"Oh yeah I burnt my self the other day" she smiled as she said this shrugging her shoulders slightly as we parted ways in the hall
I watched her take the stairs two at a time . The hallway was practically empty but I felt my self being bumped and shoved into motion. Jerkily I tore my eyes from the empty stairs and continued on to my class.
During lunch we talked again. We sat under the tree on the front lawn, we weren't suppose to be there but we wouldn't move unless someone told us to.
She grinned as she took off her sweat shirt to sit on. The grass always itched her pale skin and her jagged nails left red scars up and down her legs.
"Nothing I guess, why"
She answered me absently plucking at a clump of weeds in the otherwise perfect lawn. She had planted those there almost a year ago. She said the grass was to perfect ,like the school its self it needed something that didn't belong ,like her, like the weed.
"No reason just wondering of you want to hang out or something ,"
"We'll spring break is coming up we can hang out then ..maybe we can go to the zoo or ...." Her voice trailed off as she watched a small gray bird in the branched above our head .
She snatched up a twig and hurled it up at the bird missing by mere inches. The bird flew off.
Once again I noticed the marks on her arm, more of a design than an accidental burn .The scars twisted and writhed up her arms almost like a henna tattoo engraved in her skin.
She quickly covered he arm and looked away as she realized I was watching her.
"How did you do that ?" I ask again trying to sound unconcerned.
"I told you I got burnt ." as she said that I grabbed her arm and thrust up her sleeve.
The burn marks extended from her wrists to her shoulder , a grotesque floral pattern with skulls and boned scattered as leaves. Some of the scabs looked old but the ones around her wrists were fresh and reopened as she struggled to pull away.
"Wow." I said guardedly as she drew away from me adjusting her sleeve and " How'd you do that?"
"Practice ." She said looking around at the sound of footsteps approaching, we were finally being kicked off the lawn and herded back into the Cafeteria where all the perfect genre fitting teens took slop from the trough.
I had detention that afternoon so I couldn't offer a ride. I sighed as she climbed onto the crowded bus to face the hours ride home.
I called her two hours before midnight ,our usual chat time ,the only time we could ever talk with out interruption. t least one thing hadn't changed I thought as I listened to the seventh ring. Looking out the window I noticed the moon a giant fiery ball skewered atop the church steeple across the street .Smiling I got up and went out to my car. Of course she would not be sitting around on such a beautiful night.
Half an hour later I found myself cruising through her neighborhood, I smiled at the guard as I drove down to the lake. I let my headlights sweep the banks for a second then turned off the engine and sauntered out to the dock.
She was sitting on the edge ,bare feet dangling over the edge I sat next to her and she smiled in the dim light .I looked up as a cloud moved away to reveal a brilliantly glowing moon. The light washed over us yet she still seemed to be in shadow. I looked around ,maybe some tree was overhead but there was none. The last fragment of cloud moved away and she was truly revealed.
She wore a tank top and black shorts. I almost smiled as I tried to remember the last time I saw her in shorts. Almost seven years ago.. the summer of Camp Okeehelee.... The thought broke off as I brain focused on the writhing shadows coursing over her body.
The scream came before I could stop it. I bubbled somewhere in my throat before bursting forth with bone chilling force. Panicking I stood on shaking legs looking down on my friend, blood coursing from her forming a dark puddle on the stained planks of the dock, oozing quietly into the lake.
In my fright I accidentally bumped the body and stood frozen as she slowly leaned to one side then tumbled into the lake.
I was still frozen when the hands grabbed me and held on pressing me into a warm comfortable embrace. The voices followed closely asking 'what happened' and ' are you alright' over and over I heard yet I could not respond.
From then on I existed in an almost mechanical state. I went home and scrubbed the smeared blood from my palms and cheek nearly boiling my self alive . I sat up for the rest of the night ,eyes wide and staring yet seeing nothing. In the back of my mind I saw the church steeple that the moon had once been skewered on and wondered what made me go.
* inspired by a talk with a remotely suicidal friend .Scar flower. She does a form of tattooing that remotely resembles henna but much more sinister. The object used to apply the pigment is very hot and has a sharp point that actually breaks the skin and the pigment is rubbed into the wound. Its very beautiful but even more painful because the pigment burns and of course there is no pain killer ..and one more note to any one who might try this...don't . Can we say TOXIC ,how about blood poisoning ?*