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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Psycho Girl (a novella)

Last year (August 2016) I wrote this novella over the course of 6 days.  I have been sending it to writing agents for about 6 months to little avail; shall continue to do so. I am sharing it with you because I would like feedback and would like this story to be read. Please enjoy.

Copyright Zarina Macha 2017.

Contains explicit sexual content, some violence and bad language.

Evelyn Baxter is perfect. She looks like a model. Her family is well-off. She is popular at school, gets good grades, and has a great social life. Her boyfriend worships her. She is the girl everyone wants to be.
But when Evelyn is rejected from the University of Cambridge, the mask peels away, and Evelyn begins to expose herself for the monster she truly is. 

Psycho Girl by Zarina Macha

For Bibsi


1

Buzz. Alarm clock goes off. I turn it off. Time to get out of bed and start the morning routine. Today is supposed to be a special day, because it’s the day after a special day. Today is the day after the day I turned eighteen. If you’re too moronic to understand what I just said, I will repeat it in simpler terms; yesterday was my eighteenth birthday. I am by British law an adult now. That means I can now purchase alcohol legally, go clubbing, get married to the guy I have been cheating on for the last two years, or buy a truck. Whilst I enjoy alcohol and clubbing to some degree I am indifferent to suddenly being able to do so without legal restraint; I think marriage is the worst legal form of slavery a person can do to themselves, and I don’t know why in Gods’ name I would purchase a truck. But nevermind.


I take a look at myself in the mirror. I don’t look too bad, but then I never look bad. When you’re as good-looking as me you never truly look terrible, even in the morning. My hair, big and brown and thick, is a mess around my head, but a sexy kind of mess. The kind of mess that I can get away with fluffing it up and taking it out to a club or a party.

I’ve got a couple of spots on my cheek, but that’s no problem. I know how to fix that. My skin is extremely pale. I never blush, but then I’m never embarrassed so why would I. My eyes are dark brown with long lashes. When David (the guy I suppose I’m dating) met me, he told me that I had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. Some sentimental crap like that. Of course I smiled and gushed and said that that was the kindest thing anyone had ever said to me.

I make my way into my en-suite bathroom. This room used to be my parent’s, but I made them trade with me two years ago. I needed the extra space to study is what I said. Sixth form is considerably more intense than secondary school.
I splash water on my face, and then take out my Simple face lotion, which I apply then rinse, followed by Clean and Clear for my spots, which I leave on for exactly a minute and a half, then rinse. I apply a spot of Colgate toothpaste onto my red toothbrush, and brush my teeth for twenty seconds. When this is finished, I strip off and step into my shower. I wash my hair every three days with Head and Shoulders 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner. This is a good amount of time because it means that my hair is not being stripped of its natural oils, but means that it isn’t being left long enough to get greasy. I would never appear in public with greasy hair. The thought makes me want to laugh.

Once I have finished my eight minute shower – enough time to soap myself with Body Shop Coconut Shower Gel, and wash my hair, as well as enjoy the warm sprays of water on my skin – I step out, wrap my towel around my body and hair, and go back into my room. Time to decide what to wear. I open my wardrobe. My wardrobe takes up almost the entirety of one of my walls. Today I feel like wearing my red mini dress with the green belt and khaki tights, and black shoes. It’s total bullshit that we’re not allowed to wear heels to school, but maybe the teachers are worried we’d accidentally stab somebody’s foot with our high heels. Makes sense after all, these things happen.

I put on my clothes, and a gold necklace, bracelet and earring set David got me for my birthday. I detest gold – silver is much classier – but I wear them anyway. I take my towel off my head and shake my hair free, then take out my hair dryer. It takes four minutes and twenty seconds for me to get my hair entirely dry. I try not to dry it with a hairdryer too often because it dries out your hair – I never use it more than once a week. When I’m finished I shake it out. I look excellent. Now for the finishing touches.

No matter where I am going, I always put my face on. Through watching various Beauty Gurus on YouTube I have made sure to design the perfect mask of make-up, so that my face always looks flawless. I start with primer, making a nice base, followed by foundation. Then I apply concealer to the few spots on my face. Of course, my spots are not due to diet, as my diet is a carefully constructed array of fruit, greens, salads and fish, low in carbs and high in protein and minerals – with the absence of other meat of course, and absolutely no sugar. (Besides that in alcohol).

Once the base coat is applied, I apply bronzer then blusher, and then start on my eyes. It takes me a total of twelve minutes and fifty seconds to perfect my eye make-up. My liquid eyeliner pen has the most precision, a dainty felt tip where I can draw on the perfect flick in one clean swipe. Of course it never actually goes the way I want it to, because all man-made inventions possess some sort of aggravating problem. Nonetheless, years of make-up application have taught me how to make sure that my flicks are utterly on point.

Then I must close both eyes and dab on the perfect amount of eyeshadow, followed by mascara on both top and bottom eyes and bottom eyeliner. I am sure to use only the best brands; Maxfactor, Mac, and Bobbi Brown. To top it all off I smear the slightest amount of red lipstick on my lips, pout, and then I am good to go. Downstairs, that is. I waltz out of my room, down to the kitchen. Felicity, my bratty sixteen year old sister, is yelling at my mum about something. I don’t know what, something to do with her being out too late. Not my problem anyway. I edge around them, opening the fridge door so I can take out my Rice Milk to have with Gluten Free Cornflakes. I drum my fingers on the worktop. God, I wish they would shut up. I’ve practically only just woken up; I can’t deal with this much noise this early in the morning. I’m tempted to cover my ears but both of my hands are currently occupied. (I envy Dad; he always leaves for work at like six in the morning so he never has to listen to this utter rubbish).

“Seriously, Evelyn, do you think I’m being unreasonable here?” When did Mum start talking to me? Was it about ten seconds ago? I smile at her and shake my head. She points to my sister, saying something about me being in agreement with her. My mum, that is, not Felicity. People often say I look like my mum. We have the same eyes and hair, apparently. Or the same nose, some sort of generic facial feature. Or genetic facial feature; neither is incorrect. Felicity is said to look more like my dad – she has his chin? Something like that? I have no idea how people even notice these things. Eyes, chins, noses, they’re all the same to me. Felicity has her hair cut short and dyed red and she’s tiny, like a pixie, and her clothes never match. It’s one of the many things I can’t stand about her. She pulls together the most absurd of outfits as if they are supposed to look good. And she always asks for my opinion. Always. My God. As if a bright orange T-shirt, baby blue jacket, yellow skinny jeans and grey Doc Martens can possibly look good? I know I mentioned earlier that I don’t get embarrassed, but I do sense a thing close to embarrassment – more like disgust – when people see us in public together. They must wonder how on Earth we can possibly be related. Thankfully we don’t look anything alike. Unless we have the same shoulders or some stupid nonsense like that.

After finishing my cereal within a total of eleven minutes (it would have been less time had my mother and sister not been vying for my attention and forcing me to quake out monosyllabic responses) I put my bowl in the dishwasher, give my mum a kiss on the cheek (it’s become less forced and more routine-ish now) and tell her I’m off to school. Or sixth form. Or college. Our British education system can’t decide on a name for Post-16 courses, so they have several depending on which part of the country you live in. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all the same to me; a place to learn stuff that will get me as far away from here as possible and into an extremely high-powered well paying job. I couldn’t decide on Law, Business or Economics, but I picked Law because it is easy to get into a job straight away, especially provided I get into Cambridge (which I most certainly will). My application is almost finished.

Unfortunately, just as I’m pulling on my coat and scurrying out the door, Mum asks me the dreaded question.
“So Evelyn, are you bringing David round tonight?”
I turn my feet around and tell her that no, he won’t be joining us for dinner tonight, he has plans. One of the many things I can’t stand about my mum is that she adores my boyfriend. Her adoration makes me struggle to hold my food down. As far as she is concerned, he is the Model Male, the Perfect-on-Paper guy every mother longs her daughter to date. He is good-looking, tidy, well-mannered, respectful, comes from a good family – a male flip-side image of us, essentially. That is all she sees. They constantly laugh together. David once said, you know, that comment; ‘I can see where Evelyn gets her looks from, Mrs Baxter!’ to which my mother responded with ‘oh please dear, call me Alice.’ That was two years ago, when I was sixteen, and introduced him to my parents after we had been together for three months and five days. I don’t see why I had to introduce him, but I met his parents within a couple of weeks, and he kept pestering and pestering me. But I put it off for as long as I could. As long as I could make him stand it. In an ideal world, I would never introduce any boyfriend of mine to my parents, ever; because if they like him he becomes best friends with your parents and they end up laughing at all of your life history together. Cosied up like ducklings in a pond. Or something like that.

I am shivering in this October cold. Fortunately it only takes me fourteen minutes to walk to school. It’s the same place I have been stuck in for years. The same school, the same people, the same neighbours. Good morning Mr Duvall. Good morning Evelyn. My, don’t you look pretty today. Why thank you. Good morning Mr and Mrs Bates. How is Pansy? Yes, yes she’s fine. Good to hear it. Good morning Jim. Morning Evelyn. My, you’re getting to look more and more like your mother aren’t you! Why yes, yes I am.
It is impossible to walk past anybody without having to make some sort of irrelevant small talk. I paste the usual smile to my face, although inside I am nothing. I feel nothing. Nothing but contempt.

2

School is a place where smart people like myself come to learn. Needless to say, the majority of the people whom I am forced to spend hours at a time with are utter halfwits. It’s not their fault, I suppose; their parents are also halfwits, hence they produce offspring that are halfwits. That would be the reasonable thing to say anyway, if I cared enough to be reasonable. I know I would never have children; why would I possibly want some sticky, smelly, gross human being growing inside of me to grow up to be something that I wouldn’t be able to stand? I personally have no idea how anybody tolerates children. When I see children (I saw two run across the road just now) my immediate reaction is to turn away in disgust and then cringe. They’re just so...small. And useless. They produce no contribution to society whatsoever, and the sad fact is that they grow up to become extended wastes of space, with a larger verbal capacity and you’d have hoped a larger intellectual capacity, but with the majority of people that is not the case. Most people are not smart.

I know I was a very smart child, but of course no one ever realises or presumes that children possess any worthy knowledge. The worst of the worst are those adults that gush over children. They stand over them and talk to them in those same, ridiculous high-pitched voices, in foreign goo-goo language, and it’s no wonder the child becomes an idiot! It would give me great pleasure to single-handedly strangle people like that. I often fantasize, when I walk past an old lady or a mother or somebody (usually female, men are more sensible about these things) standing over a pram and cooing all over a baby or some toddler, I think about how wonderful it would be to grab them by the throat, slowly choking them, pressing my thumbs down on their throat and crushing their windpipe, watching as the air slowly disappears from their lungs. To me it is a scene of utter beauty, as wonderful as a Monet painting of waterlillies. I believe the world would be a much better and safer place if it were rid of such people.

Because I go to sixth form, not a college, I am forced to conform to an utterly obscene waking time of quarter past seven. These means that I can fit in everything that I need to do in order to get to school for half past eight. Registration officially begins at twenty to, but it is always better to be there ten minutes early. I am the model student, after all.
Miss Rheka waves at me cheerily (she’s my Chemistry teacher) asking how my UCAS application is going. I tell her that it is going rather well and that I have almost finished everything. She beams at me. “That’s what I love to here! Resilient as ever! Well done to you Evelyn. Cambridge will be very lucky to have you.”
Smiling, I say “oh, I know they will. And they have a wonderful Law programme. Trinity College will revel at my interview.”
She laughs. “My, I do admire your confidence!” She walks off. As soon as she leaves the smile falls from my face. University this, courses that, bla bla bla. I am already bored of the subject and we’re only a month in to Year 13. Still, just as soon as I can apply and get away as fast as possible. The deadline is still a week away and I’ve almost finished my personal statement.

I go inside. Rosie and Sarah, my best friends I guess, are sitting in our usual seats. They wave and look all excited when I walk in, even though the last time they saw me was yesterday when they gave me a giant card with hearts or something and some message about being the ‘best friend ever’ and some Body Shop stuff they know I like. Rosie is chubby and blonde and laughs all the time; sometimes I have to fight back the urge to punch her in the face because she never stops laughing. No one can find everything that hilarious, it is not humanly possible. Sarah is tall and skinny and black with a curly afro-thingy that everyone always fawns over and thinks is so wonderful. She’s obsessed with her hair, constantly looking at it in the mirror, and she practically screams if someone tries to touch her hair. Drama queen or what.
“So, are we all set for this Saturday then?” says Sarah, looking at me eagerly. I blink between her and Rosie. “What’s happening on Saturday?”
“Duh, we’re going clubbing in London, dumbarse! Now you’ve joined the eighteen and over club! You’re one of us now!” Rosie squeals with laughter. I smile too, although I’d rather wretch. Rosie is twenty already because her birthday is in September and she used to go to a different college. Most of our friends are nineteen already or born in September, and they always act like it makes them superior to everyone else when they have the brains of twelve year olds.
“Oh yeah, how could I forget,” I say.
“We’re going to XOYO, one of the best clubs in London. You’ll love it.”
“Ah, alright.”
“It’s gonna be a wicked night,” says Sarah. “Everyone is coming; Max, Janie, David obviously-”
I look between the pair of them. “Why didn’t I hear about this?”
“Didn’t you see on Facebook?” says Rosie. I shake my head. If I ever have to go on Facebook it’s usually because my friends have tagged me in something stupid.
“Well, I made it an event,” says Sarah. “So, you didn’t have to organise it yourself.”
“Yeah, we wanted to surprise you.”
Interesting, they organise an event that’s supposed to be for and about me and this is the first I’m hearing about it. I’m annoyed, but I don’t show it. I brush a strand of hair out of my face and say “Aw, thanks guys! That is so thoughtful of you. You’re the best friends ever.”
“Aw, so are you!” We have one of those awkward over-the-table group hugs. “Trust me, you’ll love it. Bring plenty of cash though, drinks in London aren’t cheap and neither is entry.”
“Yeah, but it’s so worth it. I can’t wait.”
“So how was yesterday? Did you enjoy yourself?” I don’t understand why Rosie would ask me that. She saw me yesterday; she practically shoved birthday cake down my throat. This is another thing I can’t stand; questions with answers that are so obvious they make the question look silly. No, I did not enjoy myself. Is that what she wants me to say? Actually I rarely enjoy myself anywhere, but sometimes things can be less of a pain in the neck than usual.
“Yeah, I had a really good day. You saw what David bought me.” They ooh and aah all over my beautiful expensive jewellery and say that I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a boyfriend as great as David. God this is so boring. When is Miss Hudders coming in? I need to ask her important questions about my UCAS application.

One minute later she walks in, apologising for being late, and asks us how we’re all getting on with our personal statements and that we really need to have some sort of draft done by now. “Has anyone started a draft of their statement?” she asks, looking around the room. Hannah raises her hand, saying that she has finished her Philosophy statement and already sent off her Cambridge application. She says that she would be happy to read it aloud in order to be ‘inspiring.’ I roll my eyes. Hannah is one of those arse-kissing students that no one likes but everyone puts up with. She clears her throat. “‘Philosophy distances us from conventions, established assumptions and unsettled beliefs.’ Like Michael Sandel, I have found the intellectual detachment provided by the study of Philosophy to constitute my relationship to the internal and external world.  I am driven to the exploration of knowledge, morality and quality of life, and refuse to accept what is taken for granted in society.”

When she finishes the entire statement, Miss Hudders applauds along with everyone else. Mark, one of the boys in our class, whistles and says that it is very good and that she looks nice today. I am fuming. I can’t believe Hannah has already finished her personal statement and it sounds much better than mine. How did that happen? But then no surprise, she got a ton of help. Her Philosophy teacher practically wrote her statement for her.
“Evelyn, are you ok?” Rosie asks me. I shake my head, nodding and pasting a small smile on my face. “Yeah, just zoned out a bit.”
“God, her statement was so good! I’m jealous. She’s so smart,” says Sarah, sighing. I glance over at Hannah. “It was alright, but I can do better.” She’s got this stupid smirk on her face. Hey, you piece of shit! You think you’re so smart yeah, you fucking no life! I bet you copied that shit off Google!
Miss Hudders peers over at me. “Ah, Evelyn, how are you doing with your statement?” I turn around to face her. Smiling, I say “still haven’t quite finished it yet.”
“Well chop chop! Only a week to go now!”
Yes, chop chop, choppity chop, I’d love to chop your fucking head off. I nod as the buzzer goes off. Hannah gets up. I decide to follow her. I have Economics now, and neither Rosie nor Sarah has a single clue about the economy. Hannah walks out of class. She has History now. I always know what subjects coincide with what. It’s always the same. How else can it possibly be in a year group of a hundred and forty eight students?
Hannah attempts to unzip her bag whilst walking. I walk behind her, my shoes not making a sound. She jumps when she sees me. “Oh, hey Evelyn!” She looks incredibly gracious that I could possibly want to talk to her. “How are you? Did you like my statement then? It took me like ten drafts to perfect. I had so much help with it as well.”
“Did you.” I curl my lips into a smile. “That’s wonderful. I’m still finishing mine. Perhaps you could help me.”
“Yes, I’d love to! I heard you talking to Miss Hudders. And have you done any interview prep? I’ve already started on mine. You know 95% of applicants get interviewed?”
“I’m aware.” I look down at her skin. She’s got her coat slung over one shoulder, and on the other side I can see her T-shirt, exposing pink flesh with two black beauty spots. Pink flesh to rip. “Would you like to meet up maybe at lunchtime? At break I have Chemistry homework to finish, but lunchtime is considerably longer.” Fifty five minutes for lunch, twenty minutes for break. The five minutes at the end of lunch is actually in order to get to our last lesson on time, if we have one.
Hannah beams at me. “Sounds fab. See you later!”

