The Orphan Keeper’s Assistant – Chapter 2

Once upon a time, the Enchanter decreed that all who had disease or defects that could not be cured would be cast outside the city and left to die. All the unwanted and all the odd were cast out and all those who belonged to no one, except orphans. Orphans were kept because they were useful to the Enchanter.

In the blazing sun, a young woman picked her way across the garbage dump outside the Enchanted City. She wore sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat to protect her pallid skin, and a large, round button that read: WE LOVE CHILDREN-—Orphan Keepers’ Association.

She kept slipping on the mounds of garbage. Even behind sunglasses, her eyes were bothered by light. “Whoops! Down again. Watch out! Light’s white,” she mumbled to herself. “Smats! Huffy-puffy. Garbage dumps are stuffy.”

Stained and healthy from her falls, she approached Stonegate Entrance to Great Park. She thought she would rather do anything than go on this wild orphan chase. “Miss a day’s sleep. Smudges!” How was she supposed to get these gates opened? She’d never been in this dreadful park before, but this was where the Burners said the orphans had gone.

She rattled the iron gate, noticed a curled potato skin caught on her sleeve, and swept it away. She rattled again. Nothing budged. She tried to crawl over the gate, but her legs kept slipping and her button caught between the thin rails. She finally stood back and hollered, “Does anybody h-e-a-r … m-e-e-e-e-e?” Her hat bobbed back and forth. She shifted her bulging basket of a purse and shouted again. “Does anybody h-e-a-r … me-e-e-e-e-e?”

No answer. She tried another idea. “I am The Orphan Keepers Assistant! In the name of the Orphan Keeper, open! I am hunting for orphans!”

The gates creaked open. She was impressed by the power of the name she had shouted, never suspecting for a moment that the gates always opened for hunters.


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