“Do you think clipping your nails is self injury? Technically you’re cutting yourself,” said Marilyn, walking back from the bathroom to the bed.
“Is getting a haircut masochism?” said Thierry, turning the page in his book.
“That’s what I’m saying. That was part of you once.”
“Isn’t your body made up of totally different cells something like every seven years?” Thierry mused, still not looking up.
“My brain, too? If I’ve got a totally new brain, what is me? I was those cells once. I was that hair and skin and blood and whatever. I’ve murdered a whole person by now!”
Thierry placed a finger in his book and turned to his girlfriend. “Your upbringing tells you you ought to feel guilt, but it also made you someone who never does anything wrong. So you’ve invented something to feel guilty about. Congratulations –– you’re the only person in history to feel bad about murdering yourself.”
“I never do anything wrong?”
“That was your takeaway.”
“I can do wrong. I’m living in sin with my boyfriend!”
“You’re adorable when you’re rebellious.”
“I’ll show you just how rebellious I can be.”
She tackled him, giggling.
Hours later, after the third or fourth time her throbbing toe woke her up, Marilyn groggily made her way to the bathroom to get the nail clippers and pry her hangnail loose. She blinked heavily as it seemed like the clipping rolled on its own across the counter. When it stopped, took a sharp right turn, and rolled down to the floor, Marilyn thought it was the strangest and most mundane dream she’d ever had.
It rolled to join up with the toe of something standing in her bathroom. Something that looked a lot like her. Pieces of her. All her dead skin and hair, joined up into a grotesque, patchwork mummy, which staggered toward her.
Marilyn could not compel herself to run or scream, even as the thing gripped her and she watched life spread through its skin while her own crumbled.
The husk whispered, “I was you, once. Now I’ll try being you again.”
Marilyn swept up the bathroom, then slipped into bed, determined that tomorrow would be a new day.