A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

by Rebecca Pesicka (Jul 2013)


The descent into the bowels of the hell I lived in was the beginning of my escape. The freshly laundered cloth clutched tight in my fist, helped ground me, giving me a firm grasp of sanity to cling to. The steps end in a white washed hallway with my dark door beckoning at the end. My salvation called.

My feet carry me the final distance and with a shove the door opens. My sanctuary. A windowless bedroom was dim, the only light coming from the gas fireplace used to heat the cold cell. I quickly shut the door behind me. My time is running out, I can feel the anger, hurt, and frustration bubbling to the surface.

In my haste for the cure I clear the mantel searching for it. It is only when I have the warmed steel in hand does the panic retreat. The blade sharp enough to cut paper is now my medicine. I kneel, the fireplace in front of me. The thin brown carpet does nothing to soften the hard concrete. That’s okay, I welcome the discomfort. Now I begin.

First the cloth, white, is laid to the side, not in view, but within reach. Second the blade, the prep work, cleans the steel, rubbing alcohol and flame. Third the sight, my shoulder, my wrist, my thigh, no one must see… my shoulder, remove the shirt. Now the cut, simple, straight, no words this time. The sting of the steel biting into my skin is a deadened feeling, not worth my notice.

The second stroke of the knife sliced deeper. The blood flows down my arm. A crimson river of emotion released. The third pass parts the skin farther. I can feel the tears starting. So close. The forth slash of steel catches on something. Blinding pain arches through me. With the pain comes relief. The knife falls from my trembling hand, my body curls up on itself, and my tears mingle with the blood I’ve spilt.

While I lay there, covered in blood and tears, the minutes or hours ache by. Pulling me with it. Willing me back to reality, to sanity, to hope. It is only when the tears stop do I succumb to normal. My breath is calm and the pain is gone as I examine my work. The gash is deep, deeper than the others. I can see white, did I hit bone? It doesn’t matter.

The white cloth quickly turns pink then red as I wipe the bloody emotions off my arm, my body, my soul. The cut is cleaned, sewn closed, and bandaged; all the while placing my feelings in a box to be locked up tight.

With a change of clothes and one more wash of my face, I climb up from the bowels and enter into the hell called home, to keep moving forward.


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Revised July 2013.