I’m enraged. Her high-pitched voice. Her false smile. I can tell she wants me to do something but I don’t know what. I don’t know what. I wish I knew what so I could do the opposite. I can tell she wants to manipulate me but I can’t see how.
She’s using her high-pitched understanding voice. I loathe the high-pitched understanding voice.
It’s very clearly not an understanding voice.
It’s very clearly a lying voice. My every instinct screams not to listen to that voice.
She’s smiling and nodding. Nodding is a yes gesture. Nodding is an understanding gesture. Nodding is a right gesture. What on Earth is she nodding about?
I’m not saying anything.
She speaks again. Walls of ice storm up around my peripherals. I hear what she says. But it doesn’t make sense.
A few seconds later it makes its sense.
“Do you wanna smoke?”
“Whatever you want. I just think it might help your anxiety.” Her voice is so fucking high-pitched.
“I don’t feel anxious.”
“Okay. You don’t have to get defensive with me.”
“I’m not defensive.”
“You’re often defensive.”
“Please, stop talking.” The walls of ice melt down my arms and re-manifest as an impulse to hurt. I’d like very much to hurt her.
“I’m not your enemy. Smoke with me.” She’s whining. Wheedling.
“Fine.” I’m not here anyway.
She takes a wooden box from her desk. When she opens it, the metallic smell of blood clogs my nose and throat.
She’s got quite the stash.
The first to come out of the box is a small square glass bottle with a small square glass stopper with a small round glass ball on top. A tiny rim of blood lines the stopper. It has to be AB negative. There’s no way it’d look so nice if it wasn’t. Next to that is a clear packet with two hair types. Just yellow and brown. Nothing special. A lighter. A grinder. Some papers. Finally, something grey that’s causing all the smell. It’s a stunted thing. Wrinkled. For a special occasion and expensive. It’s almost a joke. So awkward and blatant. Thumbs are like that though. Even when attached to living hands.
I’m turned-on-terrified by the thumb. I’ve never done thumb before. Not a whole thumb. I wanna do the thumb.
“So. How fucked up do you need to be?”
“Should we do it then?”
Pause. I know she knows I want it. I shouldn’t want it. But I do and she knows. It reeks. It’s wrong.
The moment she opened that box and I smelled corpse I wanted it. Enough to give her what she wants. Enough to pay everything. Enough to die. My vision’s narrowed to a tiny point around the appendage. Rational thought doesn’t get far before it returns to the thumb. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. Just the memory of this high will be enough. Well, enough with a support-high of hair and fingernails. But I have those.
“Yeah. Roll me one.”
She takes out the papers and the grinder. Smiling.
“This’ll rack you up to what—”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” My eyes are fixated on her hands. Deftly grinding parts of the thumb into the paper. Maneuvering undesirable fluids into what looks like an empty take-out box left over from her lunch. Confident and flawless.
“Well sweetie, we need to talk about it. I’d like to be your friend. But I can’t do that if you won’t talk to me. I don’t even know what steps you’re taking to pay this massive debt. Do you even have a job?” Flakes of thumb-flesh fall onto the paper. She flicks her wrists, and droplets of what I assume was once blood land neatly into the take-out box. “Do you have any family? Anything tucked away to sell? I wouldn’t know. Because you don’t talk to me.”
“I actively try to avoid personal conversations with you.”
“You could chat to the Gentlemen.” Her hands stop. My body, my vicious body, flinches, and I squirm for her to continue. “You owe me a debt.” She pauses.
I flash a look in the direction of her face.
She’s smiling false again.
Rage licks through need.
All I want is to bite her face. Please oh god please just let me bite her face. Screams like that can’t be faked. I have sharp teeth. That much blood . . . the rush . . . everything speeds up. Heartbeat in my fingertips. Thrumming real loud. I’d zoom right out of here . . .
She’s still grating. Her voice. The flaccid thumb in hand.
“Good news is,” she flutters her lashes, “I found your medical records.” She resumes slicing flakes of thumb-flesh onto the paper.
That smile-gash in her face broadens. “No births and no abortions. Pretty rare for someone like you.”
Everything hot slips out of me. I know what she wants. I know what she’s been manipulating towards. My legs buzz, and I’m completely anchored to the chair. The hot slippage collects at the base of my pubic bone. Fear jangles up my stomach.
“Please,” I beg. She’s absolutely thrilled. Grinds more flakes out onto the paper. No fluids this time.
“Come on sweetie, don’t be pathetic.” Grind. Grind. Grind. Girnd. The entire thumb is now a pile of shaved grey flesh on the white paper. She’s done.
“Don’t take it. Please. Please. I’ll do . . . Anything. I’ll do anything. Anything.” I’m babbling. She licks the paper through a grin.
“Excellent!” She squeals at me. “Now. Lets get fucked.”