Things seemed to instantly improve when I began to nurture my new talent, I felt more detached from reality, like I was hovering slightly off of the ground. Granted, I wasn't treated any differently - if anything, being the "teacher's pet" made it worse - but I suddenly didn't seem to care. I still returned home crying every now and then, but instead of going to bed early or spending my evenings shooting angry monsters on the computer, I wrote.
I wrote about real life, changing their names made it easier to do unimaginable things to them. No matter how much they hurt me, I always acted as the pacifist - I refused to fight back. In hindsight, that didn't make it any better, but although I never condoned violence in real life, in my head I could do whatever to Hazel or Amaltha, dropping pianos and giving them rat poison didn't bother me. In that world, I was God, a bringer of justice increasing in power with each new sentence, nobody could touch me.
And they needed to be punished.
However, cordoning my violent thoughts to paper didn't last for long. Each new day when I saw them, laughing and talking so carefree, whilst I sat on a bean-bag in the corner, taunted from across the room, I closed my eyes and thought of the gruesome ways I had put an end to them the previous night. The hope was that it would cool my hatred of them so that I could get through the day.
But soon, it became too much, and I became violent.
I remember the first time I shook somebody. A boy named Jack had teased me about a spelling mistake I'd made on a poster (it said "chluck" not "cluck" - woopeedoo), but for me, it was the ultimate humiliation, one they were keen not to let me forget. It went on for days, they would turn and laugh at me each time they passed the poster on the way to class. They couldn't get enough of the "star" English girl who made a spelling mistake. Perhaps it was my own fault for revelling in the glory so much, but I had never felt so proud of myself before.
So when Jack told me I was nothing, that I wasn't good at spelling or writing or anything, I snapped. I remember running up to him, grabbing his shoulders, digging my thumbs deeply into my collarbone, and shaking. I shook him like he was a child's doll who had done something wrong, and felt a new rush of power, one that seemed even better than pretending to hurt them.
It was the one good thing about real life.
It didn't take long for the others to complain that I was hurting them, and the teachers chastised me for hurting my classmates - and no matter how much I explained how they had made me feel, they thought violence was unacceptable. I could never understand how they had been allowed to do what they did to me for almost three years, but the moment I fought back, I was in the wrong.
I tried to control myself, to stop lashing out at others, and although the incidents were isolated, they became worse. Shaking became purposely throwing netballs at heads in P.E, then it was landing a punch in the rare game of tag I was invited to. The worst that it ever came to was slapping, but once it had been done, I ran off, hiding, terrified of being rebuked.
And so I began hiding. Each time an incident occurred, I refused to remain around to get in trouble for it. None of the teachers knew where to find me, they didn't know where I would always go - all except Mrs Spare. The tree. She would never shout at me, and we would talk for almost ten minutes at a time, her at the bottom, me high up in the branches. Other teachers - like Mrs Morgan - would have screamed at me and banned me from ever going in the tree again, and although Mrs Spare was concerned for my safety, it didn't take much for me to convince her how well I knew the tree. I knew each of the knots to put my feet on, which branches I could grab hold of and would hold my weight, and which part of the branch to sit on before it bowed dangerously low. It gave me my own sort of rush, like nature and I shared secrets that nobody would know, they trusted only me. All the tree ever wanted to do was hide me, protect me, and give me inspiration to imagine new scenarios and stories.
Mrs Spare knew all of this, and she knew she was my favourite teacher. I imagined what would happen if she told the headmistress about my tree-climbing, and how I would run out screaming and crying at the sight of the tree being chopped down and taken away, replaced with uninteresting benches and cheap, plastic playhouses that I was too tall to stand in. Mrs Spare knew it, I always admired how she just seemed to "get" me, and because of it, she told nobody about my climbing. Only she would coax me down from the branches and convince me to apologise, telling me that it didn't matter if I didn't mean it, but just for the sake of appearances. She talked to me privately, wishing that I wouldn't climb anymore, but didn't push me when I said that it was my special place and I couldn't bear to leave it.
At that point, I had never felt closer to somebody than before, and it never seemed to bother me that my closest friend was in fact, a teacher.