Fiction

Crimson River #DiscoverWP

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It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. She watched the blood ooze down her arm — starting as a straight line from her wrist and snaking its way down to her elbow, where it met the white paper towel, staining it crimson. Mesmerised, she made another cut just below the previous one. It didn’t hurt as much this time. A sharp stinging pain. And then, the crimson river again.

She knew no one would understand. It was why she tried it in the dead of the night. Mum and Dad asleep. Her brother too. She was careful. She made sure to clean the wounds, first with water, then, antiseptic. She’d seen her parents treat her and her brother when they were younger. She knew the drill. She gave them some air before bandaging them up. Then, exhausted, she fell into a dreamless sleep. Just as she’d hoped.

The next morning, her arm throbbed. She re-dressed the wounds, now red and glaring at her. Grateful for winter, she put on her school jumper and dragged her left arm, willing it to participate in daily tasks. It had done its job. She felt lighter, as if a huge weight was lifted. Or better, she thought, cleansed.

As she sat in class, oblivious to the chatter around her, she couldn’t help but wonder what they’d say if they knew.

‘Asha!’

She snapped out of her reverie and tried to focus. ‘Yes, Mrs Brown?’

‘Did you hear what I said? About the calculus homework?’

‘I’ve done it,’ said Asha, handing her notebook. Page after page of four-unit mathematics. She knew it was perfect. Not a single mistake. She’d spent most of her weekend puzzling through the problems and finally solving them.

‘That’s great, Asha,’ said Mrs Brown. ‘I guess you can proceed on to the problems on page 287. The rest of you,’ she said looking at the class with her piercing eyes. ‘You all need to complete the homework. Now.’

Asha heard the girls behind her sniggering. ‘Nerd!’ But it no longer bothered her. She knew how to cope. She stared at the sums on the page while simultaneously pressing her right index and middle fingers hard against her left wrist. Pain. Sweet delicious pain. Pain that distracted her from the emptiness inside. Pain that made her feel again. It was like a thousand fireworks going off at once inside her, erupting into a glorious display for no one but her. And best of all, it was pain that help cleanse the impurities out of her.

Last night may have been the first time but Asha knew it wouldn’t be the last.

(c) Sanch Vee @ Sanch Writes (30 June 2016)

Written for the WordPress Weekly Discover Challenge: Opening Line

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Pratikshya Mishra
    July 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    This seems a bit psychological and dark.. I liked the narrative.. is this a series? I would like to read more.. it kind of seemed open ended for the readers to imagine.

    • Reply
      Sanch, the writer
      July 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Pratikshya, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I guess I was looking at this piece as part of a longer short story. Hoping to build on it to be about 2500-3000 words. Of course, I didn’t want the blog post to be that long!

  • Reply
    Parul
    July 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Oh I feel sad for Asha! Trying to deal with loneliness this way is sad.
    For your writing, it’s very good Sanch. I loved the story. A bit that you left for readers to think. I would love to know more about Asha but that could be just me. Good job!
    Parul recently posted…Gratitude List – June 2016My Profile

    • Reply
      Sanch, the writer
      July 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks Parul! I know, I feel like I should give more information about Asha too. I have a sort of backstory in my head but I thought it would become a much longer piece if I went into trying to reveal it all without just telling people. I might work on this on the side 🙂

  • Reply
    Sid
    July 1, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Nicely done, Sanch. I particularly like the attention to detail – like ‘covering it up with the jumper’; I know it sounds obvious to us, but you’ll be surprised at the number of people who overlook such minute details.

    Also, I’m probably on the other side of the fence when it comes to this story. I don’t think Asha needs a backstory. That would only be important if it’s a longer piece. A short piece such as this, needs a beginning and an end and keep the readers’ attention throughout. And this, does that.

    • Reply
      Sanch, the writer
      July 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks Sid…I think I had her backstory in my head for a potential longer piece. You’re right in that I probably could not fit it in for a short blog piece. I’m leaving it to readers’ imaginations I suppose in terms of what might be going on for her. In a way this is probably just a scene. Thanks for the detailed feedback…glad to know it flows well in terms of a beginning and an ending and keeps you reading! 🙂

  • Reply
    Debbie D
    July 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    A powerful story that gives insight into the “cutting” behaviour so many teenagers engage in. You’ve also made Asha a sympathetic character, even though we don’t know much about her. I want to read more and learn how her life evolves. You’ve got no reason to doubt your writing talents, Sanch. Well done!
    Debbie D recently posted…THE “SHE” CHRONICLES, EPISODE TWO | #FlashbackFridayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sanch, the writer
      July 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks for the detailed feedback Debbie! I’m glad you want to know more about Asha. I’m going to try and make this into a longer piece for myself.

  • Reply
    Dashy
    July 2, 2016 at 5:14 am

    When one turns to pain for pleasure, we know she has reached extremities. It is sad when comfort is so difficult to find. Nicely written, would love to read more. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…To Magic, with loveMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sanch, the writer
      July 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the lovely feedback Dashy! Unfortunately, this presentation is not uncommon. I’m going to try and work on this to make it a longer piece.

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