Her name was Katie
Author: Auty

Chapter 10
The truth

On Monday, I ask Katie if she wants to sit with us for lunch again. I expect her to ignore me or shake her head but to my surprise she nods.
"Ok", she says in a small voice.
I smile at her, my spirits lifting. Maybe she isn't ill after all, maybe I'm exaggerating things.
Hannah and Danni both raise their eyebrows when she sits down beside me but say nothing. I get out my cheese sandwich and bag of crisps and start eating. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Katie staring at me like I'm some evil cannibal eating a rabbit alive. I pause, sandwich in mid air and look at her.
"Want a bit?" I ask, almost holding my breath.
She shakes her head then bites her lip. I break a bit off of the side just to show her its there if she wants it. I pass it to her and she grabs it quickly, shoving it in her mouth.
Hannah looks at me before whispering something to Danni.
"We have to go", Danni says, picking up her bag.
"Yeah, music practice", Hannah says and then walk off before I can say anything. I don't point out to Katie that they are both tone deaf and have never played an instrument in their lives. To be honest, it's quite nice just the two of us.
I open my bag of crisps and offer Katie some. She takes a large handful, shoving them in her mouth, barely swallowing.
"You don't have to eat them so fast", I say smiling. I'm so happy she is actually eating something, even if she's doing it at 100 miles an hour.
My happiness is short lived when she quickly stands up and gabbles something about going to the toilet.
"Katie, wait", I say but she's already running down the hall. I stuff my crisps back in my bag and rush after her.
I can hear her vomiting before I even get in the toilets. I run over to the cubicle and bang on the door.
"Katie, please don't do it!" I beg but she carries on regardless, gagging and spluttering.
I stand helplessly outside the door, not knowing what to do.
Eventually, the vomiting stops and the door unlocks. Katie emerges shaky and pale, her lips trembling as she looks into my eyes.
"You can't tell anyone", she says looking straight at me for the first time, "Please. It was the whole reason we moved, my Dad said I needed a fresh start, to stop all this nonsense". Her lip quivered when she mentions the word 'Dad'. "He said I was just doing it for attention, but I'm not. I do try to eat and I get so hungry but I'm so fat and disgusting..." she trails off as two tears roll down her thin cheeks.
"Katie, it's ok", I say putting my arms round her. It's like hugging a skeleton, I can feel every bone in her body as she shakes from crying.
"No, it's not", she whispers, "I'm so scared".
She clings onto me like a baby, crying into my blazer. "I just want to lose a bit more, then I'll stop", she says sounding like she's trying to convince herself more than me.
"Katie, you can't lose any more. Your skin and bone as it is".
"No, I'm a big, fat, ugly mess", she sobs.
"No your not! Listen to me. I want to help you but only you can make yourself eat. Please? Try for me?"
She straightens up, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand.
"I'll try", she says, "But it's so hard and I am so scared of getting fat", she pauses, "So you won't tell anyone?"
I look at her thin, tear-stained face with those big pleading eyes. I can't, I just can't.
"No, I won't".


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