• Published 24th Feb 2020
  • 823 Views, 58 Comments

Just Thoughts - PonyAmorous



Twilight Sparkle is fine. She would never intentionally hurt herself. They're just morbid thoughts. Nothing to worry about. She's not suicidal, or even depressed! But Wallflower might be. Should she say something? Is it any of her business?

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Comorbidity

My legs dangle off the edge of the roof and kick freely in the open air as I take another bite of my sandwich. This is my secret lunch spot. I usually eat in the cafeteria with my friends, but every once in a while my introvert instincts take over and I find myself searching for some solitude. I'll make some excuse about needing to get some extra work done (usually at least partially true) and slip up here for a bit.

As far as I know, there's no explicit rule barring students from coming up here, though that's probably because all the roof access doors are usually locked anyway. It was about three months ago that I found the secret route up here. I had been wandering a section of the third floor that nobody ever seemed to go down, which wasn't surprising as there were no classrooms or lockers, just a dead end with a small single occupant bathroom and an access door. From the general condition of the hallway, it looked like the janitorial staff had mostly forgotten or abandoned this place, though somebody was clearly keeping the bathroom somewhat clean, even if not as regularly as those elsewhere in the school. I suppose the almost complete lack of foot traffic meant it didn't need as much attention anyway. The real discovery was the broken lock on the access door that lead up here. My secret spot.

I had quickly found the perfect corner, away from any entrances or exits below, and with just the right placement of vegetation so that I couldn't easily be seen from the ground. Now, whenever I want, I can sneak up here for a bit of peace and quiet while I enjoy the view and the feeling of my feet hanging far above the ground.

I finish my last bite of sandwich and pack up my bag. The lunch period is about to end, so it's time to get moving. I have to pee though, so I decide to actually make use of the all but forgotten bathroom for once. But when i go to open the door, the locked handle rattles in my hand. I hear a sharp gasp from within, followed by a frantic voice.

"O-Occupied! Just a second!"

There are more sounds. Frantic shuffling and the sound of a running faucet mix with what I think is muted cursing. Without warning, the door flies open and a girl with forest green hair rushes past me, a tight grip around the sleeve of her yellow sweater, and disappears around the corner. I stand there for a moment, surprised that somebody else actually knows about and uses this bathroom, before heading in. Before I can get down to business though, something catches my eye near the sink. A small crimson streak clings to the side of the faucet. I look closer.

Blood.

I look around and spot a similar spot on the ground between the sink and the door. I think back a few seconds to the girl with a tight grip on her forearm. I'm fairly certain that if I looked closely, I'd find one or two drops in the hallway outside.

Oh, boy.

***

It's a good thing I can pass most of these classes in my sleep, because my thoughts are thoroughly occupied for the rest of the day. That girl, she looked familiar. What was her name again? Something-flower? Where had I seen her? Right. That incident with the memory stone. Wallflower Blush. That was it. After everything had been resolved, she had just kind of faded back into the background. Not through any Equestrian magic this time, just a natural talent for avoiding notice. I think Sunset may have been trying to strike up more of a relationship with her, but as far as I knew she barely interacted with anyone else.

Apparently, she had a secret spot of her own, and it wasn't for eating lunch. I think back to those crimson spots in the bathroom and her ever present long sleeved yellow sweater, and the flesh on my arms gives an involuntary sympathetic shudder. It didn't take a forensic genius to put the pieces together.

The question is, what should I do about it? Should I even be concerning myself with this at all? It's not like it's any of my business what someone else does with or to their own body. If I were in her position, I certainly wouldn't appreciate some busybody butting in. As long as I–she isn't hurting anyone else, who really has the right to lecture her about it?

No, that's not right. This is supposed to be one of those things where you step up and say something, isn't it? A seemingly endless stream of public service announcements, school assemblies, and 'very special episodes' of television programming had hammered that point over and over again.

Don't be a narc, Twilight.

No, I should definitely do something. Say something to someone. That's the right thing to do. Why? Because self-harm could potentially escalate to a risk of suicide. And that's bad because...because...why? I had always struggled with that part. My moral framework had always included full bodily autonomy, including the right for individuals to choose to end their lives. As long as it was a free and informed choice. Of course, what exactly constitutes "free and informed" is pretty up for debate. Some would argue that any desire to end one's own life makes them not of sound mind by definition and thus incapable of making any kind of free and informed decision, though I find that a convenient and fallacious line of reasoning to reach a pre-selected conclusion.