3

When I walk down the street, going about my day, or down the corridor, I see nothing but a sea of idiots. I look around in disgust at the vermin that plague our Earth. Humans are nothing more than a product of evolution trapped on this planet for the purpose of pro-creation. Of creating more and more fools like us that can destroy the planet we have been put on by natural law.

Although I look human; I possess flesh, blood, hair, nerve-endings; inside I feel few of the emotions that I am supposed to feel. As my friends cried, and laughed, and felt pain and fear and anxiety, I grew up becoming more and more detached, more distant from those emotions. I can’t say that it has done me any less than a world of good. No fretting around exam time, no nerves. What is there to fear? Fear does nothing but hold us back. When we let go of our feelings, we become free. Free to do anything. Free to have whatever we want, or whomever we want. Free to use the world to our advantage, and to not allow anything to stand in our way.

Later that day, I spend an hour and two minutes reading Cambridge personal statements online, and other model statements for Law degrees. Stupid Hannah. Stupid fucking waste of space. How could she possibly have finished already? Because she got special help. Some of us are smart enough to use our own brains.
Law doesn’t require any pre-needed A levels. I currently study Economics, Business, Chemistry and Sociology. A’s in all of them last year. Continuing to do four A levels was no problem for me. Chemistry was the most difficult, but all were fine. Rather enjoyable. I know I would be perfect for Cambridge; someone with my brains deserves to go to the best university in the country. And the best and biggest college; Trinity. It certainly has the best building. I thought it marvellous when we visited at the open day.

As I’m finishing up, my phone begins to ring. I look down at it. It is David. I pick up the phone and answer. “Hello?”
“Hey baby, how are you?” I don’t understand this. He walked me home earlier, he knows how I am. What can have possibly changed in the space of an hour and forty five minutes?
“I’m fine,” I say in the usual simpering tone I deliver to him. “Just looking up Cambridge stuff.”
“Oh nice! Don’t worry, you’ll deffo get in. They’d be stupid not to choose you.”
I laugh. “Oh honey, don’t flatter me now.”
“Listen, I was going to talk you about this Saturday? Yeah, sorry you didn’t hear about it or anything, I know it’s kind of short notice, but we all just wanted to surprise you. I hope that’s ok.”
“No, no, don’t worry about it.” I hope he isn’t going to be much longer, I need to go and get something to eat.
“So yeah, we’re all meeting at mine for pre’s, and then heading down on the train to London. Then we can just get a cab from Euston to XOYO. There’s like nine of us going, so we can just split the fare.”
“Sounds delightful.” Seriously, he had better hurry up, I cannot miss my mealtimes. It affects my digestion and sleep.
“Awesome. Well, I’m glad you’re cool with it all then. I’ll let you get back to course prepping. Have you finished your personal statement yet?”
I will strangle the next person that mentions the words ‘personal statement’ to me. I bare my teeth, keeping my tone light as always. “No, honey, but I’m getting to it. I had to change a few things around remember?”
“Oh, of course. Well I’ll let you get back to it then.” Yes, you just said that. “Love you Evelyn!”
“Love you too.” Why does he insist on telling me he loves me six times a day? As if the message couldn’t be any clearer. You’d think he’d have gotten tired of saying it by now, but clearly not. Rolling my eyes, I hang up and then go and make myself a potato salad.

The next day is Thursday. I am passing by the shop on my way to school, adding a total of three minutes to my usual journey. I need to purchase some raisins. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper, whom I have known for years, always wants to delve into a conversation with me whenever I arrive.
“Evelyn! How are you this morning! How are you parents?” he smiles at me. I smile back, my perfect teeth gleaming, and tell him that I am fine thank you and that my parents are well. “Your father, ah, he no come here that often anymore? I no see him.”
His accent makes me sick. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Pakistanis or anyone of any racial calibre, it is just that accent. It is so drawn out and misses about half of all consonants. And I hate the way he pronounces my name. Eva-leen. Read a dictionary, you stupid son of a bitch.
“My dad is often busy working,” I say, still smiling and flicking my hair out of my face. I decided to straighten it today. “He works very hard at his job.” He is one of the top Chief Executives at Benson &Benson, and has to commute to London every week. He works nine to five and is back on weekends so doesn’t see us that often. I do not care for my dad one little bit, but he provides my weekly allowance which is good enough for me. Pretty much the dream relationship. Whenever we do try and talk it always results in an argument anyway. One day – about a year ago – we got into a major fist fight, and he actually broke my teeth. I was in hospital. That was when my parents came close to getting a divorce, but it was decided instead that he would simply commute to London during the week to work and only come home on weekends. Works for me. I broke his nose anyway, so it worked out fairly.
Looking back, the whole thing was pretty funny. That’s the only thing I miss about having my dad around; we used to fight all the time and it gave me such a rush. I miss that rush. There’s no one to yell at anymore, no one to punch or slap or provoke.
When I arrive at school, I am greeted with a giant hug from Rosie. I step back, baring my teeth at her. “Nice to see you too.”
“So David told you everything about Saturday? Eek, I can’t wait!”
“Yeah, we should totally come yours first to get outfits sorted.” Sarah claps her hands together. “Do make-up, hair, get ready. What do you think? Pre’s at David’s start at eight, and then we were gonna leave about half nine so we can be at XOYO for eleven. Better to get there before twelve cos otherwise they’ll be such a blimmin long queue.”
I nod my head, half listening to all this. “Yeah, sounds good. Come round at five then, that gives us three hours to get ready.” As we walk towards our registration class I see Hannah. She waves at me. “Hi Evelyn! How’s your statement going? Sorry we couldn’t hang out yesterday, I had to leave at like twelve for a doctor’s appointment then decided to just take the day off to do interview prep.”
Does she seriously think she’ll get an interview? “It’s going great, actually, I’ve nearly finished.”
“Oh have you? Wonderful!”
“Yeah, that is so great!” say Rosie and Sarah. “Must be so exciting, and Law is such a good degree.”
“Yes, lawyers earn a highly respectable wage. By the time I make partner I should be on about 100K a year, as long as I work for one of the top firms.” I take my lip-stick and hand mirror out of my pocket. I have such great lips, full and pouty like a supermodel’s.
“I believe you should do a job because you enjoy it, not because of the money,” says Hannah. I peer over at her. “Hm, that’s no surprise considering you’re doing Philosophy. What career does that exactly entail anyway?”
“It can lead to a whole range of careers, but I’m not doing it for that reason, I’m doing it because I have a real interest in it. That’s what Oxbridge stresses, that you study a subject you have a real passion for and are prepared to dedicate all of your time towards. What happens afterwards doesn’t really matter.”
“Yes, if you’re prepared to blow three years of nine grand a year,” I say airily. I smile at her. “Well love, if that’s the way you wish to go then who am I to judge. If you end up cleaning toilets that’s your problem!” I start laughing to myself. Shame on her. She looks away, embarrassed. Rosie and Sarah frown at me. I shake my head. “Oh come on guys, I was just joking. Don’t worry Hannah, I am sure Philosophy will take you incredibly far in life. The study of Plato and Socrates and the like. Fascinating stuff.”
Rosie bites her lip, and then pats my hair. “You straightened it! It looks so nice.”
I nearly have a fit. I step back, pressing my lips together. “Rosie, love, what have I told you about touching my hair when I straighten it? Do you want it to erupt into a mass of frizz?”
“Sorry.” She yanks her hand back. Sarah nods at me. “I totally understand, I hate it when people touch my hair. Like, what gives them the right? Seriously, I mean like seriously...”
Yeah, like seriously, my hair is so fucking prestige, like if anyone even breathes near it I’m going to kill them; seriously Sarah if you don’t shut up about how precious your stupid hair is I am going to kill you. Babe, you are so totally asking for it. I ought to whack you over the head right now-
Miss Hudders arrives, breathless and two minutes later then she was yesterday. What on Earth is the point of turning up to registration on time if our own form tutor can’t even arrive on time? She apologises and says that she’s got a bunch of model personal statements for us to mull over and that she’s going to go round to each of us and see where we’re at. Good God, it’s about time. The way things move so slowly in this school. You can practically see the perspiration crawling down everyone’s cheeks as they move around the corridors. But no matter. I beam at her and ask if she can give mine a quick skim over. She says no problem, of course not, anything for dear lovely smart Evelyn.

4

For me, partying and clubbing are mostly about one thing; sex. It’s the only real reason I go out. Sure, it can be fun when you’re drunk enough to forget that outside of the club these would be regular douchebags, and behind those doors we’re all having a good time. Mostly.

I became sexually active when I was fourteen. I’ve had seventeen sexual partners in my life, including David. He doesn’t know. He asked me how many guys I’d done it with, and I said a few but no one special. That made him happy. I’m not really sure how David and I have been together for such a long time. I guess it’s because he practically worships me and thinks I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him, and in public we look great together, so yeah he’s worth keeping. He’s too naive to even consider the fact that I would ever cheat on him. I don’t know what I’d do if he found out. I wouldn’t care so much, it would be more the fact that it would create all of this unnecessary inconvenience. You know, he’d be upset, and then he’d talk to my mum, and then my friends would get involved, and it would just stir up all of this drama. Too tiresome. Plus it is good having him around; he drives, he lives close, he’s good in bed, he’s always buying me things and taking me out to nice places, like last year we went to Venice for a week. 

His parents both own this major business, so his family have even more money than mine. My friends say I’m the luckiest person to have a boyfriend who’s well off but utterly un-pretentious and down to earth, not to mention treats me with the utmost respect and bla bla bla. But he gets very boring, he’s too nicey-nicey and gushing and sappy. Sometimes it makes me sick. And he acts like a little boy that needs coddling. All of this I love you and baby you rock my world and rub my back, stroke my balls, stay with me forever and have my children. I will have to break up with him at some point but it probably won’t be until summer, when we’re off to uni and I never have to see him again. As long as he never finds out about the cheating it’s cool; wouldn’t want to mess up everything.
I always use condoms of course, and I’ve been on the pill for years. STDs are not something I want to catch. Plus if I got pregnant I’d have to have an abortion, and if you have too many it can mess up your ovaries. Not that I want kids, I just don’t want my body to get messed up. I treat it with enough care thank you very much.

Rosie and Sarah arrive ten minutes late. That’s the problem with not being specific about timing. Now that only gives us two hours and fifty minutes to get ready. I know David’s pre’s start at eight, but we can get away with leaving at eight as he only lives down the road. It takes one and a half minutes to walk down to his from mine.
I’m in the shower when they arrive. Rosie puts on loud music and has a bottle of wine, a pre for the pre’s, and we get all clean and made-up and moisturize. Sarah has to use the bathroom at the same time because it takes her forever to polish her perfect hair. I already know what I’m going to wear; I have this little black dress that makes my legs and bum look amazing, and black strappy stilettos. I can pair it off with silver earrings and an onyx necklace. That cost a fortune; it was a present from my dad. Rosie and Sarah tell me how amazing I look. They’re wearing black dresses as well, but neither look as good as mine. I give us all a spray of Chanel perfume, and then we’re good to go. I call to Mum that we’re leaving. She says to let her know when I’m back and to stay sensible, and I tell her not to worry. She smiles. “I know you’ll be responsible Evelyn, I’m just being a cautious mother. Have fun and enjoy your night!”

We arrive at David’s, all happy and tipsy. Happy hippy happy as can be. The rest of the gang are there; Max, David’s best friend, Janie, his girlfriend, Alex and Damien, David’s other friends, and Paloma, Damien’s ex/on-and-off girlfriend. Paloma is always complimenting me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her sober; she takes ketamine or PCP or something. I can’t remember. She’s always telling me how beautiful I am, and how I’m so smart and such an inspiration and she hopes to be just like me someday. It’s pretty boring. They’re all playing Never Have I Ever. I like that game, it’s funny. I never tell the truth of course, unless it suits me well. One time someone went ‘Never Have I Ever cheated.’ That might have been the same night I screwed David’s cousin whilst David was in the bathroom. He was definitely high on something. Ecstasy maybe. He wasn’t that good, it only lasted like seven minutes.

“Never Have I Ever done it in a public place,” says Paloma, spilling half her vodka and lemon. I glance sideways at David, sipping my glass. We’ve done it in public toilets, and done head in graveyards and behind alleyways.
“Never Have I Ever worn a strap on.” Sarah shrieks with laughter. So does Paloma, the two of them hi-fiving. It’s my go. “Never Have I Ever tied a man up with handcuffs,” I say, winking. “Oi oi mate, your girlfriend’s kinky,” says Max to David. David slathers his tongue over my cheek. Gross. He’s like an overgrown dog.
“Never Have I Ever had a threesome.” That was Alex’s. Only three people drink; him, Damien and Rosie. “Oh God, you all had a threesome with each other didn’t you,” says Sarah, laughing. Janie rolls her eyes. “Guys, why are these questions only ever about sex?”
“Because that’s the point of the game,” I say. “If you’re a virgin you can’t play.”
“Yeah, Max, you better get out now,” says Sarah. Max shoots her a pissed off glance whilst she cracks up. “Bitch I’ve fucked more girls than you.”
“Oh what, because I’m bi you’re allowed to say that now?” Sarah kisses her teeth, pretending to be annoyed. “Listen yeah, you wish you could be all up in me, Maxy.”
“Oh for real? Why don’t you come have a threesome with me and Janie then.” Janie looks alarmed whilst he laughs.
I have had a threesome, and a foursome, but no one needs to know that. “Never Have I Ever been to France,” says Janie. “BORING!” calls Damien. “Who hasn’t been to France?”
“Your mum.”
“Oh come on, that is so year 8 humour,” I say, smirking. I’m a little drunk already. David pats my back. “Someone can’t handle her alcohol. You little lightweight.”
Just like that, I’m snapped out of my good mood. “Baby, what the fuck did I tell you about calling me that? You know I don’t like it.”
“Aw, it’s no problem.” He ruffles my hair and kisses my cheek. In my head I bite hard into his fingers, sinking my teeth in, so that scarlet blood oozes everywhere, the blood of red wine. This image calms me down.
After several more games, by which everyone is drunk as we’re leaving and I’m sort of in a good mood again, we get in the cabs that’ll take us to Bletchfield train station. Five of us in one and four in another. It’s a five and a half minute drive. Once we arrive at the station we get out, all of us giggling together, and then get on the train to London, and then the cab from Euston to XOYO. All as planned. On the train there’s a man sleeping with his mouth wide open and we all burst out laughing and Paloma takes a picture of him and puts it on Instagram.

When we arrive there I’m in a bad mood again because there’s a massive queue. However, this disappears when David presents the tickets he reserved for us to get in without queuing. Having a rich boyfriend has so many perks. I give him a giant sloppy kiss – you know, to show gratitude or something – and then we blow kisses at the bouncers and march inside. It’s half eleven and surprisingly not as dead as I thought it would be at this time. “Doesn’t this beat Bletchfield clubs or what!” says Sarah, as we make our way to the cloakroom. It’s always cloakroom, toilets, bar; unless someone’s dying for a wee, then we all have to go together so they don’t get raped in the toilets by themselves. Some shit like that. I hate the fact that we have to pay to hang our coats up. Luckily I have my clutch bag, although of course this means I have to hold onto it all evening. These fools must make so much money off of the cloakroom. Look at them, stuck working in a shitty job hanging up coats. What low-lives. They wish they could be out here dancing like us.
Inside the club it’s noisy and dark with awesome red and green strobelights flashing everywhere. It’s going to be a good night. Packed with plenty of good young men. David never realises; he’s usually too wasted and has to be taken home by one of his pals. And he has the cheek to call me a lightweight, that prick. Then again, he always has like twenty shots so it’s no wonder he gets wrecked.
“Let’s go get some drinks!” shrieks Paloma once we’re all out of the loo or cloakroom. There’s a queue for the bar but it’s not horrendous. “What are you having, my lady?” says David, putting his arm around me. I snuggle against him, my default grin on my face. “Double vodka and red bull please.”
“I’ll have what she’s having!” he yells, his tongue nearly licking the inside of my ear. I back away. “Eurgh, David.”
“Sorry baby, I’m just messing about.” He ruffles my hair again. I could slap him for doing that but there are too many people here who’ll notice. Rosie whips her phone out. “We need pictures! Pic of the happy couple!” She aims the phone at David and I. We smile into the camera as the light flashes. She takes a thousand more, of all of us. It’s so tiring having to keep smiling like this, I feel like my cheeks are going to fall off.
Once everyone’s got drinks we go to the dance floor. David and I clink glasses and he kisses my forehead. Sarah pulls me over, smiling. “God, you’re so lucky birthday girl!” she cries. “You have everything! The perfect man, the perfect friends, the perfect life. And you’re going to Cambridge...how could it possibly be any better?”
“Ah well my dear, this is as good as it gets.”
“Seriously Evelyn, I totally envy you. Have some flaws please! How are you so perfect?”
I shrug. “I was just born this way I guess.”

