Status: Complete.

Carved in Crimson


After refreshing my feed for the fifth time in 30 seconds, I pull at the hair near my temples. Red strands fall onto my bedspread. A frustrated shriek bubbles up, but I clamp my mouth shut. No need to upset mom again.

My knuckles turn white from gripping my phone. With gritted teeth, I slide my thumb down. Over and over and over and over. The notification will pop up any second, I just know it. Except, it doesn't.

I grit my teeth, but fail to stop the angry tears. With one sharp flick of my wrist, the phone flies through the air and cracks against the wall. I shove my face into my pillow. This time I let the scream loose.

"They're all so fucking stupid!" I shriek. "I'm beautiful! I'm beautiful! I'm beautiful!"

Ping! My head jerks up. Was that my phone? Heart pounding, I scurry across my pillow and leap from the bed. Frantically, I scramble to find the little rectangle object. Piles of clean clothes are launched every which way. Where is it?!

The sunlight illuminates it like something out of a movie. It's wedged in the corner behind the mirror. My finger tips brush it, but struggle to get a good enough grip. With a groan, I shove back onto my butt and kick the mirror. Spider cracks immediately form, but the force is enough to jar the phone loose.

I snatch it up with upturned lips. There is the icon in the corner. My fingers tremble. I've been waiting for this!

Upon opening it, my heart races. I've been tagged by the most popular girl in school! I pinch myself, expecting to wake up from this marvelous dream. It remains, though.

Hallie Anderson has tagged you in a post.

Falling back onto my soft carpet, I stare up at the ceiling. This is the best day of my life! I begin to giggle, and start moving my arms and legs. I'm making an imaginary snow angel in the middle of my bedroom floor. I stop and cover my face, laughing louder at my silliness.

I flip to my belly and brush my hair back. Resting my chin on the carpet, I click the notification. I have to think of some sort of response. Something that doesn't sound too eager. It needs to be cool, so she knows I'm worthy of her friendship.

I'll have to start working harder on my appearance. Maybe try dying my hair a different color, and definitely some new clothes. Popularity is costly, but it'll be worth it. For everyone else to finally see true beauty.

It's not like mom doesn't have the money. Especially since dad died and left his life insurance.

In honor of the most beautiful people post, I thought I should create a new one. A special one. After all, we don't want anyone to feel left out.

My eyes continue scanning the post, but face slowly begins falling.

I would say tag the five ugliest people you know, but let's be real. We ALL know who the ugliest person is. I'm looking at you, Amy Kingston. In case anyone forgets, here's proof.

Attached at the bottom of the post is a photo of me. It's obviously photoshopped, but that doesn't lessen the blow.

The phone begins blowing up with notifications. My lips begin quivering as I stare at the lies. Everyone is sharing it, tagging me. It's all over social media. My news feed is full of that same exaggerated photo.

An animalistic cry escapes my lips. A sound that scares even me. I throw the device as hard as I possibly can. The mirror shatters, raining tiny drops of glass. I can see my distorted reflection in the remaining larger pieces.

"I am beautiful. I am beautiful. I am beautiful." I chant it over and over, like mom told me to. I cover my head and begin rocking. "I am beautiful. I am beautiful. I am beautiful."

Tears have soaked my shirt and my voice is a hoarse whisper by the time mom finds me. My arms are covered in a lovely shade of crimson.

"Amy," she murmurs, dropping to the floor next to me. She smooths my sweaty hair back, eyes welling with tears. "Was it those girls again?"

I sniffle and choke on my answer, but she knows. I don't have to say it.

"Baby." She holds me close, ear pressed against her racing heart. "What did I tell you?"

"I-I d-did what you s-said," I stammer out between hiccups. I hold both arms out to prove it. "S-see, mom."

"Oh, Amy," she sighs, clutching my bleeding arms. "Let's get you cleaned up."

In the bathroom she rinses my arms. I vaguely feel the sting, but my eyes are transfixed on her blouse. It was once the purest white, but now it's red, dyed by my imperfections.

Her gasp pulls my gaze to her face. Wide eyes are pointed down towards my wounds. My untainted skin is now marred with open cuts, spelling out my mantra.

I am beautiful, carved in crimson.
♠ ♠ ♠