Still, I know there's a difference between a hospice patient choosing self-euthanasia, and a troubled adolescent wracked with stress, anxiety, hormones, and a plethora of possible neurochemical disorders that might just be expressing for the first time. With plenty of ways for a sudden mood swing to drown the world in hopelessness, suicidality becomes an acute condition, rather than a free exercise in autonomy. One that will pass in time, and leave the subject glad they didn't act on it. So it's at least worth trying to delay. At best, they get better. At worst, they're truly committed and try again later.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. I don't actually know that Wallflower wants to kill herself, just that she (probably) cuts herself. B doesn't necessarily have to follow from A. I don't know for sure why she does it, but that's usually a sign of severe depression, isn't it? Or at least some kind of underlying emotional issue, right? And that is why I should do something. Not because of the symptom, but because of the cause. When somebody is hurting, physically or emotionally, you help them. That's simple.

Okay, but how?

What do I actually do? Go snitch to a school counselor? Somehow that still feels wrong. What if she's not depressed at all, and this is all a big overreaction? What if she's just...a little different. A little morbid, like me? True, it's still not the healthiest way to express oneself, but if I were her, I'd hate to be dragged through endless therapy sessions, tying up and wasting resources needed by people with actual problems, just because somebody jumped to conclusions and made a big deal out of nothing.

I need more information. I'm going to have to talk to Wallflower myself. My stomach knots at the thought. I hate confrontation.

***

This is a terrible idea. I should abandon this plan immediately.

I ignore the thought and take another step towards Wallflower, whose back is currently turned to me as she rummages through her locker. I take a deep breath and finally summon the nerve to speak.

"Hey, Wallflower?"

She jumps, whirls around, and fixes me with a stare, as if anybody addressing her is wildly unusual.

"W-What?"

"Um, I was wondering If I could ask you something. I-In private a mean." She glances around, sizes me up with clear apprehension, and gives a cautious nod. "R-Right, um, over here." I lead her back to the dead end, hoping she doesn't change her mind and decide to bolt once she figures out where we're heading. Fortunately, she follows me all the way into the bathroom where we can talk privately.

"So...Twilight Sparkle, was it? What do you want?" Wallflower asks, a bit snappish. I can tell she's uncomfortable with having someone else in this personal sanctum of hers.

"Right. I-I just wanted to know...if you're...okay?"

"What?"

God, I sound like an idiot. What am I doing?

"You know, if you're...doing alright?"

I let my gaze drift over to her wrist. She follows where I'm looking and jerks it away behind her back defensively, fixing me with a glare.

"I don't know what you're trying to imply, but I'm fine. Not that that's really any of your business."

"It's just—"

"Just what?" Her glare intensifies, daring me to make the accusation.

I thought something like this might happen, so I prepared something to cut through the whole forceful denial part. I pull a spray bottle out of my bag and give a few firm shakes before spraying around the sink and surrounding area. Then I hit the lights. The dark room is filled with the bright blue glow of the luminol solution. The sink shines like a beacon.

"Chlorine based bleaches may render blood stains invisible to the eye, but they'll still remain detectable. To properly destroy the remaining hemoglobin, you need a peroxide or other oxygen based bleaching agent."

I don't mention the numerous substances that can cause a false positive for a luminol reaction, such as fecal matter or residual bleach left on a surface. Honestly, it would be shocking if any surface in a bathroom didn't light up. Forensically, this little stunt was nothing more than sheer theatrics. Wallflower probably doesn't know that, though.

As the glow fades and I flick the lights back on, I watch the mortified expression change across her face as she quickly realizes the futility of continued denial. It quickly solidifies back into the aggressive glare of a cornered animal.

"What do you want?!"

I flinch in surprise at her sudden outburst.

"I-I don't–"

"Why'd you bring me over here instead of minding your own damn business? You looking to mock me? Lecture me? Blackmail me? Threaten to rat me out to everyone? Are you one of those bitches that get off on kicking people when they're down?"

"N-NO! Absolutely Not!"

"Then you're one of those insufferably condescending do-gooders who think it's up to them to "fix" every person they come across so they can go break a hand patting themselves on the back and jilling off to how much of fucking saint they are for helping all those sad sack losers?"

"NO! I-I didn't come to criticize or lecture you!"

Didn't I, though? Is she really that far off?

"Then what?!"

"I...I just wanted to check if..."

"What? Whether I'm planning to kill myself? Whether I'll turn up dead one day and you'll be stuck having to lie and say you never saw any signs?"

"Well..." I search for a better way to put it, and fail. This is going about as terribly as could be expected.

"Well, I'm not. There's no need to worry about that, so you can stop pretending to care and just leave me alone."

"I-I'm sorry. I didn't–I just..."

I've completely lost control of the situation. Why did I think I could handle this? I see Wallflower turning to leave. I can't let her go. I can't let things end like this.

