This is the story of a little girl named Ava Parks. Ava was still practically a baby , only a mere five years old when she first arrived at the orphanage. No, it wasn’t the usual. Her parents didn’t die in a car accident or her mother couldn’t care for her. Well, in a way it was the last reason. You see, Ava’s mother Nancy was a murderer. She had killed many innocent people because of some bizarre mental condition that no one had heard of. Many people thought she was making it up, as an excuse for her horrible crimes. Nancy didn’t want this life for her only daughter, the life of constantly moving from state to state. She wanted Ava to grow up and make something of herself; become successful. So this was the reason, on that sunny day in the middle of July that she walked hand in hand with her daughter up to the stairs of the creepy old orphanage.
“Now baby,” Her mother began, getting down to eye level with Ava. “I can’t take care of you anymore. Mommy’s not in the situation that we can be a happy family right now. I want you to go in here, and live here until you’re 18. On the day of your 18th birthday, I will be standing right here.” She said no more, only pressed a small dog pin into Ava’s hand, kissed her on the forehead, and walked off, leaving poor Ava to stare after her. Little did she know, Nancy would not be coming back. No, the murderer would be gunned down while running from the police after a bystander witnessed one of her brutal killings.
Ava was dumbfounded. What had she done wrong? She tried to shake it off, and turned on her heels, boldly marching up the steps to what would be her new home for the next thirteen years, maybe longer, maybe shorter. The lady at the front desk listened with growing ambition at Ava’s story. She immediately called the head of the orphanage, Mrs. Woods, who took Ava by the hand and showed her around, even introduced her to the other little girls. That night, Ava didn’t sleep. She just sat by the window in the crowded room where 11 other little girls snored loudly, holding the pin to her chest, and tried to think things out. Her mother had always sad she was a smart girl, wise beyond her years. So why couldn’t she understand now?
The next day, a young man and woman walked through the doors, hoping to find the perfect little girl to call their daughter. Mrs. Woods had the little girls line up, shooing the older ones away. The couple eyed them, and finally picked out a skinny little girl with brown hair and green eyes by the name of Annabelle. Mrs. Woods led all three of them into an office. Ava never saw her again.
This process went by periodically throughout the next six years: a couple or simply a single person would come in, look at the hopeful kids, pick out one or sometimes even two, and then they would be whisked into an office, the slam of the door scaring the others out of their last hope. The other kids would sadly go back to whatever they had been doing before, while Ava stared at the door. She was never the child that got chosen. Many nights she’d lay away wondering what was so wrong with her that no one wanted her.
Then one day when she was fourteen, tragedy struck the orphanage. The raggedy old heater in the boiler room caught fire, and therefore burned down the orphanage. Thankfully, Ava and the other children survived. Not wanting to go back to an orphan life, Ava simply took off, weaving through the people who were walking down the streets of the city. No one stopped her.
Ava kept going until she was maybe ten blocks away. There she collapsed in an ally, smiling at her sudden freedom. She looked up towards the sky and thanked the Lord for burning the orphanage down. But then a thought hit her-how was she supposed to survive? She’d have to live on scraps from the garbage. Her nose wrinkled up at the thought. But days and then soon weeks went by and she was able to choke down stale bread, rotten vegetables, and drink water from puddles on the street. Strangers gave her looks, but they never once spoke to her or offered her anything. That is, until she was about seventeen.
It had been just a normal day for Ava, wake up in an alley behind a dumpster, search for scraps, then keep walking. She was walking, her head down, when she’d bumped into someone.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She’d said, one of the first things she’d said in months. Ava looked up into the eyes of a handsome young boy; eighteen at the most. He smiled down at her.