Carruthers' Demise

                                                  Prelude

'And top marks for this week's essay go to Ian Turner,' the teacher
announced in her matter-of-fact voice. Only there was nothing matter-of-fact
about it, and the young girl felt her resentment rising as she studied the
young boy's face; his smirk burned like hot coals on her cheeks as he turned
and gloated at her.
 She nearly always won the school's creative writing competitions and
would have done this time had it not been for the little bastard's prying into
her exercise book.
 'He's been cheating, Miss Porter,' the girl objected sourly, an arm snaked
towards the boy.
 'Now then, no sour grapes, young madam, learn to be gracious in ...'
 'Here - you check then ...' the girl hurled her book towards the teacher and
then clasped her arms tightly around her waist - 'with this. You'll find out I'm
right - he just rearranged my words and changed the ending ...'
 'That's nonsense ...'
 But the girl wasn't listening to the teacher as she reached across and
wrestled the boy for his book, until Miss Porter's hand thumped down
heavily on the desk. 'Cease this now! I'll have no unruly behaviour in my
class. Leave the room; I'll speak to you later.'
 The young girl did more than leave the room - she left the school buildings
and strutted along the street to where a broad alleyway led to the Grand
Union canal. She stood there for several minutes, both hands gripping the
railings of the old timber bridge that spanned it, her rage evaporating not
one bit. The little runt had crept back to class after school, rifled the
teacher's drawer for her book and then all but copied her work - he had to
have done - there was no other way he could have beaten her.
 The thought made her shake with anger.
 She checked her watch; school would be over in ten minutes, old Miss
Porter would be expecting her apology. Well, she could wait on, she wasn't
going back today. She was going to do the waiting - for that brat Ian Turner.
She'd have a surprise waiting for him. He'd need to cross the bridge to get
to the cul-de-sac that lay beyond the field on the other side. If luck went her
way he'd be alone, and her little surprise would bear fruit.
 And luck did go her way. One or two kids passed by unaware of her
presence as she stood back in the shade of a large oak, before Turner
ambled by, hands in his trouser pockets, that stupid smirk still glued to his
face, school bag dangling from his shoulder.
 Ignorant of her presence ...
 Until her hand wrapped around the strap of his bag and she pulled with all
the force of her right arm, swinging him towards her, a look of aggrieved
surprise on his podgy face.
 'Let me go, you cow ...' his eyes became full moons and he swung in
desperation trying to fend her off, but the girl's hands were strong and she
had the element of surprise. Those hands were now on the lapels of his
blazer and possessed enough power to raise him from the ground as she
began to swing him round. Her intention had been to hurl him into the
thicket, to teach him a lesson not to mess with her - it would only have been
his word against hers - only she couldn't stop - she wasn't going to - her
anger increased with every revolution and so it seemed did her strength. It
was strange: she was angry and yet she enjoyed her power over him - but it
had to end -
 And so it did, with a splash that created rippling waves which crashed to
both banks of the canal after she'd launched him into it.
 No thoughts crossed her mind that he couldn't swim, despite his frantic
cries for help - and even though that fact was known to her.
 He'd copied her story and now he'd paid the price. That was all that
mattered when all said and done.
 The girl stood there expressionless before smacking her hands together
and making her way home.

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