Sara, and the other girls and I, were almost to the end of the dark passageway of the nunnery to the outside world when suddenly Heather Green stopped and hissed.
“Someone is coming,” she listened hard.
We all listened and to our complete horror Sister Andrea’s voice could be heard.
“Quickly! Run!” Heather cried as we all started to run down the dark passageway. “Run!”
“What was that?” asked the young woman to Sister Andrea.
Sister Andrea smiled widely back at her, “that my dear, was one of the young women who has escaped with your baby. So they’ve not gone too far ahead of us. Come on.”
The three of them hurried along down the passageway.
“Oh, no!” I cried as the torch I was holding went out.
We stood in darkness now.
“What should we do?” asked Sara, bobbing her baby up and down as it starting crying. “We’ve got to hurry.” The sound of heavy footsteps coming towards us frightened her.
Five minutes later we came to a wooden door and I tried turning the handle but it wouldn’t move. I turned worriedly to the others.
“It won’t open,” I said.
“Move out the way,” said Heather as she came forward and tried opening it herself and it opened after a big push.
Everyone cheered happily as we walked out into the broad daylight. It was cold, it was utterly freezing cold as we started walking fast towards the front gate of the nunnery. We could hear Sister Andrea and the young couple getting closer so we hurried along when suddenly a pack of security guards with big, vicious looking dogs grabbed each of us from behind and started dragging us back inside.
We screamed and tried defending ourselves by kicking and biting but they were too strong and their dogs snapped and snarled at us as well.
Suddenly someone grabbed me from behind covering my mouth with their gloved hand which made my screams muffled. They dragged me back behind a bush and pulled me to the ground so none of the security guards would see us. As soon as the guards left and Sister Andrea, Sister Maria, and the young couple they turned to walk back inside nunnery with the girls.
But I was petrified that Sister Andrea had heard me as she looked around for a moment probably wondering where I had got to. I sighed with relief inside when she followed Sister Maria and the others back inside the nunnery.
I was still petrified though as I didn’t have a clue who had dragged me from behind and what they wanted with me. My body trembled with fright in their arms.
“If I take my hand away from your mouth will you promise not to scream?” they asked me, and it was a man’s voice quite firm, but gentle. I nodded my head fearfully fearing of what he might do if I shook my head and screamed once he took his hand away. He took his hand away and I didn’t scream.
I slowly turned and looked at him. There was something familiar about this young man, didn’t know what though. I tilted my head to the side and looked deeply into his big brown, hazel eyes. Who did I know who had eyes like that? I wondered. When I was fourteen I had my first kiss by a boy with big brown, hazel eyes like that. Jack Pascal. The realisation hit me as my blue eyes widened in surprise at who it was. “Jack? Jack Pascal?” I asked, unbelievably. “Is that really you?”
I took in his broad shoulders, sleek features, thinly dark moustache above his lips that made him look very handsome. He was wearing a dark green army uniform and his black hair was cut short for the army.
Jack grinned. “Hey, Zoe, you’re looking even more beautiful since I last saw you back in Cornwall when we were kids,” he said. He leaned over and quickly gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, still in shock that it was the same Jack Pascal who took me to a diner called Julie’s and we shared our first kiss.
“I fell out with my father over some illegal documents that I found in his study five years ago. I confronted him about it and he threatened that he’d never speak to me again if I took it to the police. I couldn’t handle the kind of pressure so I joined up to the army when I was nineteen. So how about you?” Jack noticed my bump and his eyes widened. “I see you’re going to be a mother soon, so why are you here?” confusion written on his face.
I sighed, “a long story, have you got time?” I asked.
“For you, I have time of the world,” he said, and the way he looked at me made a warm feeling in my breasts. “The reason why I’m here is to rescue you from here and take you to your brother, Gene, who is in an orphanage just five miles from here.”
I threw my arms around him with happiness and kissed him on the lips taking both he and I by surprise.
Jack took my right hand in his and the attraction was still there since we were kids. “You’re welcome, we’d better hurry into my army van before anyone catches us.” I nodded and let him lead me towards a dark blue van. He opened the passenger door for me and helped me inside quickly before going tounf to the driver’s side.
Jack started the engine up and drove away quickly before they discovered I had escaped somehow.
I glanced back over my shoulder at the nunnery, the prison for me, as it came impossible to see now as it was just a speck in the distance. I turned to Jack, “how did you know where to find me? I didn’t tell anyone where I was.”
“I received a letter from your Aunt Isabel a couple of months ago explaining everything that had happened even about you falling in love with your cousin, Devon, who I assumed impregnated you,” Jack quickly took his eyes off the road to look at me. I lowered my head to my chest and choked back the tears rising up from my chest and then turned to look at him.
“Yes, my cousin Devon impregnated me,” I said, sadly.
“Is that why you were sent to the nunnery to have your baby?”
I nodded my head slowly and tears silently rolled down my cheeks. “It’s true. Why did my aunt write to you? I thought she hated me.”
“I think it was because she knew I was a friend of yours from a long time ago and knew I worked in the army nearby that she felt she had to write to me to get you out of there. Maybe she had a guilty conscience of sending you there hit.” Jack explained.
