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The skin is turning white. Is that what’s supposed to happen? I thought… No, wait—I get it. It’s the pressure, forcing the blood away from the blade. But… Perhaps I’m not pressing hard enough—yes, that’s more like it. It hurts a lot more, and they’re right—it’s starting to make sense. If I focus on this pain, I don’t have to think so much about that pain…

But I thought you were supposed to get, like, high on this. Sort of. Not like doing drugs, but isn’t there supposed to be something… Endorphins? Oh! Got it. No wonder the stupid sharpener snapped my pencil lead—the blade’s too blunt. Perhaps if I drag it across my skin, instead of just pressing down…

+ + +

Nowadays, I’ve got the hang of it. And I’ve been doing it rather a lot, these last few months. It’s sort of calming—comforting, even. That probably sounds weird, but when you’re subjected to all the external stresses I am—things completely beyond my control—you soon realize how much it helps. It’s one of the few things I can decide about for myself. Something I can do in secret, privately, without the whole world giving its opinion and telling me what…

‘Araminta! Dinner!’

Oh my god! That went far too deep. And it’s bleeding a lot. She’ll kill me if I get it on the carpet. What if I need stitches? Why on earth didn’t I keep an eye on the time? Dinner is always at seven—to the second, usually. I could set my watch by it. I’m starting to not feel well…

Grabbing a tissue with my other hand I try to stem the flow as I stumble towards the bathroom. There’s a first aid kit in there, although getting it out of the cupboard is a bit of a challenge. I have to use the hand on my injured arm whilst holding the tissue in place with my other hand. And then I have to somehow get the box itself open…


‘Just washing my hands,’ I reply, scrabbling around to try and find something suitable. No butterfly stitches or anything useful like that, of course, but I find a gauze pad and some tape. If I do it up tightly enough it might work.

‘Araminta! Dinner is on the table and we are waiting.’

‘Just coming, Mother.’

I rush back to my room. I can’t go downstairs like this. No way can I let them see it—I need to cover it up. But what with? I need something with long sleeves and if I wear my school shirt I’ll be sent straight back up to change.

‘Araminta!’ It’s my father this time. I grab a cardigan and head for the stairs. A cardigan will be acceptable, surely?

‘You’re five minutes late,’ I’m told, before I’ve even sat down.

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Last updated Tue 2 October 2018
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