We were marching in an alligator line from the hall back to class after assembly. It was cold and the ground was icy. When the ground got icy like that me and the other girls liked to play ice-skating. Assembly had been boring, Mr Wood never stopped talking and he made us sing stupid hymns that never sounded right because the CD player was broken.
We marched past the music room. I always hated that room – it smelled of bad charity shop on a hot, sweaty summer day. Once, the class in there had to be evacuated because the smell got so bad, only the teachers told us it was because of a gas leak. As we marched past that room, a boy called Harvey ran up from behind the line. He was the fastest runner in the class. I thought it was unfair; everyone else had to wait in the line and get cold, but he was running around it. So when he slipped on an icy patch and fell over, I thought it was funny. I laughed. I laughed first and then a few other kids joined in. Harvey didn’t like that. He charged at me like a rhino for starting it and pushed me against the corrugated metal wall of the music building. He kicked at my shins until the rest of the alligator line had gone in. Then he sped off again. My shins burnt like they were on fire, like pins had been stuck into them.
I was late for class and when the teacher asked why, I rolled down my ugly white knee-high socks and showed her my shins. They were already bruised. I made myself cry; I wanted Harvey to get into big trouble. I told the teacher who’d done it and Harvey did get into big trouble. He lost three housepoints for it. I stuck my tongue out at him. My legs didn’t hurt so much after that.
The next day we played tag together.