"Wait!" She pauses and turns to look at me. "I, um, actually did have some questions. No lectures, I promise. I'm just...curious."

"About what?" I see suspicion mixing with impatience.

"Well, I guess...why?"

"Why?"

"Yeah, I mean, if you're not looking to really hurt yourself, then why do you do it? I wanna know."

"You wouldn't understand."

"I'd like to."

Wallflower's face scrunches up as she searches for any kind of intelligible answer to give me. Frustration creeps in as she fails to find the proper words. I'm guessing she doesn't even know why she does it.

"I...I can't describe it. Sorry."

"That's okay. There was something else I wanted to know."

"What?"

"Um...how? How do you do it?"

Her previous expression is displaced by one of surprise. Clearly, she wasn't expecting that.

"What do you mean by that?"

What do I mean by that? I spoke without thinking and now my brain is racing to catch up with my mouth.

"Like, your technique? I just want to make sure you're being safe, that's all. You know, that you're...taking proper precautions?"

She rolls her eyes. "I know what I'm doing. And what, you're suddenly the authority on the proper way to cut yourself?"

"N-No. I don't really know much about it at all. Which is why I'm asking."

She stands in silence for a few moments, weighing her options.

"Fine. If it means you won't go tattling to the authorities, I'll show you how I do it."

I'm about to say that's not what I meant, but the words slip from my tongue as Wallflower rolls up her sleeve and I catch sight of the patchwork of thin, neat scars. There's so many of them. They're horrifying and beautiful and revolting and strangely hypnotic. There's some variation in the angles, but I note that they're all closer to being perpendicular to the length of the arm, rather than parallel. That's good at least.

Remember boys and girls, successful kids go down the road, not across the street.

I couldn't say where I remember that tidbit from.

Meanwhile, Wallflower has moved to the sink and fished a small orange box out of a pocket. She flips it open and pulls out a small, individually wrapped razor blade. Removing the small piece of paper, she lowers it toward her arm. I notice that I seem to be licking my lips. The air must be getting dry. Time to stock up on chapstick.

I see the razor make contact with an unmarked patch of her arm and my stomach churns. A chill runs through my spine and the skin on my arms crawls in anticipation. It's horrible and nauseating, and I want to stop watching, but I can't tear my eyes away for a second. I need to keep looking. For Wallflower, of course. To make sure she's safe. That's why. My heart pounds as I watch Wallflower lightly drag the razor like a feather over her delicate flesh.

Nothing happens. I stare in confusion for a pause that feels like an eternity, wondering if she somehow messed up and didn't even break the skin, until a thin red line fades into view. It slowly thickens, swelling and growing brighter and more defined until a small bead forms and runs down her arm in a thin crimson streak. She quickly sets about thoroughly washing the wound with soap and water, then reaches into another pocket to retrieve a bandage which she applies with practiced expertise before rolling her sleeve back down and turning back to me.

"There. Is that good enough for y—"

Something makes her stop mid-sentence when she looks at my face. I don't know what it is. I'm not doing anything. But for some reason her expression actually softens. Like she finally figured something out. She reaches once again for the orange box and retrieves another razor. Then she holds it out to me, almost like she's offering—OH!

"No! No no no no no! I don't! I would never! I-uh-n-no thank you!"

"R-Right. Nevermind." Wallflower hurriedly returns the razor to its case and returns it to her pocket. "Well, are you satisfied?"

"Well I guess you do seem to know what you're doing. But, uh, what about the other day when you...?"

"Nobody ever comes back here, so you startled me at just the wrong moment and I cut a bit too deep. Nothing serious though, I got it patched up just fine. Although..." She rolls her sleeve back up, showing off a lingering rust color clinging stubbornly to the yellow interior. "...the stain is a real pain in the ass to get out."

"Oh, sorry about that."

She shrugs "It's fine."

A crazy idea pops into my head. "Actually, if you wanted...I mean, hydrogen peroxide is great for removing blood stains from clothes without damaging colors, and I've got laboratory grade solutions back at my house, and since it is kinda my fault it happened in the first place...do you wanna maybe...come over sometime?"

"Really?"

"Yeah. And also, my parents are usually away on business and my lab is private and clean, with lots of sterile equipment and well stocked first aid kits. So if you need a place that's not an abandoned bathroom..."

"Are you saying you want me to come over and cut myself in your lab?"

"No! That's not what I'm saying! I mean, obviously you shouldn't, but if you're going to anyway, you could at least choose better conditions, right? And I know you know what you're doing, but another person around with a first aid kit couldn't hurt if something somehow goes wrong. Like a sudden earthquake or something." I take a gamble and crack a joke. "And besides, I could always use some fresh blood for experiments. If you're going to be shedding it anyways, waste not want not, am I right?"