We get drinking, we get dancing, it gets busy and things get hot. That’s the one thing I don’t like about clubs, how boiling they are. This is definitely the best one I’ve been to; all the Bletchfield clubs are shit because they’re lax about ID. The Squat Raves are pretty good though. We all dance around in a circle, bopping up and down and singing along, totally lost in the music. Paloma starts grinding on a poll – Sarah joins her, no surprise there, and then Alex joins in. A couple hours later, David goes off to the loo, and by this point he’s drunk enough for me to make my exit. Birthday sex for me. I tell Sarah I’m off to the toilet. Everyone I’m with is so wasted  they don’t notice me. I sneak off to the loo, then go out and downstairs to a different room. I walk up to the bar, which is fucking packed by this point. It’s impossible to push through. “God, all of this for one little drink?” I say loudly, stroking my hair out of my face. A guy next to me laughs. “Yeah, I hear you. It is ridiculous but then this is XOYO man, what do you expect?”
I smile at him. “I’ve never been here before.” He’s pretty hot; blonde, blue-eyed, wearing a shirt and jeans. “Are you not boiling? I’m burning up in this dress as it is.”
He looks me up and down (guys always do that) and says “well you look pretty good in it.”
“Thank you.” I hold out my hand. “I’m Evelyn.”
“What?”
“My name is Evelyn!” The music is so fricken loud I have to shout. He nods. “Oh, Evelyn. I’m Ryan.”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
A few conversations later (I told him it was my birthday) we’re at the bar. I check around to make sure no one is here but it’s fine. Everybody always gets lost in the club. I check my phone and no one has texted me yet meaning they’re all too drunk and assume I’m fine. Good.
“Can I buy you a drink?” Also good. Means all is working in my favour. “Yes please, I’ll have a Flirtini.” I give him a wink. He laughs. He orders a double rum and coke for himself. We move away from the bar, drink and dance a little, but then I tell him that I need to go back to find my friends. “But hey, why don’t I give you my number and we can get together later?” I say. He grins. “Sounds good to me.” He hands me his phone. I give him a kiss on the cheek. “Later honey.” Now time to find the others. This is when we dance more, drink more, then somebody (usually Paloma or David) is so wrecked that a few people have to leave.

Around three my phone is ringing. Paloma, David, Max and Janie left. Damien, Rosie, Max and Sarah are sort of having a four-way-dance thing going on, so now is perfect to make my exit. I decide to slip away; if I tell them I want to leave now they’ll all want to come too and I can’t have that. If they ask I’ll say I felt sick and paid for a cab to take me all the way back to Bletchfield. Yeah it would have cost a lot but you know, it’s a small price to pay. I’ve done it before anyway, this is no skin off my nose. Once I’m outside I’ll turn my phone off and tell them it died.

Ryan is standing outside. He looks pleased to see me. I clutch his arm, the two of us laughing. We get the bus back to his place; he lives in a student flat on City Road, which isn’t that far from XOYO which is in Shoreditch. When we get there we kiss like mad, it feels so good, and then I tell him I’m bursting for a wee (that’s what alcohol does to you) and then when I get out I’m all over him. We lie on his bed, kissing and making out, and then he pulls off my dress whilst I unbutton his shirt. He kisses my breasts, his mouth all over my neck, and then he throws me down and he’s on top of me. I unfasten the belt on his jeans, unzipping, whilst he rubs his fingers on my crotch, and then he jumps on me and I pull him towards me. He has a great body, nice abs and a V line. Dick is alright, not huge but not small thankfully. Small dicks are the worst, you can’t feel anything in there. He shoves it in me. I moan loudly, and he fucks me hard, thrusting his dick back and forth while I lie on his bed moaning in pleasure. He puts his hand over my mouth – some guys do that – saying that he doesn’t want to wake his other flatmates. I nod, and his lips are on my mouth, my neck, my everywhere. It is fucking hot sex. He rubs his dick against my clit, knowing what to do. We fuck for around twenty five minutes and then we both come. I’m surprised I do – usually I don’t on one night stands, but recently I seem to be getting better at it. Afterwards I’m exhausted. He lies next to me, and then he starts kissing my neck and my cheek and telling me how great that was and how sexy I am. Oh God, I just need to go to sleep. I nod politely and then roll over, my head feeling woozy. I go to the bathroom again. I’m too tired to take off my make-up, and there’s no point anyway seeing as all my remover stuff is at home. I walk back into his room. He smiles at me, and I smile back, then crawl into his bed. He kisses me again, calling me baby and other sickening crap, and I yawn and roll over and pretend to fall asleep so that he’ll take the hint.

I wake up at seven fifty – I barely slept, and I can tell that’s the time because of the clock at the side of his bed – and I’ve got a banging hangover. The worst. I fumble in my bag for my ibuprofen and take two, one after the other. Swallowing without water isn’t fun, but you know. I’ve done it plenty of times. I stretch, feeling like I died and crashed into Hell, and stand up, waiting for the room to stop swaying. The guy next to me has also stirred. What was his name again? I’ve already forgotten. The sex was good though, really good. Definitely worth it.
“Leaving already?” he says, blinking up at me. “Don’t you want something to eat?”
“Nah, that’s alright.” No, please don’t be one of those guys. There are two types of guys that you meet when hooking up; the majority that accept that this was just a one-time thing and are satisfied, and the few that get all affectionate and baby-cuddle-with-me. Like, fuck off you’re not my boyfriend. It really pisses me off, but I stay cool of course. Cool and polite.
I gather up my things and get my shoes on. He sits up. “Last night was fucking amazing.” He starts kissing my neck. He’s still drunk. “You’re really hot you know.”
“Yeah, you too...Ryan.” Oh yes, that was it. I noticed from a certificate on his wall. “We should do this again sometime,” he says as I stand up. I smile at him. He’s not one of ‘those guys.’ Thank God. “I’d like that.”
“Cool. Well, have a safe journey back to...?”
“Bletchfield. Thank you, have a good sleep.”
He raises his fingers in a salute at then collapses back on his bed. Good. Now I can go home in one piece.

5

I’m in big fucking trouble. This is a nightmare. Mum won’t stop shrieking at me about how I was out all night and didn’t tell anybody or call or anything. Usually I’d be a lot more prepared to handle this sort of thing, however with this hangover and barely three hours of sleep I am significantly unprepared. There is only one way to approach this.
“Look, Mum, I understand that you were worried, but I am here now and nothing happened. All is fine. I am here in one peace. Now can I please just go upstairs, take a shower, and lie down?”
She throws me an exasperated look. “But where were you?”
“I told you, I was feeling sick and left early, and because there weren’t any trains running I had to call a cab to drive me all the way back, and then we stopped off to get some food, and then the cab broke down so they had to call AA to come and pick it up. It was a very messy, long night and I am exhausted, I just want to get some sleep.”
“But what about your friends? Why didn’t you come back with anyone?”
“Like I just said, some of them left early and the others probably stayed out all night and got the morning train back.”
“But why didn’t you call them!”
“My phone died, I said.”
“You could have borrowed somebody else’s phone.”
“Well I’m sorry, but that just didn’t occur to me.” Now she’s really getting on my nerves. I’m so close to screaming at her, but sadly that won’t help the situation. You don’t yell at people who are hungover. I don’t see what her problem is anyway, I’m clearly here. “Now if you don’t mind, I am going upstairs.” I make my way up the stairs. “Evelyn! Wait, come back down!”
“I have said all I need to say; enough is enough now PLEASE!” She has made me furious. I didn’t want to have to yell at her, but now I have. Too bad. What’s done is done. She’ll be pissed off, but then she’ll blow over when she realises that I didn’t get raped or murdered. I’m so relieved to go into my bathroom, take a proper shower, get off my clothes and take a lovely long nap in my lovely double bed.
Some hours later, I turn my phone on. I’ve got messages from everyone asking where I am, some voicemail from David asking why I didn’t come home last night, some long winded wail from Rosie that makes me shriek with laughter. She sounds so pathetic. I can’t be bothered to listen to all of this. I’ll deal with it on Monday. I need a day to myself of lying in bed. I decide to grab some low-fat sugar-free ice cream from the freezer (which I bought) and watch American Psycho, one of my favourite films. It’s hilarious. I have the DVD, and insert it into my laptop, enjoying my low fat product with a dose of Christian Bale. I would so fuck him in this movie.

On Monday everyone is on my case. As if I don’t have enough to worry about; I still haven’t sent off my UCAS application and the deadline for Oxbridge applications is two days away. God, this is so inconvenient. I tell everyone what I told Mum, calmly telling them not to worry and that I got back safe. Rosie and Sarah are all sweet and gushing about it, but then they’re so gullible they’ll fall for any story. David, however, doesn’t seem convinced, and he confronts me about it at lunch. We stand outside the canteen, and he has this suspicious look on his face.
“Alex said he thought he saw you with some guy,” says David. I shrug. “Some guy? You’ll have to be more specific. I probably spoke to quite a few guys.”
David frowns. He looks far from amused. “He said he saw you...grinding on some guy.”
I burst out laughing. “Honey, that’s ridiculous. Why would I be grinding on some guy?”
“He reckons you left with him.”
Jesus, when did he get so sharp? “Listen, David, Alex is talking complete bullshit. He was wasted and he was probably just imagining things, plus he was dry humping Rosie all night. And you were also wasted and you left early.”
“I don’t know Evelyn.” He scratches his stubbly chin. “It all seems a bit strange. I mean, why would you just leave by yourself, especially when this was supposed to be your birthday thing?”
I sigh, and stroke his shoulder lightly with my palm. “Baby, I didn’t want to ruin the party for anyone else. I felt sick, I left early, my phone died. What’s the big deal?”
“You didn’t get back home until nine.”
“The cab broke down and I had to stop for food. Plus it’s a long drive you know, all the way from London to Bletchfield. Some two hour drive, without stopping and getting pulled over.”
“Still, they said they’d noticed you were gone around half three.” Good, that bought me an extra half an hour. “It doesn’t take five and a half hours to get from London to Bletchfield, even if the car breaks down.”
I sigh again, moving my hand lower down his arm. I step closer to him. “Babe, you are seriously over-thinking all of this. What does any of it matter? I’m here now.”
“Yes, but...it doesn’t make sense.”
“Why would I possibly go back home with another guy? I have you don’t I.”
He strokes his chin again. “What about that time we were at Paul’s party, and you stayed over and didn’t come back home till like eleven?”
Jesus! “That was over a year ago! I don’t see how that is relevant.”
“Well, I’m just saying...something...something isn’t right here. You wouldn’t cheat on me would you?”
There is only one thing to do. I step close to him, plant my lips on his, and then step back. “I wouldn’t dream of it. You’re being paranoid.” I slap his arm. “Now I really have to go and work on my personal statement. Let’s go for a drink or something tomorrow, ok?”
He nods. He still looks suspicious, but again that will pass. Worst comes to worst, he finds out. I’d rather he didn’t, but if he does he does. Life goes on. He isn’t particularly important to me anyway, so it won’t be as if I’m losing much if he’s gone. Just the perfect-couple thing and the extra money of course.

My personal statement is almost complete. Miss Hudders was supposed to be helping Richard with his, but Richard had had enough help now and it was my turn. After all, I was completely stuck and hadn’t he almost finished, the dear thing? And Oxford are much less picky about statements than Cambridge. So yes my dear boy, it’s my turn now.
I think there are about twenty of us from my school applying or something. Of course I don’t care too much as they’re all either stuck up or shifty or terrified, biting their nails and crying all over their personal statement attempts. Oxbridge is not for the weak. If you can’t handle the pressure, don’t apply. It’s as simple as that.
Miss Hudders says that she is busy after school so isn’t sure she is able to continue helping me out with my statement. I pout my lips. “But I wanted to send it off today. You know how important this is to me, and I really appreciate all of the help you are giving me.”
“I know Evelyn, but can’t you ask a different teacher? I am spent, I am up to my eyeballs in Sociology and Law papers to mark and I just don’t know if I have the time. I have given you plenty of help with this already.”
Sighing, I edge my body slightly closer to her, a sad look on my face. “I know, I mean it’s just that you’re my form tutor, and you teach the subject I am applying for, and you know you’re my favourite teacher. I just really value your opinion, and I would hate for my statement to be anything less than perfect. It really must be done today.” I turn my body a fraction away. “But, if you’re unable to spare any more time I understand, you have been such a great help already. I’m very lucky.”
There is it, the ‘oh-alright’ face. First she half rolls her eyes, then smiles, then slumps her shoulders and goes “oh, alright then. Just an extra hour. We are getting your UCAS application sent off! And then it is done and you will be satisfied!”
I am grinning with glee. “Absolutely.”

One of the best things about being the best student in the school is that all the teachers adore you. The other students worship you, and everybody is in utter awe of you. It is the kind of power that comes with having an intellectual magnitude that surpasses everyone else’s, and a coolness and display of nonchalance to compliment it.

I have wanted to go to Cambridge for a long time. I couldn’t decide on Oxford or Cambridge initially. I started researching when I was fifteen, in Year 10, but the problem was that I kept changing my mind over what course to apply for. I did consider Harvard or Yale as well; America is, after all, still the most powerful country in the world, but then I would have had to do all sorts of additional tests and their equivalent of A levels and the like. It just seemed like additional hassle. Besides, Oxbridge is just as good as Harvard. But the main reason is that I’d be trapped in a country full of American accents. I can just about handle it on TV or in a movie, but in real life they always sound ten times worse. Any accent that isn’t British – and Southern British, to be specific – makes me wretch. Anywhere surrounding London and below. Londoners have their own accent anyway, but it doesn’t bother me, as long as all the vowels and consonants are in the right place. Cockney accents are a bit atrocious, but I wouldn’t dream of having a conversation with a cockney person. I did fuck a cockney guy once but that doesn’t involve talking. Sex that involves talking – unless it’s dirty – is the biggest turn off.

On the subject of sex, I can tell David is still annoyed with me when we meet up for drinks the next day. I tell him that I have sent off my UCAS application. He grunts in response. Oh dear, he is moody. Well I can fix that. I cock my head to the side at a kittenish angle. “David, dear, please don’t be like this. I do hate it when you’re in a slump.”
“I’m not in a slump, I’m just tired. I couldn’t sleep last night.”
“Aw, you should have called me.” I take his hands into mine. “You should have called me and I would have made everything better.” He looks at me, then sighs. He runs his hands through his blonde gelled hair. “Look, I just...I guess I just got a bit freaked out. I did smoke a spliff as well when we were out.”
I make a gushing sound, putting my hand to my mouth.  “Well it’s no wonder you were so paranoid!” Then I frown. “You know I don’t approve of you smoking that stuff.”
“I’m sorry, someone just handed it to me.” He sits up. “I don’t want you to think or feel like I can’t trust you. I just, I dunno.”
I lightly caress his hands. “Baby, you can always trust me.” I stand up, walk around to him and kiss his cheek. Then he kisses my lips. We kiss and kiss, and go back to his and fuck. All is well.

6

I consider my life to be rather mundane. I have all of these friends, this boyfriend, this supposedly exciting social life. I am academically superior to almost everyone around me, overwhelmingly physically attractive, and comfortably well-off. I live in a safe small town where nothing much happens, and everybody knows everybody. Each day I am struggling to get by, practically holding on by the skin of my teeth, trying not to let slip and recoil in this excessive boredom that plagues me day by day. Some days I live in desperation, clinging onto the hope that something will change. I feed off my urges to avoid slipping into boredom, slipping away into the absence of nothingness.

At times I miss being a child. As a child I found cheerful amusement in much more carefree and spontaneous activities. My fondest memories are of holding a magnifying glass against the sun and collecting as many ants as I could, reeling them towards me with some sort of food, and then watching as they would burn. Watching as their delicate little ant flesh sizzled underneath the sunlight. I could do this for hours with all kinds of insects; flies, spiders, centipedes. I was never squeamish. I always found insects fascinating, small and helpless and easy to control. You can pick up an insect and squash it with your thumb and forefinger and it’s gone. Sometimes I played with them, flicking ladybirds and flies onto their back and watching as they begged for mercy. Who could put them out of their misery? Me! Who could they rely on? Me! Who did they have, at the bridge between life and death? Me.

I have never felt any pity towards those that are alleged to suffer. I suffer at the hands of my own boredom; anything else is a foreign concept. That is one of the problems that come with intellectual superiority; never being able to relate to the blissful ignorance of others.
I never understood why a person who comes from a wealthy background should have to give up their hard-earned money just to donate to people in far away countries that they don’t know. In R.E we were always taught about morality, and religious interpretations of it, and our own possibly secular interpretations of it. One day we were asked ‘what do you think makes a good person?’

I don’t consider myself a bad person; I never have. However, I am aware that what I view as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ does not coincide with what others view as such. To me, being a good person means using the world to your advantage. It means having goals, never taking your eyes off them, and not letting anything get in the way of what you want. I see absolutely no fault in that. The only person I have ever known to view the world in similar ways to me is my dad, and perhaps that is why I loathe him. When my dad and I look at each other, we are two mirrors looking into blank eyes with no emotion other than distaste. He once told me that growing up he felt empty and emotionless most of the time, and that he had never loved my mum or me or my sister. He said that he had only married my mum because she ‘practically worshipped’ him and thought he was the greatest man ever, even when she knew all about his affairs.

There is a reason that sharks swim the waters alone, also with those same blank eyes, with nothing within their desire except who to prey on next. Whilst I admire sharks, I avoid them. I look at sharks and I see the animal version of myself. The point where I really began to question what I was was last year, aged seventeen, and although I am still unsure as to what I am, I know that I bear little resemblance to those around me. My dad being an exception. When he was around us more, the two of us were like sharks swimming in the same house, lurking among each other’s territory, and being far from happy about it.

Following sending off our UCAS applications, all of the Oxbridge applicants from my school are receiving a workshop on how to interview perfectly. No one has had heard anything yet because we don’t find out until late November, but the majority of applicants with good grades and strong personal statements get interviewed.

