The Iron in Blood (Chapter 5, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 5

Mark left me at the gate and went to find Harry. I made my way to my first lesson of the day - maths - trying to remember to limp. The knee brace helped.

"Freakface!"

Oh crap. Shanice again. I sighed, irritated. I'd been thinking about this afternoon, and seeing Angus again. I'd also been trying to dismiss those intrusive thoughts and not think about him and how he looked and smelled and felt. It took a lot of concentration to think such conflicting things at the same time. Shanice interrupted that concentration, and I was suddenly angry with her. I turned abruptly.

"What!" I almost barked at her.

She smirked at me and took a few steps forward so that her face hovered near mine. "Ooh, Freakface here is getting cross with me. Ooh, what am I going to do?" I smelled her fetid breath as she leaned even closer, and heard the tittering of her friends and fellow bullies in the background. I should theoretically have been afraid of her, all two hundred pounds of malice and spite, but I wasn't. Not anymore. When something really big happens in your life, I guess you forget to sweat the small stuff. I was tired of always trying to avoid this big reeking nemesis of mine.

"Back off," I growled at her.

I saw the change in her eyes, the intention, and her face hardened. I was prepared for the blow, and swayed backwards as her hand shot out, glancing off my chin and shooting past my left ear. She was suddenly off balance, her face even closer, her nose a tempting target. I put my right hand out and hit her in the face with my palm, feeling the crunch of breaking bone as her nose was squashed against her cheeks, feeling the spattering of blood on my arm and face. She squealed and lurched backwards, tripping over her bag, and landing with a thud on her large backside. I stood and watched her, waiting for retaliation, but none came. She held her shattered nose and sobbed.

The first thing I noticed was the intensely alluring smell of blood. I lifted my right hand and looked at my palm. Shanice's blood was smeared and splattered across it like some gory Rorschach test. I had an almost irresistible urge to lick that thick crimson liquid from my skin. But Mark was swiftly at my side, grabbing my wrist and turning my face to look at him, mouthing NO, and pulling me away. I looked at him through a red haze, and I realised what I had almost done. The haze faded slowly as I stood staring into my brother's eyes, trying to anchor myself, to get back to being normal. Then I was back, and I was suddenly very frightened.

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