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My fingers itch.  It’s as if an electric current, a magnetic charge, thrums through them.  Into the razorblade and back again.  How can one sliver of metal throb with every one of my frustrations, when all I feel is dead inside?  Reflected in the cold face are the eyes of strangers, of friends, of the girls in my class.  I can almost hear their envy echoing through my brain.

I stopped wearing revealing clothing a long time ago, preferring instead baggy jeans and the tattered flannels Father uses for yard work.  I don’t wear makeup or jewelry like the other girls, and opt for combat boots over more fashionable kicks.  But it doesn’t matter.

I raise a hand to my head and wiggle my digits through the hair I’ve dyed mouse-brown and shorn with the two inch attachment on the clippers my mom uses to trim Rocky’s fur.  My bedroom is silent, eerie.  I reach and flick my finger to turn on my iHome.  Soft sounds of Hard rock fill the void.

I used to be so naïve, unaware of the Drishti, the Evil Eye.  I was eight before I even heard it mentioned.  Mama didn’t realize I’d heard her talking to Father while I bounced on my new trampoline.  “The other girl’s are so jealous of our Eva! Look at Cara giving her the Evil Eye.  I hope she doesn’t get hurt.”

Later that day I asked my grandmother what Mama had meant about the Evil Eye.  Bajai explained that back in Nepal, many people believe in the Drishti.  Other people’s envious thoughts can cause harm to another, but she refused to say more.  Ever since that day, I’ve been careful not to draw attention to myself.

Over the last eight years, courtesy of the internet, I’ve learned a lot about the Evil Eye, but none of the usual precautions have helped ward it off.  When I was ten, I got a new bike for Christmas and Cynthia Keeler from three houses down watched me ride it.  The next day, I fell out of her tree house and broke my arm.  I had been wearing a spot of kohl on each cheek, yet was still hurt by Cynthia’s jealousy.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the only course of action left is to make myself unattractive.  My face is too soft, too feminine.  So here I sit, with a blade from my mother’s razor.  The longer I stare into my own tiny, warped reflection, the more I wish it were one of my classmates I’m about to cut instead.

Maybe I would cut Stacy Hold with her Barbie-doll hair and vacant brown eyes.  I’ve seen her staring at my tits.  I would gladly take her A cups over my C’s if it would keep girls like her from being envious of my body.  Yes, she would be perfect.

I’m finding a sort of perverse satisfaction in picturing the scene.  I would corner her in the hallway, by her locker, or maybe in the shower after gym.  I can see myself stalking her like Snowball does lizards.  I wait until we’re alone, the bell has already rung and when she turns her back I pounce.  I dig my hand into that shiny, blonde ponytail and drag her to the ground where I keep her pinned.

I have the power now.  I’m the one in control and I spit every epithet I know as she cowers and cries for help, for mercy – except there’s no mercy here.  Digging a pocket knife out of my jeans, I flick it open with my free hand; I’ve obviously been practicing.  I drag the flat side down her cheek, reveling in the panic in her eyes as she realizes what I’m about to do.

I pull the point across her forehead.  Blood pools in the creases and I stare in wonder.  My heart pounds to the rhythm of Stacy’s screams.  We are creating our own morose music; I am the percussion and she the melody.

A prick of pain pulls me from my imaginings.  The vision fades and with it the smile of satisfaction I didn’t know I’d been sporting.  My morbid fantasy has left me energized, a little aroused.  Is it wrong to be turned on by such gruesome thoughts?  I’m not sure I care if it is.

I look down at my hand and notice the sting that broke into my reverie was my new toy breaking into my palm.  The cut is shallow and beautifully linear – pain is replaced by fascination.  Seeing blood in more than just my own imagination is delectable.  As if to prove this to myself, I raise my hand to my mouth and lick it like a cat would cream.

