Three Polar Substances

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  No Houses
It's always the brightest people who break.
I am morally obligated to include:
Self-mutilation hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Submitted: May 17, 2016

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Submitted: May 17, 2016

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"Bear your burden through the flood/Take your place that's written in blood"

-Madame Macabre, Blood Right

 

She couldn't explain why she wanted to do it. She knew it was wrong. She knew it was stupid. Even so, she couldn't help it; she wanted to bleed.

She took a razor from the edge of the bathtub to fulfill her vampiric desire. The same razor had failed her the day before, or maybe she had failed herself. Either way, she hadn't cut herself very well. All she had to show for her attempts was a faint line dotted with tiny scabs. It had barely bled at all, and it looked more like a cat scratch than an act of self-mutilation.

"What happened to your leg?" no one asked.

"I cut myself shaving," she didn't answer.

The scratches were so small, so insignificant, that all of no one believed her. She was not satisfied with these menial scratches; they hadn't even produced enough blood to drip. Was the razor too dull, or had she not tried hard enough? She would do it properly this time.

While her calf was sensitive, her toes were not. The large ones were especially calloused from years of snipping at them with nail clippers. She would try cutting one of them. She took her razor and began to saw at her left big toe; back-and-forth, back-and-forth.

As she sawed, three slices of yellow skin curled through the blade, clogging it. The razor didn't hurt, and it didn't make her bleed. She turned the blade and swiped off the curls of skin. She then tried sawing vertically, but that made no mark at all. She returned to her horizontal sawing.

Finally, she felt the razor pierce live skin. It was the exact same sensation she felt whenever she cut herself shaving her legs. This was shaving, too, in a way. The only thing different than the traditional action was that she was removing skin, not hair. She stopped sawing and put down the razor; she wanted to cut, not to scar. She watched as the three tags of skin disappeared behind a flow of red that appeared so quickly as to be surreal.

The color was gorgeous. It was not a brownish shade of red, not that drab-looking maroon. The blood was a vibrant, satisfying red; a red that didn't need, nor want, to hide behind any other color. The red dripped to the floor. She was surprised by how thin it was. They say blood is thicker than water, but she wasn't so sure it was true in a literal sense.

She stood up, causing more splashes of red to litter the floor. She reached down to her toe, which was now completely covered with blood, and swipped her finger across. She stood upright once more and painted a curve on both sides of her mouth--a twisted smile. After a moment of looking at herself in the mirror, she rinsed off her face in the sink. The water turned pink as it easily dissolved the blood. She figured that blood was a polar substance; she knew water was, and polar dissolves polar.

She lifted her foot and put more blood on her finger. Besides the thin, runny liquid, she had also collected a smooth clot. The color was so beautiful, so red. It reminded her of those beautiful models with smoky black eye shadow, perfectly smooth hair, and big, red lips. She wished she could be beautiful like them.

She placed her bloody finger to her lips and traced the skin, scabbed from her foul habit of lip-biting. She turned back to the mirror and stared at the girl inside. The picture disappointed her. The blood had thinned out and barely pigmented the lips at all. The thin layer dried quickly and became sticky. The smell was starting to annoy her. It smelled like metal, but there was something else--something either sweet or fatty, maybe both. It wasn't an unpleasant smell, but it wasn't a fantastic one, either.

She stained some more water pink, then looked back to the mirror. She used her teeth to scrape some skin of her bottom lip, and she noticed some blood on her front-left incisor. She licked it off. The blood tasted the same way it smelled: metallic and savory.

Staring in the mirror, she realized something. She was a real person. This person who had just cut herself with a razor was the same girl who had quit biting her fingernails two years ago. At the time, it had been the closest thing to self-mutilation that she had practiced. She didn't feel doomed and caged back then. She knew, more than remembered, that she had been happy. What had changed? Her eyes widened and her brows knit together, but no tears came.

"I'm real," she whispered. "I'm a living person."

She sank to the ground and wondered if anyone in the world was thinking about her at that moment. If she was real, then there had to be other real people in the world, too. It was a difficult concept to grasp sitting on the bloody bathroom floor.

