A pair of headlights speed by, in the otherwise desolate city block. No other cars were roaming the empty streets. The fog swept through each building of the lifeless town, leaving even the most colorful houses a disheartening shade of gray. The window of the taxi was clouded with haze. The cab driver hadn't seemed to notice a thing to concern the weather, in fact, he began to whistle along to the drops of rain that descended onto the cab’s roof. She tapped her fingers against the cab door, anxious to get out of this dreary place. Her hand gripped the paper so tightly, her knuckles were white. The cab crept down the pavement silently, like a spider crawling down the wall.
Madeline blew the hair from her face. She sat in that stupid, stained, flower printed chair, holding her head up high, as she was supposed to. The paisley yellow wall screamed out at her. The room had never changed, it was always considerably intimidating. Mrs. Miller kept her paisley yellow pattern throughout the room, with more bright yellow floral accents dispersed throughout. Madeline kept her eyes fixed on the wall, studying the pattern in detail. A pattern that she had seen a million times before.
Ada Miller ran one of the finest orphanages in all of New Orleans, or so they say. In the utmost honesty, she was probably sick and tired of the bustles of children that were there. It was well past her time to retire, or so Madeline thought. Mrs. Miller cared almost nothing of children, especially Madeline, who had been there most of her life. Hate built up in Madeline's chest. Why did it have to be her? She wasn't that hard to manage, was she? Thoughts clouded her mind. She sat alone, in the middle of the room, staring at the patterns on the wall.
The cab came to a near stop, in front of a petite brick building with paint peeling up the sides, and bushels of dead flowers by the front steps. She stood at the sidewalk, staring up at the building in front of her. The cab sped down the street once again, crawling down the pitch black pavement.
Mrs. Miller burst through the door, her heels clacking vigorously against the wooden floors. She marched like a British soldier towards her desk and started to ruffle through mountains of paperwork. Madeline sat quietly in her chair, studying the endless patterns.
“..And you know you must- Are you even listening to me?” Mrs.Miller looked at Madeline with a look of such hate, her spectacles nearly melted off her face.
“You behave like such an animal, I’d get rid of you if in a heartbeat if I could. Only four more years until I can legally-”
Mrs. Miller’s assistant Matilda waltzed into the room and whispered something to Mrs. Miller’s ear. Hushed, everything was hushed. Madeline kicked the small carpet that her chair was sitting on, waiting as Matilda and Mrs. Miller discussed her fate. They never told her anything, they just talked quietly with one another. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Mrs. Miller marched out of the room with Matilda at her heels.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. Madeline dared not leave her spot on the chair, however, she was dying to what was going on outside the pitiful room. Papers were stacked high on the desk, just like every time Madeline had to sit in that chair. She felt a lump in her throat. Madeline had been to several foster homes in her life, and that was what she dreaded the most. She never liked the orphanage, but Matilda had always been somewhat kind to her. Only four more years. She studied the patterns on the wall.
After a long while of waiting, they came back in the room accompanied by another woman. She had short brown hair and bright red lips. She was holding a bundle of paper so tightly that the paper was wrinkled and her knuckles were white.
“Madeline, This is Miss Waylynn Johanson.” Mrs. Miller waltzed over to her desk and sat down.
“Now let’s see…”
Mrs. Miller asked so many questions that it made Madeline's head spin round and round. Madeline's kept to herself, only speaking when spoken to. She didn’t pay a shred of attention to Miss Waylynn Johanson, nor to Mrs. Miller.
Several days went by, and Madeline heard nothing. Hushed, why was everything so hushed? She felt a pit in her stomach, swirling inside her every which way. This time, she was truly scared of what was to come. She wandered on the slick sidewalk, her hands stuffed in her coat pockets. The cold air whirled around, glittering snowflakes brushing past her face. The streets were practically empty, every building fashioned a different shade of gray. Madeline roamed the streets, gazing at the dying flowers gathered around each house. Her caramel colored hair flew wildly around her face, like a hurricane swirling rapidly.
She saw the orphanage up ahead, it’s sad bricks, squashing one another. She gazed upon the tattered curtains, the dead flowers that wrapped their way around the building, the bulky front door. Each thing got sadder and sadder.
“Madeline?” Courtney Hollows peeked her head out of the bedroom's door. “where have you been.”
“Nowhere. What’s the scoop?” Courtney was thirteen, with long black hair and skin the color of dark chocolate. Besides Madeline, she was the oldest at the orphanage.
“Nothing much, Mrs. Miller hasn’t yet hit her head and became nicer, if your wondering.”
“Bummer.” Madeline smirked. Matilda burst through the door.
“Madeline, Mrs. Miller requires you.” Madeline swallowed the lump in her throat and followed Matilda down the hall.
“Really? For sure” Courtney bobbled up and down. “I guess that's good.” Madeline fought the tears that burned in her eyes.
“How long will you be there, forever?”
“I don’t know. I don’t care anyway.” Madeline fought her way through waves on endless tears as Courtney bombarded her with questions. Madeline packed her suitcase posthaste, but she wasn’t sure why. She trudged out the front door, afraid to look back. She twisted the ring around her finger over and over again. Around, and around, and around. A new home, new opportunities, Matilda always said. She pulled her suitcase close to her. Around, and around, and around.