Copyright Sue Vincent
It was like a prison. This institution or fortress with its many gates. Were they keeping people out or people in? She stood in the shadows, watching and waiting, hoping to one day, slip through those gates and disappear. What would she be leaving behind? Only misery and intolerable conditions. She hated it. How she wished she had never been brought here. She had put up a fight and protested vehemently but her efforts were ignored and her cries fell on deaf ears. Big, strong hands had lifted her up and deposited her resolutely into the carriage. Away, she went, from the place she had called home since she was a child, clutching her rag doll, her eyes wide with fear and a sense of foreboding because she was going to a strange place miles and miles away from home.
The journey was a long and tedious one. As the carriage bumped along the unending and twisting roads which were illuminated at one point by the sun and then the next by the moon, she felt her eyelids growing heavy. She had fought to stay awake because she wanted to see where she was going so that she could find her way back home but sleep won. The next time she opened her eyes, she was here. The carriage had stopped in the courtyard and the building loomed above her like an ogre, the light of the moon giving it a ghastly look. She shivered not from the cold but from what might be inside those walls.
The door creaked open and a tall, willowy blonde woman emerged. She spoke to the driver, took the suitcase from him and then turned to her as the carriage drove away. “Hello, Janet,” she greeted the little girl who watched the carriage disappear into the night along with her hopes. “You must be weary from your journey. Come along.” She held out her hand.
Janet took it and allowed herself to be taken through the enormous door, into a large foyer and up a staircase. She was taken to a room which had rows of beds. The lady led her to a bed in the corner and put her suitcase beside it. “Are you hungry?” she asked.
Janet was but she shook her head. Her brown eyes large in her small face. She was ten years old but looked younger. She removed her bonnet to reveal a head of shocking red hair which matched the freckles on her face.
“Very well, then. After you have unpacked, you may turn in now and I shall see you in the morning. My name is Miss Foster.” She left a candle burning although, the room was adequately lit by the moon and left, her long skirts making a bustling sound as they brushed across the floor.
For several minutes she had stood there, wishing she were far away. Then a yawn galvanized her into action. She unpacked her suitcase, changed and slipped under the covers. In less than five minutes, she was fast asleep.
That was the beginning of her nightmare. She stood there now in the shadows, gazing beyond the gates, longing from freedom. Then, she heard the bell, signalling that recess was over. She turned and headed toward the building, her mutinous gaze caught sight of the sign above the door, Ravenwood Institution. Yes, one of these day, she was going to run away from this miserable place. The only person she would miss was Miss Foster who had been very kind to her.
This was written for the #writephoto Prompt – Shadows at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.
Source: Fantasy Name Generators