She opened the cabinet under the sink and removed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from within. She took the roll of toilet paper on the counter (which, until that moment, had served solely as a substitute for tissues) and tore off a couple of squares. The hydrogen peroxide dissolved the blood just as easily as the water had. In fact, she probably should have used water on the floor and saved the hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting her foot. As the toilet paper soaked the blood, it turned an unattractive shade of brown; not red at all. As she examined it, she decided that she didn't care whether she used peroxide or water; there was plenty of either.

Even when she had the floor cleaned up, she still smelled blood. Would her mother smell it? Was she only imagining the smell? Did hydrogen peroxide leave an odor? She made the decision to worry about it after she had showered. She turned her attention to her toe. For a small cut, it had bled quite a lot. She had blood between not only her first two toes, but the rest of them as well.

She poured the hydrogen peroxide on the ball of her foot and wiped between each toe, saving the incision site for last. She dropped the used toilet paper on top of the already formidable pile on the floor and turned her foot. She grunted and reeled back, repulsed by the dried blood there on. It was brown, not red, the insolent fluid. She wiped the offender and turned her foot once more.

She poured hydrogen peroxide directly on her toe, spilling a fair amount on the floor in the process. The blood was dissolved into a white foam as the polar bonds fought to stick to their respective substance. She watched with interest and wondered if the hydrogen peroxide should have burned her cuts. She didn't feel a thing.

With the blood cleaned up and the bleeding slowed, she could see the three tabs of skin she had sliced. She wished she had brought nail clippers to the bathroom with her. She had several pairs; they were her main means of self-mutilation. These pairs were in her bedroom, however, and she'd have to put on bandages if she wanted to retrieve them without getting blood on the carpet. Then, she would have to take the bandages off again to clip the skin. What was the point?

She stood with a square of toilet paper beneath her toe. She grabbed the silver nail scissors she had so often used to scratch little pink words into her stomach. She sat down and started snipping away the yellow skin. They didn't cut as close to the root as she would have liked, but they would have to do.

With her work done, she hid all the bloody toilet paper in a cleaner piece. It was a suspiciously large wad, and she worried that she would be caught. However, she had no other option than to toss the wad in the trash bin and start the shower running.

While waiting for the water to warm up, her toe started to sting. She wanted to cut the other side to match, but she was too lazy to clean up any more blood. She got in the shower and ignored the stinging. By the time she got out, the stinging had dulled to an itching.

She dried herself and wrapped a towel around her head. She stepped over to the sink and turned on the cold tap. She cupped a good amount in her hands and breathed out until she could exhale no more. She lowered her nose into the pool in her hands and breathed in. She heard the water slurp into her nose. She felt a jolt in her head as the neurons in her brain communicated a choke response.

She snorted out the water and sneezed thrice. She wasn't sure why, but she truly enjoyed inhaling cold water. She enjoyed the chill in her hands, the mineral smell in her nose, the light feeling after sneezing, even the sharp jolt in her head. She looked back into the mirror, and she saw a crying girl.

She hadn't cried willingly, even though she wanted too. She just couldn't summon forth any tears. However, the water had succeeded where she had failed. Her nose was red, and her eyes had watered from choking. It was a believable illusion.

She tore her gaze from the sad girl in the mirror and put the hydrogen peroxide bottle in the cabinet, exchanging it for two plastic-wrapped bandages. She took off the crinkly covering and wrapped her tow in the shape of an "X". She worried for a brief moment that her mother would find the bandage wrappers in the trash, then she was remembered: She was in a bathroom.

She took the toilet paper from the bin, then dropped both it and the plastics in the toilet. She pulled the silver handle and watched as water flowed from the holes along the sides of the bowl. She felt a trill of panic as one of the wrappers stayed at the water's surface; it would be suspicious if she flushed twice. The renegade wrapper gave up its fight and disappeared into the vortex, and she released the tension in her shoulders. She turned to exit the room.

As she left, she turned to the girl in the mirror one last time. She was not real.

 



© Copyright 2018 Morgana Minuit. All rights reserved.

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