That night, once the other children at the orphanage were sound asleep, Trouble, Hope and Truth gingerly rose from their rickety beds as quietly as possible and slowly approached the only supervisor assigned to the room. Trouble headed the trio, and Hope looked to see if anyone was pretending to be asleep while Truth nervously fiddled with the sides of his frilly pyjamas. “You don’t all need the bathroom at the same time.” grunted the large man at the sight of them, his eyelids already heavy with drowsiness. “Well,” started Trouble with her trademark mischievous corner-of-the-mouth smirk. “you looked tired, we just wanted to help you sleeeep.” As she dragged out the last word, she held out her open palm to him, which contained a single rose petal. She muttered what sounded like gibberish under her breath, made a quick hand gesture with her other hand and the petal glowed dimly. Before the man could react, his eyelids came crashing down and his head quickly hung to the side. Trouble gave Hope a thumbs up and wide smile this time, proudly displaying her jagged teeth. As she looked through the keyhole of the exit, Hope silently ran to retrieve two bags from under his bed and Truth picked up his lyre from behind his. “All good?” Hope asked before pulling his blue scarf up to his nose like a mask, both bags on his back. Trouble and Truth nodded in response, then all three let out a quick chant under their breaths and made similar hand gestures. Once the spell was cast, the trio looked just like the three supervisors that were currently recovering in the infirmary, only a little shorter. Messing with their food the other day had been Hope’s idea, though Truth made for a good distraction and Trouble was the dexterous one for the job. The three stepped out of the bedroom and into the empty hallway, doing their best to impersonate their adult caretakers. So far so good, and making their way to the front gate area didn’t take much time. Hope had explained that this would probably be the hardest part of the escape. There was a separating checkpoint gate before the proper fence entrance, which was magically sealed at night but also just short enough for them to jump over. “Friedrich?” called one of the two guards past the checkpoint. They stood up from their posts and frowned, but before they could notice the height difference the disguised Truth played a quick hypnotic tune on his lyre. They too fell to the ground and into deep slumber, and the three took the opportunity to remove their illusions. They approached the checkpoint as Trouble muttered an incantation and a spectral image of her hand extended past the metal bars, towards the sleeping guards. The hand then picked up the keys and brought them back to Trouble, who quickly unlocked the gate. The trio finally made it to the fence, and Hope threw one of the bags over.
To be continued in our next issue
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 09 on February 12th, 2020