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Despair

She dawdles home. Why can they not leave her alone? Instead they sneer and cat-call from the other side of the road. She stops outside the drugstore and looks around cautiously.

A little later, she emerges clutching a little package and hides it in the bottom of her schoolbag as she walks. Looking up, she realises with dread that she is nearly home.

Walking up to the gate, she trips on a wire stretched between the lamppost and the fence. The boys across the road snigger, "Pick up your feet, swatto!"

She comes in by the back door, which the wind snatches from her hand to slam it closed.

"Girl, don't slam it!" her mother calls from her armchair and gin.

She walks slowly upstairs to her room and takes out her parcel. Unscrewing the lid of the bottle she unwraps, she pours a mountain of gleaming white tablets onto the bed. Getting a glass of water from the bathroom, she sits on the bed and begins to take them, one by one.

She slips to the floor with a resounding thud after the 67th.

"Shut up girl!" yells her mother.

The girl is motionless.



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Nat S Ford
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