I’m glad I’m alone.  I would never do anything like this in public.  If someone who didn’t know me was watching right now, they would probably have me committed.  Truth be told, if witnessing this same scene, I would probably think the person a little psychotic. However, since I know what’s going on, what events led to this, I know I am far from crazy.  Logic alone is the driving force behind what I’m about to do.  Besides, when strangers look at me, the Drishti is always involved.

For instance, last week when I was in Sav-more, this wrinkled, old woman who looked remarkably like a penguin – waddle and all – was watching me buy panties. She kept looking me up and down, probably wishing she was young and fit, like me.  Why else would a nonagenarian eye a sixteen-year-old girl?

I should have had the guts to do something about it then, instead of ducking my head and walking away.  When my car wouldn’t start the next morning, making me miss the test in my first period class, I knew why.  I would love to have hurt the old biddy for that.

I would have shoved her into the rack of lacy Hanes and slammed my bony knee into that basketball gut.  When she doubled over, I would’ve pressed my blade cleanly into her side, watching the stain of crimson merge with the floral print of her house dress.  I’d have stabbed her again on the other side, my knife catching on the elastic of her granny panties, probably saturated with urine by that point.

She wouldn’t have screamed the way I picture Stacy shrieking.  She’d just have blathered incoherently, clutching her hip with clumsy, red fingers.  I wouldn’t have been raging either.  Instead, I’d have been passionless, all calm intent.  This wouldn’t have been about venting my anger, but about making an example of her, showing others I won’t just sit back and let them hurt me.  I’d have left superficial slashes in all the best places, a couple on her arms, one on each breast and three along the length of her jaw.  As an afterthought, I’d have thrust my hand between her legs and slid it flush along the slit of her vagina to cut both thighs at once.

I’m definitely aroused now.  There’s something exciting, empowering about envisioning myself taking back the power over my own fortune.  In India, the power of the Drishti is respected.  Many people wear a nazar, a protective amulet or charm.  As I twirl the razorblade between my fingers like a miniature baton, I decide that this is my nazar.  For today.

Tomorrow I’ll buy a new pocket knife.  I’m sure my sister stole the one Father gave me the first time he took me fishing.  Anna is always taking my stuff; she always wants what I have.  It’s bad enough that I have to deal with the Evil Eye when I go out anywhere, but having to deal with it in my own home is almost unbearable.  I feel her eyes on me constantly.

The first time she walked in on me while I was taking a shower and wanted to talk about my body, I thought it was just the natural curiosity a twelve-year-old feels about her changing figure.  I thought she wanted to talk to someone old enough to answer her questions yet young enough to understand the reasoning behind them, but it kept happening.  Each time her questions became more personal and each time she would stare at me longer.  I finally realized that her driving desire was to look like me, to be mature like me.

Everything that was going wrong had been her fault and I hadn’t made the connection.  The electricity going out just before I could save my ten page report on Leonardo Da Vinci, the garbage truck side-swiping my Focus, the window in my bedroom breaking during that rainstorm last summer and ruining all of my drawings, it was all her fault.

The next time she invades my bathing privacy to ogle my figure, I should pull that underdeveloped bitch in with me and hold her face down at the bottom of the tub, water penetrating her nostrils.  I’ll wait until she’s gasping for air, sucking in liquid with every breath.  Then I’ll turn her over and make her sorry she ever looked at me.

I’ll kneel over her menacingly.  My pulse will be racing, trying to catch up with my brain, while I’m calculating how much damage I can do before my parents hear her howling and come rushing to her rescue.  Having no idea what I’m about to do, she’ll just lay beneath me, her saturated skirt molded to her mosquito-bite breasts.

Her pale blue eyes, a genetic gift from our father, will hold confusion, but no fear.  That will change soon enough.  I will reach for my mother’s disposable razor on the windowsill and rip it apart.  Pink plastic will scatter about the bathroom as I dig out the blade, slicing my own thumb in the process.  I’ll briefly consider sucking it, but have a much better use for the blood.  Diluted by the shower, it will spread easily across her midriff where her scrunched t-shirt bares it.

