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The Great Reset - Chapter 03

Updated: May 8

Hope's End Orphanage room with kids on the beds and floor

The gentle morning crept through the cracked windows of Hope's End Orphanage, casting long, slender fingers of light across the worn wooden floor. It was the sort of morning that, on a normal day, would have called children from their beds with promises of sunny skies and whispered secrets on the breeze. Instead, the quiet was suddenly shattered by the sharp cries of a baby, pulling the room from slumber into a confused, sleepy chaos.

I rubbed my eyes slowly while opening them up to the dim light pressing through the common room. The sounds increased so quickly from soft whimpers to a chorus of cries and concerned voices. For a moment I just laid there, my mind grappling with the sudden return to reality—a reality where adults had vanished, leaving children behind in a world that seemed too big to handle.

Pushing myself up from my makeshift bed, a tangle of blankets on the floor, my gaze swept across the room. Children, of my age and those much younger, were looking around confused, their eyes wide with one question, What do we do now?

Alice, was already by the baby's side. I admired her strength even after her entire family vanished. I watched her carefully pick up the baby, whose cries dimmed under the comforting rhythm of her gentle rocking. She’s good with the little ones, I thought, a flicker of relief passed through me as I pushed off the blankets and moved to join her.

"Can I help?" I asked, reaching Alice who was trying to prepare a bottle with shaky hands.

"Please," Alice responded with a grateful smile, handing her the formula. "I've got him; if you could make the milk, that'd be great."

As I measured and mixed under Alice’s guidance, I couldn't help but notice how the other children were watching us. Some were curious, others anxious. There was an underlying ripple of fear—of being left unguided, of being forced to step into roles far too big for their young shoulders. It reminded me of my first days in the orphanage, the overwhelming uncertainty, the fear of not knowing what came next.

The baby settled with a full belly, and I stepped back, watching as Alice wrapped him back into a soft, worn blanket. There was a moment of calm, a collective breath held and then released. But it didn’t last long.

I noticed whispers began to spread among the older children, whispers of homesickness and a deep need to return to their homes. Maybe their parents would be there waiting, maybe this had all been a terrible mistake. I noticed the faces some of the younger kids light up with specks of hope. That maybe if they get home they would see their family members waiting for them.

I turned over to look at Alice. She was focused on putting the baby in a warm comfortable position.

“Do you want to go home” I asked her. I guess she should also feel homesick and would want to feel being inside the walls of her home.

“No I don’t”. She replied. With a straight face.

I didn’t ask her anymore questions. I felt she needed space. Space to get used to the new world we were all living in.

"Does anyone know his name?" Leo asked suddenly, making everyone quiet down. We all exchanged looks, realizing we didn't know. The room filled with a heavy silence, the kind that made your chest tight. I watched the baby, his dark smooth skin glowing in the morning light, his tiny hands balled into fists. He was so innocent, so new to this world that seemed to have forgotten us.

"I remember there's a big book of names the orphanage principals used for new kids," Leo added, trying to lift the mood. "Maybe we can find a name for him there."

Cass, cut in before I could respond. "That's a great idea, Leo. But first, Ivy, would you like to join the older kids? We're taking some of the younger ones to check their homes, hoping to find their families or at least some familiar comfort."

I hesitated, feeling a tug in my heart as I looked at the baby and then at the hopeful faces around me. "Yes, I'll go," I finally said. Leo chimed in quickly, "I'm with Ivy, I would like to go too."

With Cass's nod, Leo and I were joined to lead a group of kids through the empty streets of Veridian City. We gathered a few things: backpacks with water, and some protein bars, just in case.

Then, stepping outside, the reality of our city hit me harder than I expected. I seriously began to wonder how the younger kids were taking all this in. The emptiness. The confusion.

The streets were silent except for the sound of our footsteps and the distant echo of a dog barking. Cars were scattered all over, doors left open as if their drivers might return at any moment. As we walked, I tried to keep the kids close, herding them away from the deeper shadows and the unsettling quiet of the abandoned vehicles.

