LXXXV | Some Defence

It’s clear
what Tammie thinks of me.

(She’s tenderly

running her hand

over the pulse
on my throat right now.)

I don’t dare
to ask her.

Knowing the truth will hurt more.

Maybe by ingratiating herself,
she won’t get hurt

by me again.

Maybe that’ll work,

but I already know
what I did wrong.

Even then,
I know she can’t help it.

She thinks
I’m the one

killing the other patients.

But it’s not me.

I’ll have to prove myself
to her.

By finding
the truth.

Moonlight Sonata
moans tonight,

more whiny than usual.

Her touch
makes my skin tingle

and waylays my thoughts.

I ask her
to stop.

She gives me her apologetic smile,

pretends I haven’t spoken.

It hurts
to be

the only one affected.

Why am I so aware of her?

I don’t notice that
the music’s stopped

or that I’m staring

until Xavier offers me
the marie biscuits

clenched in his fists.

‘There’s more in the kitchen,’
he mumbles.

Crumbles fly


‘Dunnid to stare like that.
‘Very rude.’

He leaves.

I stare down
at the marie biscuits

in my hand,

warm because he’s been
holding them tight.

Tammie’s fallen onto the carpet,
rolling around in laughter.

It’s innocent—

her laughter.

But I’m offended anyway.
She thinks

it’s so funny that he likes me,

but I’m disappointed

that she’s
not jealous

at all.




While Tammie bathes,

I go to the kitchen
and pretend to take

more marie biscuits.


I’m hiding plastic knives

up my

The last time

I hid one between the rowan trees,

the nurses
found it,
took it away.

This time,

I’ll hide it there again.

A warning
for them.

They’ll think
it’s the only one,

that I’ve learnt nothing

even though
the previous one disappeared.

But actually,

I’m hiding
more of them


the studio
where Tammie


I hide them under CD players,
inside the cupboard of costumes.

I bluetack one to the metal pole.

So Tammie
can defend herself

if it comes down
to that.

It won’t.

I tell myself.

It won’t.
It won’t.

I hurry
so I can get to the bathroom

just as Tammie’s done


I stand up
and find myself

face to face

with Siti and Zuraida.

Siti doesn’t stare
for long.

Her eyes are drawn

to her own reflection

in the mirror.

Zuraida’s looking at me though,
through her curtain of hair.

She sees

the plastic knife

I bluetacked
on the

metal pole.

She’s talking
but I can’t hear

what she’s saying.


I only hear a


that fills the room

after that.

Hastily covered up
by dissonant tracks

from multiple

CD players.

Tammie’s dance song.

A shiver runs
down my spine.


I’m backing away

from them

and the pool of blood
that’s becoming a Red Sea

between us.


I don’t have time
to think

about what’s happening.


I need to know she’s okay.

I spin
on my heel,


to her.




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