GENRE: YA dark contemporary
I can do this.
Ponytailed girls dressed in blue and white cheerleader uniforms, ringed in light like the angels in those old paintings you see in museums whisper to one another as I pass by. My cheeks flame and I cast my gaze down.
Don't think. Walk. One foot in front of the other.
The crowd opens as I approach, absorbing me into their center then spitting me out on the other side like they’ve tasted the ashes of my remorse and found me too bitter. A group of what I can only assume to be freshman boys, pokes one another in the ribs and drags their black-soled shoes along the shiny floor making scuff marks on the newly waxed surfaces. I maneuver around them. One sticks out a foot and I trip, my bag flies off, skittering along the dirty tiles and coming to rest up against an olive green painted locker dented from years of abuse by the hard kicks of bad grades or lost football games.
The sensation of flying comes to an abrupt end as I land spread-eagle, the breath knocked out of me as I belly slide until the top of my head grazes the three-vent holes at the bottom of the locker.
My stomach---full of spoon-stirring fiends who threaten to expel the Cheerios I had for breakfast---churns. Laughter bounces off my back as I scramble to retrieve my dignity and my bag before I’m trampled by the swarm.