‘THE FALLING OF THE DAWN’ – one

Hi! I might change the name of the main character, and I also might change the name of this story. I hadn’t named it yet, but I have no idea what to call it, so I just picked something random. Okay… bye!

aairah

He’s here.”

It was the quietest Mrs. Willy had ever spoken, and it was the first time in twelve years she had ever said that to Sophie. She closed her book slowly and placed it on her bed. “Do you mean…?” she whispered. Mrs. Willy hesitated.

“I think so,” she mumbled. “Now fix that pretty blonde hair of yours and throw on something good. You should wear that red dress you have in your trunk. The one with the white sash? Red’s your color.” Mrs. Willy cleared her throat. “Be down in fifteen minutes. And… congratulations!”

Sophie’s voice wasn’t quite working, so she nodded instead. Mrs. Willy padded out of the girls’ white chambers, passing the sixteen other beds lined across opposite walls. Sophie closed her eyes. Today was the day, after twelve and a half years. And Mrs. Willy could never have been more kind about it. Sophie glanced at her gray school backpack and stuffed her textbooks and papers into the bag. She smiled to herself, wide and pure, trying to fight back a laugh. A victory cry. She’d just won it all. 

Sophie looked under her bed and pulled out her gold-and-brown trunk. Everyone in the orphanage had one under their bed, and it was big, like a carry-on closet. It also held important memories and things that were special to them. Like Sophie’s snowglobe.

Sophie’s birth mother had left her a blue snowglobe with a tiny white puppy inside. She opened the trunk and took it out, shaking the specs of fake snow and watching it fall back onto the dog. She didn’t know what happened to her mother. But she did know that her mother had wanted her but couldn’t have her. When Sophie was brought to the orphanage, she had been a half a month old, and the snowglobe had been wrapped up in the purple blanket Sophie had been in. There was also a tiny note beside it that read, “Love, Mommy”. Sophie lost the piece of scrap when she was seven. But she still had the baby blanket. Though, now… she was going to be fostered. Into a new life. New people. Would she ever need….  

Sophie shoved the thought away, instead reaching for the soft red dress under the layers of dusty clothing. She traced the embroidery and ruffles on the skirt. It was her only dress, and she’d only worn it twice—once when it was Mrs. Willy’s fiftieth birthday, and once when a celebrity was having dinner with the orphanage. He’d been looking to adopt, but decided he’d come again another time. But he never showed up again.

Now, Sophie went into the girls’ bathroom and took off her pajamas. She fastened the dress around her waist, and tied the sash into an elegant bow. She smoothened the layers down before she came out of the stall and glanced at the mirror. Her shoulder-length hair did need a bit of a comb.

After she’d brushed her hair and changed completely, it had been ten minutes since Mrs. Willy had come into the room. Sophie decided to look back at her mother’s things. She carefully dug into the trunk to find the baby blanket, but it wasn’t there. Her purple blanket was gone. All there was left was the snow globe. She checked every pocket, and yet, it was missing. She checked the drawers in her bedside table. Nothing. She took a minute to breathe, curled up in a Sophie-ball. She’d really been thinking of leaving the blanket here. How could she be so stupid?

Sophie stuffed the globe into the trunk and locked it, ready to question Mrs. Willy as she made her way out of the chamber. The stairs never looked longer and steeper. She dragged her overstuffed trunk, each step making a thunk, thunk, thunk until she reached the bottom. But of course, she’d forgotten her school backpack. 

Her school backpack! It must’ve had the blanket. Sophie ran up the stairs to the girls’ room again, nearly tripping on her dress as she raced to fetch her bag. She zipped it open and looked in every pocket, every nook—but her blanket wasn’t there. Sophie groaned. She wanted to cry out. Sure, she was being fostered! Hooray!

But another memory of her mother had been stripped away from her. First the piece of paper with her handwriting. Now this?

Sophie hung the straps around her shoulders and slowly descended the stairs again. Her trunk was still at the bottom, and she hoisted it up right as she reached the lobby. “Where’s the purple blanket?” Sophie asked anxiously to Mrs. Willy, who was typing furiously into a computer behind the front desk. The lobby was a modern, sleek room, with plush armchairs and sofas, and glass coffee tables with a stack of magazines. One wall was lined with a huge glass bookshelf, and dozens and dozens of books filled the space. Mrs. Willy looked up.

“Look who’s ready!” she exclaimed, beaming as she fixed her brown bun. “He’s waiting out—”

“Where is it?”

“Where is… what?”

“My purple blanket. It’s not in any of the drawers or the trunk or my backpack. I need it, Willy, I’m serious.”

Mrs. Willy’s brows scrunched for a minute, but then her eyes widened. “You lost it?”

Sophie blinked. “No, I was wondering if you had it.”

Mrs. Willy shook her head. “I am many things, but I’m not a thief. I don’t pick through childrens’ trunks. You came to me when you were a baby. I know you better than you know yourself—and I’m telling you, you just lost another one of your mother’s things… cling to that globe!”

Sophie sucked in a breath. “So you really have no idea what happened to it?” she whispered.

Mrs. Willy quickly walked around her desk to grab Sophie’s hands. “I’m so sorry. Truly,” she added when Sophie opened her mouth to argue. “I know how much that meant to you, Soph. But don’t let it ruin your future. These people are awesome. And if you don’t like them, you can always call me. You know my number. But please, please try to be happy. Don’t worry about the past. Go to your future!”

Sophie raised her chin. “Thank you. But I can’t just forget my mother so easily. I have to find it before I leave.”

“How about I call you if I find your blanket?” Mrs. Willy suggested. “I promise I won’t stop looking. You don’t need to stress, hun.” She tucked a strand of Sophie’s hair behind her ear as she nodded. “Good. I’ll miss you, though, Sophie.”