Hannah sits next to me. She has been like my little lamb these past few weeks, lapping up every bit of attention that I give her. It’s sweet; for sure I can make some good use of her. She’s currently talking to me about how nervous yet excited she is about the whole interview process and that she keeps watching YouTube videos about it and other people discussing their Oxbridge interview experience. 
“I’ve been making tons of notes on it too. Some of the questions are crazy – you know for Oxford this one guy who was doing Maths had to be told to solve a Maths problem, and then that was it, they literally didn’t ask him anything else, and for Philosophy this one girl had to explain whether she would rather be a table or a sofa! It’s funny isn’t it?”
“Yes, very amusing,” I say, nodding my head. I am wearing white skinny jeans with an off-the-shoulder silver jumper today, and a blue bracelet with matching blue earrings. I have on red slip-on shoes. I look the picture of immaculate. No one else here is dressed as well as me. Not even Laney, the lady who has just walked in to give us help with the interview. She’s young looking, in her mid thirties I presume, and looks flustered yet cheerful. She’s dressed in a TopShop black and grey dress. I have the same one actually, but she’s wearing it with tights which kill it a bit. She’s brunette, and has a soft-looking face. Like Hannah’s I suppose. 

Hannah is sitting up straight, the picture of an eager student. Laney is telling us all about how we should not be nervous, and remember that the Oxbridge Fellows that will interview us are people too, and that they just want to see how well we operate and bla bla bla. Nothing of use to me so far. I amuse myself by looking around at everyone else. Richard is biting his nails. I had mine done last Friday, a nice French Manicure. Nail-biting is a disgusting habit. I want to march over there and slap him and tell him to stop right away. Perhaps we can talk about it later.
Now she starts talking about what kind of questions they will ask us. I raise my hand. I have a question of my own. “Oh, yes dear at the back.” Everyone turns to look at me. Of course they do, they know who I am. Even Richard stops biting his nails when I speak.
“Hello Laney, my name is Evelyn,” I say, my teeth gleaming. “That is a wonderful dress by the way, I have the exact same one at home.”
She laughs. “Oh, why thank you Evelyn! What is it you’d like to know?”
“I was wondering, for Law interviews; that is the subject that I am planning to study at Cambridge, is it possible that they will touch on any current affairs concerning the legal system in the news right now? Will they ask anything to do with my opinion on current convictions for criminals at present?”
She chuckles. “Well, they could ask you just about anything! It really depends.”
“So, to be more specific, right now Edgar Millard has just been convicted for the murder of his wife and children, we all know about that ghastly incident right?” I say. Some others nod. “So will I be asked, say, what if I were a lawyer and I was having to defend Edgar Millard, how would I approach this and would it say anything about my moral standing if I did agree to defend him and fight for his case as best I could?”
She is impressed. She nods her head. “That is a very good question and good point to make. They would be interested to see your moral standpoint, or your own personal perspective on how you would handle legal matters. They want students who are passionate and willing to be dedicated, so it would certainly be a good idea to show some enthusiasm and personality within the interview. Yes, that makes sense.”
Good. Very good. She now commences to remind us that Oxbridge want to admit students who are interesting to teach and willing to learn, and have something fresh that can be offered to the table. I know I’ll do fine.

Afterwards, we walk out of the class. Hannah is still burbling on and on, nineteen to the dozen. She is boring me to near tears. I smile simperingly at her. “Hannah, my dear, it is lunchtime. Now, I need to go to the library in order to research some Cambridge stuff. Trouble is, I am also incredibly hungry, and I really don’t fancy waiting in that long queue!” I burst out laughing. “They have a great vegetable stir fry at lunch today. Would you be a darling and go fetch it for me? I’ll give you the money to pay for it.” I open up my leopard print wallet, handing her the £2.50. She frowns. “But I have to go and do Cambridge prep stuff as well. I’m so freaked out about it and-”
“And I promise I’ll help you out later,” I soothe. “But for now, I need to prepare. You’ve done loads more preparation than me, as you said earlier. I’m proud of you. But there are certain things I need to look up, very important things, so that I do not fall behind when I am interviewed. Do you understand?”
She nods slowly, wavering. “Besides honey, I’ve been listening to you talking for ages. I could use a little bit of peace. Ok?” I give her a hug and kiss on the cheek. “Now be a darling and fetch me lunch. You can meet me in the library afterwards?”

She nods, going off to the canteen. Ah, perfect. You see, every time Hannah tries to do any Cambridge preparation in school, I make sure that she is too busy or tired to be able to do any. The other day I told her to meet me at eight for coffee (I despise coffee but she drank two espressos in a heartbeat whilst I sipped a green tea) and by lunchtime she was exhausted, completely crashing. She had to go home. No Cambridge prep for her.

I can’t possibly adhere to the idea of her getting in and not me. With her gone that is one less person to worry about. Besides, everyone knows that you don’t really need to prepare for Oxbridge interviews. Most of the things you research or revise are not even asked. The only thing I’ve been going over are the practice Law tests, as each subject is required to sit a mandatory test. Not that this bothers me, I’m fabulous at tests. We also had to submit two pieces of written work, so I sent in a Sociology and Economics essay. Miss Hudders almost had a go at me for not choosing enough ‘facilitating’ subjects. The cheek of it! Because I chose to do something interesting rather than generic ‘core’ subjects. Do these people not even realise that universities don’t care? Most academic disciplines cross over into each other. The Humanities in one group, the Sciences in another. All they want are students who are intelligent, willing to learn and interesting to teach. They want students who can be the best. That is me.

7

Some weeks later, I receive my letter from Trinity College, Cambridge, inviting me to interview. My interview shall take place on the 10th of December. Excellent. Hannah has also received an interview, but I’m not worried in the slightest because nearly everyone has, and besides we’ve been doing lots of practice interviews. By the time she goes to her interview she’ll be such a nervous wreck that she’ll falter.
“Now, Hannah, I will ask you again. When discussing The Republic, how is it that Socrates is able to make Glaucon and Adeimantus and the like agree with him on almost everything? How is it that he is able to manipulate what they believe to be true to fit with his own point of view?”
“Well, I guess, he just, makes everything sound right?” She looks worried. “Are you sure they’re going to ask something like that? I mean, that isn’t really about the text is it?”
“Now, Hannah,” I say calmly “Philosophy is all about taking arguments and making them fit with your own point of view. It is about making sure that the person on the other side believes that everything you are saying is correct.”
“But – not really – I mean it’s more about the breakdown of knowledge into small components and-”
“Consider a debating team,” I say. “They have to use logic, and precision, in order to carry their argument across. They have to convince the other side that their facts are the correct facts.”
“But the other day you said that there were no facts in Philosophy, and that everything was subjective, so really it doesn’t matter what side you pick!” She puts her head in her hands. “Oh God, I’m so confused. I knew I’d picked the wrong subject.”
“Oh Hannah, you can’t give up now,” I say, patting her arm. “Let’s try this. I am going to convince you that I am a table. Whatever you can possibly say, you cannot believe otherwise that I am a table.”
“But what is a table!” she says, sounding exasperated. I am fighting the urge to start laughing. “If there are no facts then how can we be sure of anything! How can I have any idea what Philosophy even is? If I can agree with every opinion, then how do I know what the right one is? Oh Evelyn, I’m screwed. They’re going to see what a total dunce I am. I feel like all the prep I’ve done is for nothing.”
“It’s not for nothing my dear,” I say, resting my head on her shoulder. “Aw, don’t get so worked up about it.” And to think, she was going to help me. Irony is so funny. All I’ve had to do is stand back and watch her work herself into a mess. “Remember, these will be the most intelligent people in the country. The top scholars, academics who have won prizes and written zillions of papers. We have to impress them.”
“But they’re not going to be impressed when they see me!” she wails. “They’ll take one look at me and say this girl is too stupid to go here. Oh no.” She starts crying. I try not to shudder. Crying makes me queasy. Instead, I continue patting her arm and soothing her and telling her everything is going to be alright.

Hannah gets herself so worked up that she decides to go home early and mope.  Whilst she does that, I correct the Law practice papers that I have done. They’re a piece of cake. They require logic, not knowledge. That is where Hannah has gone all wrong; these people want to see how you think, not what you think. She has been researching all the wrong things, and now she’s freaking out about it. It is rather delightful to witness.
Rosie and Sarah want to come round after school a few days later. Rosie wants to watch The Bad Seed, some movie they discussed briefly in Psychology about a little girl named Rhoda who’s a psychopathic serial killer. She drowns a little boy in her class named Claude because he wins some prize she wants or something, I forgot. Rosie and Sarah are talking about how awful and messed up this is whilst I search for the movie online. “Don’t you think that’s so fucked up Evelyn!” says Sarah whilst I try and close these ridiculous ads.
“Yeah, it is,” I say, not really caring. “Does anybody want ice-cream?”
“Do you still have that low fat crap?” says Rosie. “Why don’t you have any normal ice-cream?”
I curl my lips into a smile. “Rosie darling, it is good for you. Sugar makes you gain weight, has that never crossed your mind?” She peers down at the pink jumper stretched over her flabby stomach. “I mean, you could eat shitty shop bought sugar-filled ice-cream that can give you cholesterol and will affect your heart later on in life, or you can eat nutritious ice-cream that is just as tasty and will actually do you a world of good. What do you think?” I smile breathily at her. She mumbles that she’ll go grab a tub and some spoons and bowls.
Once she’s back up (I feel gleeful watching her shudder as she eats my ice-cream) I start the movie. “It’s black and white,” I say, frowning. “When did it come out?”
“The 50s. 1956. It’s based on a book and was directed by Mervyn Leroy-”
“Sarah, I only wanted to know the year it came out,” I say, making her shut up sharpish. The film credits open. The other two start giggling – I have no idea why, but it’s irritating. Still, I let it pass in hope that they’ll stop in a minute. The movie starts. Rhoda is played by Patty McCormack, and she’s little and has a sweet high-pitched voice and blonde pigtails. As the film commences, I instantly recognise Rhoda. She is me. Sweet, unsuspecting, pretty little Rhoda. I smirk. And absolutely nobody notices. I have to hand it to her, she’s even smarter than I was at eight.
“Oh my God, her Mum is so stupid,” says Rosie. I turn my head to her, pausing the film. I don’t say anything. She gulps, and then continues eating her ice-cream. Smiling, I press play again.
Of course, I’m not a murderer. Although I am indifferent to murder. It’s not something that bugs or bothers me. The other two keep gasping and talking and I have to keep telling them to Shut Up and threaten to throw them out of my house. But then I’m nice, of course. Nice like little Rhoda.

Isn’t Rhoda the loveliest little angel you ever met?
Isn’t Evelyn the loveliest little angel you ever met?

Rhoda’s no angel. She’s smart alright. I usually despite children, and I don’t particularly like her, but I do admire her. She’s using all the tricks I use. The buttering up, the sweet-talking. This film really shows how stupid and gullible people are. They’ll believe anything. Rhoda’s pathetic and sickening mother can’t bring herself to see that her darling little girl is a murderer. She’s killed two people – one was some old lady who she pushed down the stairs for a goldfish snow globe thing, something like that.
I was brought up to believe that killing is wrong. It is wrong to kill people. I never really understood why – we’re all going to die anyway, so isn’t nature a murderer in itself? The only absolute thing in life is death, and that we will all part this Earth some day.
Besides, what about people who deserve to die? Shouldn’t we be allowed to kill those who piss us off? Then again, if that were the case I’d have killed everyone around me. It’s not something that particularly bothers me, it would just mean a lot of covering up and deceit on my part. Not something that is difficult for me, but at my given present state I don’t see it benefitting me right now.
I believe that homeless people, beggars, disabled people; anybody weak deserves to die. The weak must be weeded out, as they bear no contribution to society. Alcoholics, drug addicts, those with severe mental health problems must all be disposed of. They cannot further our species in any way. Some day I hope to see a world disposed of all weak people, in which only the strongest shall survive and prosper. Then we feed off each other. Survival of the fittest, as they call it. We feed off each other and destroy the human race forever.
The weak are easy to control and manipulate. The weak will believe anything. But the weak are also useless, and once they have been used up, they serve no more purpose.
When I was thirteen, I had a friend who was weak. She clung on to me for everything. She needed me. She was vulnerable, and gullible, and could not survive without my approval. As time went on I grew tired of her, and distant. She grew desperate, running after me, trying to pull me back to her, but I was fed up, trying to focus on my next activity. Eventually, one day –about a year later, she was found in her room with a noose around her neck. She had hung herself. Apparently she had stopped coming to school; I hadn’t realised. Everyone wanted to know why she’d done it, and what had possibly happened to her.
Of course, I cried and acted all upset like everyone else. By the time I was in my teens I learned to act and behave as others did so as not to blow my cover. But the truth was; I didn’t care at all. I felt utterly indifferent, utterly uninterested. I can’t even remember her name. She was nothing to me, nothing to do with me. I managed to worm my way out of going to her funeral by pretending I felt too sick. Funerals are full of crying people; not something I want to be involved in.

The movie ends, and Rosie and Sarah are both sitting there with horrified and alarmed expressions on their faces. I am licking my lips clean, savouring the last spec of ice-cream for myself. I like to eat it slowly so that I can enjoy it.
“That was fucking disturbing,” says Sarah. “Like, it wasn’t even scary, just creepy. Weird.”
“Yeah, like Rhoda’s so casual,” says Rosie. “You wouldn’t suspect anything, she literally seems so perfect. Too perfect.”
“That’s how psychopaths normally are; they seem really cool and calm on the outside, but on the inside they have absolutely no remorse or empathy. In Psychology we were being told about the difference between sociopaths and psychopaths; how people become sociopaths usually because of childhood trauma, but psychopaths are born that way because of their brains. It’s that nature-nurture thing.”
“Yeah, psychopaths basically have reduced connections between the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala, which is why they don’t feel empathy or remorse or compassion. Sociopaths can still feel compassion to some degree, like for their children, and tend to be more hot-headed and aggressive. Psychos are more cold and calm. They don’t even realise they’re psychos most of the time; they think they’re completely normal,” says Sarah. She shudders. I grimace at them. “Yeah, that film was pretty disturbing. Can you imagine, a child doing all those terrible things? And I feel so sorry for her mother.”
“I know! That’s so sad, imagine giving birth to a psychopath. I don’t know what I’d do,” says Rosie. “Anyway, it’s not like it affects that many people, only like 4-5% of the world’s population. But still, those are people roaming around us without anyone even realising.”
I sigh, shaking my head. “It is scary when you come to think about it.”

8

It is two days before my interview. I have done all of the tests, rehearsed what I am going to say perfectly in my head, and prepared the perfect outfit to wear. My train to Cambridge is all booked. I shall be leaving tomorrow, staying overnight and returning later that afternoon.
I see Hannah in the corridors, crying. She is sobbing loudly to herself. This should be good. I walk up to her, pouting my lips. “Oh babe, what’s the matter?” I say, outstretching my arms. She falls into me. I am her saviour, her angel. “I don’t know what to do Evelyn! I’m so screwed, I can’t go to my interview. I know we’ve been doing loads of prep and stuff and you’ve been so helpful and nice to me, but I just know I’m not going to get in!” She cries all over me. She’s getting tears all over my new satin scarf, eurgh. I push her back gently at arm’s length. “Hannah, stop this crying, it is silly and you’re going to make yourself ill and then you really won’t be able to go to your interview, now will you?” She nods, hiccupping, and wipes her face. “You really are being very silly and dramatic and immature about this entire thing. Cambridge asked you to interview for a reason, didn’t they? You wouldn’t want to disappoint them by turning up with this negative attitude, right?”
She nods, swallowing. She sniffs and wipes her nose with the back of her jumper. I swallow the urge to wrinkle my nose in disgust. “Now honey, you have got to stop over-reacting like this. I don’t know what’s gotten into you!”
“I’m just...scared I guess.” She looks down at the floor. I delicately place my fingers on her chin, tilting her towards me. I am enjoying this merrily. “You’re scared? What are you scared of?”
“Scared that...they’ll reject me.” She starts crying again. No, please no more tears. “Hannah, stop crying now,” I order. “Stop that now.”
“I can’t help it!” She wails into floods of tears. I roll my eyes. “Hannah, you had better stop this foolish crying, else you really won’t get into Cambridge. Cambridge doesn’t want weak people who crumble when they hit one tiny milestone. They want strong, apt people with a thirst for knowledge.”
“But I am strong!” she cries. I cross my arms, tutting and shaking my head. “I don’t know about that. You are certainly not acting strong. If anything, right now you are acting like a little baby. Is that what you are, a little pathetic cry baby?”
“Noooooo!” She is being so loud that she attracts attention from a teacher. Mr Halloway, who teaches History, passes by looking at us in concern. “Hannah, what’s the matter?” He peers at me. “Do you know what’s wrong with her?”
“Sir, I believe poor Hannah is simply having a few last minute concerns about her Cambridge interview. It is nothing more than a few nerves.”
“Oh, really?” He looks concerned. “Would you like to have a chat in my office?”
“I’m afraid that won’t be necessary, Sir,” I say, tossing my hair. “You see, Hannah is feeling rather unwell and she needs to go home now and rest, so that she is all fresh and ready for her interview tomorrow.” I turn my face to her. “Isn’t that right dear?”
She looks between me and Mr Halloway, and then nods. “Yes Sir, I’m just f-feeling a bit sick and scared.”
“She had a stomach bug the other day. Threw up all over the girls’ toilets. Thank goodness I was there to look after her.”
“Very well then.” He nods. “Good on you Evelyn, always looking out for everyone else. We miss you in History, it’s such a shame you didn’t pick it at A level. After the A* at GCSE I was sure you were going to! I do miss my star pupil.”
I simper at him. “Well Sir, my talents can’t be spread everywhere.”
“Oh you.” He pats my arm then looks at Hannah. “You’re lucky to have a friend like Evelyn looking out for you. Are you sure you’ll be ok?”
I step towards her, putting my arm around her. “She’ll be fine Sir. She’s in safe hands now.”

