They faced her, battalion-like. No chink in the group armour. Tess defeated before they’d begun. It didn’t matter really - the supposed due process; guilty pre proven innocent, as she was.
There had been no warning prior to the descent upon her – simply a gathering of the girlish forces, en masse. Then the accusation. The declaration. Stupid, really.
She knew the girl concerned. The name – Sam - at least. Too little for it to hold meaning, still less for there to be any chance of her involvement. She couldn’t even track where it had all supposedly started, in amongst the needling and demands; the clamour for the truth. All over some boy she had blatantly never heard of. Try telling them that though. She did, for what it was worth, though they weren’t listening; indistinguishable in agreed condemnation. Safe amongst their numbers. Words as weapons, wielding them; the wrongfully righteous against the sole mistaken condemned.
She wasn’t a gossip!
Silence. A level gaze. Again, her denial. Again – and again.
Still the stares, dead-eyed. Indifferent. No break in the ranks.
“God, just leave her. She’s pathetic.” One voice. The dismissal and departure. No concessions. Last person. Gone.
Tess, alone. Defeated.