Chapter Five - The Boy in the Tower

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Gwen and Raven return from their nightly visit to their secret cave behind the waterfall, suppressing giggles as they sneak back into the Orphanage just after two in the morning. They come in through the back door of the chapel, going into the balcony; they find the small door that leads to the attic loft, which runs the entire expanse of the Orphanage. They follow it to Gwen’s small attic bedroom, which is just off of the loft. Then, they go their separate ways; Gwen to her bedroom, leaving Raven to sneak back downstairs and to his room, which is just two doors down from the base of the steps.

Gwen changes into her nightclothes, some pajama bottoms and an oversized T-shirt, and gets into bed, pulling the covers up around her chin.

“Darkana,” she chants in her native tongue and the lights in her tiny, closet-size bedroom turn off, throwing the room into total darkness. She rolls onto her side and tries to fall asleep.

As she lies there, she tries to think pleasant, soothing thoughts, but she keeps feeling distracted as though something is beckoning her back into the waking world. With an exasperated sigh, she sits up in bed and looks about the dark room.

She feels an eerie sensation as if something terribly wrong is about to happen. Compelled, Gwen gets out of bed to see what the matter is. She decides to just wander around and follow her instincts. Somewhere in the Orphanage, someone is in need of her help. But who and why? And why is it my problem?

Gwen creeps down the back stairs, her feet light as air on the old, creaky, wooden steps. She passes Raven’s room on her way down the hall. As she scurries through the night like a shadow. All her senses searching for the origins of the peculiar premonition, a deep, oozing sense of dread begins to creep over her as her search continues without any success. What if I don’t get there in time? What if I am too late? she

thinks to herself just as she is about to pass the doors leading to the outside courtyard. What if I’m just being silly and there’s nothing wrong at all? Suddenly, she hears a sound outside; frozen in place, she waits, reaching out again with her mind, this time looking for a human presence nearby.

What she finds is Douglas; the strange, hostile boy who once stole a much unwanted kiss from her. She barely thought of him since that day a year ago when she had injured him in defense of her person. When he had finally recovered and the bandages came off, he had wisely chosen to maintain his distance from Gwen.

The emotions racing through the boy’s mind are alarming. She feels pain and humiliation, dark, depressing thoughts of death and blood. This is startling enough but then Gwen sees some of Douglas’s recent memories.

      She sees flashes of images. First, she sees Douglas sitting, trembling in fear, waiting outside Sister Whitmore’s office to be punished for starting a fight. Then, he’s in her office, the Sister looming over him saying unspeakable things to him, making him feel uncomfortable and afraid. Then, she’s touching him in places he doesn’t want to be touched, most of all by her. Gwen feels his horror and shame as she witnesses through his memories the things Sister Whitmore did and made him do to her. Gwen doesn’t fully understand the things that she sees but knows by the revolted and violated feeling that crashes upon her that it isn’t right or natural.

    She can feel his anguish, his shame, and his self-loathing; most of all she feels his overwhelming desire to die, to erase himself from the face of the earth. This is why she is summoned here, what she has been sent to prevent from happening.

In a flash, she throws open the doors to the courtyard running down the steps into the yard, looking around frantically for the boy that should be there. It isn’t until she looks up that she sees him. He is standing in the bell tower of the chapel, standing high above on the ledge, looking down at the ground in a most solemn and melancholy manner.

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