How can the orphan, Adele,live if the people around her are nothing but hostile strangers?
| My parents had carried me overseas to save me from a war erupting over land borders. Now they were dead. Disease and fatigue had swept through the former town they had rushed from, and only 3 months after we had moved, they were bedridden. With only themselves to care for me, no relatives, they had worked themselves to the grave, slaving over my health. When I awoke one day and went downstairs, my parents weren't at the table, so I thought they were still tired, and went out to play. When I arrived back, smiling at the new flowers I had picked for Mamma, I found my house burning! I rushed inside, still only 8, and encountered many people I didn't know.
"I found her!" one cried as he spotted me, then grabbed and rushed me out of the house, scolding me for coming in.
"But what about Daddy and Mommy?" I asked, confused and close to tears.
"They're...they're sleeping. Don't bother them, okay? Y-you know they might get mad." he stammered. Couldn't he see the flames?
"But they're inside that house! They'll die!! Let me go!" I shrieked, starting to cry.
I knew something was wrong, so I wrestled out of his grip and sprinted to the house, shoving through the groups of people, yet again, I didn't know. I arrived in the bedroom, only to see orange flames licking at the windows, and was shocked that my parents were still asleep, not even aware of the smoke curling above them.
"Mommy!! Daddy! Wake up!" I shrieked, and clambered onto the bed, beating against their bodies. No success, I realized, and grabbed for Dad's hand instead.
"Mommy, Daddy! Why aren't you waking up?!" but stopped altogether when I found his hand. It was cold and unwelcoming, not warm like it usually was. Was I in the wrong house? These thoughts clouded my head, but when I looked at the pale faces under the sheets, it was my parents, though they looked and felt different. Paler, maybe? My mind couldn't even bear to wrap around the concept. She had heard of this before, of children finding their parents in their beds that wouldn't wake up, but she couldn't believe it was happening to her! This was a joke, right? In seconds, Dad would sit up, laughing, and kiss her on the head, right? And then Mommy would grin and thank her for the crumpled flowers now laying scattered and forgotten on the floor?
I didn't even pay attention to the flames that were growing ever closer to the bed, and the smoke that was hazardously curling near my head. I wouldn't leave my parents, even if it meant danger. I was in a world of strangers, so what else could I possibly do? So when my world seemed to grow darker, and my throat gasped for the air that wasn't there, I welcomed it, knowing I would soon be with my parents, wherever they were. I didn't pay any attention to the voices echoing around me. I mean, who would care about the color of the water if they're drowning?
I awoke to a bright room with people crowding around me.
"....mommy?" I whispered hoarsely.
"She's awake!" a figure called to the others, and then focused back on me, "Don't worry, little girl. You're safe." he chided. "You should be glad that this man here rescued you just in time." and she focused as he pointed to the same man who had grabbed her when she ran into the house.
She noticed that he didn't mention her parents, so she took it to her liberty to add it in, "...what about Papa and Mama?" asking it in the loudest demanding, voice she could manage.
"We'll....we'll talk about that later. You're in no condition to be talking right now, and you'll need your rest." Without another word, he left, gesturing to his colleagues to follow suit.
"...No!" she roughly cried, but the enveloping darkness around her suggested otherwise.
Even worse, soon after the tradegy, the strangers looked down on me, abandoning their pity when they looked at my gruesome state. I had only been saved, I realized later, because my parents were rich and the villagers were planning on raiding the house that night. When they entered, though, they discovered them dead and the child missing. To ease their guilt that they had broken in and stolen all the money and precious heirlooms, they had stuck around to look for me, the little child.
When I had finally recovered, they lied and said that my all my parents' fortune had been lost in the fire, and that I was an orphan. Obviously, nobody wanted me. I could be contaminated with the disease that had swept through my former village. It had been given maliciously to my fleeing parents, even though I had remained perfectly healthy.
The villagers then raided my room, which they hadn't touched when they invaded our house, and cast me a few of my oldest and ragged clothes. They took the rest of my belongings, save for an old teddy bear nobody wanted. My only comfort in the unfamiliar world. So, they partied in their new found riches, while I was cast out on the cold street, alone and confused. Who knew that a person's life could change so rapidly after one turn of bad events? I could not answer my own thoughts of what would happen next.
Well, my life became oddly recurring after that. At dawn, I would search the scraps of unwanted food cast out by the neighbors that even the dogs wouldn't touch. Then I would go around begging. I would do anything for a piece of food, as long as it helped calm my empty stomach. I would grab their feet, plead for food, and wait for them to express their growing disgust. Eventually, most would give in. I would lie, steal, cheat, all of the things my parents taught me not to do, basically. But how could I survive with no shelter, food, or water? I had to take the risks each time if I wanted to continue to live, even if it meant beatings. And I had experienced plenty of them. How long would I have to live this life of theft?
A few years later, when I was 13, a foreigner climbed from a ship one day. Even I treated the man with disrespect. He had all the things I used to have, a life, money, and obviously a family. His curly brown hair stood out, just like mine once had before it had been dirtied. But when he asked where he might find Adele Locke, I gasped. Could he be taking me as prisoner because of my famous name, believing my parents to still be alive, or would he arrest me??
But when he said he would like to adopt me, I was the most surprised of all. Me? The rag girl? The one who had been abandoned by her parents years ago?
"This can't be...it's impossible...it's all a dream," I whispered to myself over and over again.
The villagers, shocked, pointed straight to me, and he obviously had to hide his surprise. But he quickly hid it as he strode over to me.
"Can it be really you, Adele?" he asked, holding in his breath.
I just stared at him like a lost puppy.
"Answer me, please! Are you Adele?"
I nodded slightly.
"Your relatives have been searching for you and your parents for over 5 years! They thought you dead! But I heard of a ship that had carried a wealthy-looking family years ago, about the same time you left, and rushed here. I never thought I'd actually find you!" he whispered happily, pulling me into a hug.
"But they're dead.....My parents, they died..." I spoke up for the first time.
His smile faded, but he didn't pull back from his hug.
"Do you think I'm going to leave just because of that? I already knew that, Adele, otherwise you would've returned after the war ended. I came for you because 5 years ago, we had been best friends. Remember me, the servant?" he asked once again with bated breath.
"Aaron? That's really you?" she asked, awed. Now that she looked he did look a bit familiar.
"Yes, it's me!" he cried, and paused, "Now we need to get you some suitable clothes." he declared at once, looking around. "You!", he cried out to a villager's wife, "Get your finest dress out!"
"Aaron....you've always been impatient..." she groaned, "Ahh...she doesn't speak perfect English! We're in the middle of the Caribbean! Allow me... Pouvez-vous arriver ici avec une robe?" she asked in her best French.
"D'accord." she agreed, and ran into the house.
"So, are we really going back home?" she asked happily, not being able to wrap her mind around the thought of her old home and family. She had been used to this life so long, she couldn't believe there was another waiting for her out there. She was already focused on being stranded forever, not wanting to hope for something that might never come. Was this really true? Could she really leave this horrible life behind?
"Don't worry, Adele. Yes, we're going home!" he cried as he wrenched her up from the ground.
Hope you liked it! Please review, like usual, I have no motivation to continue and I'll need your help! :D (Sorry it was so long, but the story wouldn't allow me to end it sooner!) Hope you like happy endings, and I hope you understand the moral. It's one that always reminds me how good my life is when I compare it to what it could be.
Hope to see you soon! -Minuit
(P.S. Don't hesitate to tell me if there's any mistakes, please! I was typing fast....:D)