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Grapevine

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The sun was hot on her neck. She felt it tanning her skin. And she listened. To the gulls whom were calling overhead, and the ocean swelling and sinking with the tide. Her name was Josephine. Or Josie. She was partially Hispanic, with tan skin, dark hair, and dark eyes to prove it. She had no last name. She was an orphan.
Right now, she was sitting on the docks dangling her feet over the edge, watching the gulls fly, and the ships way-anchor and sail out to open ocean for a days fishing.
She stood up, her skirt flapping wildly in the wind, and looked up at the gulls again.
They were so free, she thought. Flying high in the sky, free. No rules or restrictions. Soaring in the breeze forever. Not like her. Josie was an orphan, and there for had many rules and restrictions she was supposed to follow. Do what you’re supposed to Josie!

Coming down to the docks unsupervised by an adult was one of the many rules listed in the “absolutely do not do” sections of the list of rules of the Asylum.
You could drown!
She heard the Heads words echoing in her head. But Josie knew there was no chance of her drowning. She could swim like a fish, and knew the docks better than she knew how to breathe. So the Heads words never stopped her from coming down here any way. She turned her gaze to the sun. Judging by its eastern angle it was about ten in the morning, Tuesday May 19 2008, Josie smiled as she said it in her head.
The other younger orphans at the Orphans Asylum thought her skills in knowing the time and date just by the position of the sun, was something magical. Not that she could really tell the date by the sun. That was ridiculous. She just looked at a calendar every morning, so she could stun them later.

After she told the little kids the time by the sun, they would all rush inside to check the clock to see if she was right. And then run back outside screaming that she had got it right. She always was. She started off down the docks. There were many docks, all interconnected, probably fifty of them. The water’s off Maine’s coast where perfect for hunting lobster. So many companies had their big boats and own private docks for lobster. The docks pointed east. On a few of the docks there where loose boards, which once checking the coast was clear, she pried open. She checked again to make sure no one was around then lowered herself down pulling the board back over the hole.

It took a minute for her eyes to get used to the gloom. Under the docks little sunlight entered and you had to know your way around. When the tide was out, under the docks half was dry, and large rocks covered with barnacles normally underwater where revealed. At the point where the docks hit the sand, there were tunnels that led to the sewers. Josie never ventured far into the sewers. It was dangerous, homeless people, and criminals lived there. But under the docks was a haven of paradise. It was her own place, her secret sanctuary.

But today she was not stopping, to crawl about in the rocks looking for shells, sea urchins, or bright orange starfish. Today at the Asylum it was adoption day. How she hated it. When she was small she used to hope and hope that some wonderful young couple would come up to her and exclaim.
“Look darling, at that little girl! Isn’t she just adorable! Oh darling! Lets take her home!” but that had never happened. No one wanted a little Hispanic girl with eyes as blacker than night and hair so dark it almost was black. No, They all wanted small little girls with pretty smiles blond hair and blue eyes. Now she was nine, and she was not a baby, she knew better than to expect a miracle. Miracles came to blond girls, with blue eyes, and little boys who liked sports, and racecars.
So she had given up on it, all the other children her age got adopted. She was the only one ever not to get adopted. Except for one girl, she was ‘bout sixteen, but Josie avoided her. Josie continued down the sand to the far southern point of the docks.

The southern docks were public so she could be seen there with out causing a commotion. The beach was fairly empty. Most people were still in school.
The Asylum did not send its orphans to public school, they were taught by tutors the Head hired.
As Josie left the beach the sounds of the city over came the sounds of the ocean. Down several streets and alleys at the end of thirty first, street, a large grim three-story building sat. The Asylum. A few cars were already parked out front, so she walked around to the back and entered. It was dark and musty in the hall, it smelled of alcohol and other illegal substances that made her feel sick.
She tried to ignore the smells and concentrate on the sounds coming from the playroom. She could hear the younger children playing and adults talking to the Head or to children. She quietly crept down the hall to the stairs. If she was in the building the Head couldn’t accuse her of missing anything.

Once she got to the second level she could climb less quietly here, but still had to be careful. At the top level she stopped turned to the first door to the left. Her room was dark, it was an inner room so it didn’t have a window. It was rather dusty because she hadn’t dusted in three weeks.
By the door there was a closet for clothes and such and a small desk for doing schoolwork. She flopped down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. She could faintly hear the voices of newly found parents talking happily to their new children. She wished she were still at the beach.
Then she heard footsteps outside her door and the Heads voice saying “Josie? There is someone here to see you.”





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