Leah crumpled up the piece of paper, digging her fingers into it again and again until it was soft and thin, a wisp of what it had been. She thought about throwing it towards the trash bin, hurling it with a fury that made her arm ache. But no, she would reign in her anger, her wrath. To lose control would be to give in.
She straightened her shoulders and tucked her unruly hair behind her ears. With a grace that belied the crimson fury boiling inside her chest, Leah stood up and walked out of the building. She strode purposefully across campus, ignoring hellos, brushing past acquaintances, classmates. Idiots, they were, all of them. She was smarter, better, faster. Too bad she was the only one who knew.
As she pushed through the glass doors of her dorm, she slammed into Tabitha, a slight, shy girl who lived across the hall.
“Sorry,” came the terse reply.
“That’s all right. Is everything ok?”
“It’s fine. I just need to get to my room.”
“Ok. Let me know if I can do anything. You know where I live. Oh, by the way, did you hear? My story was accepted; I’m so happy.”
In Leah’s mind at that moment, Tabitha, unsuspecting and naive, was the perfect target. She – this small, irritating mouse who couldn’t possibly understand poetry or art or literature, or really anything that required a minimum of intellect – was going to be published. And Leah herself had been rejected.
Bitch was the only thought Leah could grasp, as her vision tilted, as her arms and legs tingled with a sudden rush of adrenaline. With a surge of power, of hatefulness that she should, but probably wouldn’t regret later, Leah curled her fingers into a tight fist, then punched Tabitha’s sweet, innocent face.
Tabitha’s glasses fell to the floor, her lenses cracked, the frames bent. And the crumpled letter of rejection, now spotted with blood, floated to the floor to rest next to the ruined spectacles.