Sweat beads and trickles like a finger running down my chest. Miss Withers hands out the books – brittle spines that crack and shower dried glue. Dust. But from between the pages I catch a flash. A silver fish slips across my open palms, trailing cool, damp weed. It swims through the parched air and slips into her moist mouth. She coughs, picks with thin fingers at its wriggling tail – slides it through her pink lips, lays it on the desk. She dabs at her mouth with a folded tissue. Now to work. Miss Withers picks up her pen, cuts its silver belly, presses her fingers into the gut – pulls, tears each delicate organ. An inventory of innards spread out on the desk. It is, without doubt, dead.