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Finding One's Place

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It was a normal day for Harriet as she prepared lunch for Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. She was small for her age of six due to the lack of nourishment from Aunt and the constant abuse from Uncle. As she set the table for them she felt a slight feeling of disgust towards her ‘family’. Harriet had learned at an early age that what she did for them was not something a child, like her, was supposed to do. They never made Cousin do anything around the house and they constantly punished her whenever she made a mistake, whether it was normal or of the freakish nature. She hated the thought of being made to stay here while Cousin was allowed to go to school and learn. That was why she had taken it upon herself to learn all she could from the dusty books around the house. A sharp hiss of girl broke her out of her thoughts as Aunt came into view.

“Hurry up and bring the dishes here,” came Aunt’s order.

“Yes, ma’ ma,” Harriet softly replied making sure she was looking down.

She once made the mistake of looking at them in the eyes and that caused her a world of pain and weeks without food. Harriet was soon sent back into the kitchen with a small loaf of bread and a bottle of water. It was at these times when she would think about someone who would love and care about her. Someone who would take her away from here, who would bring justice to what she had suffered at the hands of Aunt and Uncle. It was this hope that kept her going each day.

When they were finished she gathered the plates and began to wash them. It was when she was done with her chore that she silently crept back to her cupboard under the stairs when she heard Aunt and Uncle’s harsh whispers.

“Dear, the freak has stayed long enough it has to go before it gets worse,” Uncle was harshly saying.

“We can’t you know if we could, I would have let you taken her years ago! If her kind finds out they hunt us down!”

“We’ll move! They won’t find us, dear.” Uncle tried to pacify Aunt.

“No, you don’t understand Vernon the freaks can use magic! They’ll find us we won’t be able to get away,” Aunt’s voice steady rosed as panic gripped her.

Harriet let out a small gasp. Magic was real. She wasn’t a freak after all, and there were others like her. Harriet couldn’t help herself as she let out a small hop of joy.

“Hush dear,” Uncle no Vernon whispered to Aunt. This caused Harriet to freeze. She turned around and saw Vernon’s bulky figure looming in the doorway.

“Freak.” He spat at her. Harriet quickly opened the door to her cupboard and rushed in as Vernon lurched forward.

“Get back here! You think we wouldn’t notice you creeping around! After everything, we’ve done for you! You ungrateful brat!” He yelled as he reached forward and yanked her back out.

“Please don’t hurt me, I’ll be good! I won’t do magic!” Harriet pleaded to him but it only made him more furious.

“You dare speak that word in my home!” Vernon yelled as he took off his belt and started to beat her. Harriet tried to escape but he held her arm in an iron grip.

“Please! Please! Stop!” Harriet continued to say as he let her arm go and preceded to kick her.

Harriet huddled into herself, she just wanted to be safe and loved that’s all she ever wanted. She desperately wished to be anywhere but here, anywhere safe. Her magic responded as it pooled around her like liquid shadows encasing her body in a soft glow. Harriet could faintly hear the screams of panic from Vernon and Aunt but she didn’t care anymore, she was just so tired now. Suddenly she could no longer feel the hard floor underneath her anymore instead it was replaced with soft grass. A shadow quickly blocked some light as it stood in front of her as she slowly slipped out of consciousness.

Tom wasn’t expecting much from today. He quickly did his chores and took out the book he started reading last night out to the back of the orphanage to sit under his favorite tree. It was far away enough that the other kids wouldn’t come out here and the best part was that it was hidden from view. It was here when Tom heard screams and whispers of please and stop. He quickly brought his head up and looked around trying to locate where the voice was coming from when he spotted a mass of shadows emerging from the ground in front of him. Tom rapidly scuttled backward hitting his back on the tree. When the shadows faded they revealed a young girl with dark hair who looked no older than four. Her body was covered in bruises both fresh and old. Tom rushed over, heart hammering in his chest, and gently lifted her into his arms. He ran back to the orphanage and as he shouldered his way through the doors. He let out a strangled scream of help. I seriously need to run more, he thought to himself.

“What is the meaning of this!” Mrs. Cole, the matron, demanded as she appeared from her office.

“I..ah.. found her.. out in the trees.. like this I brought her as quickly as I could,” Tom huffed out. The matron looked at Tom carefully and saw the girl in his arms.

“Bring her in here.” She said as led him into the sick room. Once in there, Tom was directed to lay the girl on to a bed. A nurse rushed in and started to look her over. Tom unwilling to leave stood out of the way. After a while, the nurse turned to Mrs. Cole.

“She seems to be heavily abused and is suffering from severe malnutrition. Right now it seems that she just overexerted herself. A bit of rest and she should be up and about. I do suggest to feed her more if you can spare any food,”

“Thank you, Mrs. Hill, that will be all,” Mrs. Cole replied. Once the nurse had left Tom crept out from where he was and stood beside the mysterious girl’s bed.

“Tom,” was Mrs. Cole’s warning.

“Will she be staying here now?” Tom asked instead. The matron sighed. “Until she wakes up I’ll decide what to do about her,”

“She’s going to stay in my room if she stays won’t she?” He asked Mrs. Cole.

“If she must.” Was her response as she left the room.

Tom settled down at the girl's bed as the door closed behind him. Now that it was calm Tom was able to take in the girl’s looks better. She had wavy dark hair that had a red tint in the light, that framed her heart-shaped face, which came a little below her shoulders. Her pale skin was tarnished with different shades of purple and red in varying sizes but what made his heart clench was how small she was. She was exceeding thin and looked like a breeze could take her away. Upon her forehead, Tom noticed a faint lightning bolt-shaped scar but otherwise he did not see anything much worse. He brushed his hand through her hair and marveled at how smooth it felt. Tom knew she was like him. No normal human was able to do what she did.

“I swear I’m going to protect you,” he whispered to her. I swear it. Tom was going to do everything in his power to protect and care for her and nobody was going to stand in his way. She was after all his now.