Prologue

Brixton Orphanage for Children in Oasis Springs was founded in 1950 and was instrumental in the aiding and caring for children that needed homes.

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As the years passed, the town was hugely impacted by the closure of Barkerman Steel. Potential families moved away and the town of Oasis Springs started to become desolate and the orphanage fell into disrepair as it changed numerous hands.

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Miss Derby is the current owner of the orphanage and doesn’t tolerate anything when it comes to the children in her care. Mean, evil, and materialistic, she hates children and everything that concerns raising them properly.

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In the year that Miss Derby received the orphanage, the town of Oasis Springs suffered from a government debt crisis initially caused by the closure of Barkerman Steel. The entire town relied heavily on the success of the steel mill and after the closure, the town fell apart. Although several government agencies closed that year, a glitch in the system still provides Miss Derby monthly stipends to care for the children to this day.

Underhanded, cunning, and crooked, Miss Derby has given Brixton Orphanage a horrible reputation. Rumor has it, if you have the money, she will keep your secrets and care for your children until they reach the age of 18. No paper trails lead to anyone as to who the children belong to. Another town secret was that you could go to the orphanage and adopt children, no paper work needed. Just show up and take a kid.

Spending her large payouts only on herself, Miss Derby lives a luxurious lifestyle behind the locked door of her bedroom which is connected to her office.

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The children at the orphanage are under very strict orders to never go into her bedroom. While rumors abound as to what she has inside, no child has actually ever seen the inside.

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Miss Derby isn’t bothered that the children live in filth, sleep on cots, and fend for themselves. In fact, she prefers it that way.

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On the day Grace arrived on the doorstep of the orphanage, Miss Derby was headed out to the porch to read her morning paper. But instead of finding a newspaper, she found a tiny baby fast asleep in a yellow bassinet with a yellow stuffed toy tucked into her blanket beside her. Miss Derby leaned in and saw a note attached to her shirt that read, “My name is Grace.” That was it. No other information. Miss Derby was used to that. Over the years, many kids were dumped here like couches on the side of abandoned roads.

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A little miffed that she wasn’t able to talk to the person that ditched Grace on her porch, she reached in to poke Grace to see if she was breathing. Grace opened her beautiful green eyes and looked up at Miss Derby and immediately sneezed. The dust in the desert was apparently getting to her. But as she sneezed, Miss Derby noticed something interesting. The corner of the blanket had pulled up and Miss Derby spotted something green. Miss Derby’s heart leapt with excitement as she realized what it was. Hidden away under the blanket Grace was laying on was millions of dollars. Fresh, crisp, new bills wrapped in bands in neat rows lined the bassinet.

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“Welcome to Brixton.” Miss Derby said, “You just bought yourself 18 years here.”