Leo stayed close, his presence a comforting constant at my side. "It's like a ghost town," he whispered, looking around with wide, curious eyes.

I nodded, feeling the weight of his words. The city felt paused, suspended in time with no adults to continue its stories, only us, the children, wandering its silent avenues. My heart ached for the normal days, for the morning rushes and the sounds of life that used to fill these streets.

As we walked, I thought about the baby, about all of us really—abandoned but not alone. We had each other, and right now, that had to be enough.

"We'll find a way through this," I said, more to myself than to Leo, but he nodded, squeezing my hand briefly.

"Yeah, we will," he replied, his voice steady and sure.

As the orphanage faded behind us, replaced by the looming quiet of the city, I felt a mix of fear and determination. We were small, yes, but together, we were strong. And as we walked on, I knew that each step took us not just toward the homes of our friends but toward understanding this new world, toward facing whatever lay ahead, together.

The empty streets of Veridian City

As we moved through the city, the silence seemed to grow even heavier, like a thick blanket muffling our every step. The first house we reached belonged to Lucy, one of the youngest in our group. Her hand clutched mine tightly as we stood before the familiar yet strangely gloomy front door of her home.

"Are you ready?" I asked her gently, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. Lucy nodded, her face pale but determined, and pushed the door open. It creaked loudly in the quiet street, sounding more like a groan than anything else.

"Mummy? Daddy?" Lucy's voice trembled as she called out, stepping hesitantly into the dim hallway. Her calls echoed back to us, empty and hollow, bouncing off the walls with no reply. I followed her in, watching her face fall with each unanswered call. It was heartbreaking to see her hope fade away, replaced by the stark realization that her parents were not there.

As Lucy wandered through her house, touching her toys and looking at pictures on the walls, the rest of us began to gather supplies. We found canned food in the kitchen, some clothes that looked like they might fit some of the younger kids, and even a few board games and books that could keep us occupied back at the orphanage.

"We'll take good care of these," Leo said, packing up a box of cereal and some pasta. "And when your family comes back, you'll have lots of stories to tell them about how brave you've been," he added, giving Lucy a gentle pat on the shoulder.

Lucy managed a small smile and nodded, wiping away a tear. "Can we take my teddy, too?" she asked, holding up a well-loved teddy bear. "He shouldn't be alone."

"Of course, we can," I assured her, helping her pack the teddy into her little backpack. "He'll keep you company until you're back home again."

As we left Lucy's house, each child took turns visiting their own homes. Each time, the scene was much the same—calls for parents met with silence, quick searches for food and clothes, and the quiet collection of favorite toys and mementos. It was sad to see the places so full of memories now so empty, but we tried to focus on gathering what we needed to survive and maintain some comfort.

Back on the street, our bags heavier but spirits bolstered by the things we'd gathered, I looked around at our little group. Despite everything, there was a sense of accomplishment among us—we were doing something useful, something necessary. But the silence of the city was a constant reminder of the mystery surrounding us.


As we walked back to the orphanage with our bags full of supplies, Leo suddenly pointed at a rusted sign by the roadside that read "ZOO." His eyes lit up with a mix of curiosity and excitement.

"I've never been to a zoo before, Ivy. I always wanted to go," he said, his voice filled with wonder.

"We can visit another time, Leo," I replied, smiling at his enthusiasm but mindful of our current situation and the responsibilities waiting for us back at the orphanage.

"But who has been feeding the animals since all the adults disappeared?" Leo's question caught me off guard. His concern for the animals was evident, and it made me pause. "They must be hungry, stuck in cages with no one to care for them," he added, his brow furrowed with worry.

I didn't have an answer, and the thought of those animals left alone made my heart heavy. "We'll figure something out, Leo. We can't let them suffer," I assured him, touched by his compassion.

As we continued on, Lucy, one of the younger kids in our group, suddenly burst into tears. We all stopped as I knelt down beside her. "When will Mummy and Daddy come back?" she sobbed, her small face crumpled with grief. The question echoed in all our hearts, and for a moment, we were united in our shared uncertainty and sadness. I wrapped my arms around her, wishing I could offer her more than just comfort.

