The next morning I woke up to the sound of heavy rain falling down on the roof of the shed. I opened my eyes. The others where still sleeping. I got up, bumped my head softly and looked out of the rainy window. It seemed to be coming down badly.
‘Is it raining?’ Lilly asked me and she yawned. I nodded. She got up and came to stand next to me to look out the window. She growled.
‘What are you guys doing?’ Julia had woken up as well now and rubbed her eyes.
‘It’s raining.’ I said. She got up and squished herself in-between Lilly and me to see out of the window.
‘Not good.’ she said and she rubbed her eyes again. ‘I’m not going out in that.’ Lilly said and pressed her index finger against the glass.
‘No, we aren’t. It’ll soak us and we’ll all be sick in a few hours.’ I agreed.
‘Fine by me.’ Julia said and went back to lie down on the ground and sleep again.
‘It really is a gift.’ Lilly said while we both stood there and watched Julia fall asleep again almost immediately. I nodded. We both sat down again as well. I opened my bag and got out some food to eat. Lilly joined me.
We sat together and watched Julia sleep while we slowly ate. I tried to chew as much as possible on the little food I had until all the taste had gone and it was nothing more than mush. When we were done eating I softly poked Julia to wake her. She wasn’t all to happy about it but when I offered her some food she accepted and became quiet soon enough.
We spend the day playing some games we used to play at the orphanage to keep ourselves entertained when we were bored. Several times I got up to look out of the old window just to see that it was raining just as hard as before. When the sun started to go down it was still raining outside.
‘Maybe tomorrow will be better.’ Julia said hopefully while everyone was eating. I really hoped she was right.
The next day was even worse. The shed even started to leak a little at some places so we placed some empty buckets underneath it.
‘Try to look at it from the bright side,’ Julia said, ‘no one will go out in this weather so no one will find us here, and we’ll have fresh water at the end of the day.’ she pointed at the bucket. After dinner I decided it was time to say something sensible.
‘We can’t stay here forever.’
‘We won’t.’ Lilly said while still chewing a piece of bread.
‘I know, but what if it will rain the entire week? What then? We only have enough food for maybe two more days?’ I said looking into our bags.
‘We can’t stay here, we’ll starve. We have to do something.’
‘But what?’ Julia asked scared. I sighed.
‘I have been thinking.’ I said. ‘And now before you say anything, you’ll let me talk through the whole story, okay?’ They both nodded. ‘I have been thinking,’ I repeated, ‘what if Julia is right?’ They both looked at me with a frown. ‘What if there are nice people in there? Maybe they will give us shelter instead of sending us back. And maybe they won’t. Either way, we don’t know what the forecast will be and maybe it will rain for another week, we just don’t know. But we certainly can’t stay here. So I suggest, I will go to the house and see what I’ll find.’ Lilly opened her mouth but before she could say something I continued.
‘I’ve given it quite some thought and have figured there are several outcomes. The best will be that they will be nice and let me stay. I will tell them about you and they will agree to let you stay as well and I will come to get you. The worst will be that they will lock me up ‘till someone from the orphanage comes to get me. But if that is to happen, it’ll be only me and you guys will be safe and know not to go to the house. You will also have more food left to eat. The other outcome is that they will just send me away and I will just come back here again like nothing happened, but then at least we would’ve tried.
‘No,’ Julia insisted. ‘No you’re not going to that house. I was foolish to think that there are nice people there. You where right about what you said, and now you all of a sudden want to go there? No! Just no,’ Julia’s face was angry but scared.
‘Julia, look at the food we have left. I don’t like it either but I think she might be right. We have barely enough food left for another day and we have to think of something,’ Lilly agreed.
‘So we have three options?’ Julia had gotten up and she clenched both her fists. ‘We either starve in here, the three of us. We go out there tomorrow and we all get sick and die. Or one of us leaves and goes to the house with no idea of how that will end for us! Have you guys ever thought there might be another option? Like it might not rain anymore tomorrow?!’ Julia was shaking. I slowly got up. I knew what this was all about.
‘Jules, I know we promised not to leave each other and that we would always stay together, and I want to keep that promise as much as you do. But Lilly and I also promised to keep you safe when we took you with us,’
‘I made that choice myself!’ Julia almost shouted.
‘Yes I know, but we asked you to come along. I know you are old enough to make your own choices but that does not mean they are always right and that we won’t protect you anymore.’
Julia’s eyes glistened with tears. She didn’t know what exactly to say except for the fact that she didn’t wanted me to leave. I stroked her beautiful blonde hair for a moment.
‘Let’s make a deal then okay? If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, or if it’s raining even just a little less hard than today, I swear I won’t go. But if it is just as bad or worse, I will. I will do anything to keep you guys safe.’ I looked at Lilly, who was still seated on the ground. She nodded shortly. I turned and focused myself on Julia again. Julia bit her lip and pressed her eyes closed causing several tears to run down her face. I knew she was thinking of every other possible option for us three to survive and stay together, but apparently she found nothing because eventually she opened her eyes and hung her head with a soft nod.
‘Now then, let’s all get some sleep and hope tomorrow brings a better day for us.’ I said. We all lay ourselves down on the damp, hard floor. I turned my back to the girls. I didn’t want to see Julia cry anymore.
It would be for the best. I couldn’t let them die or get sent back as well. They wouldn’t survive the wrath of the Witch if we were to be sent back to her. They deserved a free life. Lilly was smart and cunning, she would take care of Julia for me. They would make it together in the big city.
The next morning I woke up early. I kept my eyes closed for a while because I did not wanted to see what fate would have me do today. But my ears had already spoiled the surprise for me. I opened my eyes and got up to look out the window where I found a sight that my ears already had revealed to me. It was still raining, and as impossible as it may have seemed the day before, it had gotten even worse. I sat down again. Lilly and Julia still lay curled up on the ground together. I had a short inner argument on whether I wanted to wake them up. I decided to only wake up Lilly.
‘Lilly?’ I whispered in her ear and poked her cheek. ‘Lil?’ Lilly turned her back to Julia and opened her eyes.
‘What?’ she said. ‘Is it still raining?’ I nodded. Lilly sighed and closed her eyes for a second. ‘Okay’ she said. She wanted to get up but I pushed her down again.
‘No stay. I don’t want to wake up Julia.’ I whispered. Lilly looked over her shoulder.
‘But,’ she whispered.
‘Yes I know. But it’s just too hard. Please make sure she knows that I love her.’ I said. My voice sounded raspy. Lilly nodded.
‘If I’m not back by tomorrow morning you should leave. Don’t hesitate for a second okay? I will be fine. Head for the nearest city and don’t hide near any houses until you get there. They might inform the other people that live there.’ I told her. Lilly nodded again. I looked at Julia one last time.
‘Don’t worry, I’l take good care of her.’ Lilly ensured me. I nodded. We looked at each other for a few seconds and in my mind I hugged her strongly. I took a deep breath and got up. I knew my backpack was still in the corner of the shed but I turned around to the door. I didn’t need it anymore anyways. I opened the door and slit through quietly, knowing that Lilly’s eyes where still following me. I closed it again and felt the rain rush down on me. I took another look at the house. It was huge and looked a bit scary from here in the rain.
“Alright then,” I said to myself, “let’s see whats inside” and I started running.