By Elizabeth Arlen
I took the razor off her dresser and examined it for a moment. It was just pried from a brand new disposable, the silver colour shone dully in the dim light of the room. I'd closed the curtains and blinds, shut off the main light so that the room was dark, but for my bedside lamp, with a dying, flickering bulb. I got up from her desk and padded to the door and quietly locked the deadbolt.
From my spot at the door, the razor called to me.
"Diana," It said, "Diana, come here."
"Okay," I replied. But I walked slowly back to the desk. I couldn't seem to make my legs move any quicker. It called to me still, sweetly.
"Come on, Diana, its okay. It's okay." It said.
"I'm coming," I replied. I sat down in my rickety desk chair and rolled up my sleeves. I picked the razor up again, and poised the edge against my arm.
"It's okay, Diana." The razor reassured me, "It'll all be better soon, I promise." I knew it was right. I pressed it down and drew the blade across my skin. For a quick second, there was nothing. Then a red flower began to bloom across my arm, the stem snaking down my wrist and into my waiting hand.
The fog in my mind began to clear a little. Tears welled up in my eyes and I allowed them to drip down my face and off my chin, to water the flower.
"Again, Diana, one more time." It said. I was eager now and without hesitation, I placed the razor above my first flower and sliced again. I let my arm hang to my side and watched the red vines fall down my arm, growing so quickly that they all flowed together, becoming one big red mess. The feeling was incredible and I wanted more, but I put the razor down and it was silent for the time being.
I listened carefully to the east wall of my bedroom and when I clearly heard the squeak of the bedsprings, I unlocked the door and fled to the bathroom.
I turned on the water in the sink and I let it wash away the red mess on my arm. The sink drained slowly, and the water turned red quickly, leaving a ring around the sink as it drained. I held my black towel to my arm, while I looked through the cupboards for some bandages.
The blood loss made me feel dizzy, so after checking the hallway, I wandered downstairs to the kitchen, where I found a woman wearing a bathrobe open in the front, rummaging through the fridge. She saw me and smirked a little.
"Hi there, you must be Diana." She said it Deeana. My father frequently got my name wrong. Which I thought was fucked up, because it was one of the easiest names ever.
"Diana," I corrected softly. She shrugged.
"You want a cigarette, Princess?" I shook my head no, but after the woman took one for herself, she handed me the rest of the pack and headed out of the kitchen, sandwich in hand, back up the stairs.
I recognized the cigarettes as my father's and tossed them on the table. I opened the fridge. I had to shove past the many packs of beer and bottles of hard liquor to get to the edible food, but eventually I found meat and cheese and made myself a sandwich. My hands shook as I ate, and I tried not to think about the overly thin woman who'd just left the kitchen. The whore with the long, pink, fake nails and the bleach blonde hair down to her waist. The open bathrobe…
I shook myself a little and turned my thoughts instead to the razor sitting on my desk. The thought made me smile, but once again my eyes welled up and the tears flowed down my face. I held my head in my hands and truly cried for the first time in a long time.
It felt wonderful.
I woke up the next morning to yelling in the next room and the call of the razor.
"Diana. Diana, come here." I got out of bed and took a piece of paper out. Carefully, I wrapped up the razor (effectively silencing it) and placed it back on the desk. I grabbed my clothing randomly off the floor and got dressed quickly, hoping to leave the house for school before I was dragged into the fight. I slipped the razor into my coat pocket and ran for the door.
I made it.
Triumphantly, I strode down the dark streets of late autumn, crunching the dead leaves under my feet as a fanfare. The sky was a murky grey, cloudy, like I imagined my mind to be, crowded with fog and darkness. The wind blew at me from behind, pushing me forward; an exhilaration blowing through me.
Today felt good. The air was clear and dry, though the look of the clouds suggested it may not remain so. No one was out yet at five in the morning. Not on this street. It was just me and the wind and the clouds and the leaves. As I flung myself down the street, the wind pushing me along, I pretended I was a bird, carefree, skittering from tree to tree with little care.
I held my arms out, parallel to the ground, running in a zigzag, my head tipped to the sky as a challenge to the clouds; can you beat Diana in a race? Can you?! The clouds and I ran, the wind a double agent, helping us both along. We ran past the gas station, past dark houses, past trees full of brown, dry leaves. Past everything.
I beat the clouds today, by a hair to my school, where I perched on the cold, cement steps. I wrapped my worn wings around me and shook my feathers out a little before turning back into Diana and standing up.
