by Niamh McCracken
Sintra Falls walked down the narrow school corridors. The sun shone angrily through the closed glass windows, her hair caught in its bright glimmer. The walls were white, the paint beginning to peel off at the edges. Her heels clicked loudly on the wooden floor, beckoning accusing glares from her classmates, from people who didn’t even know her. She made her way to her shabby locker, and opened it, staring solemnly at its unadorned walls. The girl next to her was digging in her own locker, gushing over some cute magnets she had just put up. Sintra ignored her. She didn’t like cute magnets. She didn’t know what she liked actually. If one was to ask her of her hobbies, of her likes and dislikes, she wouldn’t be able to give a solid answer. She changed, flickering from activity to activity like a bee gathering nectar. But she never stayed at one. And she could never truthfully say she enjoyed any of them.
Sintra slammed her locker door shut in the middle of her neighbour’s excited ramble, having gotten the books she needed for the next few classes. She lingered uncertainly, unsure of where to spend the next twenty minutes of her lunch.
Which ‘fun’ activity should she try this time? She wondered idly. Book club? Chess club? Maths club? None of those appealed to Sintra at that current time, so instead she made her way over to a lonely bench, abandoned because of its position right next to the bin, which was currently oozing unpleasant odours. There was a metaphor in their somewhere, Sintra was sure. About how she was like trash, practically sitting on the bin. There was a metaphor for everything.
For only mere seconds did she remain still on the bench, small hands twitching at her sides. She then let out a long mournful sigh. She got up, and then heard a small cry from the other end of the corridor.
Fuelled by the human curse that is curiosity, Sintra walked forward, eyes searching for the source of the noise. She didn’t have to look long. At the end of the corridor, there was another girl, with mousey hair, and embarrassingly big glasses. Her clothes were dreadfully drab, and her lower lip trembled fearfully. Her name was Darcy.
Sintra’s eyes locked onto her tormenter, and the crowd surrounding her. Sintra walked over with quick sudden strides, fighting her way into the centre of the crowd.
And then she froze.
She had no idea what she was going to do, no idea what part of her she was going to show.
Sintra Falls, mean girl? Or Sintra Falls, a victim’s saviour?
Darcy’s tormenter paused her teasing, sizing up Sintra in a glance. Her lips curled upwards in a wicked smile.
Sintra looked at Darcy. She was a pathetic thing, tears starting to slip from her eyes. She was shaking slightly, feeling fear from a stupid bully. She was not worth saving.
Darcy looked up at Sintra with hopeful eyes, hoping and hoping that she would become her saviour.
Sintra took a deep breath, her mind having made its choice.
“Who designed your clothes? Your grandma?” the words slipped easily from her lips, mocking, mean. There was a chorus of laughter from the crowd surrounding them, all ignoring the fact that Sintra’s clothes were practically falling apart at the seams themselves.
Darcy broke, her shoulders slumping, and cheeks wobbling. Sintra smiled, an empty grin accompanied by blank blue eyes. Darcy’s tormentor laughed out loud, continuing her onslaught of insults, with Sintra doing nothing to stop her.
When the crowd dispersed, fading into the shadows of the corridor, Sintra sent one last look at the shaking Darcy, who looked at her with fear in her dark brown eyes.
Sintra sent her one last empty smirk.
Sorry Darcy. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be different.