Elaine thinks
she's dying;
the splash of
red in the


lavatory pan
has spun her
sideways, taken
her out of her


usual comfort
zone, the outer
world crowding
in. Other girls in


the school come
and go, a bell rings,
then silence. She
stares at the lavatory


door, someone has
written a poem
in red ink, another
scribbled underneath


a rude black ink
remark. The white
is discoloured, the
walls like wise to


match. She pulls
off a handful of 
paper, wraps it
around fingers,


stares at her hands,
bites her lower lip.
She crosses herself,
from forehead to


stomach, from
shoulder to shoulder.
How does one die?
she muses darkly,


peeking down at
the pan, redness
spreading, she's
leaking a slow death,


being undone before
her eyes. Is this how
one dies? She should
be in maths, at her


desk, doing algebra
she's not understood,
looking vacant, biting
her pen. She leans


forward, peeks again,
feeling flushed, the
red splash spread.
She feels unwell,


pains kick in, the
walls turn white,
crowding in. An
outer door opens,


someone sings, the
door clicks shut,
the voice sings
in soft melodious


tones. Elaine moans,
pushes her fist into
her mouth, painful
groans. The singer


pauses, nears the door,
puts ear to wood.
What's up? she asks,
staring at the whiteness


of the door. I’m dying,
Elaine says, I’m leaking
blood. The girl who
was singing mutters,


it's just a flood, has
no one said, its a
female thing, so shut
your crying, I’ll go


get the nurse, to sort
you out, you're not
freaking dying. And
off she goes, the door


clicks shut again, nothing
but silence, disappointed
death and bewildered,
pale-faced, aching Elaine.

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