• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 07
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Touch it, I said.

Absolutely not, she said.

If you do I'll tell my brother you think he's cute.

Milly looked at me. Why would I want him to know that?

I shrugged, turned away from her, prodded the thing with my pen. It's not like I haven't noticed.

I don't like your brother, she said. She was looking at me, not the thing, not where my pen left blue marks between its stiff valleys, sticking to it like it was trying to remember how to be.

From across the room Lucy squealed. Oh my god, it's moving!

Miss Lee walked over to the squeals. Lucy and Sara and Niamh were rubbing their hands on their coats and jumping up and down on the spot. It's so gross, Miss!

It's dead, Lucy. It's not moving.

I looked at Milly and we rolled our eyes and tried not to let out a snort. We were bending over the brain closely, our backs against the classroom and everyone else, staring at the thing and waiting for the other to do it, to slice it open clean through the middle, like letting steam rise out of a pie.

I don't fancy your brother, she said after a while.

I know. I don't care if you do. I'm just saying, I live with him. He's not that great. He doesn't wear socks.

I felt her move beside me and saw her smile. That's kinda funny, she said.



I looked back at the thing. So, what now?

We both stared at it, she didn't say anything but I knew she wanted to ask me about my brother and was waiting for me to take off my gloves. But I always go first. I wanted to watch.

I wonder what they were like, she said.

I glanced at her. Who?

She nodded towards the thing. The brain.

We both stared at it some more. It was a pig, wasn't it?

She nodded. Yeah. She put a hand over her mouth – for a second I thought she might be laughing or stifling a giggle, then I saw her eyes water.

I don't know why it's so sad, she said, and I watched her hand shake a little and saw the reflection of the brain in her watery eyes, wondered whether she was about to take off her gloves and reach out for it and hold me to my promise.