Chapter One

I woke up. An aching pain at my slide was slithering its way up towards my ribs, and suddenly my breaths came out in shuddery little gasps. I close my eyes shut, feeling the tears burn next to my eyelids, threatening to rain down against my cheeks. Before I can even think, I instinctively start to hum,

I'm gonna take you home
I won't do you no harm, no
You've got to be all mine, all mine

I breathe, in and out. Inandoutinandoutinandout. My fingers trace the gashes at my hips, getting stuck part way in a sea of dried blood. My fingers tremble at the touch of blood, so I yank them upwards and stick them in my mouth, enjoying the metallic taste floating against my tongue. Good brain, good brain. Just work a little longer, I promise you I'll be able to feel again soon.

"My darling Jimena, why don't you come out to play?" "You're beautiful. At least, you will be. Go, go, go." As soon as I lifted my head off my pillow, whispers started to haunt my sleepy mind. They swirled around my head, making the back of my eyeballs throb. I cried out into the dead of night, my voice coming out as a hoarse whisper.

My fingernails dug into my palm until they drew blood. I admire the perfectly spherical dollop of blood, captivated. I feel numb. Extremely and hopelessly numb. I recklessly throw my body off of the bed, scuffling towards my dresser, where I keep my most prized possession.

I greet my razor with a devious smile, gripping the metal with my fingertips. I strip out of my pants, lying on the freezing cold floor, my pale white skin flashing in the moonlight. The razor carefully makes its mark on my skin, at first slow and hesitant, but quickly turns into fast, manic strokes. I hear my daddy's voice in my ear, encouraging me, smiling. He knows. He keeps my secret; he took it with him to the grave.

We miss you daddy; the razor and I. We're lonely without your encouragements. My body starts to tremble.

I have control. I am brave, I am strong. I am the creator of my destruction.

I chant. I chant until the moon hides and the sun takes its place. My eyelids hurt from being open all night; watching over the blood that never seemed to have stopped pouring out of my body. Daddy would be proud. He wanted this. He knew this was my destiny.

"Jim-Jim!" My mother hollers from up the stairs. I jolt forward, still in a bit of an ecstasy state. "I've been calling you for the past ten minutes! Rosie cooked you up some eggs!" A groan escapes from my lips, unintended. I slam my head back against my dresser before scrambling up.

Woah. My body aches, my head is pounding. I grab a roll of paper towels from my bathroom and roll some around my thighs, taping them up as a temporary Band-Aid. Sliding the most loose-fitting pair of pants I could find on, I tumble down the stairs.

"How did you sleep?" My stepfather, Ron, asks. I don't really acknowledge him, just a slight nod of my head and a murmur, and off I go, avoiding awkward stepfather to stepdaughter conversation.

I slam right into my little sister, Rosie, who's skidding across the wood floor in her socks, giddy as always. Her enthusiasm hurts my head. I give her a weak smile. "Hi, Rosie-Rose. I smell eggs, yummy!" Simple little-kid banter, paired with a cough-syrup sweet voice and you're good to go.

Rosie grins at me. "I made them all by myself, Jimena. I know just how you like them, fried!" She sounds so proud herself; I can feel my smile tightening into a real grin. Fried eggs are one of the lowest calorie methods to cook an egg.

"Nice work, Rosie. I can't wait to eat them." I sit down at my place at the table, faced with a plate of exactly one egg and a sloppily buttered piece of toast. If I nix the toast, I'll have a pleasant 76 calorie breakfast. I cut my egg into exactly six small pieces; chewing each piece approximately twenty times before swallowing with a glass of water. When I eat, I need to make it last.

I clear my throat. "Rosie, how about you finish my toast? I think I grinded my teeth again last night, it hurts to chew." I try to sound as pained as possible, frowning a bit at the corners of my mouth.

My mother comes flying down the stairs, stepping into the kitchen and right into our conversation. "I told you to use your nightguard!" She scolds, muttering to herself about the dangers of teeth-grinding. Must be a hereditary trait. I sigh and squeak up an apology.

It's exactly 7:23 A.M. and I haven't even considered going to school. I'm tired and my leg hurts and I'm just so stressed out and… Breathe, Jim, breathe. I calm my nerves with my mental chanting, relieving the pressure in my brain. I excuse myself from the table and rush upstairs, eager to wash the blood off of my thigh.

In the shower, I close my eyes as I undress. I don't want to look at myself. All I care about are the numbers, they define me. They are the breath in my lungs, the blood to my veins. Nothing matters but those numbers. Before I step into the shower, I hop on the scale.

100.1 lbs. I shake my head. No, no, no. I need to be lower. I need to be so low that I can feel God yanking me towards His heaven, I need to feel His presence and I need to know He's there. I've never believed in anything at all, but I know, if I die, something will come after me.

I am going to hell.