Friday, 1 May 2009
INVISIBLE GIRL - by AJ Humpage
A chiller from AJ...
Death always pricks the senses. Blood is the colour of fascination.
I’m not going to stop and think about it. I’m not one to dwell. Do it or don’t – don’t make a scene, that’s me, because I never make a scene. I know that if I think about it too much, I’ll talk myself out of it.
I look down at my body in the water. I’m the invisible girl. I’m in the background; a shadow in your eyes, I’m the passing sprite who lingers outside your office door. You look up, but you never see me.
No one sees me.
I’m the girl you walk past each day. I smile at you, but nothing comes back. I talk to you, but you don’t hear. No one does. Each day I watch you and your colleagues group together as though drawn by an electric charge; laughing and joking, and I’m not part of it. I tried to be, but you shut down, and you smirk with contempt. You deliberately shut me out.I feel like a butterfly with ripped wings.
When I look in the mirror, I see no one. I only see an outline of someone once knew, someone once so flush with life. Now I’m the girl that no one sees, the Plain Jane standing by the water cooler, the girl that makes your coffee. I’m the girl ignored by the rest, because I’m not favourite, I don’t belong to your clique.
You don’t care. You don’t realise that when you’re in the background long enough, you eventually become invisible. As time draws on you forget that girl, forget her name, and forget what she looked like. But how can you care when you never saw her?
Perhaps now you might pay attention. Maybe this is the only way I can get you to see me. Perhaps now you might think about me. Tomorrow, you will look up from your desk and you will see where I once sat. I will remind you every day of your life. You’ll be tormented by the girl now cocooned in this bathroom, looking up at the ceiling and reeling in the brightness.
The water in here is hot, plumping up my veins.
I can’t stop and think about it. The quicker I do it, the better.
The razor in my right hand glints in my eyes; it looks strangely alluring, drawing me in. It calls to me, whispers; urges me to place it against the pulsating vein beneath my skin. They’re ice cold blue, these veins, like frozen cotton threads.
The water embraces me. I know I should be afraid, but I’m not. I flex my hand and gaze at the lines of my life stretching across my palm. I place the razor edge between my thumb and index finger and thrust the blade into my skin as hard as I can.
Something at the back of mind pushes forward through the fog - something that feels like pain - but I ignore it and pull the blade hard through the skin and the muscle and with one decisive movement, it opens up into an inch wide gash to reveal an intricate bundle of nerves and veins beneath a gleaming, silky sheath.
My arm tingles - feels like something long legged is slowly crawling down it to feast greedily upon my open wound - and I reflex against the dull ache, my toes curling tightly in the water to absorb the shock. I look down at my belly. The bath water is turning rusty by my navel. No time to stop.
I lift the razor towards my forearm. It looks so pink from the heat of the bath. My fingers instinctively tighten around the blade as I work it into the flesh of my upper arm, keeping up the pressure, pursing my lips against the sting of the steel as I drag it down the centre of my arm. The seam peels open to expose sinew and fibres and fat. I watch, fascinated, as glistening lodes pulsate in tune to my heartbeat, drowning in a gurgling stream of blood.
I rest my head back, take in a deep breath. I can feel my arm throbbing. My head is pounding too; the veins behind my eyes are contracting, squeezing the blood into ever decreasing channels. My heart is beating against my ribs as though trying to escape my body. It knows. But it can’t escape. It will be the first organ to die.
Can you see me now? I’m the invisible girl.
The water is deep crimson around me. No time to stop. Just enough time to do the right hand. I can’t feel the pain now; I just feel calm as I slice across my palm and sever the nerves. Almost there. But the razor is harder to grip now; the blood is smearing the blade and making it slip from my fingers. Must concentrate. I don’t want this to be a jagged, messy cut; it needs to be clean and deep, otherwise I won’t bleed properly. Just need to hold it as tight as I can in my numb fingers - I can feel the strength seeping from my sliced forearm.
The sound of a dripping tap distracts me. I look up. I realise then that it’s not the tap. Dark globules of blood are dripping from my forearm into the water with a mesmeric, incessant beat. I must focus. I have to think of you while I do this. You drive me forward, you make me want to do this, and your face is in my mind as I dig the blade into the soft reddened skin on my arm. I’m thinking of you as I drag it down towards my wrist, skin and fibres tearing like cloth.
The blade slips from my grasp. I feel something trickling into my stomach, making it churn, but somehow I keep the flood from rising, because I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking now you will finally see me. I’ve loved you from the very first day, but you just haven’t noticed. Well, now I want you to notice, I want you to see me lying in here in my blood, I want you to feel as bad I as do.
I drop my arms into the water. I know the water is hot, but I don’t feel it. Ribbons of life ooze from my wounds and pollute the water. The heartbeat inside my head is slowing...slowing...
The light in this bathroom is bright.
I picture your face and smile. I wonder what it will look like when you find my bloodied, naked body in your bathtub.
Ignorance hurts. So does love. I hope my butchery wipes that derisive smirk from your face. I will no longer be invisible, because I will be imprinted on your mind forever.
AJ Humpage works full-time for a local authority, but in her spare time she write articles for local business magazines, short stories and poetry, and she has just completed her first novel.