By Gabriella Catena

She sits in math class as a cacophony of numbers swarm loudly above her head. The concepts are out of reach and sting her fingertips as she tries to grasp them. She watches as her classmates’ hands raise, gripping the answers in their fists.

Her teacher has a habit of calling on students that don’t participate. She feels exposed, as if she’s in the direct line of a sniper’s rifle. Each question rings shrilly in the air. She always takes cover in the back of the room, slouching to shield herself from stray queries shot in her direction.

But her teacher always has a clean shot when it comes to her. She hears it before she feels it.

“Ah, we haven’t heard from you in a while. Can you tell us the answer to number 9?”

Her teacher cocks the question.

She opens her mouth and waits for the nozzle.

Gabriella Catena is an aspiring writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She enjoys adopting stray plants, the endorphins from a good workout and playing outside with her dachshund, Dante. Recently published in Sledgehammer Lit.