As planned, Hannah is off to her interview the next day feeling at the lowest of the low. She begged me to go with her but I told her I had booked a totally different train time to her; I couldn’t just cancel now could I? My train was set to leave at 4 in the afternoon; hers was at 10 in the morning as her interview was tomorrow afternoon and mine wasn’t until the next day. What would be the point of me getting there so early? Of course I had made sure that she would book her train journey for the same day as her interview; for an afternoon interview there was no reason to stay over the night before. Mine was at 9 in the morning so I had to get there early, and be all fresh and prepared with a nice well-cooked Trinity College breakfast. But there was no reason for her to do that. Plus, by the time she arrived at her interview I would just be getting on my train! And we weren’t even going to the same college; hers was at Clare.

David texted me wishing me luck. He bought me a little pre-interview present for luck; a little silver necklace on a chain. I told him I prefer silver to gold. It looks lovely on me, and will go nicely with the outfit I plan to wear at my interview. I am going to wear a clean pressed white blouse with a blue cardigan, and smart black trousers with black heels. Professional looking, a lawyer in the making. On my way to the interview – so today – I am dressed simply in a blue minidress with white tights and blue platform shoes. My white duffel coat goes nicely with this, and my Louis Vuitton white handbag. It’s huge, big enough to fit in all my make-up and moisturiser and tomorrow’s outfit. I have another dress to change into after the interview as well.

My train ride goes smoothly well. I decide to have a glass of wine (just one glass so there aren’t too many calories) with a salad. I’ll be eating a proper meal later on but most of the food here contains too many carbs, like crisps and sandwiches. The one glass makes me tipsy and I feel more relaxed, able to sit back comfortably and daydream about my interview and my glorious future. A successful, wealthy lawyer, head of my law firm, acing all of the top cases. Living in some nice big apartment by myself. I’d quite like to live alone. Just me and my nice things that I bought myself, and everyone adoring me and doing exactly what I tell them to. I’d definitely like to live in London, where all the excitement is happening. Get out of shitty Bletchfield. And with a degree like mine – for sure I’ll get a first – I’ll be hired everywhere and be able to work my way up in no time. Cheat and scheme to get to the top.

When I arrive at Cambridge it is already dark, because it is December. I get there at five minutes past five. I waste no time marching to the front of the queue for the taxi rank (‘yes, excuse me, I have a very important interview to go to; yes I know you’ve been standing here for a while and I’m very sorry – oh what lovely shoes! I have the same ones in pink.’) and getting into a cab. No buses for me. I tell him to take me to Trinity College. He starts talking to me, forcing me to engage in the dreaded small-talk, and goes on about all those ‘other kids’ also having Oxbridge interviews. “How come you didn’t get the bus love?” he asks. “It’s only like a ten minute bus ride. The city centre is tiny, you can walk around it in half an hour.”
“It’s not much bigger than where I live,” I say, simpering. “Although of course we don’t boast such a fabulous university and such beautiful churches. And the pavements, why yes the beautiful cobbled pavements make you feel as if you have stepped back into the Victorian ages.” I hate this, he’s getting on my nerves and he is so not getting a tip. I’m already in a bad mood. He is driving so slowly. I’m starving. I haven’t eaten a good meal since I left and I hate missing my mealtimes. When I arrive there I am supposed to get the key to my room, but I must go straight to dinner first.
Trinity is as grand as I remember it to be. It’s the largest college, with huge towers and the lovely green grass. I never understand why we’re not supposed to walk on the grass; what is the point of having it there if we can’t walk on it? I’m tempted to run all over it just to take the piss, but someone might see and that would sabotage my chances of getting in. I can’t let anything hold me back; I’ve worked too hard for this. I then get a funny idea in my head of running all over the grass with a giant chainsaw chopping everyone’s head off, like in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Wouldn’t it be fun to own a chainsaw. Would certainly liven things up.
I thank the stupid driver, pay him and then get out of the cab. I march forward, straight into the college. Some girl runs up to me. I try to ignore her, but she starts calling to me. “Excuse me, is this Trinity College?”
I turn to her. “Are you literate?”
“Sorry?”
“My dear girl, can you read?” I point to the sign at the side of the wall reading Trinity College. She gulps. “Oh, my bad, I was just lost and I couldn’t find where I was going and I’ve been running around for ages – do you have an interview here too! Would you like-”
“I have to go inside now, I am terribly hungry.” I march away from her, even angrier than I was ten seconds ago. Why do people do things like that? Why do they assume that I want any business or any part of their company? As if I care that she couldn’t find where she was going. Good God, if she knew she’d get lost why didn’t she take a cab like me? Why can’t people use their brains to get through life? It makes me so mad. At least at a place like this people are wholly less stupid than the average population.

Great, now I’m sweating and all worked up as I enter the reception. My stomach is growling. Taking a deep breath, I slap a smile on my face so inane my cheeks may fall off. “Hello there, my name is Evelyn Baxter. I have an interview here tomorrow.”
“Your interview is tomorrow?” A woman wearing glasses flicks through an open book. Yes, I just said that, why else would I have said it you stupid bitch. A smiley looking man is standing next to her. “If it wouldn’t trouble you, can you please hurry up as I am extremely hungry and I have had a very long and tiring journey.”
She doesn’t reply. “Sign here please.” I pick up the pen, scribbling my signature, and then she hands me my key. “There are students all around the college able to help you if you get lost. If you need anything at any time please ask them. We hope you enjoy your stay here at Trinity College, on behalf of the University of Cambridge. Good luck with your interview!”
I am close to bursting into tears because everyone is annoying me. This is one of those moments where I need to click my fingers and have a giant plate of food appear in front of me. I take deep breaths, trying to calm myself down. A mildly handsome boy is standing not far from me. Smiling, I approach him. “Hello there. I am going to be having my interview here tomorrow and I have arrived here for dinner. Can you please tell me where the dining room is?”
“Sure, no problem!” He beckons me, escorting me there. He asks me all about what course I’m going to be studying and why I picked Trinity. He’s a first year student studying English. “Yeah, it’s pretty intense but I love it. You definitely won’t regret it. Don’t worry about the interview, it’s not as scary as everyone says it is. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
“I’m sure I will too.” He pushes the door open. “After you. Help yourself to whatever you want. Do you need any help being shown to your room or anything?”
“If I do I’ll let you know.” I give him a wink and wave goodbye. Might fuck him later if I’m in the mood. There are so many people here everywhere. I scowl, telling some girl to mind my bag, that cost a lot. And my shoes! I have to balance my bag on one arm whilst trying to serve myself. This is so fucking annoying. I am close to flipping out and whacking someone over the head. Then I remember where I am. If anything, it should be tomorrow after I’ve had my interview.
I serve myself a nice plate of rice, cooked vegetables and lentil soup. They have fruit for dessert as well. I may take some up to my room later on. I proceed into the dining room, sitting at a table by myself so that I can enjoy my meal in my peace. It tastes delicious; good things certainly come to those who wait. We are dining in the Great Hall, which has paintings of royalty and past alumni. Trinity boasts the most Nobel Prize winners out of all the other Cambridge colleges.

I pay absolutely no attention to anyone else, but then I feel myself being stared at. I look up and see some girl staring at me and nudging someone else. I raise an eyebrow. Do I know her? Oh, she’s the girl I ran into earlier who couldn’t read. Why is she staring at me? Oh God, if she doesn’t stop I will have to go over there. Right, enough of this. I stand up, marching towards her table. “Excuse me, didn’t your mother ever tell you that it is rude to stare?”
She gulps. “Sorry.” Her friend scowls. “You’re rude. Why would you come over here acting like that?”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t the one trying to have eye sex with me across the table. Now if you don’t mind, I would like to eat my meal in peace without being stared at.” I turn away, proceeding back to my table, when I hear her mutter something about being ‘full of herself.’ Eh? I turn back around. I can have a little fun with this; cheer myself up. I step towards her, bending down so that she can smell the perfume she can’t afford. “Listen to me, dear,” I say softly, staring right into her eyes and taking her clammy hand into mine. “I don’t know who you are, but I do know that you do not want to get on the wrong side of me. I could make your life Hell if I wanted to.” I scan over the table, giving one of the boys a wink. None of them are cute, but still. Why not. I turn back to her and smile, still stroking her hand. “All’s fair in a little healthy competition, is it not?” I tilt my head. “Good luck with your interview. May the odds be ever in your favour Katniss.” Chuckling, I walk back to my table. I can almost smell the nerves radiating from her. She thinks I’m a nutcase and now she’s afraid of me. I love it. Ten points to Evelyn.

9

I slept well, making sure I had a good nine hours sleep. The recommended is eight, but I like to be one step ahead. I slept at half past ten, meaning I rose at half past seven, in order to give myself plenty of time to get showered, washed and dressed and to give back my room key which has to be returned before ten. My interview is at nine, so that works out perfectly. Once I have gathered all of my things, I go downstairs to have a hearty breakfast of porridge with chopped bananas and green tea. Then I make my way to the Law common room, where we will be called individually for our interviews. I am sure to be there at quarter to nine. A girl sitting next to me with her mum is shaking, looking around the room. She peers at me. “Are you nervous?”
“No,” I say, taking out my hand mirror. I apply some more lipstick. She looks down at her shivering hands. “I’m really nervous.”
“I wouldn’t have guessed.”
A boy opposite me is staring at me. I can always tell what a guy is thinking when he’s staring at me. If he’s a virgin he probably finds me intimidating, and is trying to not look like he’s staring. If he isn’t he’s thinking about all the ways he can do me. I give him a little smile. He looks away. Definitely a virgin.

My name is called out. I rise. The girl next to me wishes me luck. I bat my eyes at her then roll them as I walk away. I follow the woman who called out my name, up the stairs and into the room. I give her a smile and then walk inside. Two Law Fellows of Trinity College, a man and a woman, are seated inside. I already know their names. One is Alexandra Kulev, who specialises in Criminology and the other is Alexander Patterson, who specialises in Constitutional Law. I shake both of their hands and take a seat in front of them. They do the whole hello-how-are-you thing. “So you’re Alex and Alex! I better not get confused,” I say. They laugh. I laugh too.

“So, Evelyn, why don’t you tell us a bit about why you would like to study Law here at Cambridge,” says Alexander. I tilt my head to the side, my legs crossed, eye contact direct. “Since I was a young girl I have always dreamed of being a lawyer. It has been a lifelong aspiration of mine, something that I consider most beneficial to society.” I take a little pause. “But of course, when one is studying at university, particularly at a university as prestigious as yours, it is more about the passion one has for their subject, not so much the career aspect of it, that matters. I believe that the true purpose of higher education is to study something in depth that you possess a real passion for, not so much for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!” Alexander chuckles, but Alexandra is staring straight at me with this odd expression. I can’t piece it together, which is unusual for me. Concern? Doubt, more like it. I clear my throat. I shall relax her in a heartbeat.
“That’s wonderful Evelyn, and what element of Law are you most interested in?” says Alexander.
“I find I am highly interested in our penal system, and the treatment of criminals within our judicial system,” I say. He nods. “So Criminology?”
“Yes, absolutely. My studying of Sociology has given me a deeper understanding of Criminology, combined with an analysis of how taxing on prisons affect the economy within Economics. Hence why I sent papers from both those subjects.” I smile. Alexandra smiles too. “Criminology is actually my area of expertise.” She has a Russian accent. I keep the desire to cringe away from my body language. “Ah, really! What a wonderful coincidence.” More laughing. I’m enjoying this. She’s definitely slightly more comfortable. “So what is it about Criminology that you like?” she asks.
I sigh, clasping a hand to my chest. “With all honesty, it makes me so sad at how easily criminals are let off within our system. Take Edgar Millard for example. He was convicted recently for the murder of his wife and children, and what was his sentence? Ten years because he was diagnosed as schizophrenic! As if that should excuse his actions! From a moral standpoint, I found that most appalling, and from a legal standpoint, rather detrimental to our society. Criminals like that deserve life imprisonment, and technically he should have been given a life sentence for that sort of crime. Yet due to the Human Rights Law as put forth by the European Union, criminals are treated as regular human beings like you and I, rather than what they actually are; criminals. It makes no shred of sense.”
“I’m with you there, dear,” says Alexander. “So you’re very interested in the moral aspects of Law?”
“Why yes, because at the end of the day, Law is not just about taking a case, weighing up the evidence and arguing for the sake of empirical knowledge. It is about making a difference in our society, and having a voice, and standing up for what is right.” I lean closer. “I believe that a great deal of humanity has been taken out of our legal considerations.”
“But the Human Rights Law is there to protect the humanity of people, and to show that even criminals are human beings,” says Alexandra. I beam at her. “Oh yes, but the brains of these people do not work like the brains of you and I. Research has shown that the brains of the psychopathic and mentally ill do not operate within the basis of humanity. They are brains that lack remorse, empathy and consequentiality. Such people are a true danger to society and I believe that, it would be my duty as a trainee lawyer, to make sure that justice to society would be seen in order to weed out such people and make our country a much safer place.” I ought to be delivered a round of applause. Alexander certainly looks like he wants to give me one. “I do like your passion!” he says. Alexandra, however, still seems unconvinced. I dislike her more by the minute. 
She then commences to give me a scenario; There are three friends; Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom promises Dick to pay Harry £500 and Harry, on hearing this, immediately pays some outstanding bills, before he receives the money he was meant to receive. However, before any money is handed over to Harry, Tom and Dick change their mind and agree to cancel their contract. Can Harry sue Tom over the Act?
I am given a sheet of paper and a pen to answer this question. I drum my fingers against my chin, considering which angle to take. I decide that as Tom made the promise to Dick and not Harry, it is rather unfair for Harry to sue Tom, and that it was his own fault for paying his bills too early. He shouldn’t have been so trusting and should have demanded that Dick state in writing that he was going to pay him that £500. I tell this to Alex and Alex and I can tell both are impressed. Good.
“Although I do believe in morals, I am still able to look at legal matters from an objective and empirical standpoint,” I say smoothly. “I just believe that we should remember that when it comes to the Law, we are dealing with human beings, not rocks.” They do appreciate my humour don’t they. They ask me if I have any further questions; I ask about taking up a language whilst at the University of Cambridge as I am wishing to work on the Linguistic skills I picked up in GCSE French. They say that would be most certainly possible. Then it’s a shaking of the hands and goodbye; I have my test in a few hours.
I walk out feeling very confident. I am sure I charmed them. The boy that was trying not to stare at me asked how it went and I say very well, thank you. What a wonderful interview. Now to do brilliantly in this test and then to await my acceptance letter with bated breath.

I go to the nearest toilets to change out of my interview clothes and into my dress. The test isn’t until twelve so I decide to take a nice stroll on the college grounds, picturing my perfect life here. I wonder what societies I could take up. Rowing could be fun. I get myself into a funny daydream of rowing down the river and then pushing somebody in. I did that in primary school on a school trip when we went Kayaking; it was in Year 5, and this boy was getting on my nerves so when no one was looking I tipped his kayak into the river and he fell in. It was so funny. Some of the others thought it was funny too. That’s the thing about children; they take joy and humour in things that grownups are supposed to consider taboo to laugh at. Children find pain funny, such as seeing somebody slip and fall and bang themselves. Sure, some teenagers and adults find that funny too, but then they get all sympathetic and there-there-are-you-ok.

Pain is one of the greatest amusements to me. I briefly had a fling when I was fifteen with this boy in the year above me, and one day his girlfriend found out. I found her in the toilets, all by herself, crying, and telling me that her boyfriend had been sleeping with this other girl. I gave her a cuddle and befriended her, and then watched slowly over the course of a few weeks as she grew fond of me, and then found out that the girl who had destroyed her relationship had been me. I watched as she looked at me in shock, feeling the horror, the betrayal, the ‘how could you’ and ‘this whole time’. It was very funny. Of course after that she felt entirely broken and distrustful of anyone, whilst I moved on and ahead with my life. I started fucking this other guy who also had a girlfriend. She found out and she tried to fight me, it was hilarious, so one day I got her revision notes and burned them. She thought she had lost them, and was in tears, and had to cram in months of studying into a few weeks. She was practically shut down by the time exams came. And me? I was still screwing her boyfriend.

