The second hand clunked its heavy death march around the dial as she stared it down, hoping the power of her gaze could turn it back on itself. Clenching the urine covered stick she prayed beyond all sanity for a negative. She wasn’t even religious but times like this called for an emergency faith injection. It had been an accident; a silly mistake that she might end up paying for forever. A screaming bag of snot and sick; years of nappy changing and financial ruin. Who would want that at twenty-one? She definitely wasn’t ready to take responsibility for another life; she could barely manage her own most of the time. Her mother would disapprove of course, that was her way. She had been in her thirties before she had given birth and was very keen on the idea of women finding their place in the world before they got lumbered with a child.

The minute hand swung aggressively towards the five like an executioner to a royal neck. She swallowed hard, drew her breath deep into her lungs and cast her eyes to the indicator. Negative; it was negative. She couldn’t breath at first as her eyes swelled and tears began to stream down her face. She was single and alone in the darkness of her flat. And she was empty inside. Who would want a screaming bag of snot and sick? She would, even if she wouldn’t admit it out loud.

The second hand clunked on.

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