Curled up in a corner of the bunk bed, she stares out at the world with black, tearful eyes: a world that has turned on her and taken everything away. She hugs her knees and tries not to let a sob escape her as the tears trickle down her cheeks.

"You're a fool, Jess," she tells herself, reproving in the face of great misery. "People are in worse situations than you right now. Stop feeling so sorry for yourself." And yet she looks at the scars and it doesn't feel like she can be happy again. It would only take a moment: this was the time to do it ...

"Jess?" Friendly voices, voices that the girl does not want to hear. A thin stream of blood trickles down and runs through her fingers, pooling in her cupped hand; a pearly tear casts a water mark and the two liquids separate slowly. "Jess, are you there?"

"Don't come in!" she replies, a choked and drowning voice. "I want to be alone. Don't come in." With a soft cry, she turns away. 

"Jess, I'm worried about you..." But she does not listen, for her fingers are running over and over the cut as though that will heal it, as though every bit of pain is a step on the road to recovery; blood comes faster and faster like the knife that had made it.

"Leave me alone." But Jess is whispering now, every breath a struggle. "I want to be alone." Yet she is always alone: no one understands, no one cares, there is nothing there for her, so she is alone, and she hates it.

"Jess?" Voices become urgent and surround her as she collapses, the words becoming a swarm. They are not voices she recognises, just people calling her name, trying to wake her. "Jess, can you hear me?"

"Who did this?" That is a voice she knows. Her mother. Angry, demanding. "Murderer ... murderer ... murderer ..." Jess tries to open her eyes and explain but they will not obey her. "I will find them, I swear, and they will rue the night they laid hands on my daughter..."

"I don't think this is a case of murder, love." Is that her father? Jess can no longer hear properly, and it is just a fuzz of indistinct noise. "No one did this to Jess."

"She committed suicide." A shocked whisper, filled with pain. "My daughter committed suicide." There is a long silence, taut with the heartstrings that are breaking. Jess feels the sticky warmth of the blood around her.

"That would appear to be the case."

An agonised shout.


And then nothing.

The End

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