slowly turn it, fear already consuming me. I lifted the bat.
“Who bloody dares knock on our doors at midnight?” I asked, swinging the door open, rain poured hard outside. I can barely see anything. I lifted my arms out and rushed out. No monster will hurt my children. Not when I’m alive.
“Ahh!” I screamed, ready to hit whoever the monster is, only to get wet with the rain. A strong grip takes hold both of my arms, stopping me. I heaved hard, looking up, feeling my hair already drenched. Another thunder illuminated the sky. There I saw a tall man. A man with dark long tangled hair, with a very pale complexion. His clothes look torn, and odd fashion. His hair plaster down from the rain. His eyes made contact with mine.
“You’re the monster?” I suddenly ask him confused by this. I saw his lips twitch up slightly, but surprises me, when he suddenly limp, falling on top my right shoulder. My body went rigid, as he breathes hard, and lowers his hands that held me. His voice is very raspy and dry, but under it is very deep.
“Monster? Try big bad wolf, it makes more sense.” and with that, the stranger lost consciousness.