• Afraa A.k

Sacrificial Love (Chapter 1)

I laid under the sun, my golden hair becoming one with the brown lawn underneath me. My eyes were shut closed, and I had my hands under my head, it was the perfect afternoon and the same as every single day I spent since the day I could remember. Nothing seemed different, the endless sun shone its rays, and small girls ran about splashing each other with water while wetting their dresses in the process. Everything was as it should be, nothing changed. It never did.

I wondered if there was more to life, everyday was as uniform as the next. The housing that I resided in was a place for girls who were abandoned to live in but every year, girls wound up disappearing and were never heard of again. The head mistress claimed they were married off, but everyone knew that was not true. It was not a vast place, and if they were married off, we would know precisely where they resided. However, none of those girls ever appeared again or were ever head of.

Just as I was about to sit up, Loraine, who was my friend since childhood, rushed to my spot and plopped down beside me on the lawn. I smiled as we laid side by side, already having an idea of what she would speak about the minute she opened her mouth.

She put her hands under her chin and stared at me thoughtfully."Are you savoring your last moments before we end up disappearing?"

Of course, that was the first thing she would mention. Rumors have been going around that this year's batch of girls who turned eighteen would disappear just as the rest have. The rumors did not bother me. It did not matter to me if someone kidnapped me or if I disappeared to a new place.I dreaded walking around these bricked walls of the dormitory and staring at the same faces with nothing new or exciting to liven up our days.

I cupped my hands around my mouth to make my voice echo louder."I will openly welcome anyone or anything that wishes to take me away, so if you can hear me now, oh strange one, then come!"

Loraine gasped and pulled me off the floor till I was sitting upright and laughing at the horrified expression on her face."What if it really hears you?! What will you do if you are taken away then?"

I looked at her innocently and feigned ignorance."Oh well, then, what choice do I have?"

She glared at me and crossed her arms, turning away to show her obvious distaste for the way I spoke."Count me out of your reckless ideas. ,I guess you will have to be best friendless should you choose to disappear willingly."

"Oh, come now, then I will have to find another best friend to give all my honey cakes to." Loraine turned around abruptly, and I smiled, knowing I succeeded.

"You know it really is not fair how you bribe me with honey cakes." She tried appearing upset, but I observed the way she held back a smile. Just as I was about to respond, a pair of glass slippers tapped the floor in front of us. I did not have to look up to know that it was the head mistress who stood there in disapproval.

"Alaria, what exactly are you and Loraine doing on the floor dirtying your dresses?" Her voice was neither harsh nor loud, but I could detect the sternness in it. Nobody knew what sadness or anger was here because we were brought up to believe that happiness was the only way to survive. Hence even if people felt annoyed or angry they were not allowed to display it.

Loraine stood up in haste while dragging me up in the process as she dusted her dress off. She smiled,- knowing no one could resist it,; she had a smile that could make even the hardest of people soften "We were just enjoying the lovely sun Head Mistress."

If the head mistress was going to chide them, then she definitely forgot about that when Loraine spoke. "The sun is not going anywhere girls you can always sit under it, but now is not the appropriate time. There will be a meeting before dinner time, and you girls have to be present."

Loraine and I exchanged glances with each other and nodded to the head mistress. She walked away, leaving us both waddled in silence. I thought about it and wondered if it really had to do with leaving this place, and I felt a shudder ripple through me. Whatever it was, we would find out soon enough.

Loraine grabbed my hand and squeezed it in reassurance."Don't worry, I am sure it's nothing, let us go get ready."

She contradicted herself because a few minutes ago, she was worried about being taken away, and now here she was comforting me. I decided to listen to her, and we both parted our separate ways once we entered the dormitory building as we resided in different rooms. I fiddled with my fingers as I walked through the busy hallways filled with girls bustling in and out of their rooms.

I could not help but feel as though something was off. The air seemed different, and I felt butterflies circling in my stomach. I only ever felt that way when I was nervous about what would happen. I definitely was over thinking about the situation, so I inhaled a deep breath and shoved all my thoughts to the farthest part of my head.

I arrived at the wooden door of my room, and I could hear shrieks and giggles coming from the inside. I mentally groaned as I already could imagine what was waiting for me inside. I braced myself and put a nonchalant expression on.

I pushed the door open, and the room fell into silence. Four girls were seated on a bed in the opposite corner of the room, and all eyed me as I entered. Great , way to make a person feel awkward. I cleared my throat and walked to the bed in the opposite corner from the girls. Silence still filled the room, and I tried to ignore the burning stare that flashed through my back.

I opened the wooden drawer beside my bed and grabbed my clothes for the dinner when one of the girls spoke up.

"Don't you think it's about time she cut her hair?" Carly, a girl with blonde hair  snickered. The other girls laughed, but I ignored them. My hair was unusually long, reaching way past my waist, and I did not intend to change that.

"All because head mistress told her that her mother had long hair now she can not get over it." One of Carly's girls spoke up, and they all burst out laughing. Their words stung for some reason. I lived all my life here, and I could not deny the fact that I did not get along with most people except Loraine.

