February Word Challenge, Day 26

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are pain, shrimps, herb, copier, van.

Chosen word for free association: pain
physical, emotional, feeling, heartache, loss, longing, missing, release, alive, need

Exercise:

(Trigger Warning: intentional self-harm)

She eased her fingers into the steaming curtain of water spewing from the showerhead. Not bad, she thought, but it needs to be hotter. I can barely even feel that. She nudged the outside collar of the shower fixture a little further to the left. The central water in her apartment building was entirely unpredictable, but it was worth a shot. “Please, please, please …,” she whispered. She felt the warmth increase on her fingers and hand. “Yes!”

She pushed her arm further into the water, felt it scalding her skin. She pulled it back out a little; it was already getting red. Good. That’s just right. She turned and slowly backed into the shower stream, letting the liquid fire coat first her calves and legs, then leaving stinging streaks as it rolled down and around her ankle to molest the fresh skin on top of her feet. Then the pain hit her lower back and flared down her crack to her rectum, blossoming outward like a rose in time-lapse. Slowly, slowly, she eased further back into the water, careful not to scald the fair skin of her back too quickly. She gritted her teeth and hissed through them as she breathed in, eyes closed, head turned to the side. God, I need this.

As the pain climbed up between her shoulder blades, she rolled her head forward, letting some scalding water run around her neck and down her chest. Rivulets of lava, in her mind. She turned her torso slowly to the left, then across to the right, painting her back a uniform red with the showerhead. She looked down, and could see the clear division on her side between the raw, pink skin of her back and the near alabaster of her ribcage. I’d better stop, she thought, but continued standing under the fiery rain until she could feel the temperature of the water dropping. The water was still probably too hot for other people, but it wasn’t hot enough for her any more.

She stayed in a couple of minutes more anyway, letting the dropping temperature cool her skin a bit. Then she turned off the water and carefully toweled herself dry. When she looked in the mirror, she could still see bright red on her back, and some red streaks down her chest and onto her belly. She took a selfie. Her proof; proof that she had felt something.

Not that anyone would ever know, of course. She just had to prove it to herself.

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