My first move had to be escape from the Institute. And so I waited until the next day until all lights went out around the tower and snuck out. I had the feeling I wouldn’t even be missed. They hadn’t even wanted me here from the start. I had no idea where I was or where I should go. I walked down the driveway I had looked down at so frequently from my spot in the tower. This was the moment I had dreamed of, my moment of escape. The driveway connected with a road, which I followed for some time. There seemed to be nothing around the Institute but a barren wasteland. Then, in the distance, two pricks of light appeared and they seemed to be getting closer. Amazed I watched them intently. They grew and grew until I realized they were coming straight for me. I was so fascinated with them, I couldn’t move a muscle. There was a screeching halt as the lights came to a stop. A door opened out of nowhere. I blinked, not understanding.
“What’s the matter with you, kid, why you standing in the middle of the road?” A face asked that had popped out of the door.
“I’m trying to find my parents.” I replied eagerly, perhaps this man could help me.
“The closest city is New York, that’s where I’m heading. I can give you a lift.”
He ushered me in through a door and I saw I was in some kind of machine.
“What is this?”
“What, the car?” The man was flabbergasted.
“You’ve never seen one?
“Well, just bring that buckle around you and into that slot right there.”
After I buckled myself in, the man made the car accelerate and we were off. He stopped asking questions when he soon realized the only thing I knew was the Institute. I watched through my window as the country side soon changed into huge, looming buildings.
“This is New York.” The man grunted.
“Where do I go?” I asked.
“Um, I think the church brings orphans in. It’s some new program.”
He showed me the church, which looked like nothing I’d ever seen before. Its roof seemed to go into points at the top and it was all made of glass. I thanked the man and went inside, starting my journey.
Here I am today, still in New York, yet no closer to my goal. I had been raised by the church until I was about 19, then I worked there. I had embraced the fact that God listened to people and helped them with their lives. He soon became my only friend in this world. When I talked, I knew he listened. I asked him every day to help me find my parents. I know that some day he will give them to me.
I woke up, breathing heavily. I had the same dream again. For the past few days, I dreamt of seeing my parents walking away from me and I being pulled towards the Institute. I walked out of my room and out of the church. The sun felt good on my face. Suddenly, I noticed a poster on one of the lamp posts next to me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was my picture when I was 13, when I left the Institute. I panicked when I saw that the Institute was looking for me. “Runaway Orphan!” The paper screamed out at me. I couldn’t let them find me. I had no idea why they were still looking for me. I ripped the poster down.
“Hey, Anthony!” Jack shouted.
The church gave me this name the night they took me in.
“How’s it going Jack?” I asked as he approached me, holding a cup of coffee in one hand, newspaper in the other.
Ever since Jack helped me escape that night, he checked up on me once in a while.
“How’s it going with your search?” He asked.
I felt too sad to answer.
“I can’t find them, Jack. Not a trace.”
I couldn’t sleep that night. There was too much on my mind. I wouldn’t let myself go through that dream again. When I saw the poster it brought back all those memories. All the days wasting my life not accomplishing anything. The church made me into what I am today, a holy man, one I intend to be the rest of my life.
When I woke up that morning, I was surprised I had even gotten to sleep. I went about my daily procedure, walking around the church, observing the life of New York City. Suddenly, I saw another brochure taped up to the same lamppost I got ready to rip it down but paused. It was an advertisement about finding old high school friends online. If you can track down people using this program, I wondered if it worked with relatives. Adrenaline pumping, I ran inside the church, searching for the phone. I had taken the poster down and ran inside with it. I punched the number in and held my breath.
“Hello?” A female voice came up on the other end.
“Hi, I saw your ad and was wondering if you could track relatives as well as high school friends?”
“Umm, name please?”
“I don’t know their names.”
“”Well, the only other way to do this is probably for you to send us a picture and we can make some scans to look for anyone that looks like you. Do you know their range of age?”
“I know nothing about them,” was my solemn reply.
“Then I’ll see what I can do. The address is on the paper. See you soon.”
I hung up. Hastily, I took the picture of myself from the poster the Institute had put up, it was the only picture I had of myself, and shoved it in my pocket. I rushed out through the front doors of the church and into Jack.
“Hey Anthony, where you headed?”
“Jack! I need a ride to this address. Please. It’s about my parents.”
The look on my face must have told him this was serious because at once he hopped into his car and started the engine. I slammed the door.
“There’s this system that can scan my picture and look for people that look similar to it.” I explained as he sped up.
“I’ll get you there right away.” Jack promised.
And so the one event I needed to finally start my quest had shown itself. The one golden opportunity had arrived. I was off and I had no idea what to expect next.