GENRE: Historical Fiction
Smoldering light from the sun cast orange and black shadows across Esther’s skin. She twisted her arm in front of the window, watching the shapes of tree branches fracture and stretch, growing more blurred as the seconds passed. Soon there would be only black. When the matron shuffled into the room, Esther kept her face turned toward the floor, even as the old woman stood beside her and touched her shoulder.
“Your brother will not be arriving this evening,” the matron said.
Esther’s stomach twisted in knots, but she stayed calm. “Yes, Ma’am.”
“He promised to catch the train from Corvallis first thing tomorrow.”
“Try to get some sleep.”
Esther kept her back straight, though her insides trembled. She did not know if she could spend another night in this room, with these girls. It’s for your own good, George told her when he first brought her to the Aid Society a few months before. Now this place wasn’t good enough and they wanted to send her to Illinois, to her father. She held back a shudder. Though she felt years older, she was still just sixteen, by law underage, and her protests went unheard. She knew for now it was best to obey or at least pretend.
As the matron turned to leave, Esther rose from the bed and took a step forward. “May I have my Bible?”