Self Harm

Nobody saw anything odd in the boy crouched in a corner of the schoolyard.
Marcus had taken a tumble and was licking blood from his grazed knees. In
that instant, something arced across his brain and he was hooked on the taste.
His love affair with blood was reprised when, a few days later, he picked at
the scabs and once more his tongue made delighted contact.

Like most small boys, he carried a penknife. Often he licked the blade,
seeking to reproduce the desired metallic taste. He was ecstatic when he
accidentally cut his tongue, drawing blood.

As he grew older and no longer prone to schoolyard accidents he took to
biting the skin on the inside of his mouth and picking at his cuticles. His
parents were mildly uneasy – not to say queasy – when he developed a
fascination with road accidents. Always first on the scene, he seemed to feel
the tidal pull of spilt blood.

More dreamer than academic, Marcus’s first career choice of surgeon was out
of the question. The only possible alternative was to train as a paramedic
and he soon became a star employee. He loved his job, particularly when he
was called upon to stem the flow of blood, which left him euphoric. It was
his response to a young woman’s agitated call that proved his downfall.

“It’s Alicia, my room-mate. There’s so much blood! She’s been cutting herself
for ages. But she won’t get help. I think she may have gone too far this time.”

The woman let Marcus and his partner into the apartment where a girl in a
black leotard sat on the floor in some sort of meditative pose, her hands raised
in front of her. A vintage cut-throat razor lay beside her. Superficial cuts
to her wrists sent blood spiraling up her arms, symbolizing a life spiraling
out of control. She formed a sinister island in a dark, spreading pool.

A shock of passion coursed through Marcus’s veins at the sight of the gaping
wound on her collarbone. The razor had missed any major blood vessels and
the blood was merely seeping. The picture that sprang to mind was of a pair of
geisha lips. Marcus fell hungrily on the wound, clamping his mouth down for a
vampire kiss. His whole frame jerked and shuddered. Alicia’s eyes rolled up
in her head. Her room-mate sobbed quietly while Marcus’s colleague stood

Should they try to pull him off or should they simply avert their eyes from
this tainted nightmare lust; this insane coupling….?

Mary Cook is a UK-based freelance writer and former newspaper reporter. Her
articles, short stories and poems have appeared in numerous publications,
both in print and online. Her homepage is at

© 2007 Underground Voices