“She sent me there!” I cried incredulously. “I had a feeling it was her. So she and Uncle Herald must of told the authorities about me and Devon.” I shook my head with utter disgust. “That would explain why all these vans showed up and polive came out and took Devon away from me.”
We drove down a hill towards a big, brown building that said, ‘South London Orphanage’, and came to a stop.
Jack and I stepped out of the van and rang the door bell. My heart thumped against my chest in anticipation of seeing my little brother again.
A stout woman in a black dress came to the door with a warm smile, “may I help you,” she said.
I stepped forward towards the opening of the door and nodded smiled at her, “we’ve come to collect my little brother, Gene Smith,” I said in a firmed voice.
A look of confusion crossed over the woman’s face, “brother? We were told by the authorities that he had no family,” she replied.
Jack and I looked at each other with shocked expressions on our faces then turned back to the woman. How could Aunt Isabel and Uncle Herald do that to me? I thought, sadly. How could they tell the authorities that Gene had no relatives?
“Let me see him,” I demanded, I tried to walk past her into the orphanage. But the woman blocked the entrance.
“I’m sorry, miss, but I am not prohibiting to allow anyone in. For I know you could be an ex murderer. Sorry, rules are rules,” she told me in a firm and controlled voice.
“Let me in!” I shrieked in her face. “I have the right to see my own brother!”
“Sorry, mam, good bye,” she said. She was just about to slam the door in our face when Jack held out his army badge to her and she stepped back and let us through. “Wait here,” she told us. “I’ll bring him down,” the woman walked up the stairs and took a left.
I looked all around us there was a long hallway front the front door that led into a couple of bedrooms that had children sleeping in. There were screams of babies crying nearby in a back room. A door opened and nine children came out talking and laughing with a young woman in her late twenties she smiled at Jack and I and we smiled back.
“ZOE!” I heard a voice cry from the top of the stairs.
I returned my attention back to the stairs where my little brother, Gene, stood looking taller and strikingly handsome. I watched as he ran down the stairs and into my opened arms. We held each other tightly. Tears of pure happiness welled up in my blue eyes and then spilled over my cheeks.
“Oh, Gene, my darling Gene,” I said through tears.
“You too, Zoe,” Gene replied. “I’ve missed you so much,” he looked into my eyes and touched my hair. “You’ve cut your hair.”
I smiled, “I had to,” I said, hugging him even tightly.
“Where’s Cousin Devon? Whose that man with you, Zoe?” he questioned, seeing Jack beside me for the first time. His face grew serious.
“Gene, this is a friend of mine called Jack Pascal from when we were kids you were too young to remember him,” I explained. “He rescued me from a horrible nunnery and he’s come with me to rescue you too.” I glanced back and looked at Jack and he winked.
I stood up tall and turned to face the woman, “am I allowed to take my brother now?” I asked in a firm voice.
The woman nodded her head, “yes, but first I must ask you to fill in some documents for you to sign. They’re documents of agreement that all children from here are signed by the couple adopting the child or children and the signatures of the owners of the orphanage.”
I nodded and followed her into a back room which was her small office which had a brown desk filled with clutter and files on it, a cloak stand and an old rocking chair in the corner by the window. The woman placed down in front of me the signing documents of adopting my own brother.
“Sign there, Miss Smith,” she said pointing at the dotted line at the bottom of the document. The woman watched me thoroughly as I signed and grabbed it up and looked at it closely through spectacles and then signed it herself. “Thank you, you are now free to go and take Gene home with you.”
“Thank you,” I said with a smile then walked back out to the front where Jack and Gene were waiting for us. They were giggling to one another as Jack showed Gene how to hold up a imaginary rifle. I walked slowly up to them with a smile on my face. “Hey, guys, let’s go.”
Jack and Gene looked up and smiled.
“Come on then, let’s go,” said Jack.
“Hang on one minute I have to say good bye to Jessica,” Gene said as he walked towards a pretty little girl with red bunches in hair auburn hair. “Good bye, Jessica. It was nice meeting you and hopefully we’ll meet again soon.”
The little girl named Jessica nodded her head tearfully she wiped her nose with the back of her right hand. “Good bye, Gene. It was nice to meet you too,” she said giving him a quick kiss on the lips which surprised him.
“Well, good bye then.”
Gene walked back to Jack and I and we walked out of the orphanage and jumped into Jack’s van and began to drive away with the woman and all of the children waving good bye from open windows and balconies.
As Jack drove us past houses, towns and pretty little country sides, Gene asked a question which had been playing at the back of my mind for a very long time since Jack had rescued me.
“What happened to Cousin Devon, Zoe?”
I glanced nervously at Jack for the answer and his handsome face was darkened by a sad, dark shadow.
“I was going to tell you sooner, Zoe, but, I found out this morning from the police station that Devon was beaten to death by one of his inmates in prison who Devon had unfinished business with,” he said quickly. He turned back to the road as the rain started to come down heavily.
I sat in the passenger seat trembling as tears ran down my cheeks. How could this be? I felt numb all over with shock. How could the love of my life be dead? Be vanished from my life forever with his baby growing inside me. I glanced down at my big stomach and rubbed it gently and thought of Devon and only him. I closed my eyes as I imagined Devon right there beside me keeping me warm in his strong arms and caressing my face with his hands and kisses.
I embraced myself at the thought.