Nina Dorogaia – The Lost…….
By Nina Dorogaia
‘Robin…Robin…wake up! You’ll be late!!!’
Jessica Eastern sprayed water into Robin White’s face with a cleaning liquid bottle. She leaned over and yanked the curtain open as Robin dived under the duvet. ‘Get up, bloodsucker. You know that I only have you here for the £175 they give me each week. Its not that much, you know, and I should be getting more ‘cause of the likes of you. Now get up!’ shouted Jessica dragging Robin out of bed.
Her long, dirty blond hair fell passed her lean shoulders and ended at her super-model thin waist, illuminating her moss green eyes .Usually her actions and word were much harsher than today, but today was special, I was moving out. You see, she is my foster-care guardian!!!
Slowly Robin got dressed; her chocolate brown hair fell over her fourteen year old face, covering her smooth, milky white skin and full, red lips. Her little button nose was set between big, icy blue eyes surrounded by lush lashes.
Searching for her hairbrush half-asleep, she stumbled over one of Jessica’s many cigarette packets. ‘You better not be squashing them, they cost a fortune! Pack all your worthless rubbish. I don’t want you gone and your stuff strewn all over my apartment. Get off your butt and get packing!’ screeched Jessica from her tetchy kitchen that was no better than Robin’s room in size.
Her little suit case lay in the middle of the room open, half her stuff already inside, the other half was in the cupboard that hung on the opposite wall. Under the cupboard stood her only pair of shoes; white, Nike high-tops. Quickly she got dressed, put on her shoes and looked out her window. Her room over looked a small shopping street where mothers milled around with little children, friends sat in ‘The Mad Cat’ cafe, drinking hot-chocolate and eating buns. Life would have been prefect here if not for her ‘fairy-godmother’ i.e. Jessica! Quietly she slipped into the kitchen to make breakfast for herself. ‘Thank God she is gone or else she’d be like’ Why you’re here? You’re worthless. Blah, blah,blah..’she taught.
. . .
‘Jessica, I’ve packed my things. Can I say goodbye to my friends?’ shouted Robin from her room. ‘I don’t give a fart what you do, just be back at quarter to two. Now scram!’
Robin ran out of Jessica’s apartment and down the street towards Lee West’s, her best friend’s, house. Without bothering to knock on the door, she ran inside to find a startled cat and Lee trying to calm it down.’ Jes, what’s the emergency!’ cried Lee startled by her sudden appearance.
‘Lee, remember last week I told you I was going back to the childcare’s home today. Well, I’m going away, like she threatened to. Does that not mean anything to you?!’ burst out Robin. Slowly she sank down onto the step beside him and petted Marshmallow, the cat, lost in her own thoughts.
‘Rob, remember I said I would persuade my parents to take you for our holidays and possible to foster you after? Well, guess what, they said that they might take you in. But if they do you might have to share a room with my sister.’ Lee’s sister Shannon was nearly a mirror copy of her brother, the same thick black hair, tanned skin and amber eyes bore into you from under long lashes.
‘Mmmm…’ replied Robin, fingering her ice-blue amulet that she got from her mother after her death. It was worn smooth on a short leather string that she never took off.
‘But until then you’ll have to be at the childcare place, I’m afraid.’
‘Lee… um… where are you going to be going for your holidays?’ questioned Robin absent-mindedly, still thinking about her own stuff.’ Oh, we were thinking of going to Tenby, Pembrokeshire. Remember I told you that we bought a little cottage there beside the sea?. Well we are going there for the summer.’ Lee explained, trying to keep excitement out of his voice. ‘What time are you getting picked up at?’ inquired Lee.’ Oh my! In four minutes. I better get going.’ she exclaimed hurrying out.
. . .
She ran as fast as she could to Jessica’s apartment, flew up the stairs and into Jessica. She stood there her arms folded; Robin’s little suit case at her feet thrown carelessly. ‘You’re late.’ Her gaze pierced Robin making her shiver. ‘I won’t be again, I promise.’ ‘Of course you won’t; you’ll be gone.’ She smiled nastily. ‘Come on; let’s wait for the social worker outside.’ Jessica called over her shoulder, smiling as she walked down. Bewildered by this sudden change of mood, Robin followed dragging her suitcase.
Her social worker, Tara Murphy, stood patiently beside her little, white mini looking bored and brightened immediately when she saw Robin coming. ‘Hey pet. Get into the back there and make yourself comfortable. Jessica, thank you so much for being a foster mom. We appreciate it a lot. Though it’s a pity you can’t be any more.’
