Fake Smile

By Richard

The night was peaceful, the trees swayed along in the wind, the stars gleamed in the sky, each one appearing to be a distinct hue of the purest blinding light that looked to be gifted from the angels. Will had been laying on a cool, relaxing bed of grass. Each individual blade had cushioned his light and skinny body. As he was in a position, his body seemed to conform with nature around him. As the hours passed, William could feel his body merging with his surroundings, very slowly. His legs and arms went into an motionless phase, his bare feet were covered in plants and dirt alike, and his eyes had been one with the indigo sky. It was then, in the pitch of deafening silence, where he began to observe life, away from any signs of humanity. Each tiny petal of a flower, every stem of a fern, and each and every step of insects and life forms within his proximity. In fact, he hardly knew if he was living or not, this kind of lifestyle was only of his dreams, his usual life would never allow this. As he pondered trying to remember how he ended up there, after what seemed like 10 minutes, he gave up. For even if he did remember how he got there, it wouldn’t matter, an opportunity for solitude would never go to waste in his mind. He quickly prostrated into his original position and let his mind go blank, one with peace.

   “WAKE UP YOU FILTHY PEASANTS!” The head chef had shouted into all of the orphans’ ears, nearly obliterating their eardrums. He had a gray beard, one that seemed to not be tended for years. In fact, no-one in the orphanage even knew what horrible presence would appear under his facial hair. The overall gristly, humongous, and dirty hairs had caused a rumor all on its own. The children of this dreaded location had their separate ideas, a monster living under there, trapped animals living within the hairs, or even possible plants or assortments of bacteria; all of these ideas would always seem to bring up a interesting conversation. Although most children would appear to find these ideas as corrupted, scary, and unhealthy to think about, it was quite literally beneficial to the children in this dreaded place; it gave a sense of hope and unity. Hope as in the unknown, things that have never been discovered, been seen, been done. It sparked the miraculous process of imagination through the minds of these children. It brought all the children together, sharing ideas, telling wild stories, it reminded the children of a distant feeling, ‘home’. To think about the things that seemed impossible quite genuinely gave them a life-line. It gave a possibility of a world that they would be able to see first-hand that would ultimately let them have the great escape from the dream-crushing world that they loathed and were locked in. The adults in this place viewed these ideas as dangerous, unhealthy, and evil. Whenever the authority would catch any discussions of “such preposterous ideas”, they would not be fed for a day. Seeing these poor children would make any person feel sick. And for anybody who regarded these children in any other way could hardly be considered a person with humane thoughts.

   For the second time the head chef shouted, “IF YOU WANNA GET FED, GET THE EVERLASTING WASTE IN YA DOWN ‘ERE!!” Everybody in the dormitory headed down the stairs in an orderly fashion, making sure to march all the way down or else they would be punished. Last time, a kid named ‘Jeffrey’ had been humming a melodic tune while staying around the sides of the stairway. While all the other kids were desperately trying to silence him in the benefit of everybody, he ignored all the requests and seemed oblivious to his surroundings. Unfortunately, the head chef had caught sight of him while hearing the tune. “Oh, so we have a cheeky bugger here, don’t we?”. As soon as Jeffrey looked back, he shoved him down over 10 feet of stairs, causing a terrible sight that even the children knew was inevitably coming. As unfortunate as that may be, that was one of the more tamer experiences that the rest of the children had to endure. All those sights and terrors would instantly make any of the timid children crack. Will remembered his real parents as he was going down the stairs in the specific order he was assigned. His mom’s gentle smile and warm face, with her smooth, silk-like hair, it all made Will want to jump in her arms and hug her until the very end of time. His dad could give him the most heartiest and fun-loving chuckle ever; one that would charm anybody. Will remembered his dad hugging him for the longest time possible. While he was remembering, he started going back to those special moments between the two where they would laugh together in a mutual bond that would last a couple of minutes but feel like hours. His dark, clear, hazelnut colored eyes along with his outstanding disposition were the exact reasons Will came to adore him.

