View Full Version : Burn

June 3rd, 2014, 03:14 AM
Here's is an excerpt from something I have been working on that I hope will develop into a longer story. This is a fictional memoir featuring a session of self-harm. See what you think.

My fingers are shaking because I just burned my wrist with a cheap, gas-station lighter. Iím not entirely certain of when I conceived the idea to burn myself. It was sometime between when I killed the engine to my momís car and when I tossed a banana and a bottle of red Gatorade onto the counter of the corner Spinx station.
The notion may have spawned a few weeks earlier, when I was standing in a tender-hearted friendís backyard. She had texted me earlier in the day, asking if I wanted to come over and help her burn something. I happily obliged.
So there I stood, the day after prom, in a troubled friendís backyard, staring at a big ass stack of manila envelopes stuffed full of god-knows what. She wouldnít tell me what was in them before she ripped the pages in half, soaked them in rubbing alcohol, and tossed a match on the crumpled papers. I watched, mesmerized by the dancing flames.
Of course, the entire idea of self-harm manifested way before the alcohol and the cigarette, before the spontaneous fire and the gas-station lighter. I canít even put my finger on the exact moment self-mutilation popped into my head, but I know it had been brewing in the back of my subconscious for some time.
I donít think it ever became an issue until middle school, when one of my friends decided it would be a great idea to slice up her thighs. She wasnít a close friend, but she was honest. She didnít really hold anything back. So, when she opened her nightstand drawer and pulled out a plastic bag full of blood-stained razor blades, I wasnít in total shock. She had told me about the habit long before I saw actual evidence. With a gleaming bag of torture devices sitting between us, she rolled the leg of her pants, up over her knee, and revealed a patch of thin, red scratch marks.
After a few minutes of crying, she decided she needed to pee, and I took her leave of absence as an opportunity to steal her bag of blades and tuck them away in my backpack. Now, theyíre probably rusting somewhere deep within the bowels of Greenville countyís sewer systems.
And now Iím here, sitting in the corner of my closet with a BIC lighter. I like the tsk produced by the flint and the way the flame dances like a happy little girl, joyous and giggling. She looks so warm. I wave my fingers over her head, and I can feel the warmth radiating from her figure.
My thumb slips; the dancer drops. Blackness floods my vision. Eyes open. Eyes closed. The retraction of eyelids makes no difference.
I strike the lighter again, and the ballerina returns, glimmering in the spotlight and producing warm glow. I hold her close to my skin; close enough to feel her pointed toes cutting through my skin like sharp, little blades. I hiss, cowering away from the acidic touch.
She drops.

June 3rd, 2014, 07:43 AM
This is very well written. I learned a whole lot about your character and her background in a short amount of words. I don't really see anything in this excerpt to critique; it's great as is. I hope you decide to further develop this because I'd like to see more. Well done!

June 4th, 2014, 06:09 PM
Wow, that was really good. I can't say that I noticed anything wrong with it. If you ever expand upon this piece, I'd be very interested to see where it goes. You also did a wonderful job catching the feelings that are associated with self harm.

June 5th, 2014, 02:18 AM
I could feel the pain your MC was going through. As I went through a similar point in my life. I find nothing wrong with it. I could almost feel the flame on my skin, remembering how it felt, the release of stress. I can see the MC sitting in the car. I can see the back yard with the friend after prom. I can see the bedroom of the friend and the bag of blades.
Are you sure you didn't read my journal? Haha just kidding. I can tell you put major thought into this. And it shows.