by Rachel Blake
She waited for the neighbours to leave for work or driving out along the twisty roads by Minnehaha Falls to a lay-by with wooden chips where girls were dragged, sat in the car, bent her head down into the coat on her lap and screamed. It was never long enough, lips never wide enough to peel the skin from the bones where it itched her skull. The car wasn’t soundproof, it would raise an alarm. People were everywhere, except when you needed them. She’d tried roller coasters, pitching her voice with others down rattling tracks, flung into the side feeling beaten, left, and a kind woman, a mother, asking afterwards: are you alright? Beside railroad tracks when the train shuttled past, screaming with the screeching wheels, the electrical breath hot in her tangled hair, but people were in the windows, perhaps, where she couldn’t see. You could cry anywhere, and tears were there somewhere, but how to get to them, smothered in her plastic wrap voice, eyes of glass and waxwork teeth. She walked through galleries, but art was for the artists, grew the scream if it wasn’t yours, added to it. She painted root-like flesh, faces with smeared, watercolour features, a glance out of the corner of an eye, a smirk and, on the other side of the paper—trees, shifting in patterns of light. She wanted to lie on the ground and stare into those leaves and scream into that light. But they were gone and she couldn’t look, didn’t want to know—not until she could find somewhere private to bleed.
About the Author
Rachel Blake was born in New Delhi, raised in Minneapolis, and has lived in San Francisco, Paris, New Orleans, most recently in the UK and is now in transit to New York. She is always looking for adventure and has worked as a dance teacher and therapist. Her undergraduate degree was in Women’s Studies, and she has an MSW from NYU. One of her short stories was published in Open City, and she has recently completed a novel. She lives with her husband and twelve year old son.