Slowly, gently, I eased the knife deeper another eighth of an inch. A fresh wave of nauseating pain infused me and I surprised myself by not screaming. I downed another shot.

“How are you doing, Zazael?” I said through gritted teeth.

Why are you doing this to yourself? You’re insane, it said lightly. Too lightly, I thought, as though it was masking something.

I was being as careful as I could and it was paying off. The blade was safely past the femur and had avoided every major nerve, vein and artery. The blood loss was minimal.

Deadening the pain with more alcohol, I waited twenty minutes for it to reduce to a tolerable level. I grasped the handle firmly and slid the knife in another quarter inch. Sweat poured in my eyes.

“Zazael?” I could still feel it, tangled in my soul, but it said nothing.

It took nearly an hour for my hands to stop shaking. Then, in one motion, I grasped the knife and plunged it down until the point imbedded itself in the chair beneath my thigh. We screamed in a single voice.

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