‘Oh, well not everyone has the patience to be one, have they.’ explained Jessica quickly looking at Robin awkwardly, as is to say sorry for all the bad things she did to her. ‘Oh look, we better get going.’ said Tara brightly looking at an imaginary watch as she climbed into the car. Quickly she pulled away and zoomed towards the childcare home.
‘Well that was weird, wasn’t it Robin?’ puffing a stray strand for her face as she did so. Her dyed white hair was criss-crossed with turquoise high-lights that was pulled back into an elegant bun. As usual, she was dressed to the very top style. Her green eyes looked worriedly at Robin through the driver’s mirror making her pale skin glow. ‘Robin?’
‘Oh, what yes? Yes it was!’ ‘Well it’s the summer holidays soon, do you have any plans?’ ‘Actually I do. I might go to the beach, maybe go shopping. Who knows, who knows?’ She lazily spoke watching the different houses go by.
After a short while they stop in front of a grey building that had a sign saying ‘Heaven’ but the letter E was missing and it read ‘H.aven’. Robin climbed out of the mini and walked slowly towards the towering building. The shadow it cast down at her made her shiver. ‘Welcome home,’ she whispered softly to herself.
The next three days passed in a blur; got up, had breakfast, talked to her fellow orphans and went on the computer; nothing special happened. On the fourth day Lee and his family came in as he had promised. ‘We would like to foster a child,’ you could hear the adults talking the office. Robin lifted up her head to listen. ’Maybe a girl…… the same age as our son……we have two girls…..names are Alison and Rob-’ Suddenly Alison walked into the room. Everyone froze, for she was the meanest girl in the childcare home. ‘Hey, what’s the big deal? Anyone? Robin why don’t you share with us what is going on?’ she inquired slyly, her voice like honey, but underneath she was like a viper.
‘Some people came into foster someone,’ Robin looked at her with a bored expression. ‘Well obviously they will pick me,’ Alison boasted flicking her short red hair. Her pale skin made her look fragile but that would be not giving her credit for what she was like when there was no adults in the room. When no one was around, she would pinch little children, take away their weekly allowance and then she had nothing to do with it when they told some that she hurt them. And the worst thing about her, was that she never got in trouble which drove Robin crazy.
‘Well, we will see,’ Robin smiled quietly to herself. Just then the door opened and Lee and his family walked in. ‘Now children you may go and do whatever you do. Alison, Robin stay here. Here is marvelous family that would like to foster a child ,’Ms Gant, an elderly lady that ran the child-care house, looked bored as she told the two girl about the West family. She held two folders, each containing the two girls’ details, her gnarled finger grasped onto them tightly.
‘Um, Ms Gant. We already told you that we wanted to foster Robin.’ Mrs. West looked bewilderedly at Ms Gant. ‘Very well, come into my office to sign some papers.’ Alison gave Robin a poisonous look and stacked off. ‘Well your summer holidays are about to begin,’ said Lee turning around to see the adults walk into the office.
. . .
‘So Robin, ever been to the seaside,’ Mrs. West asked Robin, who was sitting in the back of their seven-seater with Lee and Shannon. ‘Actually no, I don’t even have a swimming suit, Mrs. West,’ announced Robin looking a bit embarrassed. ‘Well that won’t do. Once we get there we will go shopping. Don’t call me Mrs. West, it makes me feel old. Call me Abbie.’
Abbie didn’t even look old; her smooth, tanned skin and black hair was just like her son’s. ‘Mom, can I come with you,’ asked Shannon. Lee just rolled his eyes. ‘Sure dear. Now, Robin do you have any summer clothing?’
‘Well, does a few faded t-shirts and one pair of torn shorts count as summer clothes?’ mumbled Robin.’ Oh dear, you really didn’t have a good foster-care mom, did you now?’ ‘No,’ ‘Then its settled. When we get there we’ll go shopping.’ announced Abbie.
. . .
The grey of the city faded and turned into the green of the fields. Little country houses dotted the horizon .Lee, Shannon and Robin got into an argument about who would beat who; Dumbledore vs. Zelda.
‘Zelda would totally crush him.’ declared Lee confidently. ‘Na-ah,’ stated Shannon, ‘Dumbledore could blast her into space with a flick of his wand.’ ‘Well Dumbledore is already dead, so technically Zelda already won.’ butted in Robin. ‘See so Zelda won. In your face, pipsqueak.’ Lee declared triumphantly tussling his sister’s hair. ‘Am not. I’m nearly as tall as you and you are only a year older than me!’
