I’m not sure why I did it, I know that I shouldn’t have. They were just so captivating.
“Are you sure you know how to do this?” a girl’s voice said. The mystery archer from the other day lifted his head. He gave her a serious look and pointed at her using a metal pole about a meter in length.
“Of course, Soleil. I’ve done it before!” He reassured her. The tent he was attempting to assemble didn’t look much like a tent.
The girl shrugged. She was wearing sweatpants and a black tank top. Her feet were covered by black combat boots with thick soles.
“Hey. guys!” A boy called from the other side of their mini camp site. The two people looked over at him. He had a box in his lap and was rummaging through it. It seemed to have a bunch of DVDs. “Do you think we should watch Angel In The Forest or Follow Me?”
The girl, Soleil as the boy had called her, looked pensive. She glanced down at what I could only assume, judging by appearance, was her brother building the tent and he shrugged.
“I think we should watch Follow Me, because we haven’t seen it four times already,” she said, suggesting that they had already seen the other one too many times.
“It’s only been three times,” the boy with the box muttered. I had gone into the forest to have some reading time, but ended up watching the three from my spot in the lush greenery. I checked my watch quickly. Five O nine. I should probably should have been going back an hour before, but they wouldn’t miss me back at Lil’ Angel’s Home For Children. I know, the name is dumb. They probably wouldn’t notice I was gone anyways. I wasn’t even supposed to be out of the building, but I kept sneaking out. That’s why they wouldn’t grieve my loss; I was the troublemaker. Everyone there knew it. I snuck out and I skipped some classes. One time I almost started an uprising with some wall art I made with the limited art supplies. Okay, it was closer to vandalism than art but that’s beside the point. If anything they’d be glad they finally got rid of Lake Caelan Ruiz.
“Are you certain you don’t need help?” the boy with the box of movies asked.
“Yes, I got this.” the other boy said determinedly as he jammed together two parts that definitely didn’t go together.
He had a serious-almost elegant-personality and was talented with a bow, but he was decidedly graceless.
He heaved a sigh. “I don’t got this.” his friend suppressed a smile. He put down the box and walked over to the misshapen tent.
As I concentrated on eavesdropping their conversations, I didn’t notice a small spider crawl onto the back of my hand. When I felt the tickling I looked down. I saw the spider and gasped, flicking it off my hand.
“What was that?” I heard Soleil ask her brother. I froze. I didn’t even turn my head. Or breathe.
“I don’t know,” he replied in a bored voice but I could hear nervous undertones.
“Let’s just ignore it.” the friend suggested. They collectively agreed and I let out my breath. Once they had put up the tent I watched as they sat down in the entrance. Soleil took out an object that looked like a computer. I quickly realized that it was a DVD player so they could watch Follow Me.
The boy pressed and held the power button down.
I could see their reactions to the movie. The sound effects told me it was a horror film. At one point there was a scream and the two boys jumped, the brown haired one grabbing onto the arms of his sister and his friend. Soleil shook him off and continued watching the movie in peace. He let go of his friend’s arm and covered the bottom half of his face with his hands.
I waited until they had finished the movie to go back to Lil’ Angel’s. As I walked away with my book I tripped on a fallen branch. One of the smaller bits snapped loudly and when I fell to the ground my impact on the dry leaves made a crunching noise.
“What was that?” I heard Soleil whisper urgently
“I-I don’t know,” the friend said back. I swear in that moment his eyes were completely white. And glowing.
I couldn’t move. Half because of fear of being found and half because I had hurt my knee and ankle when I tripped.
“Soleil, you go check it out.”
That one sentence meant I was done for. Toast. I heard footsteps coming through the plants.
“Hello?” Soleil called. I cringed and turned around, still sitting on the ground.
“Hi!” I said with a forced smile.
“I’m Soleil Vasquez. It means sun in french. Are you… are you alright?”
“Well, kinda. I tripped and hurt my knee and ankle.”
She gave me sympathetic look and helped me up, which made me feel pathetic.
“Wait, wait. My book,” I pointed at the ground at my book, upside down on the dirt. Soleil bent down and retrieved it for me.
“So where’s your house. I’ll walk you back,” she told me. I grimaced.
“I snuck out of the orphanage in that direction,” I pointed west. She furrowed her brow.
“Alright. Do you need help walking?”
I shifted my weight from foot to foot. It hurt quite a bit, but I wasn’t about to lean on a stranger I just met.
“I’m fine,” I muttered. She nodded.
We began walking and I looked over at her. I noticed that her eyes were exactly the same as her brother’s.
“Your brother has the same eyes,” I mentioned. Her eyes would put any person in a trance. Just like her brother. Soleil hesitated in answering.
“Yeah, we’re twins.” she didn’t look at me when she said it. I noticed that she and her brother had the same arrow branded into their wrists.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“And your friend?”
“Why are you so curious?” Soleil looked at me weird.
“Just wondering,” I replied simply. We walked along in silence for several minutes.
“Why do your friend’s eyes glow?” I asked casually.
Soleil looked at me bewildered, then composed herself.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
“C’mon, I saw it. What is he?” I pressed.
“You saw nothing. Probably just dozed off for a bit and dreamed it.” The curly haired girl was calmly trying to dismiss what I had seen.
“What’s your name by the way?” She asked as we arrived at the gates of the orphanage. I stopped walking.
“Lake Caelan Ruiz. Just call me Lake.” I said, eyeing the large building I had escaped from so many times.
“Well, go ahead then.” She motioned toward Lil’ Angel’s. I hesitated.
“Please don’t make me go back there.”
“They don’t care for the kids and I’ll just escape again. Please.” I turned towards her. She looked overwhelmed for a second.
“W-where would you go?” she asked.
“Anywhere but here. I just cause trouble so they’d be glad I’m gone.” I looked around. “I’ve hidden a sleeping bag and pillow behind the building in the old shed. I’ve had to do this before.” I insisted.
“No, I won’t let you roam at night. Go.” From her expression it became evident she wasn’t about to give up. I pouted and began walking slowly towards the building. I stopped and looked at some shriveled flowers at the side of the path, stalling is my specialty.
“Okay,” Soleil said as she grabbed my arm, pulling me up to the door. She was about to knock but then saw a sign in the window. Any kids out after dark will stay out until light.
“I guess you were right, Lake. They really don’t care about you guys.” Soleil muttered. She looked at me and sighed. I made a helpless face. She nodded towards the path we ad come from. “C’mon. You’re coming back with me.”
I smiled and bounced back down the path, away from the grim looking orphanage.
“You can stay the night. You’re leaving at first light , kid.”