The garbage smelled like rotting flesh. Mostly, because underneath the tissues, the cotton swabs, the empty bottle of toothpaste, the tampon wrappers and depositories there was a heap of flesh that happened to be rotting.

It had gotten there accidentally, well it was intentionally thrown in the bin, but intentionally ripped off. Then again it wasn’t really ripped off it was dug out, shredded, and removed. She hadn’t really been paying attention, she had been upset and focusing on everything else other than what she was actually doing.

Madeline had had a long day. She couldn’t focus her mind, her projects were getting done but she lacked the ability to be confident in them, or recall which she had done and which needed work. She hadn’t fought with anyone in particular. She just wasn’t feeling quite with it. She was distracted and found that raking her nails across her skin where it was tightest across her bones was rhythmic. It was repetitive and somewhat soothing. Her skin had gone numb long ago. Her fingers had felt slick. It could have been from crying or maybe she was sweating. She was piled under blankets and pillows. She knew that she couldn’t stop. She had become a record, skipping in place.

It was never established how long she had been there, just clawing at herself. At least she hadn’t been able to figure it out, and since she hadn’t told anyone else, there was no one else working on the puzzle. She knew everything that had been happening before, had stopped when her boyfriend called her around 9:30 PM. The last time they had spoken was 6:00 PM.

The blankets were splotched with red. She noticed as she pulled the blanket back to get up and walk about while she was on the phone. She had seen red as she pulled her arm away from her skin and picked up her phone. Holding it to her ear she had watched as chunks fell to the ground. After she hung up, she walked back over to the couch. Scooping up the bloodied chunks from her floor and put them in a paper towel. She did the same with the scraps from the blanket and clumped to her hand. She threw them all out in the bin in the bathroom.

Now, the garbage and the bathroom smelled like rotting flesh. Madeline wasn’t sure how long it took flesh to rot. She also wasn’t sure how long ago she disposed of her skin. She knew that this wasn’t the first time she had done this, she figured it wouldn’t be the last.

Now the thing that was on Madeline’s brain was an itch. How many shreds of flesh had she deposited to her garbage? How many had she put in there since she had last taken out the trash? She thought and she thought, as her hands silently itched her scalp.

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