She examines me. Under a microscope. In a petri dish. A hit under the knee. Do I flinch? Does this hurt? Does this hurt? Yes! Yes! Yes! Cotton mouth and gag, better than the chloroform. Would I rather be awake? I am never awake. We're trying to help you, she sooths me. I tremble. She walks away. I scream. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? Days. She tutts and shushes. I calm. Somehow. She pets my head like a cat with one hand. The other tears at my roots, then her nail scrape my skin. Blood tricks but puss flows. She puts a hand on my shoulder. Sometimes, she squeezes and smiles reassuringly. She doesn't today. I relax. The Worst. The Talks. She talks and talks and at each word stabs me with a pencil. She pets my hair. I scream, she tutts. I fall silent, she smiles. She talks and talks and I scream and scream. But her actions are magnified like a microphone, people smile and point. She lovingly wraps the rope around my neck, kissing my cheeks and then my throat. Then she trotts off. The people wave. The restraints are gone. I stare confused. Where did they go? My wrists are not bruised but my abdomen still bleeds. My head leaves the fog for a minute. My vision flickers. It comes strong enough to clearly see the rope lead up. Up. Up. Up. I touch my neck and look down from the table I was suddenly standing from. I smile and glance toward the people. Graduation day. I jump. Like my Mamma taught me.