This was a 10-minute writing exercise in which the prompt was the very first line.

In 20 years of teaching he had never seen anything like it. He sat there perched on the edge of his desk, stunned into silence, his mouth agape. His sixth form class was in a state of disarray: some of them were frozen into place, unable to comprehend what had happened.

Others had vomited their lunch all over the classroom floor. A few had fainted dead away, including Jacob Walters, the most guyest of guys, who had tried to film everything on his iphone before he, too, slipped into unconsciousness.

He had been teaching Greek mythology and she was being obstructive, near-sighted, devoid of imagination.

‘It isn’t possible,’ she’d said.

‘It can’t be true.’

‘Those things can’t happen.”

“Open your mind,” he had told her.

And, to her credit, she had. Although not in any way he had expected.

She’d twisted the top of her head right off.

Her brain exposed, she’d gently laid the crown of her head on her work desk. A cascade of chocolate brown curls flowed over the side, a few strands trailing on the floor. Deep, dark blood oozed down her face, getting into her wide brown eyes, although she didn’t seem to notice.

She sat with her topless head cocked slightly to the side, amused at the awe etched on his face, at the trauma she was causing, at the nightmares that would most certainly haunt her classmates.

“Oh Mr. Jeffries,” she said with a smile. “Open your mind.”