A bad night’s sleep
It was a very rainy night. Kate could hardly sleep. Every other girl in the orphanage was sleeping. No matter how hard she tried, Kate couldn’t drift off. It was too hard with the sound of the pouring rain and the other girls’ snores. She didn’t know what to do. She crept out of bed and tiptoed over to the door.
“Kate,” a voice whispered. Kate jumped. She turned around. Her friend Natalie was sitting up in her bed.
“What?” Kate asked. Though she could barely see it, Kate knew that Natalie had a frown on her face.
“Are you trying to sneak out again?”
“No. I was just- er- going to go to the bathroom.”
“No,” said Natalie, “you were going to sneak out.” Kate took a moment to think of what to say next.
“How do you know?” she asked, and then she moved a couple steps towards Natalie.
“Because,” said Natalie, “the bathroom’s over there.” She pointed to a big white door on the wall opposite Kate.
“Fine. I was trying to escape, but please don’t tell Miss Jacobs. If she figures it out, who knows what will happen to me.”
“I know,” Natalie said very quietly.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that i’ve tried to escape this place before too. When she figured out that I was attempting to sneak out, she made me clean this whole building for a week.”
“I definitely don’t want to do that,” said Kate, “and for a whole week too. Have you seen the showers here?”
“Sadly, yes. I don’t take showers anymore.”
“Me neither,” said Kate, “I think the showers make you even stinkier, not cleaner.”
“Ya,” said Natalie, “it doesn’t make sense. Some things in this orphanage are even too disgusting to look at.”
“Well,” said Kate, “I still like it here.”
“Well, ya,” said Natalie, “it’s our home. We live here. But the worst thing here is probably miss Jacobs.”
“Definitely,” said Kate.
“Anyways,” said Natalie, “I think we should go back to bed. It’s already…” She looked at the clock on the wall Kate was standing in front of.
“Three thirty. C’mon, let’s try to fall back asleep.”
“I can’t fall asleep,” said Kate.
“True,” said Natalie, “It is very hard to fall asleep when it’s pouring rain outside.”
“Ya,” said Kate, “did you ever sleep?”
“Yes, I did. But only for around an hour.”
“Well,” said Kate, “maybe we’ll get more sleep tomorrow.” She yawned and started to walk over to her bed, but before she got in her bed, she heard a strange noise coming from downstairs.
“Do you hear that?” she asked.
But Natalie stopped. There were footsteps coming up the stairs.
“It’s Miss Jacobs,” Kate said. Natalie gave Kate a look of fear. While Kate jumped into her bed and pulled the sheets over her, Natalie layed back down and closed her eyes. There was a feeling of fear in Kate, but she knew that if she would just pretend to be asleep, everything would be okay. And if Miss Jacobs figured out that she and Natalie were the ones talking, she didn’t know if she would have to clean the orphanage, or maybe something worse.
The sound of the footsteps grew nearer and nearer. Kate’s heart was pounding faster than it ever had before. As long as she kept her eyes shut, she would be fine.
The footsteps reached the top of the stairs. There was a quick moment of silence, and then the door creaked open. Miss Jacobs’ footsteps were very quiet.
When she reached Kate’s bed, she bent down and examined Kate very closely. Kate kept her eyes closed the whole time. Miss Jacobs must have thought that Kate was asleep because about five minutes after she had moved on to the bed next to Kate, she left the room quietly.
Kate still didn’t fall asleep after that frightening moment. She was up until the morning.
“Girls! Wake up!”
It was finally the morning. Miss Jacobs was yelling at the girls who didn’t get out of bed. Natalie and Kate exchanged looks. Natalie frowned and Kate rolled her eyes. They both got out of bed at the same time and yawned. “Everyone, come over here,” said Miss Jacobs. Natalie and Kate walked over to the line the other girls were forming.
Once every girl in the room was lined up, Miss Jacobs glared at them one by one.
“Last night,” she said, a look of both fury and fear in her face, “I heard people talking at three thirty. But when I came up here to look, everyone seemed to be asleep. Unless…” She looked at the floor.
