by Tsukizubon Saruko (月図凡然る子)
illustrated by by Sakana Sara (魚 サラ)
They found Lily’s body on September 8th, late in the morning. It was a Monday, and Mrs. Packard had to open the copy shop where she worked, much earlier than Lily was supposed to go to school; but she got a phone call at her job around 9:30 from the school receptionist, asking why Lily hadn’t either come to her first two classes or called in sick. She went home right away, and in the end broke open the door to Lily’s bedroom, and found Lily lying on her bed, watching the ceiling with a rapt, fascinated, almost peaceful expression. Her wrists had been carefully cut in two long lower-case t’s, and the short, sharp vegetable knife that had done it rested just at the edge of the grip of her fingers, as though she were deep in thought and about to tap it like a pencil to focus her mind. The blood had dried around her hands in two small puddles on the pink bedspread, like punctuation; a colon, maybe, opening a list of her mother’s screams. They eventually brought a neighbor running over to find her, to pull her away, to make the phone calls and arrangements when she couldn’t be calmed down, couldn’t be coaxed or embraced into sense. There was a special announcement at James High, and most of the senior classes were allowed to go home after second lunch.
Allison didn’t go home. She meant to at first, but then she drove around town in aimless, spreading circles, running at least two red lights, dried salt all over her cheeks. When she passed the library, where she and Lily had been going to meet to share headphones and watch a movie for History, she braked the car to a shuddering halt and fumbled off her seatbelt, flung open the car door, and leaned out of it and threw up.
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