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The young brunette shook her head wildly as she popped the last p, dancing like a mad girl in her room, sheets in her hands as she changed her bed. The eleven year old had always had a soft spot for James Brown, despite her keeper, whom insisted upon her calling her Mama, highly disapproving of such a depraved kind of music.
In retrospect that might have been why the young girl enjoyed it quite so much, amongst other kind of "sinful" music.
This word actually happened to be one of her tutor's favourite when it came to her, or her younger brother for that matters. Though depraved or demonical were close seconds.
She was used to it by now though, only a small sting on her already gaping heart. She barely remembered her parents. She and her brother had been left in Silas Institute when she had been four, and her brother barely a babe. All she had left from them was a cheap old necklace that wrote "You'll always be loved". The young brunette had learnt to take it as a joke though, rather than cry whenever the weight of it became too much around her frail neck. She was snapped out of her musing by a sharp knock on her door, and someone barging in. The "dean" walked into her room, her eyes narrowed in thinly veiled disgust at the girl in front of her:
_Carmilla", She snapped, the young girl immediately dropped her sheets and turned around to face the giant woman in front of her, head down, hands squeezed in front of her, fear raising her every hair, "Stop wriggling your hands, it's not becoming of a lady,"
_Yes Ms." Carmilla blenched at the sharp glare the Dean aimed at her, "Yes Mama"
She tried her best not to react when the woman stepped closer to her, but couldn't help the start and squeak when she felt a hand smooth her short hair:
_Ttt, girl, there is nothing to fear, so long as you follow the rules here, yes ?"
She whispered, trying her best not to shake:
_Good…" The hand that had previously stroking her soft curls, just as she started relaxing into the touch, suddenly closed on it with an iron fist. She shrieked in pain and surprise, "then why did I hear that disgusting music coming from the dormitory again ?"
The cold voice remained perfectly even as the older woman dragged her across the room, toward a small door tucked into a corner:
_I'm sorry Mama, it came on the radio, I forgot !", She pleaded, holding onto her mother's arm not to fall, "I'm sorry Mama, I'm sorry please !"
She was met with an uninterested silence as the older woman fished the keys in her pocket, and jerked the small door open:
_You know I do this for your own good, child," She stammered for the countless time as she shoved the small child in the minuscule closet, "Stop crying like that Carmilla, you know perfectly well it won't help," Try as she may, Carmilla was utterly unable to stop the pleas and cries that hurled out of her closing throat, "Now then, I'll fetch you when I deem you've had enough time to reflect on your action"
_Mama PLEASE !"
She screamed. A cruel snarl curled her mother's lip, right before the door was slammed lock on her, leaving her in complete darkness.
Her eyes were pried open by a violent stream of light:
_Ttt, what have you done to yourself girl, how do you expect to attract a family with such hands." Carmilla opened her eyes, her keeper the first thing she saw. She remained perfectly still, still hazy from the restless slumber she had fallen into. "I had to have you locked while the families came, all of that because you could not behave for one day,"
Family day. Carmilla slowly came out of her daze. If family day had passed, she had been in there for more than 24 hours… She heavily blinked as the dean moved away from the door, letting harsh light flood the tiny space she was in:
_Take care of that Perry would you ?"
The voice snapped abruptly as it walked away. The young girl was startled awake once more as she shrank away from a hand reaching for her shoulder:
_Ssshhh, Carm sweetie, it's just me,"
An oh so soft voice resounded in the tiny closet:
She asked, voice raw and broken from screaming:
_Yes my darling, it's just me," The voice wavered with unshed tears, "Come here, chicken,"
The small girl stretched out her arms, too weak to even consider any other movement:
She cried out as a warm pair of arms lifted her from her cage:
_Sssshh my love, come here,"
She wrapped her arms around Perry's neck, burying her head in the fire-kissed locks, and cried. Soft sobs squeezing out of her meagre chest. She barely noticed she was being moved, too wrapped up in Perry's warmth, Perry's kindness, Perry's soft words echoing haphazardly in her exhausted mind. She practically fell apart when the governess pulled away from her:
_No, baby I will be right back, I promise," The young red head cooed, her hand softly soothing Carmilla's raven curls, "Here drink this, it'll make you feel better"
The young girl zeroed in on the glass of milk, downing it in seconds. She gently put it down, but snapped around at a small snort, and narrowed her eyes as she recognised her baby brother:
_Nothing" he casually strolled in closer, grabbing a towel lying around on his way, "You just have the biggest milkstache of all time,"
He giggled as he handed her the towel, she quickly dried it, hiding her furious blush behind the towel as she grumbled under her breath. All trace of mockery, though, suddenly vanished on her brother's face as he stalked up to her and grabbed her hands. She jerked them back, surprised, before hiding them behind her back, glaring at her brother. He stared at her in pure horror though, and looked back down at the towel, now dotted with red stains:
_Carm, what happened to your hands ?"
