Extract from Chrissie
Chrissie stood exposed, willing her bullies to change. She wanted their little bones to click and clack and crack into new forms. From that moment, thirty-six little Rubik’s Cubes twisted and turned. Smooth flesh was cracked open by black feathers sprouting into glossy wings. Little chins and squat noses folded into hard, black beaks and fingers cracked and snapped into talons. Finally, thirty-six pairs of bewildered eyes searched her for meaning. Chrissie backed away.
‘I didn’t mean for it to work,’ she said, bumping against the blackboard.
The children fluttered across their desks. They roosted on the backs of chairs, or on top of strip lights. They shat on the linoleum and cried out for an explanation in voices they no longer recognised.
Chrissie panicked and started towards Mrs Laing to plead for her help, but the teacher had gone. She was perched on the top ledge of the blackboard, wearing a shrunken version of her favourite pillbox hat. Chrissie wanted to laugh at the absurdity, but the hateful red eyes of Mrs Laing told her this would be a mistake.
Like a rabbit caught in a snare, Chrissie’s breathing grew shallow and her mind tried to process her escape. What could she do? Well, she should tell Nana the truth for a start. It was always best to tell Nana the truth. She would always make the bad things go away.
But, the lull lasted only a second longer before the flock, as one united conspiracy, swooped towards her, aiming to tear at whatever soft flesh or organs they could reach.
As Chrissie pushed through the heavy classroom door, beaks tore at her neck and shoulders. Angry claws scratched at her ears and cheeks. They pulled at her pigtails as she protected her eyes. And all it took was one more scream before Mrs Laing swooped into the fray and ripped Chrissie’s tongue from her mouth.
Photograph above by cooee at Morguefile.com