He set the plate before her. Two slices of charcoal blackened toast, plump stoneless cherry jam, no butter or spread. It wasn't punishment for climbing out the bedroom window to staying out late again. It was all they ever ate after mom died. They got through a loaf of bread a day.

She no longer cared what happened. All she could think about was Ross. He cooked her pumelled bloody steak, creamy mash with chives, grilled tomatoes covered in mixed grain pepper from a silver pot. Loved her with food, milky coffee and kisses.

Next week she was going to...

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What happens when life finally becomes too much to bear? He thought about it a great deal - but was unable to put hiself into those shoes. What happens when you feel death is more important than life? Or is that the wrong question to ask, he wondered. Perhaps the real question was: why had she decided that death on her own was preferable to life with him?
He had come home that day - an ordinary day like any other day - and been surprised not to find her in her usual place in the kitchen. Every time he...

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I climbed the building step by step, not running, only tip-toeing, afraid to be heard. No one knew I was here, and no one will ever know. I will leave no trace.
I reach the roof, opening the door to a world of fresh air and new possibilities. I took one step and imagined what people may have ventured up here.
The newly met couple. The boy and girl hardly know each other, yet trust each other with everything they have. They don't have long, he leaves to go home in two weeks time and she has to go back...

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The year was 1986. She was five and happy. But she did not want to be six. There was something about six that scared her, put her on edge, made her think of grown up things like losing teeth and moving up to the next class with the mean teacher who didn’t allow her pupils to laugh during lessons.

So she came up with a plan to hide. She took her favourite toys (she was five, after all) and a little food and a carton of juice and crawled into the loft where no one ever went. There was nothing...

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She'd always come running when I called. I forgot myself at one point, and went to call her name, which made me feel even more isolated. It was so strange to be up on our hill alone.

A bitter wind whistled around the crest of the hill. I tugged my scarf tighter around my neck and wished I had worn a hat. It was so cold. Far too cold for a morning in March.

As I looked to the tiny ant-like people walking along the river bank below, the scene misted up before my eyes. It was not the same...

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"I hate him. He could get hit by a car randomly in the street, and it wouldn't matter to me. It would probably make my days better."

Anyway, it happened. It would. And so then the whole school was plunged into mourning of varying depths. Mourning of the grievous type, and mourning of the more celebratory kind.

Let's be honest. He made everyone's life miserable. He never bothered to even sit. His room was the hallway, not a desk.

The administrator who suspended him that day couldn't stop questioning himself: could I have done more? Should I have done it?...

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The clock had stopped.

The clock had stopped at two minutes past eleven, but whether that was eleven this morning, last night, or three weeks ago, he wasn't sure. He rarely looked at the clock - it was just something that was there, on the wall, taking up space. Something that he would, no doubt, miss were it ever to be gone, but, because of the sameness of it, because of the reliability of its general shape being where it always was, it went unnoticed.

It was only the fly that was buzzing annoyingly around the room that caused him,...

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