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No Running in the Hallways

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What have I gotten myself into?

Being seventeen, I am old enough to run an orphanage, at least in my town. I don't want to be taking care of whiny little children, whether they have parents or not. But you earn a decent amount of money, and I really need to pay off my student loan.

I enter through the orphanage doors annoyed and slightly tired. After all, I need to start this job by seven in the morning. I see all kinds of little children roaming around and chatting, and I immediately regret my decision. But one thing I found funny is that no one was running. Usually, these institutions have the kids racing around. I rush to the little office the place provided for me, and a little girl dressed in white taps my shoulder.

"No running in the hallways, Miss."

I walk as quickly as I can to the office, and I contemplate what just happened. All the orphans are wearing a uniform. White shirts and blue plaid skirts/pants. This girl had a completely white robe on. I stay for the night, falling asleep in a chair. The next morning, I wake to children screaming.

Jeez! I think these children can do anything but run in the corridor. Oh, no. I was supposed to serve them breakfast. I sprint to the kitchen, and the same little girl from last night meets me there.

"It's okay, Miss. I made them breakfast. But you can't run in the hallways."

I glance to my right. All of the orphans are eating plates stacked high with eggs and bacon. I ask them who made them breakfast.

"The lady in white did. She was nice," all of them answer in perfect unison.

I am now freaked out. I just relax, brush it off, and the days still go by slowly, as so hours seem like days. However, it was noon before I knew it. I look at the clock, and the bell rings. Lunchtime. I suddenly got an urge to go to the bathroom. I guess all of the urine must have shifted when I stood up. I hurry to the bathroom, not paying attention to the details until I was in the stall. As I go to wash my hands, I realize something.

"That doesn't count as running, right?" I ask myself aloud.

I look up and there were the words on the mirror, written in what I assumed to be blood.

"You can't run in the hallways."

I silently facepalm myself. I speed-walk to the kitchen to make lunch for the children. Don't want what happened at breakfast to repeat itself. As I chop up carrots and beef, I hear footsteps, like someone was running. "No running in the hallways" are the words that come to mind. Another voice pops up in my head that wasn't mine.

"It's a rule, dear. Rules are meant to be followed, and not broken. Otherwise, there will be punishments." I'm getting a little annoyed with this. Just a little.

"Miss! When is my lunch gonna be done? I'm starving," one boy whined.


"Don't worry! I'll be done soon."

Some kids.

Chopping faster, I think about when I'll be off this job. It hits me. I'll be back in my college in...three months. Ugh. I scoop up my tiny pieces of food and drop them into the pot of boiling water in front of me. I dash to the pantry to get a spoon, and the orphans scold me.

"I thought you knew that you can't run. It's a rule that must not be broken. Headmistress told us so."

I'm sick of this shit. I walk over with bowls of stew and hand them to the children. I instantly go to my office after doing it. When supper comes, I am too tired, probably from the stress the job put me under. I don't care the how creepy it will be when that girl in white serves the orphans dinner. I am exhausted.

The next few days were basically the same story. Be punctual, don't run, and always be kind to the kids. That last one was just an extra safety measure. I always end up in the same position as the first night, though. Worn out. Right now, I am, too. I yawn and drift into sleep moments later.

That night I had a dream. Well, it was more of a nightmare, actually. There were bloody ropes, knives and all that cliche stuff. But one thing really set me off. That same girl in white smiled at me in the middle of all that mess.

"Mother doesn't like it when you run in the corridor. She says there will be consequences when rules are broken," she said.

I wake up in a cold sweat. I have got to get out of this place. I don't care if I'm not supposed to run. I sprint and sprint until I'm at the orphanage doors. Then I realize something. This girl, at the orphanage, must be an orphan. She doesn't have parents. Her mother-

A soft voice cuts off my thinking. A voice like the girl in white.

"I told you that she doesn't like it when you run. It gives you a chance to escape, and my mother, the Headmistress, doesn't want you to."

I look up and the girl in white is standing with someone. I guess it's her mom. She looks normal, like how a middle-aged woman should look like. And I should've kept my big mouth shut.

Her figure contorts into what I imagined a spawn of the devil would look like. Her teeth grew into fangs, and her fingernails became talons. A demonic voice speaks.

"Didn't my daughter tell you? No running in the hallways!"

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