With the feeling back in her limbs, she squeezes her fingers into fists, preparing to bash anything or anyone in her way. If need be, she’ll bite too. Whatever it takes so that she can retreat to the safety of her fluffy, flowery duvet. Puffing out her cheeks, she’s building up the courage to leg it as fast as she can when the wheezing she heard before tickles her ears like the yellowed fingers of a dirty old man. Flashing her eyes this way and that, she sees nothing, and yet if she were to have somehow caught sight of her reflection, she’d see not a girl but a frightened rabbit. One caught in the headlights, not of a speeding car, but the oncoming threat of the horrors of the adult world. Gulping repeatedly, she balances on the tips of her toes like a ballerina as she tries, from somewhere, to pluck up the guts to run towards the open front door and then on to her bedroom. She knows to dilly dally is pointless, and yet she can’t seem to push herself forward. It’s as if she’s somehow stuck to the floor like a piece of well-chewed gum or an ancient candy wrapper squashed tight to the ground by the weight of time.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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