My gamble pays off as a chuckle escapes her lips. I guess she's into the same kind of morbid humor I am.

"You're definitely a weird one, Twilight Sparkle."

"Yeah, I know. We could also, you know, just hang out if you're interested."

"Nah, I've always been crap at tying knots."

Before I can stop myself, I've burst out into laughter. I know it's horrible, but Wallflower's deadpan delivery is just perfect. My attempts to suppress my fit of giggling only result in an embarrassing snort.

She looks thoughtfully at the stain on her sleeve. "Alright, I'll come check it out. I do like this sweater. And I'll...give some thought to what you said. Let me just grab my stuff."

She leaves the bathroom to return to her locker and I follow. That definitely wasn't how I thought this would go, but despite the rough start, it seems to have worked out. If I can offer her a safe, supportive, non-judgemental space, that's good, isn't it? Build rapport. Maybe just having someone to chat with and confide in will help her. And even if she keeps cutting herself, better that she does it under supervision, right?

***

"Okay, I've got another one for you." I call out over my shoulder as I soak and rinse the stained section of sleeve in another batch of hydrogen peroxide. Somehow, on the walk home, the two of us had started trading suicide jokes, and Wallflower had some pretty good ones.

I hear her call back from her spot, lounging on the couch. "Alright, hit me."

"What did the librarian say to the girl who asked for a book on how to commit suicide?"

"What?"

"Fuck you! You're not gonna bring it back!"

"Hah! Alright, that's a pretty good one, but I've got one specially tailored for you."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Why is a bullet better than the quadratic formula?"

"Ooh! Why?"

"Because the latter only solves a certain kind of problem once you get it through your head, and the former solves all of them."

I narrowly avoid spilling peroxide all over the table, I'm laughing so hard. This girl is a riot, and I had no idea. It's so great to have someone to laugh about this kind of stuff with. There's no way I could tell these kinds of jokes with my other friends without getting worried looks.

"Yeah, I thought you might like that one" Wallflower says as she continues to lounge while drawing a thin line on her arm with one of my laboratory scalpels. "Your turn."

I have to think for a bit. I'm starting to run dry. "Uh, What did the motivational speaker say to the group of suicide survivors shortly before he was fired?"

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

"Too obvious?"

"Definitely."

"Sorry, guess I need time to come up with more. Anyway, I think your sweater is done."

I hold up the now blood free sweater for inspection. Wallflower finishes cleaning and dressing her latest incision and appraises it.

"Looks pretty good, Twilight. And all traces of it are gone?"

"Yep!" I give it a few spritzes of luminol and turn off the lights for a few seconds to no telltale blue glow.

"Nice. Thanks again, Twilight. You're...actually pretty cool."

"Thanks. You're pretty cool too."

"You know, I gotta go now, but...I wouldn't mind coming back here again sometime."

"Drop by whenever you want. My door is always open. Well, figuratively. I do try to keep it a controlled environment, so do actually keep the door closed. But you know what I mean." I flash her a genuine smile.

She returns it. "Yeah. Thanks."

Soon she has her stuff all packed up and leaves for the evening. Today was a huge success. I not only made a positive impact, but also a new friend! I can't wait for her to visit again. I'm still buzzing with energy and it's actually kind of distracting. There was some work I actually wanted to get done this evening, but I'm too wound up to focus on it now. I need to slow my hyperactive thoughts a bit.

Fortunately, I have just the thing for that. I head to the bathroom and start running a scalding hot bath. A thick blanket of steam fills the room like a fog, clouding up the mirror. I always found a little dancing on the edge of self-induced heat stroke to work wonders for helping me relax and quiet down the storm of activity in my mind. I wonder if it's similar to being inebriated, but I wouldn't know. It's certainly a lot cheaper than alcohol, though.

I grit my teeth at the initial stinging pain in my legs as I step into the bathtub, but it soon passes as I acclimatize to the temperature. I can feel my pulse throbbing in my head, drowning out racing thoughts with its steady beat. My heart is pounding so hard I can actually see my chest twitching. My whole body is flushed as my blood works valiantly to cool my core by rushing to my skin. A fruitless effort to try and release heat through the skin and out into the surrounding environment, doomed to failure by the water being significantly hotter than blood in the first place.

The world starts to spin slightly. I close my eyes and imagine frustrated blood cells pushing up harder against the barrier that contains them. Seeking some way to fulfill their mission and carry this heat away. Escaping to freedom through long thin lines down my arms and across my ankles. Spilling out and tinting the water a beautiful scarlet.