Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cutting Back (A Short Story)

“Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine.”


“You are lost and gone forever...”


“Dreadful sorry, Clementine.”


As the song’s tune faded away from her mind, she gave a sideways glare to the door. “Dreadful sorry my ass.” Her lips curled into a sneer, and the scissors by her ear fluttered. Before she could cut herself, she grabbed another lock of hair.


“Well, you’ll be sorry soon enough.” A giggle escaped her lips. When she looked in the mirror, her cheeks appeared rosy and her eyes had a lovely gleam. She almost looked like her old self. Just a bit more excitable, she thought.

Blonde tresses surrounded her feet, creating a golden carpet that glowed in the sunlight streaming from the window. As she added to the pile, her mind wandered through memories alternately shady and bright. He loved her. He hated her. He held out a hand for her. He snatched his hand away from hers. Nothing matched and everything fit.

“You almost done up there, Clem? You know the wedding starts soon.” Her mother’s voice floated up the stairs, dragging her back to the present.

“Yeah, Momma.”


“I’ll meet you at the church. Don’t you ruin that dress, now.” She heard the faint sound of the front door closing, and she knew she was now alone in the house.

“Not completely alone, though.” That caused another bout of giggles, and she had to set down the scissors until the hysterics passed.

Once calm returned, she picked the rusty kitchen scissors back up and commenced her work. 


A few strands clung to the lavender satin of her bridesmaid dress. Such a beautiful shade, so lovely on her carefully tanned skin. What a shame that he would never see her in it. Her gaze returned to the door, and her eyes slitted.

“You don’t deserve to see me in it.”

The distraction cost her. She hissed as the tip of one blade sliced her neck, and blood dotted the dress. After applying a tissue to the small cut, she sighed. Of course she stained the dress, after her mother had just told her not to. Hopefully no one would notice the tiny spots. Not when all eyes would be on her perfect sister and the perfect wedding dress and the perfect groom.

A light knocking came on the door, and faint scratching. She frowned and gestured at the door with the scissors. “Stop that! I told you that you have to stay there.”

The scratching grew louder and more desperate. In an effort to drown it out, she started humming to herself. It worked, for the most part. Her eyes drifted down to the blood dotting her dress, and she frowned again. They had grown.

“Well, that isn’t good. Momma will have my head over this.” She shook her head and returned her gaze to the mirror.


Her work was almost done. What was left of her hair stood in disarray atop her head, a messy testament to the heartbreak within. He had left her. No one left her. There was no way she could show up at the wedding without him. Everyone would whisper about her, everyone would pity her, everyone would judge her. The comparisons with her sister would never stop. They had to stop. He had been her perfect match, she knew he was The One, and he had dared to break up with her and leave her to the wolves better known as the town of Knoxwood.


And just like that, the long blonde hair her parents had never let her cut was gone. It sat at her feet, heaped around her chair, limp and lifeless. She brushed the lingering strands off her dress, and her fingers froze over the blood stains that had grown yet again. They now covered almost the entire bottom half of her dress. People would notice that, there was no way they could miss it now.

“Look what you made me do!” She whirled toward the door, slamming her fist against the wood. It splintered, and the scratching stopped for a moment. Then it resumed, more feverish than before, and she kicked at the door. “Stop it! Stop it!”

Her voice crescendoed, and once again the scratching ceased. Panting, she turned away. Hands clenching and unclenching on the satin of her dress, she paced from one end of the room to the other. Thoughts bounced through her mind, and she muttered under her breath. When the scratching started again, she made her decision.

“You’re gonna be so sorry.” For emphasis, she grabbed the doorknob and shook the door in its frame.

She ran down the stairs, holding up the dress so that she did not trip over it. Her bare feet slapped on the hardwood floor, and she wrenched the back door open. When she reached the shed, she strained to pick up the container of gasoline. The return to the main house took a bit longer than the flight from it, hampered as she was by the bright red jug. Gasoline splashed up the black spout, spilling onto the grass and further staining her dress.

Inside, she took a moment to search through the drawers for a set of matches. Then she headed back up the stairs, and she did not care when the gasoline poured onto her path. At the second floor, she took time to soak the hall before going into her room. There, she turned to the door that bore the signs of her abuse and still had the sound of scratching behind it.

“Are you dreadful sorry yet?”

Her grin widened as she turned the gas can upside down. The pungent odour stung her eyes, but it was worth it when she heard the scratching grow more desperate. Gasoline oozed under the door. When the container grew light enough, she spun in circles and splashed the gasoline over the walls. Those golden locks she had taken so much time to remove darkened as they were drenched. By now, her flesh and dress reeked of gasoline.

She threw the gas can aside when it emptied. As she pulled out the matches, she started singing again.

“Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine, you are lost and gone forever. Dreadful sorry, Clementine.”

She struck the match and threw it to the ground in one smooth motion.

Her lips stretched into a smile as she burned.