This story is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination.

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.


A thunder rainy night covered the town of Lotower as the old rusty train arrived at the train station. A young man hurryingly exited the train. Surprisingly he was the only one who needed to get off the train.

He moved under the shelter to hide from the rain. His posture was decent-looking, but his body seemed slim. He had large brown eyes, long eyebrows, and deep black messy hair, along with full heart-shaped lips and a nose of decent size. It was all accompanied by a pale complexion.

The clothes he wore were dirty, consisting of a long coat, and boots that had seen better days. He had no hat on his head and he was holding one small suitcase in his left arm. In his right hand was a wrinkled paper with an address written on it.

By the looks of it, he had no other option but to make his way over there since no one was waiting or even coming to pick him up. He let out a sigh and made his way out of the station. The streets seemed cold and misty.

Full of dark strangers, who seemed interested in his new familiar face passing by them. He finally approached the said address: “Paul M. Stewart’s Orphan Asylum”

The house seemed large, made out of stone. The young man reluctantly knocked on the wood. After a few louder knocks the door has finally opened. A man deep in his 40s answered the door.

He asked, “Good evening! What may you need?”

Instead of an answer, the boy handed him the given address. The man jumped in surprise. He took the piece of paper and fixed his glasses while reading it.

Once he was done, he raised his head up and looked at the child, wondering, “Oh… is it today?”

“Yes, Sir!” the boy spontaneously responded.

“Come inside.”

The youngster has finally stepped inside away from the cold and rain. The house seemed warm enough and while drops of rain still were falling down his clothes and suitcase, he was led to the office of Paul M. Stewart.

“Name?” demanded the man as soon as he sat down on the chair.

“Ellis Cole,” responded the boy while still standing up.

“Born… 1st of March 1884… Age: 16?” assumed Mr. Stewart while looking over some documents.  He looked up at the boy, expecting a confirmation.

“Yes, Sir.”

The moment of silence appeared. The sound of a crackling fire in the fireplace, along with the sound of papers the director was going through. Ellis could smell the wood burning along with ash coming from the fireplace. He tried his hardest not to look at the source of warmth.

“You get a list of duties to do each day,” said Mr. Stewart, lazily looking up at the boy for another confirmation, “Understand?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“If you don’t work, don’t expect to eat. Understood?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Do you know any household chores?”

“No, Sir!”

“Are you ready to learn?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Then that’s settled.”

Reason of the Fire

The strong stillness was suddenly heard in the room. Ellis’s dead cold expression didn’t put Mr. Stewart at ease.

By simply clearing his throat, Mr. Stewart took a look at the dates and concluded, “Tomorrow we shall discuss your potential education courses. Keep in mind – you can only stay here until next March.”

“Alright Sir,” agreed Ellis, although with a bit of hesitation.

Mr. Stewart titled his head with a slight curiously overcoming him. He paused for a moment before stating, “You aren’t very talkative, aren’t you?”

“No, Sir!”

Mr. Stewart looked at the boy in silence and softly demanded, “Ellis, sit down.”

The teen quickly did as told. The wooden chair was partly uncomfortable to sit on, but Ellis didn’t seem to mind. Mr. Stewart proceeded to ask, “Will you be joining the military?”

Ellis’s defenses were pulled out by such direct questions. Instead of an answer, he made a long pause with unbreakable eye contact before asking, “Why?”

“Because of your yes sir, no sir type of talk,” answered Mr. Stewart, but due to the boy’s unresponsiveness, he felt the need to add, “Forgive me for getting the wrong idea.”

“Forgiveness is given in churches,” responded Ellis, not breaking eye contact and keeping the stony facade.

Such an attitude coming from the boy didn’t impress Mr. Stewart.

“Confirm for me…” demanded Mr. Stewart, in a bit harsher tone, “Why did you get transferred here?”

There was a slight change in the boy’s expression. His eyes widened a little and he let out a soft sigh. He managed to quickly pull himself together and quickly answer, “The last Orphanage I was in got burnt down.”

“How so?”

“Lighting struck it. It was a stormy night.”

“You’re the only one who survived, huh?”

Ellis’s stare lowered as he allowed for the painful memories to play out in his head.

He somehow managed to keep himself collected as he gave a direct answer, “Me, along with five other kids. I was the only one assigned here because of my age.”

“Oh, I hope you’re aware this isn’t the only reason why you’re here…”

Ellis returned his stare back to Mr. Stewart, this time the boy’s expression seemed sharper and his eyebrows narrowed down.

Mr. Stewart was stuck in his own thoughts for moment, not excepting Ellis’s dismissive comment, “It surely isn’t!”

“Oh, you sure are friendly!” said Mr. Stewart with a wide smile.

Ellis started to prefer the sound of wood burning than the voice of Mr. Stewart. He just stared back at the older man, not saying a word. It started to appear how he was enjoying the painful silence.

“Do you not want to talk much because you plan to burn this Orphanage down as well?”

A spark lit up in Ellis’s eyes, his perfectly kept facade crumbled for a moment. He leaned towards the man, almost closing the tight space between them.

He wasn’t holding back any pain or anger as he confidently stated, “The fire had nothing to do with me!”

“Calm down…” responded Mr. Stewart, raising his both hands up as if he was surrendering, “Don’t get provoked, instead pay closer attention to your words.”

Hearing the light-hearted tone of Mr. Stewart’s words made Ellis cursed himself from the inside for overreacting. He leaned back in his previous position, looking at the floor remorsefully.

In order to light up the mood a bit, Mr. Stewart put the papers down.

He let the emotions to settle down for a moment and proceeded to warmly say, “Consider yourself welcomed in here, Ellis Cole.”

To be continued…



Fotografija: Luka Voyk