I don’t know whose brainless idea it was to pierce Cassie’s ears in the middle of the night with our two counselors sleeping right there but fuck them. For one, there were too many girls who wanted to see the show. A whole cabin of giggling thirteen year-olds panting, just wet for the whole drama. And for another, Cassie’s a mouse so there was a significant chance she was going to back out, forcing Maryanne and her minions to hold her down, which definitely would’ve woken up somebody. But Cassie started this. She wanted to wear real earrings to the dance. These dangly blue suede fringe things. And Maryanne had experience. The old apple and needle trick. Cassie’s mother had packed a sewing kit, so she was basically asking for the ritual, Maryanne said. After our counselors started snoring, everyone migrated to Cassie’s bed. There was something witchy about doing this in the moonlight. Like a blood sacrifice to the gods of beauty that would bind us together without someone having to die. Well they shoved the sharing stick between Cassie’s teeth while Maryanne sterilized the needle with a lighter she borrowed from a stoner. The needle shimmered in a moonbeam as Maryanne dug in. Someone covered Cassie’s mouth when the shriek began. Her body seized with pain then tapped out. The second one should’ve been easier. But Maryanne raised the needle high like a knife going into a sacrificial lamb. When it came down, it glanced off Cassie’s lobe and embedded in her cheek. The scream woke the whole camp. Now Cassie doesn’t have to worry about wearing earrings to the dance because none of us can go.