by Katherine Grosjean
When things turn inward to churn and choke her, she makes herself bleed. She curls her pointer fingers down and starts scratching, gently at first, the inner side of her thumb, until the skin lifts and pills, and then comes off in one raggedy ball. Painless, really, almost disappointingly so, but the next layer sears, resisting, and she has to use the fingernails of the other hand to grip and pull at the lifted edges. This skin pulls back, stretching and tearing and stinging until it finally lets go with a defeated little snap. A dark dot of blood appears and she sucks it away, always surprised at its metallic taste. Later, she will stare in wonder at the flashes of pink and perfect skin peeking out from under the ugly uneven surface, and she will grin.
Katherine Grosjean lives and writes in rural Ontario, Canada. Her work has appeared at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Smokelong Quarterly, Snow Monkey, Pig Iron Malt, and other fine publications.