“This is not my skin.”
The voice says, a voice that both is and isn’t yours.
“It’s not right.” It whispers as your hands wrap more firmly around the Stanley knife in your hand.
They are correct. It isn’t right, something is very, very wrong. This is not your skin, not skin your worthy of. It’s not yours and it needs to come off. It needs to come off right now.
The knife goes in just above your left temple, pressing down through epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue until it you feel it hit the flimsy mass of muscle. You consider for a moment going deeper, all the way to the skull because maybe the problem isn’t just the skin. Maybe the problem is the muscle and bone too. The brain.
“No. The Skin.”
You drag the blade along your hairline, opening yourself up like a salami in one of those air tight vacuum packs. Blood rushes down your face, staining clothes, running into the bags at your feet. Staining the shiny faux marble floor of the mall.
You drop the knife. Raise both hands to the seam you’ve created and begin to tear. The tug is like velcro, it requires stops and starts. It requires hands curled into the fleshy fabric, it requires fat and blood and tissue under the fingernails.
When the skin that covered your face dangles like a fleshy mask in front of you, you take a breath.
“Much better.” The voice says. “Not finished though.“
You pick the knife up. One long cut on one side should do it. First though you need to rid yourself of the fabric, of clothing. The knife slides through the material of your clothing like butter. Much easier than flesh, only stopping to move onto the next item. They fall to the floor in pieces and the first person stops.
They don’t move to stop you as the knife once again finds it’s mark and drags down through your flesh in a relatively straight line. The cutting isn’t the hard part. The cutting is the easy part. It’s the tugging that’s hard, that requires energy. Given how easy it is to scrape a knee or hand you’d have thought the skinning process would be much easier. Alas. It’s not, but then Skin is supposed to be one of the things that keeps you alive.
Frustration begins to build in you.
“Want it off.”
“Want it gone.”
There is a satisfying, wet slap as the bloody, fleshy mass of skin hits the floor. You have to step out of the thing, like some ridiculous shoes that are on too tight you have to use one foot then the other to aid in the last removal.
The aggressive slap of it hitting the floor is somehow more rewarding this time.
A small crowd has gathered, just staring, hands over mouths. It’s funny to think that the naked flesh sack you’ve relieved yourself of would probably be more offensive to them than the bloody muscle, bone and organ tower you are now.
You leave your bags in the blood. Leave behind the skin that wasn’t yours.
You walk past the crowd, leaving bloody footprints as you head for the nearest exit.
Much better. The voice says.