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.
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.