Mathilda closed her eyes gently as she inhaled the calming smell of flowers. She was laying on her tummy in her favorite spot, not far from the orphanage. The children were allowed to wander as much as they liked but were not to go beyond the trees that encircled the clearing.
It was a very simple place, the orphanage was made of wooden boards, completely fabricated from top to bottom by their teacher, Mrs. Heron and her late husband. It was large enough to house about 40 children, each with their own cot and night stand, and also included a kitchen and bathroom (Though most of the time during the summer everyone ate outside.)
Mathilda couldn't remember anything about her home or parents, something that would usually cause most children to be caught in an endless sea of questions and loneliness, but Mathilda was so content anywhere she was that it was almost unbelievable! Though it also helped that almost every single child at the orphanage was very sweet as well.
She only had one close friend, her name was Olesia, an avian girl. Before the tree line became off limits to children, due to a missing persons case, the two of them used to spend a lot of time playing hide and seek in the trees near the clearing.
Of course, Olessia always won. Mathilda didn't have the best eyesight; she could see colors and blurred shapes, but she had no idea what most people really looked like, and as of late she was beginning to notice shadows creeping into the corners of her eyes.
"You have tunnel vision" The Dr. said, as he looked into her eyes with a magical light stick. "It is likely that you will eventually be completely blind." He has said flatly, as if he were talking to a brick wall. Hardly the way he should have bee speaking to a child who was just told she'd eventually never see anything again.
Mathilda felt her teacher place her wing tips on her shoulder "Oh Matty." She said sadly.
"It's okay Mrs. Heron!" Mathilda said enthusiastically. "It just means I'll have to even more adventurous to be sure I see allllll the colors before it happens." She looked up and smiled at the woman standing over her, as if the rude Doctor wasn't even there.
Mathilda sighed and rolled over onto her back, her long blonde hair strewn across the ground like a huge web. Looking up into the sky she smiled widely at the sea of blue.
She rarely frowned, or got mad. Life was just too short in her opinion, and the life of her eyes was even shorter. She didn't have time to waste on emotions that ate up her heart.
Mathilda yawned and opened her eyes, she had fallen asleep in the field and the sun was now straight over her head, beaming down as hot as ever. With a stretch she got to her feet and began skipping back towards the orphanage; it would soon be lunch time and she was starving!
Came two voices, as two other children ran passed her. Mathilda smiled and waved after them, picking up her pace, breaking into a graceful run. It wasn't usually a problem for her to run around like the other children since the clearing was very barren and there was little to bump into. Most children knew to get out of her way as well, which helped a lot.
But today there was somebody new.
"Ouf!" Mathilda exclaimed as she ran straight into someone. They had been standing in the shadow of the orphanage so Mathilda hadn't been able to see her silhouette. "Sorry!" She said jumping to her feet.
"It's quite alright." Came a nurturing voice "What's your name?"
"Mathilda!" She said with a smile, relieved she hadn't hurt the woman.
"Well aren't you just a little ray of sunshine." She crouched down with a smile, eye level with Mathilda. "Are you okay?"
Mathilda nodded and rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment "I'm fine, it happens a lot. My visions not the best!" She concluded with a grin.
"Oh I see- I mean!" She put a hand on her forehead scolding herself for accidentally making a vision reference.
"It's okay ma'am." Mathilda said, putting her little paw on the woman's head with a chuckle.
Mrs. Heron, tapped a stack of papers on her desk to straighten them out. She had just finished grading the children's spelling test, and the older children's math tests. They were all doing very well, and she knew they would all make wonderful additions to anyone's family... If anyone cared to drop by.
There hadn't been anyone at the orphanage for over a month now, and she was starting to worry that some of the children would be here for the rest of their lives!
She worried most of all for Mathilda. Having been diagnosed with tunnel vision and eventual blindness, she doubted that anyone would want her in these troubling times, but the little dear was just the sweetest things she'd ever seen. It would be a pity if she grew up in this place.
Taking a deep breath she got all of her things in order and stepped into the hallway, dodging a few children running down the hall without even looking; it was like second nature to her now.
"Be careful Thoma." She shouted over her shoulder with a grin, before walking out into the sunlight.
"Hello there!" Mrs. Heron jumped a little, she didn't recognize the voice at all.
Lifting her wing to shield her eyes form the bright rays, she looked down to see a pretty woman. An adult!
"Hello! Welcome to Little Wonders Orphanage. I am Mrs. Heron, their teacher and caretaker." She dipped her head in a small bow of greeting. "Are you here to adopt one of our lovely children?"
The woman nodded, but before she could say anything Mathilda peeked out from behind her.
"Hello Mrs. Heron!" She said happily.
Mrs.. Heron welled up with happiness as she guessed what this meant. Mathilda was going to be adopted!
"I'd like to take her home with me."
"Of course! Of course."