The Killing Lights
Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut you up,
Cut you up"
- "The Killing Lights", A.F.I
It was Tony Thompson's fifteenth birthday, and he was trying to kill himself.
He'd tried before, of course, but his continued existence testified, to his lack of success in that particular field of endeavour.
Tony took out his pocketknife, prised open the largest blade, plucked a bit of fluff from the tip, set it down on the table, and folded up the cuff of his sleeve. He considered a moment, and then he went over to the towel rack, selected one of his grey towels, arranged it on the tabletop, and set his left arm down on it, his pale skin gleaming faintly, white shot with sapphire veins.
Up the aisle, not across the corridor... Right?
Pensively he weighed his options. A horizontal cut would, one would think, open more veins, but a vertical outlet along a single vein would permit a great deal more in volume to issue from that particular specimen.
Maybe he should try one of each?
And have a very symbolic crucifix-shaped mark, he noted.
He sighed, somewhat fondly, and then, with a surgeon's precision, cut a straight, clean line along his most prominent vein.
With a bit of acid thrown in for good measure.
Thinking about it, cutting the morning's grapefruit with a future suicide tool had not been very forward-thinking. Then again, neither had most of the actions and ideas that composed his life.
"Bloody Hell," Tony said, and he smiled, because that phrase quite adequately summed up his existence.
Speaking of blood, it welled, pooled, and spilled, and Tony, professional failure, ruined another towel.
It was a bit of a pity, because he wasn't exactly rolling in the dough, and towels, like virtually everything in existence, cost money to replace.
He watched the blood flow, watched it surge and seethe and seep into his forsaken little towel, the stark red fading quickly to a coppery brown.
That was all right with him. The colour transition was pretty neatly analogous to the way he felt about life.
More blood poured, gradually and persistently, and Tony started feeling lightheaded. Was that the process that preceded death? Detachment, light-headedness… Then what? Heaven? Hell? Oblivion?
Well, with any luck, he'd find out momentarily.
Would it be worth it, he wondered, if there was no promise of anything to follow?
"Tony, are you there?"
Anna's voice tore him from the warm arms of his reverie. What the Hell was she doing here? She wasn't due 'til six at the earliest.
"I'm changing," He announced, knowing as he did that it would only encourage her to enter. He mentally cursed his stupidity.
"I need to talk to you…"
She was unlocking the door, so Tony fumbled with the towel, his fingers slipping in the blood. But, as with every event in his pathetic excuse for an unending life, his opponent was faster.
Anna screamed, Tony sighed, and ten minutes, a lot of applied pressure, and a great deal of protesting later, he was in the emergency room.
It was an unfortunate part of this tradition that it often ushered in a rousing hospital bill to pay off over the course of the three hundred and sixty-five days until the next attempt.
Once released from the hospital (having consistently repeated a highly dubious story about knife-throwing practice for his carnival routine in order to avoid psychological counselling), Tony returned to the apartment building, lay on the bed, and wept.