“Unless someone was faking it. I know that one of you girls was up last night. I’m going to figure out who it is. Now, I will be back up here in ten minutes. Everyone make your bed and get dressed.” She walked out of the room. Natalie and Kate stared at each other.
After everyone was done making their bed and getting dressed, Natalie pulled Kate into the corner and whispered in her ear.
“If she figures out,” Natalie said, her voice shaking a little bit, “we may have to do something worse than clean the orphanage. She is furious about it, and she already knows that you never sleep, so she probably is suspecting you.”
“Well,” Kate said, “maybe we won’t have to do anything if we escape this place.”
“No!” Natalie said, “we cannot escape. No way. We’ll get in more trouble if we fail.”
“But if we succeed,” Kate said, “maybe we won’t get punished again! I don’t care what you think anymore. I’m going to sneak out.”
“But,” replied Natalie, “you can’t! It’s too dangerous. When do you even think you’re going to do it?”
“Today or tomorrow. I have to do it soon because if I don’t, she’ll have enough time to figure out that I was awake.” Natalie opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something, but closed it without saying another word. Kate walked over to her bed and sat down.
Two minutes later, Miss Jacobs opened the door again. She walked around, looking closely at everyone’s bed.
“Well,” she said, “everything looks fine. Come downstairs and start breakfast.”
A perfect escape
Every girl in the room walked to the door. Kate hated cooking breakfast. It wasn’t fun at all. Nothing was fun in the orphanage. But Kate was going to escape sometime soon, so she wouldn’t have to cook breakfast every morning, make her bed and get dressed, and best of all, she would get to sleep.
When the girls got downstairs, they split into groups. Kate was in her least favorite group: the egg group. Kate didn’t like eggs one bit. She didn’t like the smell of them or the taste of them. And now she had to cook them for breakfast. Kate always wondered why she was in the egg group. Why couldn’t she be in the toast group or the bacon group? These thoughts went through Kate’s mind every morning at breakfast time.
When every group was done cooking their part of breakfast, Miss Jacobs and all of the girls sat down at the tiny dining table.
“Today,” Miss Jacobs said, “I will be in my room. I will be thinking about who was awake. You girls are supposed to- what day is it, Wednesday?”
She pulled a phone out of her pocket.
“It’s Friday. Oh! Your favorite day of the week! Today, you will clean all three bathrooms.” Most girls moaned. “Sorry, did I say three? I ment four. You’re cleaning my bathroom too.” She looked around the whole table. “And today you must clean the first room. And both sides of the front door. Remember to make the window on the door very shiny and clear. Oh, and make sure you clean all of the hallways and staircases. Everything must be perfect.”
“Why does it have to be perfect?” a girl asked.
“Because,” said Miss Jacobs, “my brother is coming to visit today. He wants to see you. He is obviously coming to visit me too, but in his letter he said that he wanted to see what you girls look like. So, as I said, today you must clean the bathrooms, the first room, the front door, the staircases, and the hallways. And why don’t you clean the basement too.”
The basement was the worst part of the orphanage. It was dirty and creepy and full of junk. Why would Miss Jacobs want the basement cleaned? She hadn’t asked someone to clean it for years. Kate didn’t care, though. She had decided. She was going to escape the orphanage today.
After breakfast, Miss Jacobs told everyone to get started on their jobs. She told certain people to clean certain places. Kate wasn’t a part of that group. She snuck away to the first room where the front door was. Kate could hear footsteps coming closer. She had forgotten that Ms.Jacobs told them to clean the first room. Kate quickly opened the door and tried to walk out, but then she heard some of the girls talking. “Did you hear that? Someone’s opening the door.” Their footsteps started to grow louder. Kate had to do something. She couldn’t possibly get away without being seen. She looked around. There wasn’t any hiding place in the front room. It was such a small room. There wasn’t a single possibility that she would make it out of there. She just had to stick to the plan. She quietly walked out the door and shut it. Kate ran down the wooden steps and walked onto the street. The breeze felt so good. It was an amazing