I have a lovely lunch of tofu salad, and then proceed to the Law block for the hour-long test. Everyone is chatting about their interview and how nerve-wracking it was. There are twelve of us. I take out my phone. I have texts from Mum, David, Rosie and Sarah, all asking how it’s going. I send them all the same message and then we’re called inside.
The test is no trouble at all. Multiple choice questions, some essay questions, a no brainer. I finish with ten minutes to spare, getting up and handing my paper in. I can feel the others looking at me, wondering how I can be so calm and how I’ve finished already. Only one other person finishes as early as I do. It’s a guy; he walks out just before I do. He’s tall and black and hot. I stand back, pulling on my coat, slowly walking in his direction. “Gosh, it feels so nice to have finished early.”
He glances at me and does the eyes flick-up-and-down thing. Yes, he likes what he sees, and he’s certainly not a virgin. He takes out a packet of cigarettes (eurgh) and offers me one. “No thanks, I don’t smoke. I want to preserve my lungs for as long as possible.”
He laughs. “Fair enough.” He takes out a lighter and lights the end of it. I watch as he inhales. “How’d you find it then?” he asks. I shrug my shoulders. “Easy. I’ll be awaiting my acceptance letter with bated breath.”
“Confident huh?” He’s from London; I can tell the accent. And London accents don’t bother me at all. “What’s your name.”
“Evelyn. And you?”
“Prince. Like the singer.”
I laugh. “I was thinking more like royalty, but ok. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with Prince.”
“No? He’s a fucking legend. Died recently.”
“Oh, that’s a shame.”
“What music you in to then?”
I smile, tilting my head up at a cute angle. “Nothing you’ll have heard of. Mainly Indie bands.”
“Ah, fair enough.” He inhales again. I hate cigarettes but he makes it look sexy. “So you got a man, Evelyn?”
I drag my eyelashes to face the ground. “No one special.” I pull them back up to face him. “How about you?”
“Pretty much the same.”
“Oh.” I twist a lock of hair around my finger. “How convenient.”

Twenty minutes later, I’m in his room, bent over whilst he fucks me from behind; doggy-style, shouting
-YES, YOU’RE THE KING! OH YES, YOU’RE THE KING!
-WHO’S THE KING? AM I KING?
-YES, YOU’RE THE KING! YOU’RE THE PRINCE AND THE DUKE AND THE KING!
We fuck for ages, like forty minutes in four different positions. It’s damn hot. I orgasm twice, and then we lie back on his bed. We’re both tired and breathless and sweating. He puts his arm around me and I lean against him, too tired to get up. “Sex on the same day as an interview at Cambridge,” he says, smirking and kissing me. “This is my lucky day.” I sit up, stretching. He reaches over for his fags. “You think we were too loud?” he says. I shrug. Like I give a damn.
“I hope no one important heard us, lol. Then again nearly everyone on my corridor has left, I just have my interview later on rather than in the morning. So should be fine.”
I nod, not caring as per usual. I start to collect my scattered underwear and dress, pulling it back on. “Leaving so soon?” he says, taking a drag. I look at him. “Yeah, my train is booked for this afternoon. I have to be back home this evening.”
“Or you could stay here...” he crawls over to me. No, not this. “...and keep me company.” He kisses the back of my neck. I clear my throat. “Honey, I’m trying to get dressed now.”
“Maybe I don’t want you to get dressed.” He runs his hands over my limbs. I chuckle and stand up. “Now, Princey, behave. I told you I have to leave.”
“But already? Can’t you just lie here and snuggle for a minute?” He’s like a wet puppy. Boys are so annoying; they’re great when they’re fucking you and a pain in the arse afterwards and most other times. I give him a light tap on the cheek. “I can’t snuggle, because I have to leave. End of story.” I put on the rest of my clothes, gathering up my bag. He lies back down on the bed. “Can I at least have your number?”
“Sure.” He takes out his phone and I state it out to him. “Nice. I’ll call you yeah?”
“You do that.” I admire myself in the mirror. He does too. “You have a fucking nice arse.”
“I know.” I fluff up my hair, re-apply some lipstick and then put on my coat. “Well, this was fun, Prince.”
“Yeah.” He props his elbow up and lets his head rest on his hand. “Maybe see you around? And hopefully next year.”
“Hopefully. Ciao for now.” I blow him a kiss and then leave. En route back to Bletchfield; business as usual.

10

Rosie and Sarah and everyone else in my social circle are crowding around me the next day at break, asking how the interview went and for all the details. I tell them, and they marvel at how collected I was. “You were so brave! I’d have been shitting myself,” says Rosie. I nod, filing my nails. I might have to get my manicure touched up. This is a good nail-file anyway; it’s sharp and gets them to a good fine point. Soft nails are the worst. And sharp nails are all the better to scratch with. Haha. All the better to scratch you with, my dear.

David is all over me, kissing me and hugging me and being a pain. I try and shrug him off. “Honey, I just got my hair freshly done and I’d prefer it if you didn’t mess it up.” I flutter my lashes at him and he gets the message. I’m bored of all this, so I make some excuse about going to the library to do Business homework. Business is my easiest subject. My teacher, Mr Farringdon, adores me and says I set the best example for a future entrepreneur. I did briefly consider that as a profession, but you know. So many options.

Someone starts running towards me. Eurgh, what now? It’s a pink-faced girl with fluffy blonde hair. Oh, Hannah. What could she want? Oh she’ll want to say something about the interview. I completely forgot about her. She approaches me, breathless. “H-how was y-your interview yes-yesterday? Sorry – I’m a bit – out of – breath.” She clutches her knees. I fear she’s going to topple over. “I ran all the way from the IT room upstairs.”
“Really.” I examine my nails. She bends her head up. “So how was it?”
“Very good thanks. Excuse me Hannah, but I have to go and do some homework.” I march past her. “Don’t you want to know how mine went?” she calls. Sighing, I face her. “Hannah, I did all I could to help you. Don’t you think it’s a little selfish of you trying to waste my time now? If you excuse me, I need to now make sure I make the grades to get to Cambridge, now that I’m as good as in. Three A’s and an A* doesn’t just happen out of thin air.” I snap my fingers, nod my head at her, then walk off. I pray she doesn’t follow me like a pestering little cat, but she doesn’t. What a relief.

The next few weeks crawl by in a whirl of studying, partying and trying to hold it all together. I’m trapped within my circle in the same lame, mindless chatter. David is turning into my lap-dog; I’ve been trying to avoid him as much as I can. I’m starting to seriously wonder about breaking up with him, but then we have the same friends. Although at this rate maybe it would be better to just leave my ‘group’ and let him be happy with them. Maybe he could date Sarah; I know she’s had her eye on him for ages. She can try to deny it but I’ve seen the way she looks at him. Then I could split them up. That could be fun.
All I’m really thinking about or caring about is Cambridge. I’m even working on my ‘acceptance face’; how I’m going to look when my letter arrives in the post. I’m not sure whether to look shocked, or pleased. Pleased I supposed; what is there to be shocked about?
Eventually I actually have to deal with David, so towards the end of the month, around the whole Christmas/New Year period (I hate both), I let him come over. He marvels at how nice my house looks with all the Christmas decorations. I think he’s miffed I didn’t call him on Christmas day. He starts talking about how the New Year’s party is going to be at Max’s house, and maybe we’ll go to a club afterwards, and it’ll be a big all-night thing. I nod along. We go up to my room and then he pulls me towards him and kisses me. Oh, alright then. We end up fucking on my bed – for four minutes and fifty seconds.
He breathes out, sweating, then rolls over. I glare at him. “Did you come?” he says. I pick up my pillow, whacking him over the head with it. “No.” What is the matter with him? “Since when do you last five minutes?”
He’s pissed off, I can tell. “Why are you being so moody?”
“I don’t know Evelyn, maybe it’s to do with the fact that we haven’t had sex since your Cambridge interview. You’ve been so distant.”
Not one of these conversations. “Really, I hadn’t noticed.”
“No, you never notice anything.” He lies back on my bed, glaring up at the ceiling. I roll onto my front. “What is that supposed to mean?”
He shrugs. Rolling my eyes, I sit up. “Well, we did it now didn’t we. Guess I’ll go finish myself off then.” I start to get up off my bed to go into my bathroom. ‘We are the snowflakes’, my favourite song, starts playing. “Your phone’s ringing,” he mumbles. “Who is it?” I say. “It’s just some random number,” he says.
I step out of the bathroom. “Oh, leave that, it’s probably some generic network call trying to sell me life insurance.”
He looks at me, sitting up, the phone in his hand. “David, what are you doing?”
He swipes the green answering bit. “David, put my phone down now!”
“Hello?” He speaks into the phone. A deep male’s voice sounds out. I know who it is; the guy from Cambridge. He won’t leave me alone.
“Who is this?”
“Erm, who is this?” says Prince.
“This is David, Evelyn’s boyfriend.”
“Oh swear! Shit! Sorry, I must’ve got the wrong number. Bye!” He hangs up. I am in front of David, in my bra and skirt, a sweet smile on my face. “Baby, I really don’t appreciate you answering my phone like that when I told you not to.” I snatch it out of his hand. He doesn’t say anything. Oh, he’s mad. He stands up, pulling his clothes on. “I knew you were fucking cheating on me, I knew it.”
“Now, honey, I have no idea who that was. It was probably a prank call.” He stands up. “You’re fucking lying. I don’t believe you.”
I hold his arms. “I’m not lying. Why would I lie to you?”
“I don’t fucking know, Evelyn. I don’t fucking know what the hell has gotten into you.”
“It was just a prank call, I kept saying.”
“No it wasn’t!” He screams at me. I put my hands on my hips. “Ok, fine yes I was cheating on you. There, now you’re upset and we can break up. Boo-hoo.”
He stares at me. “You...don’t even care do you? You don’t even care?!” He bursts into tears. Oh not this. He starts wailing. “David, David please-”
“How could you cheat on me and not care! I bet this wasn’t even the first time!”
It’s bad enough when people cry, but when men do it – especially attractive ones – it’s repulsive. “Stop that crying now, you’re being pathetic. Man up already!”
“I fucking HATE you!”
“Fine, alright, whatever you hate me, just please stop screaming it’s giving me a headache.”
“I can’t believe you’ve done this to me. You...you’ve ripped me to pieces.”
“Ok now you sound like a girl. God, man up already! Will you get out of my house, please?” He walks out of my room, still crying. It’s making me physically sick. “You’re a fucking horrible person, you fucking bitch!” He slams my door. Relief. He’s so fucking weak. Sure, I’ll make him want me back at some point, but now is not the time. I go back to my bed and lie back, feeling exhausted. I need some ice-cream.

As I imagined, Rosie and Sarah are all on my case about it afterwards. They keep calling me, wanting to talk about it, and say that David’s not going to Max’s New Year’s party even though he helped to organise it, and keep asking me why on Earth I would cheat on a guy like David. Eventually, like the day before New Year, they come round, both wanting to talk to me. They’re like hysterical pelicans. I stand in front of my mirror, trying on some new lip-glosses I bought. I’m having a break from lip-stick you know? Trying to mix it up a bit.
“But I don’t understand why you did it Evelyn,” says Rosie. “David hasn’t left his house in days. He’s not coming to New Year.”
“Yeah, you said that already.”
“So why did you?”
“I dunno, I got bored.” I smack my lips. “Do you like this colour?”
“Seriously, if I had a boyfriend like David, I’d want to marry him!” says Sarah. I smile at her. “Yes, I’m sure you would.”
“I don’t get how you’re so cool about it. Don’t you love him anymore?”
“Something like that.” I pull my hair out of its ponytail. “Should I wear my hair up or down?”
“Evelyn! You can’t just ignore this, this is a really big thing!”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore!” I snarl, glaring at the pair of them. “Both of you are really getting on my nerves. I don’t want to discuss this any further, this is between David and me so stop asking me questions. Capiche?” They both recoil, swallowing, back into submission. Good girls. I turn back to the mirror. “As I was saying, should I wear my hair up or down tomorrow?”
They exchange glances. “I like it down,” says Rosie, gulping. I nod at her. “That’s what I thought too.”

11

New Year comes and goes, life goes on, I fuck two guys. People won’t stop asking me about David and what happened and whatever. This is one of the reasons I didn’t want to break-up with him; having to deal with all of these questions. I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business. That’s the problem with my friends, they’re too nosy. No one can keep a secret around here. If someone fucks someone else everyone discusses it.
Max and Janie hate my guts apparently; so does Alex but then he practically kisses David’s arse. Paloma is too high to care or notice. She tried to kill herself with sleeping pills I think. I’m not sure I can make it to the end of the year in the company of these people without trying to kill myself. At least soon I’ll find out if I’m in Cambridge or not.
The letter arrives on the 4th of January. I pick it up with glee, seeing my name in printed ink. The moment I’ve been waiting for. I tear it open, pulling out the letter, smoothing back my hair. This is when my life finally starts.

Dear Evelyn Baxter,
We regret to inform you that you have not been offered a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, this year. Due to our large number of applicants,

I stop reading. I grip the letter, biting my teeth so hard on my lips they nearly bleed. I read the rest of it. Maybe I’ve been pooled; that’s when you get interviewed at a different college. Maybe they sent me somewhere else. Kings, Magdalen, Newnton, Churchill? Nope. I haven’t been pooled. I’ve been flat-out rejected.
I HAVE FUCKING BEEN REJECTED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
I stare at the letter one more time, fuming. Then I scream, ripping it up, tearing it to pieces so that it is ripped to shreds. I hold my head in my hands. I am back in Trinity, being interviewed for Law by Alex and Alex. I am banging their heads together, strangling them, ripping their heads off with my hands, scratching down their faces with my lovely long nails. Somebody is going to pay for this. Somebody is going to pay for this. How dare they reject me. Me?! I’m a straight A student, top of all my classes. I deserved that place. How dare they!
They aren’t going to get away with this. I pull out my mobile phone, dialling the number for Cambridge Admissions. I hold it to my ear, pressing the stupid numbers so I can get through to the main office. That stupid music plays for three seconds before a woman’s voice answers.
“Hello?”
“Oh Hello there, my name is Evelyn Baxter. I have just received a letter stating that I was rejected from Trinity College, Cambridge? I was calling to let you know that there must be some mistake. You see, that cannot be possible. I am a high-achieving student and-”
“We’re really sorry.” She sounds Scottish. Rip. Destroy. “But I’m afraid there’s nothing I or anybody else can do; once it’s decided it’s decided. Did you get pooled at all?”
“Here’s the thing; I didn’t even get pooled. I believe that I at least deserve a second chance – perhaps Trinity simply wasn’t right for me? I would go anywhere else, even an all-girl’s college-”
“I’m really sorry but at most you can appeal, although the chances are rather slim. Cambridge has a high number of applicants every year so the fact that you were interviewed with such a competitive rate is big enough in itself. I’m very sorry, but I’m sure another university will be very lucky to have you.”
I am fuming. Who the hell does she think she is? “I don’t want to go to another university; I have wanted to go to Cambridge for years!”
“You could apply next year-”
“I don’t have until next year! I can’t wait a whole-nother year of being trapped in this tedious hell hole! I need to go to university this September! Do you not UNDERSTAND!”
“Ma’am, I know that you are upset but there are other brilliant universities in this country. Oxbridge are not the only two; maybe you could try somewhere like Bristol or Durham?”
This has gone far enough. “Why don’t you take that stick that is shoved right up your arse and go fuck yourself with it!” I press my thumb on the red button to hang up, throw my phone across the hallway, and hear it crack. I scream. I scream and I scream and I scream.

I am still mentally screaming when I have to go back to school. I glare at everyone. My urges to rip the throat of every laughing student, every child, every teacher, rushes though my veins. I wonder if I will be able to control myself for much longer. I am close to breaking point, close to snapping like a tamed beast suddenly gone wild.
Rosie and Sarah ask me if I got in. They bill and coo all over me when I tell them that I didn’t get in. They say that it wasn’t my fault, probably just bad luck, maybe I was too similar to another applicant. They say a whole bunch of sentimental bullshit that runs off my head like water from a duck.
“But you got offers from the other four places you applied to right?” says Sarah. “UCL, Bristol, Durham, Kings? They all said yes? Just go to one of them instead.”
“Yeah, and two of those are in London. If I were you I’d go for UCL. You’ve got the best uni, the best night-life, and it’s not like you can’t afford to live there. You have to see it as everything happens for a reason; maybe it’s better you didn’t-”
Just as Rosie is talking to me, Hannah rushes inside. She runs straight to me, then backs down as she sees my expression. “Are you alright?” She peers at my friends, who are shaking their heads. “Oh, I’m so sorry Evelyn.” She throws her arms around my shoulders. I push her off me. “That really sucks. But, well, I sort of have some news too.” She twiddles her fingers. “I was accepted.”
Hell just froze over. The roof on the top of my head has crashed all over everyone and crushed them. All but me, for I am stone. Cold, hard, emotionless stone. “What did you say?” I utter in the smallest voice.
“Well, Clare College accepted me. That’s what I was trying to tell you the other day – the interview was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone was really nice, and I made some friends, and actually all of the preparation we did really helped. So I wanted to thank you – I guess you sort of helped me get in.”
I am standing up, pushing her against the wall, biting my teeth into her neck, ripping her flesh out, punching her, biting off her arm, pulling out her hair, destroying every inch of her.
“That’s wonderful news Hannah!” says Miss Hudders. “Well done for getting in!” Then she looks at me. “I’m so sorry Evelyn, I know you really wanted to go there.”
“It’s not your fault; one of the friends I made didn’t get in either. Sometimes it’s that your course is really competitive, or that there were too many applicants similar to you, or something. It all just depends. It can be anything.”
I stand up slowly, trying not to shake. My blood is thick and bubbling hot. “I have to use the toilet. Miss Hudders, may I be excused please?” She says yes, and without a sound or a word I pick up my Prada handbag and my nice Gucci coat and make my way to the bathroom. I am a lion. In any given Pride, there can only be one alpha lion. If another lion enters the territory, the two lions fight it out to the death, and then the winning lion takes over the Pride and kills the cubs. And sometimes the lionesses.
I walk into the bathroom, staring at my immaculate face in the mirror. I press my hands to my cheeks. I want to scream but I think I have used up my ability to. Then I hear two girls run in, laughing. They look into the mirror next to me, fawning all over it. They’re also sixth formers in the year below; I can tell because they’re not wearing uniform. They are shrieking and hooting with laughter. I step close to them, slowly, a predator stalking her prey. Then I grab one of them by the scruff of her coat. She screams so I put my hand over her mouth. “If you two don’t stop making that racket, I will kill you with my bare hands. Do you understand?”
She nods, whilst her friend backs away, terrified. I turn to her. “Are you going to tell a teacher on me?”
“No!”
“Really? Do you know who I am?”
They both nod. Of course they know who I am, everybody knows who I am. “Excellent. Because if you tell a teacher on lovely Evelyn, they will think you’re crazy and will not believe you. Besides, if you tell anyone I will find you and I will slaughter you. I will come to your house and I will MURDER YOU, DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR! NOW STOP FUCKING LAUGHING LIKE SMALL-MINDED HALFWITS OK!” I shove the girl I’m holding against the wall. They’re both shaking, absolutely terrified. I feel a bit better. I fluff up my hair, brushing my hands off on my skirt. “That took some of the edge off. Thanks for that.” I march out of the bathroom. Of course, I’m not truly satisfied. That was merely an appetizer, something to quench my hunger a little.

