Disclaimers: I started before today. I totally broke the rules of NaNoWriMo. I still plan on writing 50,000 words in thirty days even though I gave myself a head start. Everything you are about to read is fiction. I take my writing more seriously than I take myself. I didn’t run the entire 25 minutes this morning because my daughter pooped in her pants.
* * * * *
She had survived.
If there was anything anyone could say with any sense of certainty about Ciana Reese, it was that she had survived.
And no one could take that away from her.
No one, that is, but Ciana.
And that was what she was afraid of.
Who knows how long it took for those scars on her wrist to heal? She had pressed harder and harder, deeper and longer, until she had blacked out. And in that blackness, she never really knew how far she had gone or how far she had left to go.
Though the skin eventually scabbed over, thin layers knitting themselves back together from the inside out, Ciana couldn’t say how many days it had taken for the dead and broken cells to be replaced. Sometime between when it happened and when she first noticed the white lines plagiarizing her blue veins, her body closed itself up, and without her permission.
Ciana hadn’t tried again. Not because she was afraid of the pain. In fact, the pain had been the most welcome part. The pain was the proof of this nineteen-year-old theorem.
Ciana hadn’t tried again because Ciana was afraid to fail.
“What do you think you are doing?”
There was no shock in her mother’s voice, only boredom, so Ciana didn’t even bother to look up.
“What. Are. You. Doing?”
Every syllable was punctuated with the truth that, though she asked, she could not have cared less.
“I’m giving myself a tattoo,” Ciana said, matching her tone. She felt her mother’s eyes on her, wondering if it was worth it. If she was worth it.
“If it gets infected, I am not taking you to the doctor,” was her mother’s reply.
“Yup,” was Ciana’s.
She had seen a prison documentary once, about how inmates sometimes gave themselves primitive tattoos using ink pens and a needle. Or maybe it was in a movie, or on the Internet. Either way, it was working.
A drop of blood bubbled to the surface, vivacious and proud. It was a tragedy to wipe it away, but that was the only way to get the ink beneath the skin.
Ciana’s spine popped when she finally sat up straight to survey her work. The two white lines running vertical along her wrist were no longer scars but accents highlighting one simple word, a mantra of sorts.