Monday, 2 December 2013


"Who wore the dress?" Sister Mary Joseph demands quietly.

No voice is heard inside the convent. Sister Mary Joseph turns to face her audience. All eyes fixate on the floor, praying for a scapegoat, someone to frame themselves. Some are used to this and well prepared, simply recite "my father's freedom", the school's mantra in their heads, not allowing themselves to be pulled into the hypnotic oasis of Sister Mary Joseph's silent grasp. Time seems to stand still, endless horizons stretching away.

Gradually a snuffle is heard at the back of the hall. They all know the guilty party is to the front, so someone is cracking under the pressure. Sister Mary Joseph is good at that, her sense of purpose is tantalising.

A voice stammers and sniffles, "it wasn't me!"

Maybe not, but the atmosphere is changed, now that girl will be the scapegoat. Sister Mary Joseph is poised to pounce with the same ferocity that a hungry lioness would attack a lame zebra. And the girls know that their innocence depends wholly on her perceived guilt.

The copyright of this post belongs to Jenni Crowe

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