12

For the next few days, I follow Hannah around. I know the exact whereabouts of her house. I make a note of her daily activities, her friends, what she does after school. Of course I already know a lot of this because of the amount of time I had to spend with her. Time that was wasted. I had a perfect plan and it backfired horribly. But not this time. This time nothing is going to go wrong.

I know that she enjoys canoeing. She goes on Friday evenings by herself, up to the lake; she rents out a canoe and enjoys a solitary paddle. She also goes to a group session on weekends. She goes on Fridays, usually from 7.30 until 9, after she has eaten dinner. It is still dark, being January, so will be pitch black around that time.
I prepare the outfit I will wear. Black jeans, a black T-shirt, black leather jacket and black leather gloves. Boots without heels. That evening I tell my mum I am going to the library to do some practice exam papers. The lake runs across the marshes, across a bridge. It’s usually very quiet at night. Tonight it is a cloudy sky, not a star in sight. I take a stroll down the bridge towards the lake, biding my time. Waiting for her.
Then I see her, around 7.17. She is humming to herself. I slink back, then watch her pass me, and begin to follow her. I step onto the footpath, licking my lips. Even my lipstick is dark; nude purple. It blends in nicely.
She walks slowly across the footpath, so I catch up to her, my footsteps soundless. I step closer and closer to her, nearing her. So close. I become aligned with her.
She jumps and shrieks when she sees me. “Oh my God Evelyn, hi, I didn’t see you there! Shit you scared me.”
My lips curl into a smile. “Sorry about that. I was just taking a walk. I like going for long walks at night by myself.”
“Oh, really? That’s nice, so do I! But I haven’t seen you down here before?”
“I usually take the other path.” I point to the path going on in the opposite direction. “And I come later on, sometimes around Midnight.”
Her eyes widen. “That late? Doesn’t that scare you being here all by yourself at that time?”
“No, not really. I always have my phone by my side. Besides, I like the dark. There’s something very beautiful and comforting about the night. Being all alone, with no one around.”
She nods, looking a bit nervous. “If you say so. Well I’m just on my way to the lake to go for a canoe ride – do you want to come along as well?”
I sigh. “Oh, no, I couldn’t, I was actually just on my way home. My mum wanted me to help with dinner.”
“Aw, really? But you’re here now you may as well. It’ll be fun! Plus it might cheer you up after the whole not-getting-into-Cam thing.” She pulls my hand. I smile reluctantly. “Oh alright, but just for a little while.”
“Nice gloves by the way!” She looks down at her hands clasping mine. “You’re so lucky, you have such nice things.”
“Thank you. They’re Italian leather.”
 I follow her down to the lake. “Yeah, I’m really sorry about the whole Cambridge thing, like I didn’t want it to seem like I was rubbing it in or anything. I know you really wanted to go there and you should’ve; you should’ve gone there not me.”
“You’re right.” We’re right next to the river. Her canoe is paddling beside us, waiting for her. “You’re very right Hannah. That should have been me.” I seize her by the throat. She screams and chokes. “Evah – lah – wah...”
“I should have gotten into Cambridge, not you!” She grabs my arm, trying to pull herself free. I grab her arm with my other hand. “That should have been me. That was MY fucking place. You stole it from me!”
“I – soh – ree –”
“And now I have to settle for second best. Only why should I?” My grip becomes stronger. “Why should I, the best student in the entire school, have to settle for anything other than the best? HUH? You tell me!” I release her grip, letting her stumble but not fall. She gasps, grabbing her throat. “Evelyn! Why did you do that!” She looks terrified. My eyes are daggers into her soul. “I mean I’m sorry you didn’t get in but it’s not my fault you didn’t! I know you worked so hard-”
“Damn right I did. I worked so hard, and I worked so hard trying to make you fail. Trying to sabotage your chances. But you got in anyway, although I don’t know why they would take you when they could have me!”
She stares at me, disbelief on her face. “What are you talking about?”
“I tried so hard.” My voice is venom. “I tried so hard to make sure you cracked and crumbled under the pressure, and yet you still got in. And I didn’t. It doesn’t make any sense! It’s bullshit. Utter bullshit.”
“But – so the whole time – I thought you were helping me. You were supposed to be my friend!”
I laugh. “Friend? I have no fucking friends.” I step close to her, so close that she is on the edge, and I push her. She falls back, tripping over the canoe, and collapsing into the water. I tip the canoe over so that she is underneath its surface. She struggles to haul herself up, trying to grab onto it, but I push it into her, letting the canoe stab into her so she can’t reach the shore. The end of it is sharp. She screams, her voice covered up by water, desperately trying to cling on. I batter her with it, hearing the sound of the water splash around and watching her blood bleed into the water. Eventually she stops trying to grab onto the canoe and floats in the water, lying still.

I watch this beautiful image. The canoe is like a shark. Hannah’s blood makes it look like it’s bitten into its victim. Then I walk a little further down the lake, rinsing my gloves out. Of course I will wash them properly when I get home, but this is just in case I touch anything else on the way back. My jeans are slightly wet but you can barely tell, seeing as they’re black. No one will notice when I get in anyway.  I leave the marshes, feeling as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Then I start laughing. All is good.

I am horrified. It is all over the news. On Monday everyone is talking about it. I am horrified and distraught. Poor Hannah! She was brutally murdered in the lake! They found her body just lying there, floating and covered in blood. Someone must have bashed her to death with a canoe! That’s terrible! My hand is clasped to my chest. Poor Hannah, and she had only just gotten into Cambridge! Poor sweet bright Hannah, with her whole life ahead of her and her amazing future! Her parents, in tears, her friends, oh so upset. What a terrible tragedy. Does anyone know who did it? No, apparently no one was around there at that time. She was in such a secluded area; the police have no leads. Oh it’s such a shame, such a terrible shame.
I see David. He barely glances at me as he walks past. I step in front of him. He tries to edge past me. I mirror his steps. He sighs, stopping. I smile at him. “Hello stranger, long time no talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you.” He tries to edge past me again, but I am swift. “You heard about Hannah’s death? Isn’t it awful? I was so upset when I heard.”
“Yeah, it is pretty sad.” His expression changes slightly. “Pretty fucking scary; she was murdered down by the lake. The police have cordoned off the whole area.”
I twist a lock of hair around my finger, looking upset. “They want to question everyone who was around there at that time, but there was no one specifically down that part of the lake. You know they have two paths? She must have taken the secluded route.” I sigh, putting my hand to my mouth. “My God, it is so dreadful the stuff that can happen to people you know.” His face softens. “I’m sorry. You were friends with her weren’t you?”
“I was. I wept when I heard the news. Poor Hannah. And I was so happy for her; I may have not got in but she did, and that’s the next best thing.”
“Yeah, I heard you didn’t get in. Sorry,” he mumbles. I have his attention. I step closer to him. “When I didn’t get in, you were the first person I wanted to call.” My hand lightly traces his arm. He’s carrying his coat in one hand and has on a white T-shirt pressed against his body, making his biceps pop out. I stroke them. “I was distraught. It’s bad enough I didn’t get in; then Hannah gets killed!” I sniff. “I could almost cry.”
He feels bad for me. He’s wavering. But then he steps back. “Look Evelyn, I’m really sorry about everything, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to talk to you right now. I’m still really upset about what you did to me.”
“That’s ok.” I nod. “I understand. After all, what I did was terrible. I really don’t know what came over me. I don’t deserve somebody as lovely as you in my life.”
“Hm.” He looks at the floor, then gives my arm a squeeze. “I’ve got to get going now, I have English. We’ll talk another time yeah?”
“Ok. Take as long as you need.” I let him go. He misses me. He’ll come slithering back to me in no time. I’ve gone him right where I want him.

Later that evening, my dad is at ours for dinner. He had to work over time during the weekend, so is making up for it by spending time with us. Mum made roast potatoes; peas and carrots with chicken, and fish stew for me. Felicity has dyed her hair green. It looks ridiculous. It’s irritating me; she’s sitting across from me and her hair is like a giant traffic light. My dad is talking about his work; not that anyone cares besides him. Felicity is swinging her legs. I glare at her. “Has it ever occurred to you to dye your hair a normal colour? You know, one that actually grows on your head?”
She shrugs. “I think it looks good.” Dad stops talking. He peers at me, then at her. “I think it looks good as well. Really suits you dear. Really Evelyn, you shouldn’t be so close-minded.” He looks sideways at me and I look at him. Two sharks, two lions; neither wanting to give up our territory. His grin is baleful. “I think you should apologise to your sister.”
“Oh, no Dad, it’s fine. I don’t really care what Evelyn thinks.” She tosses her hair and picks up a forkful of food. I look at her. “Good, because I think it looks like shit.”
“Whew, Evelyn, that was a horrible thing to say!” snaps my Dad. “Apologise to your sister now.”
I look into those shark eyes. “But she doesn’t care what I think. She didn’t find it horrible at all.”
“Well maybe I found it horrible. How dare you insult my daughter like that.”
“Ok, perhaps we should all just leave it,” Mum says desperately. She never knows what to do or how to respond when Dad and I argue. Felicity has been ignoring it for years now; she’s become immune to us, immune to our prodding. She’s grown too strong-willed to crumble. But Mum is still child’s play. Dad scoops a forkful of food into his mouth, not taking his eyes off me. “That incident I heard about the girl at your school who was murdered was very unfortunate wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was.”
Mum gulps. “Evelyn and her were friends. They applied to Cambridge together.”
“Really!” Dad looks very interested. He’s savouring this. “The two of you were friends? And she got into Cambridge and you didn’t. That must have been very upsetting for you.” He sips his wine. “To have a friend who got something that you didn’t. I imagine you must have felt jealous.”
I laugh. “Dad, nobody makes me jealous. I am the most intelligent and popular girl in my school. I hadn’t the slightest of grudges against Hannah.”
“Not even a little?”
“Nope.”
Mum is getting more and more nervous. “You know our Evelyn, she doesn’t get bothered or intimidated by anyone. She’s too grounded to be upset by her friend being accepted! I expect you were very pleased for her, weren’t you darling?”
I grit my teeth. Dad’s expression is making me close to stabbing my fork in his eye. “Yes, very pleased for her.”
“And the poor girl goes and gets killed.” He shakes his head. “Just after being accepted into Cambridge. They just found her body, floating there. They reckon the person battered her to death with her canoe. There were grazes and bruises all over her body!” He whistles. “What a funny coincidence eh; you don’t get into Cambridge, Hannah does get in, and then all of a sudden the poor girl’s found dead!”
Mum looks alarmed. “Now this has nothing to do with Evelyn! I’m sure the police will catch the person who killed her.”
“Though why would anyone want to kill such a sweet, kind, hard-working girl,” continues Dad whilst I clench my fists. “That’s how they’ve described her in the paper, you know. She was a real asset to the community, a princess of all water sports. Why, she was so looking forward to taking up punting when she started at Cambridge. Did she tell you that, Evelyn, seeing as you two were so close?”
“Is anyone ready for dessert? Felicity, dear, you’ve nearly finished.” Mum jumps up too quickly, spilling her wine, picking up Felicity’s plate. Felicity looks at none of us. I turn to my father. “Girls get killed all the time, particularly in small towns. There’s probably some serial killer on the loose.”
“Well then you better just sit tight and make sure you’re not next,” he says, reaching over to pinch my cheek. I slap his hand away and he laughs. I am furious. He is winding me up and he knows it. I relax, smoothing down my hair. “I’m going to go and do some homework now.” I get up from the table. “Studious as always, Evelyn? Where are you planning to go now that you’ve been rejected from Cambridge?”
“Probably UCL or Kings.”
Dad claps his hands together. “Ah, the attraction of the big city. Chip off the old block, aren’t you sweetie?” He chuckles again. I march upstairs, then slam my door and scream into my pillow when I get to my room. I hate him. I hate him so, so much. Sometimes I marvel at how there is so much hatred in my heart, as if I couldn’t possibly give off more than I already possess.

13

There is some investigation into her murder over the next few weeks, but it isn’t something I take any notice of. They have no evidence. I cleaned my gloves, my shoes, my clothes. There were no cameras anywhere. It was a nice, clean murder, without a trace.
The police have started delivering warnings in schools, including ours, about the dangers that can occur in small towns, and that we all need to be vigilant and on guard at all times. The lake is still being cordoned off until they catch the killer. Crime can happen anywhere, at any time, any place. Bletchfield is the sort of town where nothing much happens, so it’s no wonder they’ve kicked up such a fuss about all of this. I sit there, bored, barely blinking an eye. I watch David instead, watching his body language. He’s seated in the row in front of me, several seats down. He looks around, then spots me. I give him a little wave. He half-smiles and then turns away. I look especially ravishing today; red cashmere sweater, silver skinny jeans, white boots. My coat is lined with fur (real, not faux) so it keeps me nice and snug when I’m outside. My hair is pulled up and I have on expensive white gold hoop earrings.
“...So if anyone would like to ask any questions, please come to ask them at the end, and remember to be aware of your general safety. Thank you.”
There was some special assembly as well for sixth formers, to mourn Hannah’s loss. I didn’t really want to go, but it would have looked odd and suspicious if I hadn’t gone. I watch David as he leaves then pounce on him as he walks out. “Hey, you,” I say. “How’s it going?”
“Not bad I guess. Just doing a lot of revision.”
“Aren’t we all.” I tap his shoulder. “Listen, can we talk? We used to talk all the time. On the phone, over dinner...”
He sighs. “I don’t know Evelyn. I’m still not feeling a hundred per cent.”
“That’s totally understandable.” I rub his shoulder. “I was a real bitch to you. I shouldn’t have done that, thrown away the best thing that ever happened to me. You were always so good to me.” I tilt my head up at a cute angle. “I really miss you David.”
He looks away, then back at me. “I kind of miss you too. Well yeah, I do. I mean, I don’t know. What’s it going to help.”
“Oh honey.” I rub his hand in mine. “You can’t just throw away two years of a happy relationship over one stupid slip-up of mine!”
“But it was more than once.”
“Look, that guy who called me ok, he was nobody. I’ve blocked his number and told him never to contact me again.”
“But what about the other times?”
“What other times?” I say, flicking away a strand of hair. “Baby, there were no other times. Listen, I don’t care about any other guy. All I care about is you. David, I love you.” I step in front of him and take his hands into mine. “I’m really really sorry. I was just so stressed out and upset about Cambridge I wasn’t even thinking. You know how much I wanted to go there. And now this thing with Hannah? I don’t even know how to handle all of this, it’s driving me crazy. It’s times like this when we really need each other.” I step closer to him. “Times like this really remind us of those who we took for granted. Those who make our life special.” He’s really wavering. I’ve nearly got him. “Remember when we went to Venice together? How much fun we had, and when we rode on the gondolas? That was amazing. Or that time when we watched Blood Brothers up in Piccadilly?” I step closer still, my voice softening. “Or that time when you put whipped cream all over my body, and then licked it off, slowly, one by one. Do you remember that?” I’m so close to him now. Oh, so close.
He groans. “Evelyn, please don’t do this to me. This isn’t right, I mean, I don’t know.”
“Honey.” I lean against him, wrapping my arms around him. “I’m so, so sorry. You must know that. But I can’t change what I’ve done. I can’t take back the past. I can only move into the future. We have to let go of the past in order to ever move on with our lives. Isn’t that right?” I look up into his eyes, blinking at him with my own eyes. He can’t resist my pretty little eyes.

