She took a deep longing breath as the sun kissed her pale dirty skin. Looking up toward the sky hoping to catch a glimmer of hope within the sun’s rays. “Anita!” proclaimed a small cracking boys voice from ahead of her. Anita breathlessly looked for the source of her interruption. He always seemed to be at the market when she was. “What does the old hag want you to get today?” he jested. “Two baby’s souls and a package of toad legs?” She looked at him with a mostly annoyed but still entertained expression. “No.” she playfully hit cap and continued walking.
“You’re too nice. I’d buy that crusty old witch three day old bread and hope she cracks all of her teeth when she bites into it.” he said proudly as if old bread was the solution to all of her problems. “Shhh!!!” she said loudly. “Ashton is already in trouble. Do you want me to get locked away too?” she said gravely concerned someone would hear their conversation. “Suit yourself then.” The two walked through the market exchanging banter like they did every day. Today however felt different, maybe it was the light.
“Such a beautiful day today is it not?” a beautiful well dressed woman said with a pleasant smile. Adults usually just ignored Anita, she was often a little dirty from all of the work she did and her clothes were ripped and a bit too small for her size. “Light always has a way of finding the darkness. Don’t you agree?” She continued. “Yes, madam.” Anita said timidly feeling like the stranger had been reading her mind. “Yes, she was basking in the sun like a lizard when I found her.” Tom added in unnecessarily. “Do not let a day like this go to waste.” The woman said with a smile and walked on.
When she could feel sure they were out of earshot Anita hit Tom in the arm. “I was not acting like a lizard! How embarrassing!” she huffed. “What?!” he said cooly trying not to wince rubbing his arm. “Who was that?” she asked inquisitively. “I’m not sure but I overheard she was very rich and here on business. Why do you care anyways?” “I just felt like… nevermind. I'll see you later” she sighed. She began to walk home in a daze. Feeling like she had just seen something she couldn't quite explain. That woman was reading her mind, or was she? Thoughts spun around in her head only to be interrupted by the pain of her stomach grumbling. She hadn’t had a real meal in a few days. The hunger for most people would be unmanageable but Anita was used to it. She pushed the pain out of her mind and focused on the day ahead of her. One more day closer to her uncertain future.
She arrived back at The Manor House for Girls. It was a boarding school for orphaned children. She had been left here by her Aunt Millie who promised it would be for just a weekend. A weekend turned into six months and then a year. It had been almost three years since she had heard from her Aunt. The last she heard she had remarried some rich business man in New York. She was still family after all and held on to the hope that Aunt Millie one day was going to collect her from her misery. “Anita you worthless little rat!” Exclaimed Mrs. Eclaire. “You should have been back three minutes ago!” She said impatiently looking at her pocket watch which seemed to never leave her hand. “Get to work!” She was tall and her long hair was always in a bun. Her cold, heartless manner made her terrifying. She was comforting to Anita in one way, she was consistently cruel. The only thing she could really count on was no matter how hard she worked nothing was good enough for Mrs. Ecliare.
“Yes Miss.” she timidly exasperated with a small curtsy. Mrs. Eclaire refused to be addressed as Madam even though she was in her fifties which to Anita seemed like she was in her eighties. She made that mistake once and was beaten with a spoon so badly the blood soaked through her dress the next day.