FlashFic: Emo Millie

Putting in her earbuds, Millie set Death Cab for Cutie’s latest on repeat. Stupid iPod was three years old, a hand-me-down from Dawn when she left for college. Millie couldn’t scrape all the glittery flower sticker off it. She put a pink skull sticker over it. Every time she looked at it, she knew the stupid flower was there. It was like a ghost, like perfect Dawn’s ghost, following her around. Bitch.

The rents were watching some stupid show on their television downstairs. Didn’t matter which show, they were all stupid. Robot Chicken was okay and some anime, but the rest was crap. Didn’t matter, it gave her time away from their prying. Ever since they found the cutting scars on her arm last summer, they’d been the Gestapo. Millie cranked up the music and tried not to think of the hospital or the therapist she still had to see. Real smart, weren’t they? All she had to do was switch to her thigh. What were they going to do, strip search her? Bitches.

Millie absently rubbed her right thigh, aggravating the new cuts. She got a little buzz from it, a little sizzle through the darkness in her. The dark flowed through her, oozing into her thoughts, into her heart. No one could see into her. The shadow of the darkness hid her from others. All they could see was what she chose to show them. Defiance, anger, from her black hair and piercings to her heavy platform boots. The rents didn’t like it, but screw them. The therapist told them to let her “express herself.” Ha. What a bitch.

No one could see into her. There was Donnie, though. She might let him see. Not that he ever tried. He didn’t really look at her. A bunch of them hung out at night behind the school, some booze and meth. Millie didn’t think Donnie knew her name. Or maybe he knew her name, but wasn’t sure which girl belonged to it. Whatever. Donnie didn’t have a girl, not since he dropped Cynthia. Or a boy. She stayed close enough to hear him when they hung out. She even gave him cigarettes when he ran out. She heard him kid around with Angel and say, “Nah, just joking. I don’t swing both ways.” So she knew he didn’t have anyone.

Her thigh was really tingling. She scrubbed at it as she sat at her desk, drawing in a sharp breath at the sting. She must’ve really cut this time, the first time with her new straight razor. Good. As usual, she opened up a blank doc on the computer and stared, waiting for words to come. Dammit, her leg was starting to ache. She rubbed it and stopped, frozen. Her hand was wet. Actually wet. She brought it up and stared at the blood, then down at her thigh. It was seeping blood. No, not seeping. It was really bleeding from those few little cuts. The crimson flow dripped off her thigh and pooled on the carpeting, bright red against the light carpet.

No way she could show the rents these cuts, not these, these must be deep. What had she been thinking? Did she really cut this bad? How could she hurt herself like this and not know it? It was serious, no kidding, but she had to hide it from the rents or they’d go nuts. Not the hospital, not again. She had to handle it.

Millie opened the door to her bedroom and listened. Yeah, the tube was still on. She quickly crossed to the bathroom, leaving a single footprint on the Persian carpet. While she got a big towel, the blood started really going, leaving rivulets down her leg. Her foot squished. Thinking quickly, she grabbed another towel and dragged it on the floor with the other foot behind her, cleaning up the mess. Mostly. Back to her room. Some pressure would stop the bleeding. Right?

The towel was one of those long bath sheets. She folded it lengthwise and wrapped it around her thigh really tightly, twisted the ends and tied them. That would definitely do it. She used the other towel to clean herself and under her desk.

Maybe she was sick, but that was no new thought. Words were coming. She had to type, get them down.

Blood coursing

Making me exist

Appearing around my blade

Making me feel.

A sudden shock, a blue electric arc, flew into her from her keyboard. Her mind went blank. She wasn’t sure if she shrieked. Her fingertips were singed and stunk. Maybe the blood from her hands shorted the keyboard? She wiped them again and saw the towel on her leg was seeping through with blood. There was a buzzing in her ears. Was it getting louder?

Her heart thumped with need to get back to the words. That meant she was a real writer, didn’t it? Hands on the keyboard tentatively, she looked at the screen. Her poem was gone.

In huge block letters was a single message: KILL THEM ALL.

The buzzing vibrated through her brain. She reached for the straight razor. The towel fell as she went down the stairs.

 

© 2010 Jessica Rosen

As always, this story began life as a #storystarters on Twitter.