An hour later, we are in my bed. I’m gasping as I climax, staring at the ceiling. My arms are wrapped around his sweaty body. I look at him but he’s not finished. “What’s the matter baby?” He’s not looking at me; he’s looking past my head, at my bed rest. “Is everything ok?”
“Yeah, I dunno I just can’t.” He’s distracted. I pout. “Do you need some help? Here, why don’t you take a break. I’m done anyway.” He gets up off me. I tell him to roll over onto his back. I kiss his neck, moving my hands over his sweaty torso. I kiss his stomach, moving lower and lower, then take his dick in my hands, still erect. I run my tongue over it. He gasps. I slowly begin to lick it, arching my mouth over the top and down, up and down, until I’m deep throating with ease. He breaths out in appreciation. I look up at him; his eyes are half-closed in pure pleasure. That’s it David, let me suck your doubt away. He puts his hand on my head, pushing my head down further. I move my mouth up and down, all over his man-hood for about ten minutes until he comes. Right in my mouth. I swallow.
“Thanks,” he says. “Fuck, I missed those.”
“I know.” I kiss his stomach. “Mine are the best.” I sit up, stretching. He’s smiling at me. I bend down and kiss his lips. “You ok?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
I go into the bathroom. He goes after me, and then leans against the door, still smiling, in his boxers. We stand in front of my mirror, and he wraps his arms around me. “Mine,” he says, kissing my neck. I nod. “Exactly. Yours and only yours.” Then I have a great idea. I turn to him. “You know what we should do?” I say. “We should make a sex tape.”
He laughs. “And make millions like Kim Kardashian?”
“No, I’m serious. We wouldn’t have to show anyone, it would just be for us. We should film ourselves having sex. Wouldn’t that be great? And then watch while we do it.” I lie back on my bed in my underwear, stretching my lean legs out. “Wouldn’t you like to watch me? Watch your sexy, scrumptious girl on tape?”
“I don’t need to watch her on tape, she’s right here beside me,” he says, lying next to me. We play-fight on the bed for a bit, and then I clasp his face with my hands. “David, I’m serious. I want us to make a sex tape.”
“Well I’m sorry, but I’m just not comfortable with that.”
“Why not?” I raise an eyebrow. “Don’t you trust me? Do think I’ll show somebody?”
“No, I, I dunno.” He starts getting dressed. “I just don’t think it’s a very good idea, that’s all.”
I tap my fingers on my bed. “But it would make me so happy. And you love making me happy.”
“Baby, I just want sex to be between you and I ok?” He kisses my forehead. “I’ve got to get going, I’ve got a ton of homework. But I’ll call you.” He stands up. I am trying not to boil. “See you later yeah?”
“See ya,” I say, smiling. He leaves, closing my door. I glare after him. Oh, so he doesn’t want to make a sex tape. He thinks suddenly we’ll be doing everything on his terms. Well he thought wrong. If he doesn’t want to make a sex tape, I’ll have to find someone who does, won’t I.

14

Prince is slathering his tongue all over my lips when he sees me. He’s a black Labrador. With a gushing wet pink tongue. I inwardly grimace, and he steps away, panting. Down boy, sit. Does doggy want a treat? A little pat on the head perhaps, and maybe afterwards roll over?
“It’s so nice to see you again,” he says. I haven’t seen him since Cambridge; I completely forgot about him. I met him at Newham Train Station, and he’s been slobbering over me for the last three minutes. “Nice to see you too,” I say. I’d forgotten about him, but now he can serve me good purpose. We did the whole how-you-been fine-thanks thing already. “So you got rejected? Me too.” He shakes his head. “They don’t know a good thing when they see it.”
“I know right. Aren’t they silly.”
“So that time that guy called...he was your boyfriend?”
“Was; it’s over now,” I say, giving him a sweet smile. “It was sort of a fleeting thing, not really serious. Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t concern you.”
“That’s good, cos I don’t wanna be getting involved with another man’s girl. That happened to me this one time, and the whole thing was just a mess.” He takes out his packet of cigarettes, lighting one. “So what do you wanna do? Shall we go grab a drink?”
“Oh, actually I was sort of hoping we could just cut to the chase and go to your place.” I waggle my eyebrows at him. He laughs. “Wow, you really don’t play around do you? Straight to the point. I like that. Sure, we can walk to mine, it’s only like a fifteen minute walk from here. Let’s bounce.” He links his arm through mine. I usually don’t like doing that, but I have to keep him sweet. His fags smell gruesome. We walk along the dank road, and he tells me all about something to do with university and his parents whilst I plan out how the tape is going to work in my head. Oh, this shall be lovely. Won’t David get a wonderful surprise. That’s what you get when you don’t give Evelyn what she wants.

We get to his, and he says no one is home which will make this all the more better. He asks if I want anything to drink and I say I’m not thirsty, wanting to sort of just get on with it. We go up to his room. “Sorry about the mess,” he says. His clothes are strewn all over the floor and there are textbooks and pieces of rubbish everywhere. I frown. What a dump. He starts picking stuff up, apologising and saying that he’s not normally this messy and something or other. Still, never mind. It’ll do, as long as we can film with ease. Once he’s made it look marginally more presentable he flops down onto his bed, pulling me towards him unannounced. I shriek. I’m wearing Jimmy Choos, and I was not prepared for that. “Hey, I tripped,” I grumble. “Sorry babe. I promise I’ll make it up to you.” Again with the slobbering. “Wait, wait Princey, I sort of have something I wanted to ask you.”
“Yes, anything.”
“How would you feel...” I prance my fingers up and down his body “about maybe making a little film? Of you and I? I promise I wouldn’t show anybody, it’s just always something I’ve wanted to try. A certain fetish of mine. Hm?” I tilt my head to the side. I have on a clingy red dress with no tights. He looks at me, then rubs his chin. “So like, you want to film us having sex?”
“Yeah, and then we can watch it. I’ll even give you a copy so you can watch it when I’m not here.” I stroke his face. “A little memento, shall we say, a gift from me to you.”
“Damn, freaky aren’t you? Are you gonna bring the whips and chains out?”
I raise my brows. “I will if you want me to, just as long as we can capture it all on my phone.” I wave it in front of him. “There must be somewhere we can lean it against.”
“Sheez.” He lies his head back. “Alright then. But you won’t show it to anyone right?”
“Nope, no one at all. It’ll be for our eyes only.”

An hour and a half later, I have everything I want and need. Prince is lying on his back, utterly breathless. He’s telling me about how that was the best sex of his life and that I’m unbelievable – along those lines. I’m getting dressed whilst he smokes.
“Not so fast.” He pulls me back down. I push him off me, waving a cloud of cigarette smoke out of my face. “Why you always in such a hurry to leave?”
“Princey.” I simper at him. “I have stuff to do, now. I can’t just laze around here all day with you.”
“But come on, you come here and then you rush off? Don’t you even want something to eat or drink?”
I rub his hand. “You’re too kind. It’s incredibly touching. But I’m afraid I really have to go. You see, I have a busy schedule, and I don’t have time to just lie around here with you. Now, there are many guys who would be more than happy to see a girl just leave without a trace afterwards.”
“But you’re not like other girls.” Return of the slobbering. Now he’s annoying me. I push him off. “Prince, stop that now. I’ve been satisfying your hard-on for the past ninety minutes. What more could you possibly want from me?”
“I just want you to lay here with me, because you’re so nice...” He tries again but I stand up. Enough of this. “I am leaving. Goodbye.” I grab my bag, my shoes on my feet, and stand up. He stands up too. “Can I at least see you out?”
“I assure you I can find the door,” I say airily. He follows me anyway. I quicken my pace. “Hey, don’t make me chase you, even doves have pride.” He laughs. “That’s a line from a Prince song.”
“Whatever.” I walk as fast as I can, but then he pulls my arm back. I whack his arm. “Get your hands off me!”
“What are you playing at?” he says. “Why you being so hard to get?”
“Look, this is supposed to be just a one-time thing, a casual arrangement.”
“Well, maybe I don’t want it to be. Maybe I want to get to know you better.”
“Rest assured, the feeling isn’t mutual. Now bye.” I storm out of his house. And what do you know, he won’t stop following me! He starts calling my name. I don’t believe this guy. He’s like chewing gum that won’t get off my shoe. “Evelyn! Evelyn wait! Come on, don’t be like this! That’s kind of rude you know, you asked me to make a fricken tape for you and now you just walk off! Can we at least talk about this!”
I take out my earphones, blasting music through my eardrums. If I don’t turn around maybe he’ll go away. I’m walking as fast as I can in my heels. He’s taller than me so manages to catch up to me. He snatches my hand. I scream, because I didn’t hear him and because I’m pissed off. He starts demanding stuff from me. A mother with a little girl walks by us. I start looking scared and anxious, begging him to leave me alone. The mother walks up to the two of us. “Excuse me, are you bothering this young lady?”
“What? No! She was just at my house! I just-”
She’s not listening to him. She’s looking at me. I look terrified and upset. The mother then calls a man a few paces down from us who’s looking at something in a shop window. “Here, Phil, come here, this guy here’s bothering this poor young lady!”
Prince starts yelling in disbelief. My eyes are cast to the ground. The man; Phil, approaches his wife and child. Phil glares at Prince, telling him to leave me alone and threatening to call the police.
“But I didn’t do anything! You’ve completely misunderstood! Evelyn, tell them! Evelyn?” He looks at me but I don’t look at him. I look like I’m about to burst into tears. The mum pulls me away from him. “Poor thing. Are you alright? Would you like to come with us?”
I shake my head. “I just want to go back home.” The mum and dad glare at Prince. “Do you want us to call the police?” the mum asks me. I shake my head. “T-that’s ok. I’d just like to go now.”
“Yes, love, you go on back home, go on.” The mum gives me a pat on the shoulder and they continue yelling at Prince, who is yelling back.
“What! Oh, I get what this is all about.” Prince puts his hands on his hips. “You saw a black man and you jumped to conclusions. That’s right. Well for your information I was interviewed at Cambridge University!”
“This has nothing to do with your skin colour, how dare you accuse us of being racists! This is because you were yelling at a poor innocent girl in the street. We saw you, you grabbed her arm!”
“She was fucking me like twenty minutes ago! There’s nothing innocent about her! You’ve got it all wrong!”
“Now, I think you’d better be quiet mate, or we really will call the police.”

Their voices fade into the distance. I don’t care what happens to Prince at this point; I have everything I need. I waltz into the train station, ready to get a train to Euston so I can get back on the first train to Bletchfield.

15

The next day, David will open a little parcel delivered to him in the post. I know I could have just posted it through his letterbox, but someone may have seen me. I sprawled ‘MADE YOU THIS CD. HAS ALL OUR SONGS ON IT. LOVE E’ on the front. I instructed him to insert it into his laptop. Won’t he get a lovely surprise.
I wait. I lie on my bed, waiting, wondering. I hear nothing from him. Later that evening I give him a call. He cancels it. I sit up, smirking. I make my way down the road to his house, and knock on the door. “David, I know you’re in there, open the door now!” I fold my arms across my chest, waiting for him to come down. He doesn’t. I bang hard on the door, and yell through the letterbox. He surfaces, a furious expression on his face. I flash him my sweet smile. “Baby, how are you?”
“Fuck off.” He proceeds to close the door but I barge my way in. “Get out of my fucking house. I never want to see you again.”
“But I need to have a word with you.” He walks away from me, across the hallway into the living room. “Baby, now please tell me what this is about.”
“You already know what this is about.” He shakes his head. “You’re sick. You’re a sick, fucked up human being. I want you out of my life and out of my house now.”
I settle onto one of his cosy cream sofas. “Oh but honey, I only just got here. I’m not going anywhere.” I cross my legs. “Is this about that CD I sent you? I made it just for you. I made sure you would like it.” I frown. “Sorry, was it a CD or a DVD? I forgot.”
He grabs his head in his hands, groaning loudly in distress and frustration. “What the hell is the matter with you? Why the fuck would you send me something like that?”
“I asked you to make a tape and you refused. And nobody says no to me.” I play with a little piece of thread.
“That’s a lie. Cambridge said no to you.”
I stare at him. I didn’t see that coming. He smirks. I stand up. “I asked you for one simple favour. And you couldn’t do it, so I had to find somebody else. Somebody who was willing.”
“Did you make him do it then?” He glares at me. He’s trying to be all defiant. “Did you force him into it?”
“Absolutely not.” I step closer to him. “He did it of his own free will, and he loved it. Called me the best he ever had.”
David screams. “GET OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW!”
“Come on David, why don’t you hit me?” He walks away from me, going towards the kitchen. I follow him. “I know you want to. Why don’t you hit me now sugar-plum? Smack your girl in the face? I know you’d love that.” He doesn’t respond. I raise my voice. “What, are you not going to hit me because I’m a girl? That’s sexist David, I don’t appreciate that!”
WHACK. He slaps me hard in the face. I step back, and then I lash out. I grab his throat. He shoves me off him, and I jump on him, beating his face. He pushes me off and I bite into his arm hard. He shrieks. He whacks my face again and I fall back, grabbing his leg whilst he tries to kick me off him. He snatches up a frying pan and aims for my head. It thumps me on the back. I roll over, picking up a plate, and toss it at him. He dives out the way, grabbing some more pans and throws them at me. I throw more plates. They crash onto the ground, smashing, breaking, clanging. I spot a knife lying on the work surface. He charges towards me, pressing my shoulders against the work surface. We’re both scarred and bleeding. “Evelyn, let’s stop this now alright. I just want you to leave.” He’s staring hard into my eyes.
“Oh really? You want me to leave?” My hand trails behind me. “Well maybe I want you to leave too. Maybe I want to get rid of you, just like I got rid of Hannah.” I seize the knife and stab into his stomach; a giant kitchen knife, and he yells. I stab hard, like I’m slicing butter, and he falls back, keeling over, sinking towards the floor. Blood pours out from him as he lays there on his side, the knife in his body.

I breathe out, clutching onto the surface for my balance. I blink, and look down at his dead body. Perfectly still. I turn around and start rinsing my hands under the tap, then wipe them on the tea towel so I can smooth down my hair.

Then I hear something that makes me lose my cool. A car is pulling out to the front of the house. That must be David’s mum. Panicking, I yank the knife out of his body, rinsing it under the tap. I look over towards the living room. They’ll be coming inside the house any minute now. Suddenly I’m terrified. I didn’t think to bring my gloves; my fingerprints will be everywhere. Shit. Oh SHIT. I run out through the kitchen, light on my feet. At least I’m wearing flat shoes and jeans. There’s blood all over my T-shirt. I zip up my fleece jacket over it. They’re coming inside now, I can hear them. I run around towards the back door, unlocking it, and sneak out into the garden. I edge my way across the neatly clipped and planted flowers and shrubs, climbing over the back wall. Oh God. I can hear screaming as I jump over the wall and run out into the street. I run as fast as I can, seeing cars pass by me. This isn’t good. I look around wildly, then nearly scream myself. A man dressed in a yellow clown costume with a giant pink wig and red nose has jumped in front of me. What on earth? I must be imagining things. The clown nods at me. “Alright love?” He’s walking a goat on a leash. The goat brays and then they continue walking. I run past them, nearly running into a giant ice-cream van that’s playing that song Prince was singing yesterday. I’m freaking out now. In my state of paranoia I've fallen ill to psychosis. I run past the ice-cream van, down an alleyway. A homeless guy jumps up. “Hey, you alright love? You want to give me some change?” I stab my knife into him. He howls, and falls over. His dog, a Dalmation, runs towards his dead owner, then looks at me. I stare at the dog. “I can’t deal with this anymore!” The dog blinks up at me, and then I hear police sirens. They’re onto me. I run like crazy down the alleyway, past towards the marshes. A car behind me suddenly kicks into ignition. I turn around. It has a menacing looking number plate and bright orange headlights. There’s no one driving it. It chases after me, speeding down the road as I run as fast as I can away from it. I’m shrieking. I dive out the way and the car speeds off the road and plunges into the lake. Gasping, I run back, and then see a couple with a child passing behind me. They look at me and at my huge knife. I raise it up, charging towards them and slash the man and woman, watching as blood pours out of them. I turn to the child. The child blinks at me with brown puppy eyes. I run away, back towards the lake. My clothes are stained scarlet. Then I hear a strange chanting noise. A murmur. I turn around and five figures are slowly rising out of the lake, covered in blood, their bodies decayed but still intact. Hannah, David, the homeless guy, the man and the woman. They start chanting. “EVELYN. EVELYN. EVELYN. EVELYN. EVELYN.”

I scream, running as fast as I can as these zombies chase me, running out of the marshes, away from the lake and back towards the main road. I am amok with panic and terror, confused and with no idea what is going on or happening. The voices are getting louder, and they won’t leave me alone. And the police sirens are getting closer. I’m leaving a trail of blood behind me. I rip off my black fleece, throwing it to the ground, and throw the knife on the ground, and then I trip and fall, clutching the dark paved road, screaming into the concrete. I see a flash of white lights behind me, and hear some more voices, but these are real, and they’re saying something to me and I’m being pulled up and cuffs are being put on my hands and I find myself slowly coming down, back down into reality.

16

I am arrested and taken to jail. I am taken to a small room, and questioned. My hair is pulled back and I have to wear these stupid orange clothes. Because I’m eighteen I can’t go to juvi. It’s full-on women’s prison for me. They ask me a load of questions. Why did I do it. What made me do it. My response is the same. No comment. No comment. No comment. By statutory law I am under no obligation to respond. I confessed to all of the murders, even to killing Hannah. My friends and teachers and neighbours and everyone who’s ever known me is probably shocked. Maybe terrified. They don’t know why I did it or how or what is wrong with me. They’re all shocked and horrified, each and every one of them. Except my dad of course. My dad came to see me, and he wore the same look of horror as everyone else, but he knew and I knew the truth. I am a bad seed. I am a bad mutation, a dreadful mix of DNA and brain-wiring that was normal of human brains some 50,000 years ago, but since has almost died out. But we haven’t died out. I haven’t died out. We’re lurking around, out there. We come in any shape or size and we’re everywhere. And we don’t care. We really don’t. I stare at these people, the officers, as I stared into the camera when they took my picture, a picture that will be on the news and in papers, of the sweet ordinary girl who is a psychopath and a murderer. I blink at them with my cold shark eyes, and inside I am the same. Blank. Empty. I feel nothing. I am nothing.


The End

2 comments:

  1. this was horrifying, are u ok?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHA I love it! Yes I'm fine generally (I promise you I'm not a psychopath XD)

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