“Me too.” Sophie squeezed Mrs. Willy with a small hug. “I’ll call you all the time,” Sophie promised. Mrs. Willy pulled away and shook her head with a smile.

“Once in a while is great,” she said, “because you need to see these people without me in the way. Oh look, he’s coming!”

Mrs. Willy pushed Sophie to turn around. Sure enough, a nervous man with pink hair and a leather jacket walked through the automatic glass doors. Mrs. Willy squeezed Sophie’s shoulders and whispered in her ear, “Stay strong, Soph,” before standing straight and walking over to the guy with pink hair. “Hi, I’m Andrea Willy!”

The pink-haired man didn’t glance at Sophie once during his conversation with Mrs. Willy. Sophie wasn’t paying attention—she was too busy studying her new foster parent. Her first thought was obviously—pink hair? Not that she was complaining—in fact, he looked kind of awesome with it, along with his leather jacket. Sophie looked at his shoes. They were freshly polished and black. He seemed as stressed as Sophie was about this.

Sophie’s head started to spin. She hadn’t realized it before, but… she had just agreed to let go of her quest to find her birth mother for this strange new person, who she never even met, let alone talked to.

She clung to the nearest thing possible, which ended up being a sofa. Two girls were sitting on it, chattering away—but when they saw Sophie, one girl grinned and said, “This happened to me, too, but you don’t have to be nervous. After a couple months, I was adopted! I’m here again to visit my best friend. My parents are adopting her as my sister!”

Sophie’s mouth went dry. “Wow, that’s… that’s great,” she said groggily. “Thank you…” Sophie stumbled back a step. She then noticed she was still carrying her trunk, and maybe that’s why she was feeling so tired and dizzy. But her brain still whirled after she’d placed it on the ground.

Mrs. Willy finally turned back around and stepped back next to Sophie. “This is the girl you were looking to foster,” she said proudly, squeezing Sophie’s hand. The pink-haired man took a second to transition from Mrs. Willy to Sophie. His eyes almost looked as heavy as Sophie felt, which was a good sign. “This is Sophie!”

The man blinked twice before breaking out in a smile. “Hello, Sophie,” he said, offering his hand. “I’m Zachary, but you can call me Zach.”

Sophie nodded and shook his hand, feeling a little less frightened after the gentle touch. But there was something familiar about his brown eyes. It must have just been her brain, but she also could’ve sworn some kind of mental energy had passed through their fingertips. And Zach seemed to have noticed it as well, wiggling his fingers before looking back up.

“Are you ready?” He asked, his eyes darting between Mrs. Willy and Sophie. Mrs. Willy glanced at her, smiling sadly. Sophie slowly nodded. “Here, let me carry your trunk.”

“Um, wait.” She didn’t mean to be so sudden, but her mind had already drifted off to her mother. She froze as both pairs of eyes focused on her. “I-I’m sorry,” she whispered, looking apologetically at Mrs. Willy, who was frowning. “I have to check the chambers one more time.”

Mrs. Willy took a second before she smiled. “Of course. But remember what I told you. Don’t fret.” She winked as Sophie ran back up the stairs and into the girls’ room. Four other girls now wandered by their beds, and she decided to take the moment.

“Excuse me,” Sophie said, and all of them turned their heads curiously at her. “Sorry. I was just wondering if you saw a purple, small blanket anywhere? It was embroidered with white butterflies. Have any of you caught it… lying around, by any chance?”

One girl with dark brown bangs clicked her tongue. “I remember seeing it somewhere,” she murmured. “Under your bed. Last week, I think.”

Sophie sighed. “I saw it last week, too. But I just… can’t find it today.”

Another girl tossed her red braids and asked, “Was it a baby blanket?”

Sophie nodded quickly. “Yes. Have you seen it?”

The girl snorted. “You’re twelve, Sophie. I really thought you’d grown over that strange piece of trinket that someone you don’t even know gave you.”

Sophie’s cheeks flushed. “So you’ve seen it?” she asked anxiously. The girl smacked her forehead and turned back to the pages of her book. 

“Of course not. I don’t waste my time looking around for people’s trash.”

The last one hit hard. She decided not to mind it, since she never was going to see this girl ever again anyway—hopefully. Sophie glanced at the two other girls, who frowned and shook their heads. She sighed helplessly and retreated back to the lobby.

“Well?” Mrs. Willy whispered as Sophie passed by her. “Any luck?”

“A redhead.”

“Oh gosh.”

“Are you two okay?” Zach asked, still holding Sophie’s trunk. He took in a giant inhale as Sophie nodded. “Well… you sure you’re ready to go?” His voice quivered, like he wasn’t sure if he was ready to leave, either.

Sophie hoped her “Yes” was good enough for the both of them.

She glanced at Mrs. Willy one last time as she waved goodbye. The woman who’d raised her. The woman who’d named her. The person who’d treated Sophie like her daughter. It was hard to believe that this day had come, and as Mrs. Willy waved back and sniffed and Sophie turned around with Zach to leave, her insides squished. No

Right as they’d reached the automatic glass doors and Zach stepped through, Sophie spun on her heel and squished Mrs. Willy with an enormous bear hug. Mrs. Willy laughed, and Sophie’s tears leaked onto her lace cardigan. She felt Mrs. Willy’s sink into her back, and she clung to her for a few more seconds before pulling back for the very. Last. Time. 

“Thank you, Mrs. Willy,” Sophie whispered, waving again. She turned around to face Zach, who was pacing behind one of the automatic doors. He looked up, and a crease had formed between his brows, but he still smiled lightly. 

Sophie sighed, then followed Zach out of the orphanage without looking back.

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