‘Children, we’re nearly there. Quieten down.’ called Mr. West. And sure enough, you could see the sea. The as they came closer to Pembrokeshire they saw a sign; ‘ Tenby 2km’
Further down the road, brightly colored houses stood on the narrow road. Some were whitewashed; others were brightly coloured, with straw or tiled roofs. A cobblestone road wound down to the beach.
They drove out of the village and drove closer to the sea. As they came closer, a little cottage dawned from around the corner. It was even more picturesque than the houses in the village. It was whitewashed with roses growing around the door way. The windows were sparkling in the summer sun. The front garden had beautiful flowers in a ring. Big bushes hid the pathway to the house.
‘Well here we are, ‘proudly said Mr. West, gesturing to the cottage. Shannon, Lee and Robin ran into the house, up the stairs and into the different rooms. ‘I want this one!’ shouted Shannon from the front room. ‘I want this one!’ shouted Lee and Robin together, as they raced into the room that over-looked that back garden. Lee pushed Robin out. ‘Lee, don’t be rude. Robin there’s a room in the attic. You can have it. It is a really spacious, ‘called Abbie from the kitchen. ‘Help us unpack later, ‘called Mr. West from under boxes.
. . .
Days went by quickly, as Mrs. West (Abbie) promised they went shopping and now she was enjoying herself in her new clothes. The sea-spray soaked her feet and she learned to swim. Right now she was enjoying herself with Lee and Shannon in the dark blue sea in the summer evening, when a stranger rowed up on to the beach and got out of his boat.
His brown hair dripping as if just after a long swim, his icy blue glaring at them, flashing with anger and something else. He sighed, took off his shirt a wrung it out. The lad looked about sixteen maybe seventeen. He put on his shirt again and walk away in the direction of the village, spitting as he went. Something fell out of his back pocket but he didn’t even turn to look, just walked away.
‘Hey, Rob I think I might be going crazy but…..did……. he looks just like you!’ whispered Lee confused. ‘Don’t be silly!’ exclaimed Robin running towards the object he dropped. It was an amulet, just like hers although on hers was craved a little bird. On his was a wolf………
The next day, Rob woke up in her new bed and lay fingering her amulet. Light poured from attic window and onto her face. Reluctantly she got up and pulled back the curtain, reveling a beautiful landscape. Her unmade bed was coated in light; it danced on the slanted walls illuminating the room. Her room was dived in two; one half higher, one half lower, all because of a split-level floor as Mr. West (Tom) called it. Her bed stood on the risen half whilst on the lower half had a bookshelf and a desk that looked out one of the room’s three windows.’ Children, wake up,’ you could hear Abbie’s cheery call float through the summer air. Quickly Rob got dressed and descended the red, spiral stairs bare-footed.
In the big, airy kitchen the smell of pancakes filled the air. Tom and the children were already down there waiting with anticipation for Abbie to set down the plate with pancakes.
‘Do you have any plans for today,’ she asked them as she put down the plate. ‘Well, Lee and I taught that maybe we should go to the village today,’ stated Rob. ‘We did? Oh, we did.’ he agreed to her after receiving a kick from under table from her. ‘Good idea,’ noted Abbie, ‘We are low on food anyway. Why don’t you go to the market while you’re at it and get some stuff. Take Shannon with you, will you?’
As the gang put on their shoes at the door, Abbie came back with three bags and her purse. ‘Here Lee, here’s £20 for the food and £10 for you to go to a tea shop or something after. Be home by seven, won’t you? Now off with ye.’ announced Abbie, ushering them out the door.
‘And what did you want to do in the village,’ burst out Lee looking at her curiously as they walk towards the village’ It’s because of the lad, right?’ ‘Tell me what is going on. You never tell me any of your secrets and I want to know this time.’ demanded Shannon , her hands on her slim hips.’ If you don’t I’ll tell mom how you pretended to be sick a week.’ ‘ Shut up,’ he mumbled giving her the eye.’ You’re just like your brother, Shan. And in a matter of fact, yes’ answered Rob,’ Now we better hurry if we want some time for ourselves. I’ll tell you our ’secret’ on the way Shannon.’
. . .
The market was bustling with life; farmers stood at stalls shouting goods at passing people; a group of friends meeting up at a café; children running and shouting at each other. The sights and smells were nearly overwhelming.