   He was immediately reminded of his skull piercing present as the deafening screech of cold steel clanged against each other. The overall campus of the orphanage was very old, old enough that the people running it had been doing so for over six decades. Being stuck in a dilapidated facility had been dream-demolishing for the poor souls that lurked in this forgotten place. The metal of the walls were all scratched, their surfaces were so coarse and sharp that if you were to gently brush your hand across a wall, the skin would scape off like butter as charcoal and rust would cover your now-penetrated hand. Liquid metal dripped for the ceiling, the smell of rats and putrid odors that reeked of disease. Metal particles came off wherever you viewed.

   As they got down the stairs and went to the cafeteria, dark and lifeless eyes made them no longer children, but prisoners of an endless bondage that would stand for as long as they could imagine. Everybody in the area were not 7-12 year olds who stayed there for practically all their lives, no, they were old-men who’ve stayed for centuries upon centuries who’ve lost all hope that were trapped in a weak and frail body of a disgusting little child. The head chef stared them down, his plaque-filled fangs had shown through. As they sat down on old rickety and woodlice-filled chairs, they were served plates. Many other people in the cafeteria that worked there were of the same personality, just as lifeless as the kids. A women arrived with a pile of plates, all of which she passed around in an orderly fashion. Soon, the head chef went to the back where nobody knew who or what was there.

   A heap of glop had answered their curiosity. This atrocity of food degraded their hospitality as in humane. What was supposed to be food to wild animals had somehow ended up on a plate. Green globs of genuine garbage had everything within a near proximity of it had perished within seconds. Flies who had the misfortune of going near the abomination had sealed their fate as they went past the threshold. Already kids had begun to make scrunched up expressions with their faces as they too worried if they even had a slight chance of survival. It was at times like these that an alibi would be extremely useful to any of the kids, but even they knew that there was no way to escape their misfortunate and inevitable doom.

   A youngster who had situated himself at the table by the name of ‘Jake’ had started to make short and witty remarks at the so-called ‘food’. Not many people knew Jake, for he was a newcomer and hadn’t got the gist of the place. However, if anyone were to enter this place for at least a couple of days, they would most likely be able to understand the kind of rules they should follow, how the place functions, and the customs of the local prisoners.

   Jake had been there for two weeks.

  “Hey! Is ‘dere a reason for da food to be this bad? Even m’dog could cook somethin’ better than ‘dis!” Jake directed the outburst specifically to the head chef, who had currently looked like a piece of gum that had stayed in a garbage for so long that it was completely flavorless and grease-filled. Immediately after the comment, he had put up his feet on the table while smirking in such a smug fashion, it couldn’t help but make the other kids feel a little shining and burning fire inside their minds. The head chef turned around; his mouth stretched from the end of his face to the other. It was so clearly visible, you could see his rotting inside by looking into his mouth. His lips were cracked, so much so that large chasms had extended their way across dead skin peelings on the surface of the lips. The teeth were jagged while being able to rip away at anything at ease.

   A demon was in front of their eyes, and no saving grace would come to their arrival, or so they thought. The head chef started heading his way to Jake’s spot on stubby little legs. “Wow. We sure do have a lotta’ buggers don’t we? Too many to count indeed. Indeed. Indeed. Well, we might as well teach them a lesson or two, eh mate?” It was at that point that Jake had his last chance to apologize and receive less consequences, but he didn’t get the hint. “Whateva. You honestly think you could teach me a lesson? A fat lot that you could. You probably couldn’t even catch a squirrel.” Although the children already knew that there wasn’t much of a chance that Jake could challenge someone like the head chef, or anybody for that matter, there was still shimmering hope. Soon, after a couple of minutes, he was gone from sight, never to see the light of day ever again. The head chef had locked up this poor and young child in a chamber known as ‘The Room of the Void’, a secret room that had held up who knows how many. Will turned away in despair, for each passing day, he could feel his innocent self and sanity chip away, and at that point of his life, he was chipped all away into a sweeping dust. The head chef caught notice of this.

   He headed towards Will…