Stephanie Green

Something was wrong with Kera

Something was wrong with Kera
I turned off the drinking fountain, and as I stood up and wiped my mouth on my sleeve, I saw her, ambling slowly across the quad, each step she took so minute it was almost as if she were walking backward. Her eyes were focused intently on the ground.
Something was wrong with Kera, and I wanted to know what it was
I wanted to help her.

Something was wrong with Kera
He happened to glance out the staffroom window, and there was the tiny child, wandering across the quad below. Her body was a woollen jumper that had shrunk in the wash, emaciated and ratty. She swam inside her uniform, billowing out at odd angles from her twiggy body.
Something was wrong with Kera.
Her face, he could not see it. But in his mind it was there…something…and she was smiling. It was in her eyes. In his mind he saw her eyes.
He peered out the window, and the child looked up at him, and smiled. And he knew she was dangerous.
He took one last, longing look at the half-read newspaper, at the half-finished coffee on his desk, the not-yet-started second period lesson plan. He grabbed his jacket and glasses and bolted for the door of his office.
Something was wrong with Kera
And he was going to find out what it was
He was going to help her.

Something was wrong with Kera
Her mother pulled out onto Main Street, her hands gripping the wheel tightly
Something was wrong.
She sensed it, in the way her child moved, spoke, listened. Something was different.
And not a good difference, no. Her hands were white
Shut up, you silly cow!, she scolded herself mentally, you’re imagining things. Too much Dr. Phil.

She did a sudden u-turn, much to the dismay of the driver behind her, as she drove as fast as she could back to the school, horns blaring in her wake.
Something was wrong with Kera
And damn her if she wasn’t going to discover what it was
She wanted to help her.

Something was definitely wrong with Kera.
She approached me slowly, dragging those tiny shoes the way she always did. I yelled out to her
‘Kera! Kera?’ She looked up, finally…her eyes. They weren’t a part of her face. They belonged somewhere else. Somewhere, but no on Kera’s face. No, Kera wasn’t there anymore.
I waved at her timidly, Kera-who-had-gone-away was my best friend, after all
She walked right past me, as if she had never seen me.
I narrowed my eyes behind her back.
Something was definitely wrong.
With Kera, and I wanted to, needed to help her
I just had to know what it was.

He crashed through the office doors, and glanced around frantically. There she was! Walking her slow, concentrated drag across the far side of the quad, walking towards the trees. He almost hadn’t seen her. Thank god he’d grabbed his glasses.
He jogged to catch up to her, it didn’t require much effort.
She didn’t answer, she just kept shuffling slowly onward, on past the science building, towards the trees.
His voice was frantic, piercing
He ran alongside her and put his hand on her shoulder. She didn’t flinch, didn’t jump, didn’t even register his presence. Startled, he pulled his hand away. Her shoulder had been cold.
There was something wrong with Kera.
Something very wrong.

Something was wrong with Kera.
She pulled up into the parking lot, the brakes screeching to a halt.
She jumped out, not even bothering
to lock the doors.
She didn’t know the first place to look, so she ran blindly in one direction, then the other, calling her daughters name.
Something was wrong with Kera
Children were laughing. They whispered to each other. No one had seen Kera
She had to know what was wrong
She had to help her daughter
She had to.

Kera smiled
There was nothing wrong with Kera
Nothing at all
Smiled, and sat down on the damp grass outside the science building.
The grass was still damp with morning dew.
Smiled, and removed something from her orange backpack.
Something small
Something dangerous.
Kera smiled wider, smiled to herself.
There was nothing wrong with Kera
Kera was just fine
And no one was going to help her.

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