Lily couldn’t take any more. The knot in her gut just would not leave and her stomach felt as if it was digesting itself.
Each time she thought about all the murders that had been committed in her name by the Ministry of Lily, or thought about Lord Ruthven and his live internet murders, an acute feeling of nausea would take hold of her. She was sick with guilt. She felt responsible for being every psychotic’s excuse for their own psychoses.
Lily felt tainted. She felt poisonous and poisoned. Her insides seemed rancid to her, toxic. The constant guilt, fear, and the sensation of perpetual dread about the next sickening development were taking their toll. And the constant finger-pointing and condemnation not only insulted her, but enraged her. And what bothered her most was her lack of opportunity right now, when it mattered, for public rebuttal of the buffoons lambasting her all over the mass media.
Since she’d gone into police protection, the gossip rags and the blogosphere had exploded. Every blogger into either goth, books, vampires or anything remotely related had something to say about her. Some of it was supportive. Some of it was outright condemnation. Some of it was downright libelous.
She paced along the whole length of the cottage, walking from one end to the other, in and out of all the rooms, back and forth and back again. She was ready to scream, scream so hard and long that she would use every single iota of energy contained within each atom of her being that when she was done, she simply would not exist anymore.
She knew how lions at the zoo felt now. And she could feel the rage they kept behind their eyes.
She felt stifled. Her throat was tight. Constricted. Couldn’t breathe. The air felt as if it were full of impurities that made her throat swell and made it necessary for her to clear her throat every few minutes. She felt like she had a lump there, a lump that made it hard for her to swallow, hard for her to eat or drink, or even just talk. Although she’d not being doing much of either lately.
But she knew there wasn’t really many impurities in the air. She knew there wasn’t really a lump in her throat. She’d had this before. Suffered from it since she was a teenager.
A nervous condition which gives the impression of a lump in the throat or constriction of the esophagus.
My hysterical globe.
The tension she felt throughout her whole body was unbearable. It got worse by the minute and she knew as soon as her vision started to blur and she felt as if the floor was rising up to meet her, that a full-blown panic attack wasn’t far off.
She really didn’t want to have a panic attack right now.
A panic attack was the last thing she needed.
And there was only one way she knew it could be avoided.
She needed a release from the stress and the anguish and the guilt that was eating her up from the inside out. She needed – even if only temporarily – to reduce the level of rising panic in her head and in her guts before it drove her completely insane.
Lily needed to be cleansed, to be rid of all the spilled blood she felt now flowed through her own veins. She needed to cut.
Lily sat on the cold white-tiled floor in the bathroom and rummaged through her vanity case. She found a disposable razor and a nail file. She used the metal file to carefully prise open the pink plastic casing and liberate the instrument of her redemption.
She gazed at the razor blade as if it were something mystical, something mysterious, something that held answers to unanswerable questions and all she needed to do to gain that knowledge was to feed the blade.
Her mouth became dry as she stared at it in anticipation of the release she knew was imminent. Her excitement mounted and she knew she was getting wet just looking at the glinting steel edge.
She knew there was nothing in the world that could make her feel so instantly normal, so instantly fine – nothing on earth.
Some fix themselves with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, some use booze, some use destructive habitual behavior like alcohol or food or gambling. Some people use sex to sedate them or to make them feel more alive. Lily used razor blades.
She looked closely at her fingertips and her palms, and the top of her arms. She closed her eyes after looking at the larger, more prominent scars on her shoulders. The tiny marks left on her fingers were barely visible – you’d only notice them if you already knew they were there. She smiled as she studied them. Rather than remember the pain and the anguish that bled out through them, she remembered the elation that cutting brought on, the chemical rush of endorphins and adrenaline that made her feel alive, made her feel well, made it okay to be in her own skin instead of wearing it like a hair shirt.
Lily drew the blade slowly across the pad on her index finger and closed her eyes; she savored the pain, the immediate release. The blood welled up like a glistening garnet, swelled until it overflowed and began to trickle down the length of her finger and onto the palm of her hand. The tears followed. She sat there, her bloodied palm outstretched before her, watching her own blood flow like an ecstatic stigmatic.
And her dry mouth suddenly came alive with gastric juices. She moistened her parched lips with her now-wet tongue. She swallowed hard – the motion was easy now instead of dry and labored. The imagined obstruction in her throat was forgotten, disappeared in a red gush of blood and brain chemicals. They coursed through her body and washed away the tension from her sinew, chased the weariness from her bones and purged it from the open wound in the fingertip, and landed on the clinical whiteness of the floor.
Lily raised her hand to her mouth, slowly extended her tongue to the scarlet stream and licked. The flavor of piquant metal on her tongue sedated her, began to thaw out the chill in her bones and made her feel a few moments of calm, of peace.
But she wanted more. Needed more. A trickle was not enough when what she needed was a red sea to flush out so much dirt. She had to cut deeper, harder. She needed to see it flowing from her wound, rushing out of her body.
Lily didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to not exist. She just wanted to bleed.
She needed to drain the blood.
She knew how to cut safely, how to avoid major veins and arteries. She knew how deep to cut. She knew where to cut.