‘So that was all it took,’ I thought. ‘That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn’t so much after all.’
The wind picked up my nightie, and I felt like it would have lifted me into the sky if there hadn’t been something heavy holding me down.
‘Soon I won’t feel this way any more,’ I thought. That was what was holding me on the ground. ‘Soon everything will be back to normal. I’ll forget how it felt to have hands strong enough to squeeze all the life out of someone. I’ll forget how it felt to be God.’
The next thought came as a voice, dropped into my head. ‘I need to feel it again. I need to do it again.’
The time between doing it once and doing it again was suddenly mapped onto a clockface, with hands that ticked the seconds away. I watched it tick, heard it tick, felt it tick. The clock was a special secret just for me. People would sit next to me in the classroom and walk past me in the street and play with me in the playground and they wouldn’t know who I really was, but I would, because I would have my ticking to remind me. And when the clock had ticked all the way round, so the hands were twinned at 12, it would happen. I would do it again.
My fingers and toes were cramping with cold, so I started to walk back to the house. I felt even lighter than I had when I set out, and I knew it wasn’t just because I was going downhill instead of up. It was because I had a plan. The front door was still stuck with the mat, and I closed it behind me with a careful click. I put the sugar back in the kitchen and climbed back up the stairs. Everything was still quiet. Everything was still dark. In bed I tucked my knees up under my nightie and put my hands in my armpits. I was very cold but very real. Very living. Every tiny part of my body had its own heartbeat, its own clock beat.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
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