Walking up the steps, I stared the brick building down. The school for the poor kids, like myself. The graffiti covered walls stared back at me with disdain. "Just try to escape," they dared me. I thought I could hear the razor whispering challenges back to the wall.
"Don't tempt me," I growled at the walls, glaring back at them as I walked closer and closer, preparing to enter the building and sit in my first class. As I put a hand on the knob of the double, heavy doors, I took one last deep breath of the clean outside air and held it as I passed though.
The dank air lingered around me like a haze, the faded yellow walls seemed to close in around me, like a crusher, I hurried through the halls, walking to my homeroom as quickly as I could; for there, I would find windows. Windows to a world where I could at least witness beauty, if I could not be a part of it.
When I entered the room, my teacher, Mr. Heron was writing the day's math problems on the board, as usual.
"Good morning, Diana." He said, not looking up to me, but knowing that it must be me, due to the time of day; it was still quite early. I chewed on my lower lip and mumbled a good morning back, pleased that he was one of the few people who knew my name and pronounced it properly. A strange dilemma for a girl named Diana.
I sat down at my desk and returned to my daily task of memorizing the writing on it.
Geena's a slut!
Then I came to the drawing on the upper left hand corner. A man with a big nose and small eyes, and a long, complicated, misshapen mouth that curled down in the corners.
"Welcome back, Diana," he said. I smiled back down at the desk and nodded. The man on the desk and I spoke every morning, waiting for class to start. "How are you?"
"Oh, I'm fine, I guess." I replied. "Tired."
"Indeed," the man said. "I've heard the teachers talking again; if Evan Williams keeps acting out, they're going to make him clean the desks."
"That's terrible." I said grabbing a ratty old notebook out of my bag. With one of the chewed, dirty pencils from the floor, I traced the man onto a piece of yellowing spiral paper. "There," I said, "You're safe now."
"Indeed," The faces said.
"Diana?" Mr. Heron said. I looked up at him, but didn't answer. The tall man stared at me across the room from his desk. I chewed on my bottom lip for a moment and when he didn't say anything more, I put my head down on my desk. The smooth, cool surface felt nice on my forehead. I pressed my face into the desk as a dog presses his face into a hand that pets it.
"Diana?" Once again, Mr. Heron called me. I rested my chin on the desk and raked my hair back with my hand so I could see him. I looked him in the eye and this time, he continued, "You want some pop tarts?" It was an odd question, but…food! I nodded vigorously and stood up. I walked to his desk and he handed me the silver pack of strawberry poptarts. I smiled at him, opened the pack and began to eat. As I ate, I walked to the windows, wishing I could be outside, but I knew if I left, I wouldn't come back in.
"You can open the window if you want." Heron said. I smiled again, crawled up the counter and, with a pop tart hanging out of my mouth, undid the locks on the window and pushed it open.
Clean air rushed into the room, passing over my body and blowing my hair back. I sat there, my knees to my chest, eating a pop tart and watching leaves fall from the tree in the shabby courtyard. I fancied that tree mine. It was where I sat at lunch time.
I glanced at the clock. 6:55. I slid off the counter and returned to my seat. The other students had begun to file in with their friends, in their colourful, new clothing and fresh, clean faces. I didn't have any colour; I was pale and I wore what was available to me.
Two girls walked by me on the way to their seats. Rebecca and Heidi, the girls with souls the colour of pink bubblegum, and miniskirts to match. They glanced at me and laughed as they sat down behind me.
"Ignore them." The man on the desk said. I chewed on my lower lip, still tasting the strawberry filling from the pop tart. I tried to listen to the man, and just smell the air still wafting through the window.
I looked up at Mr. Heron, sitting quietly at his desk, staring from student to student, taking attendance. He was very tall, and I imagined him to be a heron for a moment. A blue heron flying over a lake with his fellow heron, waiting for a fish to jump. I laughed a little to myself. Heron the heron returned to being Heron the teacher taking attendance and I thought to myself how little I know about herons. Perhaps my idea of them was off.
And class began.
AN: This is the first chapter of Razor Freak! This is in celebration of 1,000 plus hits on 'Natalie' for which I am so thankful and enthusiastic! For those of you who were hoping instead for a new chapter of 'Natalie' it's on its way. I hope you guys read and enjoy this! You all know my policy. Read and review and I'll do the same for you. A few lucky ones have already been read and reviewed, but I'm not even close to being done.
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