I am Pure

Read about inside - was too long to fit in the 'About the story' bit. (HINT: it's about Sirens, but not as we know them...)

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3. Arriving in Hell

Arriving in Hell

 

I stood in the doorway, red hair lank and hunched shoulders slacked. My grey hooded jacket was getting smaller; it suffocated me in retaliation against the heat. My pale, sallow skin was glowing red having caught the sun, this I knew without even looking in a mirror. Not that I would want to anyway – I couldn’t stand to see myself looking uglier than I already did.

By then I had realised I would hate it there, just by looking around the room. Everything was spotless and pristine, not one inch looked lived in or even habitable for a family like mine. I had visions of myself clearing up after my father and brother, fading into the background, and being blanked as usual. They would expect the condition the house was in to be maintained, as they always did. I could feel being on holiday wouldn’t put any dints into their routine, so I decided to make a start.

I dumped my hand luggage on the oak clad floor – to give myself something to clean when I was done – and made my way to the kitchen. I meandered through the awkwardly placed furniture in the lounge, all stiff and hard, showing no obvious traits of comfort or calm. As I entered the kitchen I could then see a running theme throughout the house – and it wasn’t good.

The cabinets were lined with shiny white plastic, catching the artificial light illuminating the room. My shoes clicked against the tiled floor as I headed to the fridge, and sure enough, it was housing a welcoming bottle of the cheapest wine money can buy.

I poured two glasses, found in the cupboard, watching the cherry liquid slosh against the sides as I did it with reluctance. I was parched, the warmth of the day leaving me dehydrated. A slight layer of sweat was covering my body, and my thick clothes were sticking to my skin. This wouldn’t happen if you were skinny, I taunted myself, and you sweat because you’re fat.

I put the glasses on the counter and waited, one hand grasping the neck of the bottle, another running through my rank hair, the grease mixing with sweat. I longed for it to be beautiful, for it to flow as naturally as it should. I have seen its potential, but only in photographs of when I was three foot tall and still had a mother to style it for me.

My head was pounding; every inch of me was aching with sorrow. The thought of her, and of the fact I could never be as pretty as other girls, constricted my throat, and my vision blurred. I could see them, the girls at school, their hair perfect, and their sneering faces flawless. I would never be like them, they had made that clear. I was the fat, ugly, bitch who every one hated and stayed away from, my grossness repelling them, making them physically sick–

I had to choke back my own, as Reed burst into the room, holding his bag under his arm. His hair was brown and thinning, his long face so dissimilar to my rounded one. Reed’s eyes were tired, underlined with black bags. No doubt a result of his late night phone calls to his deputy back home, worried his business was going to the dogs while he took a well deserved break. It was those eyes that looked at me with barely any recognition, and soon found the prize I had placed for him on the side.

“Oh, hi,” he said as a greeting, like he was talking to a stranger. I had long since given up hoping for something with more feeling in it. “Is that mine?”

“Yes, Dad,” I try not to call him Reed to his face, as it would disappoint my deceased mother. Surly she had a good reason as to why I should, or else she wouldn’t have married him.

“Thanks, uh, Rose,” he struggled to remember my name, but I hid my heartbreak. “Is the other for Kale?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll take it in, since you’re not doing it,” he awkwardly bent to reach both glasses, trying not to drop his case. Without even looking at me, he swept out of the room, leaving me to my tears.

Before they could fall though, Reed popped his aged head round the door and added, “By the way, you left your bag in the hall. You should go pick it up.”

He left, and I collapsed into a fit of moans and cries, sprawled on the cool floor and still holding the alcohol. I considered it for a moment then decided there wasn’t anything else I could do.

“Welcome to Hell,” I heard my upper class tones say, before I downed the rest of the bottle in one.

It was sweet, and I instantly felt uplifted, as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. But something was still missing, and I decided to go back to my old fail safe.

I searched the kitchen draws, yanking them open in desperation.  I hunted each tacky drawer without success, and my world seemed to crash to the ground even harder. Maybe there was a safety regulation regarding knives, I thought with a sob.

I sighed, defeated, stashing the empty glass bottle in a cabinet. When I looked up, I saw them – a rack of five blades, varying in size. A grin spread across my face for the first time in months.           

I reached for the biggest, sharpest carving knife and I ran the sharp edge over my left forearm, after pushing my thick sleeve as far up as it would go. I chose my spot, where it felt right, and forced the sharp edge to cut into my skin.

I didn’t feel it anymore – not the pain anyway. My fingers tingled, and it made me feel alive. I could feel the warm blood soaking the surface of my arm, and running off, sprinting towards my hand. I could smell the rust and iron of my blood, and I loved the way it made me dizzy with pleasure – or maybe it was the alcohol. I didn’t care; it was the product that mattered, not how it was made. With this produce, I could block out the rest of the world, and that was beyond the estimated result.

 It was depressing to wash the steel, to see the red being washed away. I resisted the temptation to do it all over again, and I put the knife in its slot on the stand, vowing myself that when the chance came, I would test all of the blades to see which the best one was.

 I could only find kitchen roll to stop the bleed, but if I could I wouldn’t have stopped it at all. My body was still tingling, adrenaline pumping though my veins, electrifying my skin. I shrugged the sleeve down to hide the substitute bandage, already a dark shade of scarlet, and I made for the door. I looked back, to turn off the light, and chanced a look at the knife rack again.

Maybe I can find I way to cope in Hell, I reasoned with myself as I flicked the switch, leaving my haven behind me in darkness.

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