An excerpt from chapter 27 of my current work in progress, Nothing and Everything. I’m choosing to share this excerpt because I like it a lot and it shows a deeper side of these characters that you don’t normally get to see. This is starting halfway through the chapter and going until the end of it.
Trigger warning: It involves cutting and depression.
(Note: this is a rough, unedited draft)
“I… I don’t like pain,” I whispered, my voice so quiet I almost couldn’t hear myself.
You’re in pain now, aren’t you? What’s a little more to make it end?
“I’m scared.” I sounded like a child. God, I sounded just like a child. I remembered having a conversation just like this when I was a child. That only made my fear worse.
I can help you. Just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax.
I wrapped my arms around myself and closed my eyes tight. It took a bit before I was able to take a slow, controlled breath, inhaling slowly and holding it for a few seconds before exhaling. My body did relax a bit, and I kept breathing in like this, just trying to keep my cool.
Good. Now stand up and go into the bathroom. Take your time, don’t make yourself dizzy.
I did what he said, though I’m not sure why I was doing it. I guess I was just in so much pain that I wasn’t thinking straight and decided to listen to anyone who seemed to want to help, even if in my heart what they were telling me to do was something I didn’t want to. I went to the bathroom in a haze, not really registering what I was about to do to myself.
That’s it. Now, find a razor blade. Just the blade. Either that or you could get a knife from the kitchen, but I don’t think it would be quite so effective.
“I don’t want to do this,” I said in a shaky voice. There were tears forming in my eyes and I was starting to have trouble breathing again. “Please, please, I don’t want to do this.”
Shhh, it’ll be all right. Just relax.
His voice being like that of a parent trying to comfort a child was perhaps more terrifying than when he was obviously trying to mess with my head. He was being caring. He was never caring. Why was he doing this?
Take the razor out, Damen. Do as I say.
Though I didn’t want to do it, I did it anyway, reaching into the cabinet and finding the box of spare razor blades I had. I pulled one out and held it in my hand, which shook terribly and was soaked with sweat.
“I can’t do this, I can’t do this… God, don’t make me do this.”
You’re not going to do it, Damen. His voice sounded nearer, more tangible, as if it wasn’t just a quiet whisper in my head anymore. Something touched my wrist and I gasped, looking over my shoulder to see him standing behind me; he looked just like me, a dark grin on his face. “I’m going to do it for you.”
I dropped the blade in the sink, my heart pounding like a hammer against my ribcage. “You’re not real, how are you here?”
“I’m very real, Damen. I always have been. You used to think I was real, back when you were a child. What changed?”
I tried to back away, but found myself pushed against the sink instead with no way to the door, as he was blocking either side of me with his arms. I shook my head, breathing harder. “This can’t be real, this can’t be…”
“It’s real, Damen.” He leaned toward me, his nose nearly touching mine. “I’m real. Now just relax and let me help you. You’re going to be fine.”
He grabbed me by the shoulders and my body seemed to cease up. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak a word. I was helpless against him. He pulled my shirt off my back and pressed me against the sink, making me bend over, then he pulled the razor blade out. I was still shaking, still sweating, close to crying at this point. This was a nightmare, and I couldn’t wake up.
I felt the cold metal pressing against my back before I felt how sharp it was, before I realized that it was slicing into my skin. The pain didn’t register with me until the blood was already rising to the surface. I could see it vaguely in the mirror, see the razor moving down between my shoulder blades and leaving a trial of crimson behind it. I let out a cry, my body shuddering hard.
“That’s it, Damen,” he whispered in my ear. “Let it all out. This pain is good. Your screams are good. It’s feeding that desire deep within you, whether you realize it or not. It’s making you feel alive.”
“S-stop, please, just stop!”
“I’ve hardly even begun.”
It felt like hours I spent in there with him. He carved into my body with the blade, scratching up my back, my arms, my chest, even around my neck. He came close to my wrists and I screamed and tried to pull away.
“Don’t, don’t kill me, please!”
He chuckled in my ear and whispered, “I have no intents of killing you, Damen. Don’t you worry.” He pressed his thumbs against the veins in my wrists, which made me shudder just as much as cutting into me did. “No, as I said, I’m not letting this be lethal.” I felt him lick a trickle of blood off my neck, which made my skin crawl. “I think you’ve had enough for now, though.”
He ran a damp cloth across my wounds, which stung at first but then gave me a sense of relief. He washed all the blood away, cleaning my wounds for me, then applied a salve to each of them.
“Your wounds weren’t so deep that they need to be bound,” he told me as he worked. “They’ll look like scabs or scratches for a while, so you’ll need to keep yourself covered. Not that that’s a problem for you.”
“Everything still hurts,” I whispered. My body felt heavy, my head light. I had been crying the whole time, and now I felt the after effects of that.
“It’s a good kind of hurt, it’s not the same as before, is it?”
I shook my head wearily. I saw him smile in the mirror.
“Go and rest, then. Sleep. You’ll feel better, I’m sure. If you get such a desire again, we can do this once more.”
I shuddered at the thought. There was nothing worse than this, I thought. Nothing at all. And yet, deep down, it felt strangely good, strangely relieving. That scared me even more.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and when I opened them again, he was gone and I was left holding the bloody cloth and razor. I stared at my reflection for a time, wondering if I hadn’t done the whole thing myself. I don’t know. I don’t know.
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