Comforting Lucy made me realize how important it is to show compassion and understanding towards the other kids. With all that’s going on, showing a little concern did go a long way. I noticed the positive change on her face when I hugged her. It was as if she suddenly remembered how to breath and feel calm.

Finally, as the afternoon sun began to dip lower in the sky, we reached the orphanage. To my surprise, the mood inside had shifted. There were new faces—more kids who had found their way here, each with their own story of the day the world changed. But what caught my attention the most was the sound of laughter. Some of the children had started playing, their joy a bright spot in these grim days. Despite everything, they found a reason to smile, to chase each other around in games that made them forget, if only for a moment.

Other groups began to arrive back too, each with their own tales and treasures from their homes. There were toys, books, even a couple of scruffy stuffed animals that seemed to light up the kids' faces. The orphanage buzzed with a new energy, a stark contrast to the silence of the past few days.

I watched Leo gently cradle the baby to sleep. His face was a picture of concentration, soft and kind. Nearby, Alice was busy preparing another bottle of milk, her movements practiced and sure. It was a quiet, peaceful moment, one that made the orphanage feel almost like a real home.

"Leo," I whispered, not wanting to disturb the calm. "Remember you mentioned a book of names earlier? Maybe now's a good time to look for it."

Leo's eyes lit up, the excitement clear on his face. "Yes! Let's go to the director's office. It must be there," he said, carefully passing the sleeping baby to Alice before standing up.

Hand in hand, we made our way to the director's office, a place we rarely visited. It always seemed so official and a bit scary with its big desk and rows of serious-looking books. But today, we felt like detectives on an important mission.

We started searching through the shelves and drawers, looking for the book of names. Papers rustled and old photographs fluttered to the floor, but no book appeared.

Just when we were about to give up, Leo's hand brushed against a loose panel on the wall.

"Look, Ivy!" he exclaimed, pulling at it. With a creak and a groan, the panel swung open to reveal a dark, narrow passage. "A secret room!" he gasped, his voice a mix of surprise and thrill.

As we passed through the narrow passage, a cool rush of air greeted us, carrying the musty scent of secrets long buried. Our flashlight beams trembled slightly as we stepped into the narrow passage that led to the secret room. The walls were lined with shelves packed with dusty books and odd trinkets that gleamed under the beam of our lights.

The room itself was like stepping into a forgotten world. It was small and cramped but filled to the brim with artifacts that spoke of ages past. There were globes that spun silently at the slightest touch, their surfaces marked with countries that no longer existed. On the shelves, glass jars held strange, dried herbs and stones that shimmered with a faint, inexplicable light.

Our footsteps echoed softly on the wooden floorboards, each creak a whisper of the room’s mysterious origins. Along one wall, a large map was pinned, its edges yellowed with age. It outlined the town and surrounding areas, but with curious markings and notes.

In the center of the room stood a large oak desk, the surface cluttered with piles of paper, old quill pens, and an inkwell that had long since dried up. There were letters sealed with wax, their contents peeking out slightly, hinting at urgent messages never sent. Beside these, a small, leather-bound journal lay open, its pages filled with sketches of celestial alignments and written notes.

Leo reached out, his hand hovering over the black journal before he gently turned the page. The paper felt brittle under his fingers, fragile yet heavy with importance. "Look at this, Ivy," he murmured, pointing to a passage that mentioned a 'great shift' and 'alignments necessary for the phase transition.

We exchanged a look, our eyes wide with the realization that we had stumbled upon something monumental. The room wasn't just a collection of old objects; it was a hub of research, possibly linked to the very event that had led to the adults' disappearance.

"We need to take this back with us," I said, my voice barely above a whisper, afraid to disturb the delicate balance of the room. "We need to understand what happened." "We need to understand what is happening."

Leo nodded, carefully placing the black journal under his arm. As we prepared to leave, I took one last look around, the weight of our discovery pressing down on me. The room, hidden away under layers of dust and shadow, held answers we had never thought to question, and now, it was up to us to piece them together.

Ivy and Leo discorver a secret room

The Great Reset - Chapter 03


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