She grinded her jaw and looked away:
_Nothing you need to worry about, Will," She snapped, but looked back at her brother. Her features softened immediately at the worry clearly swarming her brother's face, "I'll be fine ok ? I promise,"
Perry came back before the small boy could add anything:
_William, go to your room darling, it's almost time for lunch, I'll come and get you when it's ready, ok ?"
Will gazed at her hesitantly before nodding and quietly walking, but not before throwing one last look at his sister. He there and then decided he needed to do anything he could to get his sister out. He might be young. But William was far from an idiot. He noticed the way his adored sister shied away from touch, the way she tried to hide her puffy red eyes, the way she never walked quite easily, as if she was always in pain. He didn't know why, or how, but his sister was hurt, and he needed to make it stop. So he decided to say so to Perry the next time he saw her. Barely half an hour later:
_Miss Perry," The red head turned around as the small six year old tugged on her dress, "My sister was hurt, wasn't she ?"
He asked, although he already knew the answer to his question. The older woman looked like she was on the verge of denying, but saw the way the boy gazed at her, there was no lying to this one. So she didn't, and instead knelt down in front of him, holding his waist:
_Yes, sweetie, she was,"
She gazed at him, racking her head for an answer. None came:
_I don't know…"
She lowered her head, not wanted the small boy to notice the tears in her eyes threatening to spill. He didn't though, as he wrapped his small arms around her neck:
_It's ok Miss Perry, I know it's not your fault,"
She barely held a sob at how broken this tiny boy already sounded:
_Thank you William, that means a lot,"
She managed to whisper, as she held him close to her, hiding her tears in his neck. He eventually pulled back, looking more serious than any six year old should ever be:
_It needs to stop though,"
_Yes darling it does," She couldn't help a small smile at how determined the boy seemed, "But something already tells me you have an idea for that ?"
He nodded, his hands idly playing with her hair as he looked at the ground, deep in thought. The red head calmly waited for him to organise his ideas:
_There was this very nice family I met today, they wanted to adopt, but only a little girl," Perry nodded, scared to understand what the boy was getting at, "Maybe they could take Carmilla with them next time ?"
Perry's eyes fell close as she tried to hold back a snarl, not at the wonder of a child in front of her, but at the woman which had forced him to be thinking about willingly getting separated from his sister, if it meant sparing her some pain:
_She would never go without you, darling,"
_What if I made her hate me ?"
He asked with such innocence, it made her heart swell with both boundless love for this child, and boundless hatred at the "Dean". She looked back down at him, and gently stroke his cheek:
_She could never hate you, chicken, she loves you too much," The small boy deflated like a balloon, tears spilling from is bright blue eyes, so different from his sister's pitch black ones:
_But it needs to stop,"
He managed in a tight sob, gazing at Perry pleadingly. She set her jaw, before roughly rubbing his arms, and stood up, grabbing his hands and leading him toward the kitchen:
_You know what Willy, next time family day comes around, you show me that family, I'll have a word with them, yeah ?"
She looked down at the boy next to her, and chuckled as he beamed at her, grabbing her leg and arm with both hands.
Carmilla came to lunch that day, her hands wrapped in pearly white gauze, her jaw set firmly, looking straight in front of her, promising herself she would never again scrape her hands raw from clawing at the door, that she would never screaming her voice hoarse from begging at her tutor, or anyone else.
The promise crumbled in her chest as her eyes fell on the Dean's sharp blue eyes, like two ice picks piercing her chest open, inhabiting her nightmares daily… She knew, intimately knew, that if it came down to it, she would do the exact same thing all over again. Because she was weak, and she was bad. Like a wine stain on a pristine cloth. Only salt, blood and sweat can scrap it off.
She sat down at her table, and waited for the dish to be passed on to her. Her eyes closed tightly as she prayed, prayed relentlessly for her brother never to be bad like she was…