Thankyou to the two people that reviewed. Please, I ask you now, if you read this story, tell me what you think. Tell me your past experiences, how you would feel, etc. Like I say, this is towards an on-going project, and i could really use your help.

Now, this is a very short chapter, I'm afraid. I havent managed to get my beta reader read it in time before i wanted to upload something, so a few last minute helping hints and corrections has been provied by Angel of Lightness and Dark Puck, so thanks to them. If you read this and come across a mistake, please let me know; I do try my best to get them, but noones perfect.


One Week Prior:

Natalie sat on the edge of the large carpeted block and watched on. In front of her was metre of red carpet before the floor became wooden, visible behind the two metre gap in the low black barrier. Just beyond that, dozens of people glided in one large circuit, all having fun, all except her.

She had just arrived at Colchester rollerblade rink with her best friend. After hiring the roller blades they had set off together on the rink, but after once round the rink, Natalie had diverted herself off to the side and into the resting area. She now had a large graze and several more bruises down her side, as she hadn't realised how much the carpet didn't slow a speeding rollerblader down. She had hit the side of the hard block in an thwarted attempt to control herself, her momentum pulling her round as she struggled to hold on, the side of the block grating against her skin as she was swung to the ground.

She now sat alone, a dull, fire like pain burning all the way up her side, watching the others have fun.

She wondered if this is what it felt like to be an orphan. To have no parents left, and be stuck in a small, cramped orphanage. On the way in, Natalie had seen a minibus belonging to an orphanage parking. Colchester orphanage and adoption home. She wondered for a moment if any of those kids were here, on the rink.

Scanning the area, she saw a group of seven kids enter the rollerblading area, two adults busily shouting last minute instructions as the others raced towards the rink. Only one boy stopped to listen to them, a tall Asian young man. The others just pushed past him as though he wasn't there. He checked his watch before looking at one of the adults, hoping to get some sign of approval or thanks. He got neither. They just rolled their eyes and ignored him, seating themselves at the roller-blade café.

Natalie watched as his shoulders slumped in defeat, a little sigh escaping his lips as his eyes sadly gazed round. For a moment, his eyes caught hers and locked, a silent understanding going between them before the gaze was prematurely broken. One of the boy's party had come speeding off the rink straight into him, knocking the Asian boy down. He struggled for a few minutes to get up, only finally succeeding with the help given by only the rink barrier.

The rink assistants rollerbladed on, indifferent.

The grown ups were still chatting to each other, oblivious.

Natalie's head suddenly snapped round to where Vicky, her best friend, had just glided across to her, coming to a graceful stop just in front of the block.

"Come on, Natalie! We're here to have some fun, and I'm going to ensure you get it!" And with that, Vicky dragged her back onto the rink.


Natalie groggily approached the breakfast table the next morning, still half asleep. She had found it incredibly difficult to sleep, as she couldn't lie in her preferred position, her side, due to the still aching graze and bruises. When she did finally sleep, it was fitful and restless, and she awoke with a full-blown headache. She hoped it would disappear after some food.

Natalie grabbed a bowl and shook some cheap rice-Krispies and milk into it, before taking her place at the table. Glancing at the local newspaper held firmly in her dad's hand, she began to raise a spoon to her mouth before she stopped dead, looking at the headline. She began to read the following article, despair creeping into her gestures.

MINIBUS CRASHES, KILLING 7 KIDS

Two adults and seven children are dead after their minibus crashed on the M9 Motorway.

And there, just below the headline, was the mangled remains of a minibus, the letters 'Colchester orphanage and adoption home' clearly written on its side.


"What's it like, being an orphan?"

"For me, it's like being a ghost."