“This is goodbye then, I guess.” he told Truth, who gave a weak smile.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll see you again someday.” he answered right before Trouble tackled him into a hug.
“I’ll miss your songs.” she lamented. “Remember to be yourself, not what people expect you to be.”
The words rang in his head as Hope knelt and Trouble got in position to jump. He wondered if they would look any different when he’d see them again as he slowly walked backwards, towards the bedroom. With a strong push Hope launched Trouble upwards and she leaped, careening over the top of the fence and landing on the other side with a heavy thud. She landed on her side, but her pain was overpowered by her excitement.
Seeing that she had made it safely to the outside and retrieved her bag, Truth turned around, only to stumble and trip over the sleeping body of one of the guards. Misfortune dictated that he fell directly on the other guard’s head. Clearly injured, the guard awoke with a start and Truth started pummelling his head in a frenzied panic.
“Hey! Get off, you little-”
The rustling of armour and the guard’s yelling caused Hope and Trouble to quickly look back, and they instantly knew that their plan had suddenly gone wrong. Almost as if on instinct, Hope took out a small mirror from his bag and muttered an incantation with his arm extended toward Trouble. She was quickly surrounded by a dim gold glow that she recognized as a protective sanctuary spell. He knew that both Truth and Trouble were out of spells for the day, but he could still guarantee her escape.
“Hope!” Trouble cried out with a mix of fear, pain and desperation in her voice, watching him hurriedly remove his scarf and put his hand in his bag again. “What are you-” she was stopped when he flung the scarf over the fence and it landed in her hands.
“Hope, you can’t! This is the only thing left of-”
“I know.” he answered without looking, then took out a small piece of parchment with strange text scribbled onto it. “You’ll need it more than me.”
He read the scripture and a field of gold energy surrounded him. By then the guard had thrown Truth off his back and was waking up his sleeping companion. He knew it was too late for him, and had resolved to make sure Trouble wasn’t caught on the outskirts and brought back.
“Hope!” Trouble yelled again, the pit in her throat rising and the tears threatening to show.
“You can give it back when you see me again!” He yelled back, his own voice cracking unintentionally as he struggled to suppress his emotions. Trouble didn’t budge, and when the two guards charged forwards Hope managed to catch one of them in magical flames with a quick hand gesture. The other swung with his club, but the attack was repelled by Hope’s translucent golden force field.
“RUN!!!” he screamed desperately, and Trouble’s body was moving before she knew it. As her legs propelled her as fast as possible, she took one last look back to see Truth clinging to a guard’s leg and Hope just managing to block another club swing.
With her bag across her back and Hope’s scarf around her neck, Trouble left the orphanage and began her journey in the real world.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 10 on February 26th, 2020