The Orchard

Cameron Moore became an orphan at the age of 6. Both his parents died when their house was accidentally burned down three years ago. A family BBQ dinner gone wrong. The social workers couldn’t locate any close relatives because his family was not registered in the region, The Moores were illegal residents.

St. Elizabeth Orphanage was his fourth home. He moved from one orphanage to another because of the states’ financial problem. His new home was a three-story building supervised by the nuns from the Convent of St. Martha. There was a wide orchard at the back of the house composed of berry shrubs and a variety of fruit trees and flowers.

Cameron shared a room that faces the orchard with two other orphans. It was a perfect place for him because the sun’s rays would shine directly on his bed and he could hear the birds chirp in the morning.ย The scent of the flowers and the fruit trees would even reach the room.

The orphans were allowed to play in the orchardย every afternoon. They would collect ripe fruits and vegetables, put them inside a round basket and send it to the kitchen. They would play hide and seek and would run around the garden while a group of volunteers prepared snacks of freshly squeezed orange juice and biscuits. But every time the sun was about to set, Sister Claret, the nun-in-charge, would call them back to the house. Children are forbidden to stay outside the house after sunset. That was their no.1 rule.


Every month, community volunteers would conduct Outreach Programs to help the orphanage raise money. Orphans and nuns from other orphanages would attend the saidย program. They would organize activities for children and would sell handicrafts made by the orphans to the visitors. In the evening, meals would be served on the first floor of the building.

During dinner, Cameron noticed another nun standing outside the sliding glass door. He opened the door to let her in, thinking she hadย locked herself out, but she was gone. He searched for her outside the house and caught her in the orchard under the apple tree. He walked to her direction.

The nun had her back turned towards him. He heard a sobbing sound.

“Sister, is something wrong?” He asked. His voice was shaking from the cold evening breeze.

She didn’t respond. She was wearing a black habit covered by a veil that flows freely on the ground. He tapped her shoulder to call her attention. He looked down and noticed that the nun’s feet were not touching the ground.

The sobbing sound stopped. She turned around. It was when Cameron realized that there was no head under the veil.

He stood still in horror and then ran as fast as he could back to the house.


Later that night, he learned the history of the orchard where a nun was raped and beheaded, five decades ago. And up until now, no one had ever found her head.

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34 Comments

  1. Pancake, your writing is great. You pulled me right into the story touching me emotionally. However, …I need endings, even if they are not good. I don’t perfer bad endings but at least I want some kind of “wrap up.” Even something like, “Now Cameron knew why he couldn’t stay out after dark.” Or some statement to tell how Cameron felt after discovering the headless image – like “He ran away in terror and never ventured into the night again.” Maybe that’s not great but at least it is an ending. I need some kind of resolution of the action. Great story in the making! (I sound like a teacher, don’t I? Perhaps I am “behind the times.” It will be interesting to see what other editors think.) Now I must know how your other readers feel – particularly the younger set. How about a poll?

  2. Hahaha. I agree with you, Oneta. Your suggestions are wonderful. I will try to check where I can put the wrap-up and delete other things. I am trying this 5oo-word short story. It’s my first time. That’s why I love wordpress because the writers are helping each other come up with a better story. Thank you for this ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I’m so happy that you were not offended at me! I am a bit intimidated about making any kind of suggestions like this, but you are so much “worth it.” You have so much to give. Thank you for being so gracious to me.

  4. Different writer, different style. For me, hanging story works, keeps readers guessing ๐Ÿ™‚ do what you think suits you best, Bunnykins ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Yes! Suits the rest of the story. And the line before giving the background is good. Hope others are pleased also. Actually if you want to turn this into a longer story you can still do so by going back into the nun’s story.

Let me know what you think ๐Ÿฐ