Finding Her Past

By J.M.W.

::Rated PG (for violence and adult situations)

::Email angelblessingu@hotmail.com

::Disclaimer: This story, the characters and anything else that goes with this story belongs to me except for the poem "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. All rights of the poem belong to their respected owner(s).

::Summary – A young orphan girl is adopted by a strange rich old man and brought to his large estate to become his daughter. In her first few days at Orstra Manor, the young orphan girl finds herself to have a sort of cousin who finds her intriguing… as well as quite attractive.

                    What will happen to this girl? Moreover, what does Orstra Manor have to do with her past and her future?

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                                                                                                        Prologue

            They say April showers bring May flowers but in this case, that saying could never be true. Cold April showers came and flew around Rustcastle—the famous charitably orphan school of England—and beat almost painfully against the many thin glass windows. The children inside huddled into their thin blankets on their lean beds as they listened to the rain fall miraculously down around them.

            Rustcastle was known for its barren fields and dusty uninhabitable ground. The children here did not know grass, green trees or the smell of fresh fruit from apples or pear trees… no, these children lived in a small barren countryside called Rustcastle Hill. Despite the rain, water would do no good to these muddy grounds.

            However, this story is neither about the rain nor Rustcastle itself, it is about a child, a young woman who now dwells in the towering building of Rustcastle Hill. She knows nothing of her past except that she was found in an old cart near a large barn by an old woman out to milk her cows.

            Isabelle Charpon did not know her past or her future...

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                                                                                                     Chapter One         

            That morning the sun did not shine through Isabelle's window to wake her up in time for the morning gathering in the main hall. Her eyes blinked rapidly as she focused her attention on the old cold window. Dark clouds hovered outside, casting a chilly shadow over Isabelle's soul. Suddenly, Isa felt something soft and warm touch her neck. Jerking in alarm, she turned just a little to find Chessly, a fat grey cat with midnight blue eyes staring at her.

            Smiling, Isa reached a hand out from under her off white blanket and carefully petted Chessly on the head, "Good morning, Chess…" She sighed as she observed the cat. He started to purr under her touch and lean his big head against her hand.

            RING…RING…RING…

Eyes popping wide, Isa sat up in bed. 'Oh no!' She quickly jumped out of bed, knocking Chessly to the ground with a thump, ran to her shared dresser, and pulled out her day clothes.

            "I'm going to be in so much trouble," Isa pulled her grey dress over her head before hurriedly tying her brown apron around her waist, "My shoes! Where are my shoes?" Looking around, Isa finally found her thin brown shoes under her bed and slipped them on. Then running to the door, Isa flung it open.

            "Morning, Miss Charpon."

Isa gasped before turning even paler then she already was, "Ah… morning Ms Lattle. I'm sorry! I… I didn't realize how late it was-"

            The old woman frowned at Isabelle, "That will be enough, you will receive a half of an hour in the chamber room during lunch," With that the woman moved out of the doorway, "On your way, Miss Charpon and mind what you do today…"

            Isa bit her lip and bowed her head as she passed Ms Lattle and walked heavyhearted down the hallway towards the stairs. Already, she knew that not only would Ms Lattle give her detention but so would some of the other teachers which would mean that she would have to spend a sure two hours in the chamber room.

            Isa shivered at the idea. She hated that room. It was so dark and cold in there and you couldn't hear a sound, not even mice seemed to come in there because of the deafening silence. She felt alone as it was but she even felt more alone in that small cramped room.

            Turning to go down the stairs, Isa heard the voices of the other children reciting the morning poem for the month.

              "Lives of great men all remind us

               We can make our lives sublime,

               And, departing, leave behind us

               Footprints on the sands of time;

               Footprints, that perhaps another,

               Sailing o'er life's solemn main,

              A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

              Seeing, shall take heart again."

As they continued on to the next verse, Isa hurried down the stairs and as quickly and as invisible as possible, she fell into the fourteen through sixteen-year-old girl's line towards the back. However, as soon as she opened her mouth to recite the last line in the verse Mrs. Crow, who stood in front of all the girls with the poem book in her hand, looked up, saw Isa, and frowned deeply.

            "Learn to labor and to wait."

            With the poem ended, Mrs. Crow cleared her throat, "Miss Charpon, come here."

            Isa swallowed hard and blushed madly as all the children turned to look at her. Biting her bottom lip, she made her way past all the boys and girls to the front. Mrs. Crow looked down on her with a dominating stare, "Turn around and face your classmates."

            Turning, Isa faced them to find them all staring at her in curiosity, wondering what she had done now. Her face turned deathly white before heating up again. Mrs. Crow moved towards the class until she stood just a few feet away from them and a few feet in front and to the side of Isabelle.

            "This girl was late for morning gathering. We have a rule about being late, don't we students?" She asked pointedly.

            The students had no choice but to answer with a "Yes Mrs. Crow" before falling silent again.

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            Isa found herself in the chamber room. She curled her legs up against her chest, trying to keep herself warm. She almost wished Chessly were there to keep her warm and to keep her company. He seemed to be the only friend she had her at the school.

            She seemed so little here in this school. Nobody paid much attention to her; in fact, nobody paid much attention to anyone except themselves, too afraid to make friends. Even though this was a school, it was also an orphanage, where rich adults would come and adopt the children here. Of course, the younger children were the ones usually adopted while the older ones just grew up then sent away.

            Isabelle continued to think it was strange that she didn't remember anything before she was six year old. They told her she was found as a baby then brought here but the earliest memory she had of the school was ten years ago. They told her that she came down with a fever when she was six and that is why she doesn't remember anything before that, however, for some reason she didn't quite believe them. The story never wavered but still deep down she felt there was no truth to it. She couldn't understand the feelings she had when they told her the story… it was like her whole body as well as something in the back of her head told her she was forgetting something very important yet that wasn't it.

'There has got to be some other story… Besides, I don't trust Mrs. Crow. I bet she would tell me anything to keep my mouth shut. Yet I have so many questions. So many "what if" questions. If Mrs. Crow isn't telling the truth then did I really have a family, did they love me, why did they give me up, what happened to them?' I frowned, 'Mrs. Crow said I was a plain girl and could therefore not be loved by anyone. She said if I had pretty blonde curls, bright blue eyes and a nice complexion instead of my strait brown hair and dark green eyes then maybe, she said, someone would adopt me and even love me but I wasn't. She even said my disposition was bad. I don't see how that is though… I've done nothing terribly bad. Although I have to agree with her about not being very pretty.' Isa sighed and bit her lip in thought just as the door suddenly swung open, letting in a burst of light. Isa quickly closed her eyes before trying to blink and readjust them to the intrusion. 'Has it already been an hour?' She was sure it hadn't.

            "Get out, Miss Charpon. Someone is here to adopt." Mrs. Crow stood in the doorway, obviously not happy about this change of events.

            Isa frowned in confusion. She was sure she would not be summoned for such an ordeal… unless… unless this 'someone' was looking to adopt someone in her age group. 'What an idea.'

To be continued…

Authors Notes: Don't forget to read and review! I need to know what you think and if you like it or not to continue. Did it catch your interest or was it another stupid story you came across? Do you want to find out what happends next? Please, all thoughts, sugestions and comments are most welcome!