Dan Laywind
Radhika, Age 13, Bangalore, India

Nobody knew about it. No one. Dan Laywind lay on his wrinkled bed, trying to believe the news he had just received. Freedom came to him at last. The letter came to him. After four days of patient waiting. He understood it from the plans in the letter.

Dan Laywind, a bony, skinny boy of twelve was an orphan. His parents had died in a car accident and ever since, he preferred to keep away from cars. When he received news that he was to be adopted by a lady called Mary, at the age of eight he was delighted for Mary was going to treat him as her very own son. But then it never occurred to Dan that she was lying, for she was using him to do household chores.

The drive to his new home was long, but he didn't care. He did not look out of the window to the brightly lit shops, in the busy streets, but only kept gazing at the beautiful face of his new mother.


Lying in bed, the blond-haired boy couldn't believe that he was so stupid. But now that didn't matter, for the letter tightly held in his hand was going to change his life.

Dan had picked up his newspaper that wonderful morning, Sunday the fourteenth and scanned the headlines. Finding no interesting news except about the man who had his head stuck in the freezer, Dan turned towards the sports section. There, crammed in the right hand corner was an ad so small, that Dan had to fetch his magnifying glass to read it. There was something nice about it, as Dan immediately felt attracted towards it. There, written in bold, purple colored letters, were:

The only one for you!

Are your guardians rude to you? Want a change? Seek no more for here is your answer! Galware Institute: the only one for you!

This institute is for:

               * Orphans (section 1)
               *Cruelly treated children (section 2)
               *Children who seek new hopes (section 3)

For more information, contact:

      *Sir Humphrey Gold at 111-2223-

A Change Of Life!!!

Dan wondered whether this was a joke, for he never knew such a phone number existed. Still, it was worth a try. He ran back to his room, as silent as a cat, which was once a storeroom, with the newspaper. He heard Mary going to the bathroom, which always warned him about her arrival in a few minutes. He knew if Mary found him, he would be in serious trouble. He woke up every day during this time to read the newspaper, as it was the only time “Ms." Mary wouldn't pester him.

Panting heavily, Dan opened the creaky door to his room, reminding himself for the hundredth time to oil it. He looked around his room, which he had himself designed, and, quite satisfied that he had done a good job, he sat down on his crumpled bed. Dan’s room greatly resembled a pigsty, though he did not know it. There were rows and rows of shelves, very untidily placed around his room, but, when living with Ms. Mary, this itself was a bit too much. His room would remain in this condition, only if Ms. Mary didn’t set foot in it.

He looked at the ad again, too happy for words. He looked at his watch and cursed it, for both the hands had broken and only the numbers remained.

He got up from his bed and made his way to the window and looked up at the distant blue, sky. Only the first few rays of the sun were visible. He placed his elbows on the sill and yawned. His yawn was interrupted by a sharp thump on the door –Ms. Mary’s signal to make breakfast. Sighing deeply, Dan made his way to the kitchen, number five falling off his watch. The paper was hidden safely in his pocket.

‘Stupid newspaper boy's forgotten to deliver the paper again.’ grunted the plump Ms. Mary, tossing her long, black hair back in anger. ‘Don’t they know how important it is to keep in touch with the morning news? Especially with no TV?’ she added with a furious glare at Dan.

Dan knew what she meant by the glare, of course.

Just last week, Dan was ordered to feed the cat while Ms. Mary was out at a pie-eating contest. Dan was absolutely sure who the winner would be, of course, sympathetic to the other contestants.

While she had gone, instead of feeding poodles (the cat), cat food, Dan had given her rat poison. The cat jumped as if it were jumping on a trampoline and ran around the house at a speed of 600kmph.As Dan helplessly tried to control the cat, he slipped and kicked the TV, shattering it. What was more, the TV fell on poodles, hard – and out came the rat poison. Ms. Mary screamed at Dan on reaching home, filling the house with a strong aroma of apple pie. Dan was out of the house for a week, sleeping in the dog kennel.

‘I want you to wash the dustbin at 12:30 sharp. I’m expecting guests at 1:30. They’re the head of Waste-Taste Dustbins and I expect them to be happy at the clean dustbin we have of their company.’ said the plump lady, interrupting Dan’s thoughts.

Dan replied with a curt nod, unable to reply due to his giggles. Ms. Mary heaved herself out of the chair, at which Dan was surprised that not a single tile had cracked.

He ran to his room after the chore and gasped. His room no longer looked like a pigsty. Instead, it looked like a forest, but not a tiny, cramped forest, but a large continuous forest. He took a step ahead and heard the crunch of grass beneath his feet. Birds were flying everywhere and butterflies fed on the nectar of the flowers.

Tall, huge mountains rose far away, he looked back to close the door, in case Ms. Mary noticed, but the door was closed. He looked up and his heart leapt. On the clear, blue sky, were the words: Galware Institute.

Dan now realized what was going on.

Instead of him going to Galware Institute, it had come to him.

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