"Oh come now, girls, we're all about love here. We can't laugh at someone for being strange even if they are weirder than us, or have strange eyes, or hair."Carly jeered with a laugh.

I tightened a smile and held back tears that threatened to escape. "Yeah, I mean, it's got to be hard being the only rose among thorns, the only different thing here."

"Don't flatter yourself, we all know what happens to different people even if you happen to be a rose. You get deposed, you get thrown out." I was not entirely sure how Carly managed to say that with a smile and without sounding as mean as I knew she was.

That was probably what I despised the most about this place. Everyone preached being happy and showing kindness and love. They hid their inner feelings of hatred and wore a different mask instead of showing who they really were. I would have preferred having the real side of everyone, be it love or hate.

I walked out of the room, tuning out their insults and laughs that echoed behind my back. I got dressed in an available dressing room. Once I was done, I surveyed myself one last time. I had on an off the shoulder dress that reached the floor and was made as a dinner gown. I left my hair loose and simply tied back a few strands at either side of my head.

The words of those girls echoed in my head. I was strange and weird. They all had blonde hair and brown eyes, they almost reflected the sun, where as  I had golden hair with a streak of black that had to be dyed monthly so no one would discover it. I did not know why the  head mistress was so bent on never letting anyone find out, but she never gave me the reason. Of course, though, it must be because she probably did not want people thinking I am any weirder. My eyes were an emerald that switched to hazel and black, depending on the weather.I did not fit in with any of these people, yet I was here.

I closed my eyes and turned away from the mirror, just ignore it. I headed out of the dressing room and began walking through the hallways when a thought occurred to me. I stopped in my paces for a second and turned in the opposite direction, which would lead me to the head mistresses office.

I felt the need to ask her one last time about the streak in my hair. Perhaps there was a reasonable explanation to it , one that would clear a lot to me. When I arrived at the massive oak doors, I knocked on the door and waited for a response however, I did not get one. The hallways were now empty because a majority of the girls were probably already at the meeting, and I was surely going to get scolded for being late.

I decided to knock one last time, but I still got no response. I pushed the door to reveal the natural sunlight streaming into it with dust dancing in the air. There were two plush couches in front of her desk, which were for any guests or people who had a meeting with the head mistress. I was about to head out of the office when I spotted a jar of cookies lying on her table.

I walked forward towards them but then stopped in my tracks. What am I doing? I groaned to myself, they looked so tempting, and I was pretty sure it would not make a difference if one cookie, or two went missing.

My desire got the best of me, and I happily skipped towards the jar and grabbed a cookie munching on it when I heard voices nearing the office. What bad timing! My eyes frantically searched around the room for a place I could hide when I spotted a colossal opening under the desk of the head mistress. I would definitely be able to sneak there without being noticed by anyone.

I sprinted under the table and squashed myself under it. Luckily no one would have been able to spot me because there was a plank of wood that covered the outside of the table, which obscured the view of under the table. The only way anyone would be able to spot her was if they leaned under the table.

The door opened, and I could not see who was present, but judging by the dainty footsteps, I was positive it was the head mistress. Please please don't come behind the table, I silently pleaded in my head with my eyes shut, if she was standing behind me I definitely did not want to know.

I opened my eyes as I heard harsher footsteps tapping on the wooden flooring. My curiosity riled in me.No one walked with such heavy steps here, having lived here all my life I was pretty sure I could recognize a person from the sound of their footsteps, yet this footstep was utterly foreign, and I was positive about it.

I felt annoyed at the board that blocked my view from seeing who the second person besides the head mistress was when suddenly she spoke

"Take a seat."I felt a wave of chills hit me at the sound of the headmistress's voice. She never spoke like that no matter how upset she was. Just who was this person that caused her to talk with such coldness.

"I want the girl." If the head mistress's voice gave me chills, then the sound of this man, made my body want to freeze in fear. He spoke with a low voice so deep and heavy yet filled with authority.

How could a man enter here? It was strictly forbidden, only females were allowed in. Just what in the world was going on?

"We shall continue with the normal proceedings that happen every year. Take your batch of girls and see if she is there." The man chuckled dangerously at the head mistresses words.

"I don't think you understand the fact that my patience is wearing thin. I want her, and should I find that you intentionally hid her, then only hell will await you."

"I would not risk the safety of our people for one girl. So you best believe I am as clueless as you when it comes to this girl's identity."

I felt confusion arise within me at their words. Is this where the girls disappeared off to? I did not understand why the head mistress would send girls to some man.

"You're only making this harder on yourself by causing innocent girls to lose their lives when you could just give me the girl and this story could end."I felt myself freeze at his mention of girls losing their lives. There was a killer standing a few feet away from me? I felt anger rile within me, and suddenly, Loraine's fear of disappearing was justified.

The cookie in my hand automatically got crushed in my fists emitting a crushing sound, which caused the entire room to fall into silence, and that is when I gulped. I was dead meat. My presence in the room was no longer a secret.

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