A mass of shiny chestnut hair rose slowly to the windowsill. Pure cobalt eyes examined the inspirational scenery just out of her reach. Separated by a thin piece of flimsy glass, how she wished to jump out of this lowly orphanage and play in the fluffy snow. For now she had to wait. That time would come soon. As a little girl she had thought that she was special, although now she realised she was like, and treated like, all the other girls if not worse.
Soon the sky changed dramatically. It adopted brushes of violet and ochre as shining stars slowly appeared. This was the night she would escape from this jail. Surely if she were caught, she would be flung into the filthy cellar A dense of fear started to consume her, although she knew that it had to be this night – the 100th anniversary of this orphanage. Outside her door she could hear clinking glasses and people talking with their mouths full. The scent wafted into her nose as she drooled. It was very tempting, although only adults seemed to be awarded with these luxuries. The children only had soup every day. By now there was no noise. All of them were asleep, oblivious to the world, let alone thinking about their night patrols.
It was time. Her heart beat like a drum. Hands shaking, she cautiously opened the door. All the lights were on. Silently, she ran. She was feeling freedom for the first time, her feet barely touching the cold marble floor. She slowed to a jog, then stopped, opened the giant doors in front of her and slipped on the boots that they made her wear every day, whether it was freezing or blistering.
Her arms pumped as she ran towards the faint outline of a town in front of her – to the life she would have had, if only her mother lived. The sun was rising and she found herself resting in a deserted alleyway. Eyes drooping, she fell asleep, until a gleeful voice announced – “That’s it! That’s her!” The girls’ eyes flew open. Rough hands grabbed her arms and dragged her away.
No! She would not let her freedom be taken now! She had fought too hard for it all to be a waste! She kicked her legs madly until the man let go and let out a cry of pain. Not wasting a second, she ran faster than ever, knowing she was being followed. Everything to her, endangered. She looked back. There was nothing, except for a filthy road.
Breathing heavily, she dropped to the ground and crouched against a tree, too traumatised to sleep. Where was she? Surely this was not how the town looked. Although it was draped in beautiful snow, the cobblestone roads and metal lamps looked drab.
Everything seemed so dark, so grey. Her first tastes of freedom were sweet, but if the rest of the journey was to be like this, she would rather die in the orphanage.
Suddenly, a warm hand clamped her shoulder. Alarmed, she twirled around and found herself face-to-face with a man with a grey stubble and a somewhat kind aura.
“Come with me”, he said in a gruff voice. Where could she go? Nowhere, so she followed. After a short walk, they arrived at the door of a humble cottage. Although it was of small stature, when she entered it she felt unnaturally joyous. Eyes shining, she examined the room until she saw something that intrigued her.
“Excuse me, but what is this?”
“What’s your name?”
“Lucy, Lucy Falls”
“And that’s a violin.”
Hands shaking with excitement, she picked up the violin in awe. Slowly closing her eyes, she started to play.
It came naturally, music resonated through her body as if communicating. Like this she felt calm, protected, safe. Everything should and would be OK. When she opened her eyes, she saw a bleak world and something … sinister flashed through the window. An eye perhaps.
Suddenly, the man shouted “Hide Lucy!” She nodded and crouched in a suitcase. Without warning there was a sharp rap. She could hear the creak of the door opening and the thump of boots.
“Tell me where she is”
There was a strangled cry, a gasp of breath and a thud on the floor. It had all happened so quickly.
Lucy wanted to run out of the suitcase and stay by his side but she knew that if she did, his death would have been a waste. Silently crying, she waited until the cold man left.
Lucy crawled out of the suitcase shaking. She looked at the old man sorrowfully. Why did she feel so guilty? Slowly she got up, picked up the violin and ambled mournfully with no particular place to go. Why was her life such a series of unfortunate events?