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22 thoughts on “FlashFic: Emo Millie

  1. Anne R. Allen December 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Yikes. Not exactly a happy-ending, feel-good piece, is it? Very powerful bit of flash. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm Reply

      No HEA with this one. Thanks so much, Anne.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  2. John Ross December 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Yikes indeed. Reminds me of old Aerosmith tune JAMIE GOT A GUN. Nothing the same except for dangerous disturbed young female. Still, the feel is similar.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm Reply

      I didn’t make that parallel until your post – now it’s an earworm. I can’t get the song out of my head! You’re right, once Millie is altered, it’s a similar feel. Thanks, John.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  3. Synoiz December 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Beautiful. The characterisation is really well done. The emotion and urgency of the end work well. The suggestion that she is attention seeking at the start quickly turning into the realisation that she has real issues at the end. It’s amazing to see how you’ve made an effective twist in a story this short! 😀 My only critique would be the overuse of the term bitches!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:30 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Millie’s been percolating ever since I wrote the #storystarters which inspired it several months ago. Millie does tend to overuse the term “bitches,” but then she’s not nearly as creative as she likes to think.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  4. John Wiswell December 10, 2010 at 12:51 am Reply

    Certainly disturbing. I didn’t read urgency in the end like Synoiz – it goes very cold, rooted in the mind blanking and some manipulation going on there. That’s good and creepy.

    If you want feedback, the “making me feel” part was botheringly familiar. Even if people have that experience, you have to find an original way to put that sort of thing, because it’s such a sensitive topic that cliche makes it read very ingenuine.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm Reply

      Thank you for the nice review as well as for the feedback. It’s actually a line I rumbled about for a while. I think you’re right, though, I landed on the wrong side of the decision. My instinct was to show Millie as quite short of the creative creature she thought herself to be. “Making me feel” may do that, but it could have been done otherwise. You’re right that it goes too far into the mundane and can yank the reader out of the story. Thank you for that, John.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  5. flyingscribbler December 10, 2010 at 7:21 am Reply

    This is really powerfull stuff and i like it.
    You have a great character here, damaged yes, but believable. The story becomes increasingly shocking as we learn more about her situation. I liked the repeat of ‘bitch’, it shows her state of mind and disconnect with everyone.
    Not sure who the ‘rents’ are though.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm Reply

      Thanks, I really appreciate it. “Rents” is short for “parents” as it happens. I haven’t heard a teenager refer to parents by the whole word in ages, so it didn’t occur to me to precede its use with the more familiar one. Sorry about that!

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  6. Johanna Harness December 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm Reply

    Powerful and freaky. I did not see that ending coming.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm Reply

      Millie would love to be called “freaky.” Thanks, Johanna. I wanted to write this one for quite some time, but other stories elbowed it out of the way.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  7. Deanna Schrayer December 11, 2010 at 9:37 am Reply

    Oh. My. God. Jess, that last bit actually gave me chills. This is so brilliantly written, you show us all her emotions in such a short space. I love this line: “Or maybe he knew her name, but wasn’t sure which girl belonged to it.” That alone says so much.

    One of your best!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Deanna. This story has been fighting to get out since I wrote the #storystarters which inspired it. The ending was almost as much a shock when it came to me.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  8. Jason December 11, 2010 at 11:19 am Reply

    Wow, Jess, I don’t know what is going to happen and I am afraid to ask. Great writing, great story development. This reminds me a little of one of my favorites “Silent Snow, Secret Snow.” It is different in many of the details, but similar kind of mood.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen December 17, 2010 at 2:55 am Reply

      So glad that you feel this way at the end of the story. Thanks, Jason. I’ll take a look for “Silent Snow, Secret Snow.”

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  9. Gloria Bostic December 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Wow! This ending was jolting, alarming, excellent!

    Like

  10. juliorvarela December 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm Reply

    Jessica, this is a very chilling piece that covers a very sad and often overlooked issue. You accomplish the character’s anguish really well and I feel for her. You accomplish that very well.

    I was curious about the voice of the narrator and kept wondering who was narrating the story. To me, it read as if Dawn was seeing herself and telling about herself?

    Glad I saw this one in the stream.

    Best,
    Julio
    My #FridayFlash for Dec. 10

    Like

  11. laradunning December 12, 2010 at 1:25 am Reply

    Very hip story, the cutting very relavent. So many cutters out there. I like where you took it. Translating self mutilation and technology to a connect with something evil, or that evil prays on those that harm themselves and in turn they harm others.

    Like

  12. Icy Sedgwick December 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm Reply

    That’s what you get for listening to Death Cab for Cutie…

    In all seriousness, very powerful piece of work.

    Like

  13. Steve Green December 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm Reply

    Very strong writing, and a very hard subject to cover in my opinion, very well done, it certainly gave me shivers.

    Like

  14. bigwords88 December 15, 2010 at 7:46 am Reply

    Out of curiosity, did you read Susanna Kaysen’s autobiography before you wrote this? There’s a rhythm and cadence to this piece which I love seeing played with – almost in the same way as a pre-credits sequence is intended to drag you into the story, this promises so much without divulging anything of story-breaking importance.

    …and now I am entirely jealous. Thank you for the feelings of inadequacy.

    Like

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