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“Come on dearie, answer the question” whispered the hoarse voice in Angelica’s ear. It was ragged and harsh, and sounded like it had not been used as the lady was old. “Listen to her child. Please answer the question” said the woman in front of her. Her voice was clearly American, but with no hint of a southern drawl or a Bostonian accent. It was as simple as the wood-burning stoves in the kitchen, and yet is was as soft and comforting, and made Angelica feel safe, despite the fact that the lady was clad all in gray. A gray skirt, gray sweater, even gray makeup applied all over her eyelids, and made her eyes seem gray. Even her hair was a silvery color, but there were multiple strands of white hair that her hair dye seemed to have missed.
“Answer the question child. You are a very special girl, and that is why we want you to answer the question truthfully. So that we can get you started on a fulfilling career.” Angelica hesitated. She didn’t want to answer the question, mostly because it seemed to question her wisdom and worth as a human being. As if reading her mind, the old woman with the hoarse voice whispered in her ear “You’re a very special girl, and we would kindly like for you to answer the question. If you don’t, that is insulting us.”
Angelica said slowly “Please repeat the question”.
“Very well child” replied the gray woman, whose fake smile danced on her lips, but never seemed to want to stay there. It seemed to not belong on that face. “The question was: would you rather work with young, uneducated girls about your age in a hot, steamy room for less than minimum wage, or work for minimum wage at a sophisticated facility such as this one.”
“Or”. Angelica replied, with a smile that belonged on her lips appeared. It matched her dark brown, flowing hair and her sea-blue eyes perfectly.
“Do not play games with me, young lady.” replied the stern woman whose smile disappeared. Angelica was very glad it had
“I’m not playing games. You asked a question, I answered.”
“Don’t be fresh with your superior. I asked for you to give me one or the other. There was no room for an answer in between.” Her voice was rising now, and Angelica could see the strict lady’s cheeks become a bit flushed.
“But I don’t want to do either of those, so I replied truthfully, like you asked.” The young girl replied in her smooth, British accent that made her sound like a queen. She carried herself like one too, and the leaders at the orphanage had apparently noticed.
“Take her away Helga” ordered the strict woman, all signs of kindness gone from her face. “Bring in the next one. Maybe she’ll answer correctly.” Angelica was pushed roughly out into the corridor away from the other girls. As she peeked around the corner, Angelica could see a blond girl with flashing green eyes and less than a half a brain being lad into the room. Angelica could hear the hoarse whisper saying “You are very special my child, which is why you were chosen.” Angelica screamed at herself inside, angry that she had allowed herself to actually believe that horrid woman for a moment that she was any better than any other girl at this place. This place was the only home she had ever known ever since her mother had abandoned her when she was two years old. At least, that’s what the leaders told her. She didn’t want to believe them, but had no other choice. Her mother hadn’t come for her the entire eleven years that she had been here, walking through the same squeaky corridors, finding rats’ nests by her pillow or cobwebs with spiders asleep in them on the ceiling corners. Angelica solemnly walked back to her room, not even bothering to look around. If she had, she would’ve become even more depressed. The paint was coming off the walls, as was the wallpaper that had not been removed in some places. Angelica trudged slowly through the hallway, not noticing that the carpet was getting caught on her feet and slowly piling up in front of her. She was thinking about why she could never be adopted, or be special enough for a job with a nice pay. She had shown no signs of having magical abilities. No floating around, no walking when she was three months old. She grew up like a normal girl, well, as normal as an orphan can be. Her mother apparently never talked about her abilities if she had any, and even if her mother had kept it a secret, she would have shown signs in later years, like things exploding around her, or things glowing around her at night.
When Angelica finally reached her room, she saw a little girl, no more than five years old, looking out the window. Only, the window should’ve been about three feet above her head, yet she was looking straight out of it, and standing perfectly still. When kids float, they usually bob up and down, but this girl was perfectly, absolutely still. She seemed to have seen her fill, so she climbed down, or at least, seemed to move her hands and feet as if she WERE climbing down. As soon as both her feet reached the ground, the ladder that she had used appeared. Angelica smiled. This girl was a regular, young magician. Wherever she stepped, that thing would become invisible to everyone except her. The little girl ran out on the invisible floor and out the door, and the floor became visible once more. Angelica then felt a burning anger inside her. That little girl had a future, a happy one, in front of her. Angelica opened her eyes and found herself staring at a patch of ashes on the floor where a part of the rug had once been. She smiled. Being able to create fire was a good feeling.