Word Count: 1126
The scratches tingled and itched like a bitch. It was like that stinging, crawling sensation after you’ve burnt yourself. Twenty minutes, maybe less, after we’d secured the motel and moved a fair bit of our stuff in, just in case, I’d had enough of it itching.
I found myself a big heavy bottomed pan in the kitchen and put it on to heat up. I was gonna cut that shit out of my arm – potential cure or no cure, I was not taking any fucking chances. There was always that risk that it had spread in the time that it’d taken between getting scratched and deciding to cut them out of my arm entirely. But it was one I was willing to take over just leaving it there.
While the pan sat on a low heat, I made up a hit of heroin for after and wiped down my knife with a clean cloth and some vodka I’d found stashed away in the reception.
Deep breath, Cancer. Consoling myself with thoughts about how I could get high afterwards, I pulled a belt tight around my arm just above where the scratches stopped and made a start. The skin didn’t split as easily under my hunting knife as I’d hoped. It wasn’t anywhere near sharp enough to do what I needed it to. A small trickle of blood dribbled down my arm and dripped onto the floor with a quiet splash.
I took another deep breath in, remembering what I’d said to Joe earlier on. Don’t be such a pathetic little piece of shit. Repeating that in my head I looked back down at my arm. Don’t be such a pathetic little piece of shit, don’t be such a pathetic little piece of shit.
“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath. Joe and Rayn were in one of the other rooms somewhere in the motel – I’d left them to it and wandered off, telling them I was just gonna have another look around. The feeling of forcing my own flesh apart wasn’t quite like anything else. Still, I couldn’t wimp out. It had to be done one way or another. I was cutting pretty fucking deep, just in case, gouging out chunks of the scratched skin as I went.
I’d finally discovered a disadvantage to being skinny – there wasn’t all that much muscle I could cut out without permanently fucking up my arm. I was trying to be careful, I really was, but it was bleeding a lot more than I thought it might, and I kept slipping. On the plus side, I was distracted from the itching.
By the time I was done cutting out one scratch, I felt pretty sick. I had no idea how I was going to manage the other two. I swapped the knife for the pan and put the edge where the sides bent into the bottom of the pan straight in the mess I’d left behind, cauterizing it quickly.
A wordless shout left my mouth as the hot metal touched me for the first time. Footsteps thudded hurriedly into the kitchen. Rayn appeared with that same expression he had on his face when he saw the scratches earlier.
“Cancer?” he skittered forwards, not seeing straight away what I was doing. “What’s going on, are you okay?”
“Fuck!” I shouted louder now I wasn’t trying to keep quiet for their sake.
“Holy shit, what’re you doing?” he pulled the pan away from me and saw the mess I’d managed to make of myself properly. “Fucking hell, Cancer. You’re an idiot, did you know that?”
“Better safe than sorry. Give me that back,” I grabbed for the pan, but he lifted it out of my reach.
“No. I’ll do it,” he tutted, putting it back on the heat for a moment while he looked for some more clean cloths to mop up the blood with. The smell of blood burning off the bottom of the pan filled the air. We both tried to ignore it but it was hard to stop yourself from covering your nose. Rayn wandered back out into the corridor, calling to Joe; “it’s okay, Cancer’s just trying to cook some dinner. I think he forgot I told him never to go anywhere near a kitchen. I’m just gonna help him, I’ll be out in like twenty minutes, ‘kay?”
I didn’t hear Joe’s reply, but Rayn must have ‘cause he came back in after a moment, finding another pan and some pasta in one of the cupboards. He put on some water to boil before coming back to me. He knelt down in front of me, grabbing the full needle off the side. His fingers pressed down on one of the few veins you could still see in my other arm, tapping it with his other hand to bring it up. The needle pushed into my vein and we both watched as my blood reacted, turning the mixture in the syringe a pale pink color. He pushed it straight into me in a well practiced motion, waiting til I relaxed before picking up the knife, washing it in the vodka again.
With Rayn doing the work, it went a lot faster and smoother than before. It still bled like a motherfucker, but I was detached from the pain, so it didn’t matter so much anymore. He did have to leave me holding the hot pan in the wound a couple times to do something to the food he was making for us. When he was done with my arm, he loosened the belt and gave me a small smile.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Really fucking high,” I told him, my voice slow and thick. I think I’d made a bit too much, but it felt good. He mussed up my hair and found some plates for us to eat off.
“Stupid boy,” he tutted, “go look for a first aid kit while I do this,” he instructed me, pouring something on the pasta.
Someone had been through here before us, and while they’d left a lot of stuff behind, there wasn’t a single first aid kit to be found. Joe watched me as I went past him, his eyes widening.
“What on earth did you do to your arm?” he asked, alarmed by the amount of blood that was well and truly soaked into my shirt, and the state of my arm. I looked down at the burnt gouges.
“Well I couldn’t let that shit spread, could I?” I slurred at him, flopping down on the sofa with him. “So I cut it out.”
Joe looked like he wanted to throw up. I just wanted to go to sleep. By the time Rayn joined us, I was dead to the world.