‘Rob we should go over there and maybe meet some new people. Maybe they will know where to find that lad.’ called out Lee to her in the massive crowd. Rob nodded and went to where he pointed. Under the chestnut tree sat a bunch of teenagers just like them. One of them was strumming a guitar; he was dressed in black, skinny jeans and a bright red T-shirt. Next to him a girl in a light-blue dress sat on the ground and hummed the tune. The rest were in different T-shirts and shorts.
‘Are you a rubber-neck or a local?’ asked the girl looking curiously at them. ‘Sorry, what?’ Rob looked at her bewildered. ‘A tourist or a local?’ the girl repeated her question. ‘We live here in the summer,’ Lee stepped out to answer the question. The girl’s eyes glowed at the sight on him. ‘Um, do you know a guy with hair like Robin here and he is about sixteen. He also has icy blue eyes and–’ Robin elbowed her. ‘Shannon!’
‘We do have one like that but why do you think we will tell you where to find him. Shannon, what a lovely name, by the way I’m Kate.’ admitted the girl. ‘This is Nikita,’ she motioned to the boy with the guitar. ‘Sup,’ he said with a smile looking at Rob in a way that she found weird. ‘Its just that he left his boat not far from our home,’ she implied. ‘Oh, well my brother knows him. I could take you to his house,’ offered Nikita looking somewhat hopeful.
‘Oh, that would be great,’ replied Robin. She looked at her friends regretfully at her friends. ‘Sorry guys .Will you wait for me here. Here Lee,’ she said handing him the list, ‘Will you buy what Abbie asked for without me. Thanks, you’re the best,’ she exclaimed as she started to walk after Nikita.
‘So are you here for long,’ he asked her as they walked. ‘We’re here for the summer holidays,’ ‘Would you like to the abandoned castle on the moor with your friends some time?’ announced he. ‘That would be great.’ exclaimed Robin, who never seen a castle in real life, let alone been to one.
‘And here is Wolf’s house,’ Nikita presented her with a big house, three floors defiantly. ‘Who’s house?’ ‘The guy’s that left his boat by your house. His surname is Wolf so everyone calls him that,’ explained Nikita as he rang the doorbell.
It had a pleasant chime but the person who answered didn’t look at all pleasant. It was a man in his thirties, with black hair falling into his eyes (obviously not brushed); he looked tired and angry and had black circles under his eyes.
‘Is your son home? Its just that he left his boat behind on the shore by our house.’ ‘Oh, that’s all. I taught he burned down the school or worse…’ he didn’t finish his sentence as a lanky figure showed up in the hallway. ‘What’s going on?’ he called out of the gloom of the hallway. ‘Nothing but I just found out that you left your boat where someone could have stolen it. Do you know how much it cost me to buy it?’ Mr. Wolf’s voice rose and rose.
The lad quickly ran out the house and in the direction of Robin’s house to retrieve his boat. Mr. Wolf slammed the door shut. Nikita and Robin ran after Wolf. As they neared they saw him pushing his boat to the water and ran down to help him. ‘Thanks kids.’ He puffed in between pushes. ‘You really saved my skin this time. If you didn’t come when you did, I would be lucky to survive with a warning.’
As the boat hit the water, Wolf nimbly jumped into the boat and rowed of to harbor.
. . .
Weeks past and Robin found herself enjoying herself even more then when she came here. She got tanned a little bit and now every day met up with Nikita, Kate, Lee and with Wolf and some of his friends. She now knew the castle on the moor inside out. Wolf showed them the wine cellars under the castle and Kate screamed like mad when she saw a rat.
. . .
Robin finally made up her mind to give Wolf his amulet back. They were on their own she spoke up‘Um… Wolf?’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘I wanted to give back you this. You dropped that time you rowed up your boat at our shore.’ As she spoke she handed him his amulet. His eyes widened at the sight of it. ‘I have one too but mine has a bird engraved onto it instead of a wolf,’ she continued. At this his eyes widened even more. ‘We did you get this?’ his voice hoarse with shock.
‘Oh, this you mean?’ showing him her amulet. ‘I always had it. My mother died in a car crash. I was in the car. Luckily I didn’t even get a scratch. The person that crashed into my mom’s car, they say that he pulled me out of the car and brought me to the orphanage. I was two at the time.’
She looked up at Wolf. He paled then said ‘My mother had the amulet that you’re wearing right now and my father had mine. My mother died in a car crash and had my two year-old baby sister with her. Do you know what that means?’ She looked at him, her eyes wide!
‘It means that we’re brother and sister…’ she whispered, her voice hoarse. They looked at each other, eyes sparkling. They had found each other……..
Nina Dorogaia, 6th Class, Brierhill NS, Castlegar, Galway