I’m going to dissect the line of my blood with my nazar and watch watery rivulets of red life migrate across her torso and into the shower run-off.  Apprehension and fear might dawn together.  She’ll know I’m capable of mutilating her every bit as much as she has scarred me.

“Why are you doing this?”  Her voice will be little more than a confused whisper.  For a moment, I might be almost fooled into thinking of her as I used to, as an innocent little girl, but I know better.  She deserves everything I’m going to do.

“Eva, don’t do this,” she’ll probably whimper and that’s when I’ll remember that Mama and Daddy have gone out to dinner with Uncle Samuel.  I’ll have hours to play this game.  I will look her over, considering where my next mark should be.

The metal will slide easily through the skin of her bicep.  She’ll try to fight me off, but is six inches and thirty-five pounds too small.  Her body will thrash beneath me and I might wonder if this is what it feels like to ride one of those mechanical bulls.  This is the point where her cries are going to begin, not Stacy’s terrified wailing or the old bat’s confused garbles.  It will be anger spouting from her lips, as though each cut is more insult than injury.

Her eyes will flash, pools of liquid fury.  I hate those eyes.  My tool will rise, seemingly of its own accord, to caress the furrow above them.  It would be so easy to slide it into the sockets and dig out those murky blues, like popping fresh muffins from their pan.  Anna will try to sit up, but I’ll thrust her back against the bottom of the tub.  Her head knocking against it will sound like someone rapping on a door.


“Eva, are you okay?  You’ve been up here for hours.”  My mother calls through my bedroom door as she knocks again, cutting through my fantasy to bring me back to the present.

“I’m fine, Mama,” I try to sound every bit the bored teenager, but inside I’m cringing.  If my mother had any idea what I’m doing in here, she would tear through the door like a sheet of paper, leaving shreds of splintered wood in her wake.

“Dinner will be ready soon.”  She seems diffident; there’s more she wants to say, but she doesn’t.  I wait for the sound of her soft padding down the hallway, picturing her dainty feet squishing into the tan carpet.  When I am certain she is gone, I move to stand in front of the mirror that hangs on the wall above my dresser.

My skin is creamy and soft.  I brush my fingertip over one cheekbone and down to trace the ridge of my chin.  While I put very little emphasis on physical beauty, I must admit I’m a bit disappointed that circumstances have led to this.  It’s not fair.  I mind my own business, don’t bother anyone and certainly don’t let myself become envious of anyone else.  Yet, I’m the one about to suffer.  It’s the only way.

I place the sharp side of the razorblade against my cheek.  It feels cool against my skin.  Tipping it, I press the point of the corner into my flesh and hesitate.  I wonder how much it’s going to hurt.

Deciding that like ripping a brush through tangled hair, quicker is better, I close my eyes and yank.  I feel almost nothing, barely a twitch of pain.  It’s like cutting myself shaving; I know it has happened but the sting is almost unnoticeable.  Something drips onto my chest, one drop, two, then three.  Opening my eyes, I look down and see blood on white cotton.  The mirror reveals that I’m bleeding worse than I thought I would.  Small trickles leak from the downward slant across my face, which is pale in comparison.

I grab a tissue and lay it gently against my cut.  A red stain spreads quickly, leaving only the corners pure.  After discarding the tissue, I set the blade up for another slice.  This time I cut slower, more precisely, lining it up perfectly with the last one.  It hurts a little more than the first time, but even though I watch as I carve, the pain still hardly registers.

After sopping the excess blood, I repeat the process twice more, then throw the blade in my little, wicker trash can.  It’s not that I’m getting carried away.  This is how I’ve planned it.  When I’m satisfied that all the evidence of what I’ve just done is gone, I grab Snowball from his perch on my window sill and head down to dinner.  He’s getting tuna tonight; he deserves it.  He’s about to take the blame for my new scratches.  I wonder if I can blame him for what I’ve got planned for Anna.



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