The lights dim in the theater as the projector flicks on and tape starts to roll. Sam, a gaunt boy of 23, and his girlfriend Paige sit in almost the exact center of the theater; perfect seats, great view of the screen, not too close or far. Sam had a nasty scowl scarring his face, pissed off for one reason or another, it hardly mattered, except to Paige. She noticed his unhappiness and whispered to him, “What’s wrong?”

“What isn’t.” He sniped back flatly.

Paige, in the joking nature everyone knew her for, sarcastically jested, “What’s up your ass tonight? Chill out, Sam.”

“Oh, shut up.” He quipped, no break in the flatness. Paige was upset by this, not used to this attitude from Sam, the usually caring, loving Sam.

“Is something wrong, Sam?”

“I don’t want to be here. This movie is stupid.” The movie had barely started, but Sam made no indication of noticing his error.

“Sam, why are you being this way?” She was visibly upset now, her face becoming red with the threat of an impending downpour.

“What are you talking about?”

“Never mind, Sam.” Paige said, standing and shuffling across the aisle as she left the theater.

Sam just sat, fuming over his pissy attitude and how he’d upset Paige. Not ten minutes later, he too stood and left the theater, not to find Paige, but for the bathroom.


Paige picked up her phone and dialed Sam’s number. While the dialtone rang, she thought over how Sam had acted the day before, wondering why, if something was wrong, he wouldn’t talk about it. Maybe because they were in public, yeah, that must be it. Sam was a private kind of guy, not liking it when details about him got spread all over. Eventually, the call went to voicemail.

“Sam,” She said over the line. “I know you’re home. We need to talk about yesterday, so I’m coming over in a bit.” Paige hung up the phone, grabbed her coat, and left her home.

Sam had been in the shower when Paige had called, not hearing the ring or the voicemail. He ignored the machine’s flashing light, a beacon in the pitch black room, as he never checked his voicemail. Instead, he sat in his favorite chair, turned on the TV, and took up his favorite knife. It was a good blade, somewhat expensive, but excellent quality for the price. His favorite part was the strange serration pattern it had, unlike any he’d ever owned. He flicked the blade open, admiring the black blade before yanking up his jacket sleeves to reveal his heavily bandaged arms and beginning to peel back the blood-soaked gauze, hardly caring as the dried crimson was ripped from his wounded flesh. Experimentally, he pressed the blade to a small strip of unscarred flesh, though this was hardly a virgin experience.

Soon, he’d severed the veins again, leaking himself, in crimson, down his forearms, staining the sides of the chair, adding more smears of dark red to the fabric. He relished the pain, accepting his righteous punishment for his sins. Shortly after, sensing a blackout imminent, he carefully stood and retrieved fresh gauze, bandaging his arms as the deadbolt on door flicked open. He froze, one arm partially bandaged, as he watched his girlfriend come through the door, spraying the room with rays of blinding sunlight as she did. She shut the door and her eyes quickly adjusted to the dark, widening in shock as the image before her came into focus.

“Sam! Oh my god, what happened?” She said as she rushed to him, attempting to examine his arms as he tried to move past her.

“Oh, just a little cut.” He said, feigning and failing nonchalance. “No big deal.”

Paige became suspicious, her tone becoming interrogatory. “Sam, your arms are sliced to all hell, you’re lucky you didn’t black out from blood loss!” As he walked into the room with the TV, Paige followed, noticing the bloodstained chair and the ever-so-incriminating knife.

Sam followed her gaze after noticing she’d stopped following. “Ah,” He said, trying to eloquently form an excuse. “Shit.” That was all he came up with.

“Sam,” Paige asked, terror trembling in her voice. “Have you been cutting your arms?”

Sam spoke not a word, instead letting Paige throw suppositions at him.

“You’ve been cutting yourself! How long have you been doing this? Is it something I’ve been doing? I try to listen to you, hear you out! Why didn’t you talk to me about this?”

Sam finally came up with a full sentence. “Paige, no! It’s not your fault, it’s mine!”

“What?!” Paige shrieked, in tears now.

“Damn it!” He said, noticing her tears. “Where’s that knife?” He found it and made move for it as Paige screamed again.

“Sam, no! What’s wrong with you?!”

He stopped in his tracks. “Paige, I’m sorry. This is my way of making up for when I screw up, upset you. I have to punish myself.”

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Paige cried. “That’s only making it worse!”

Sam’s eyes went dark. “Guess I know what to do.” He went for the knife once again, with Paige diving for it as he did. He snatched it quickly, however and looked her in the eye as she stood.

“Goodbye, Paige.” He said as he raked the knife through his throat. Paige cried out once again, collapsing into a sobbing heap on the floor.


When people asked Paige about the funeral, she simply stated the service was beautiful. And it was.

She met his parents there. They’d never spoken until now; hardly a good time for a first impression. They told her Sam had been diagnosed with mental disorders through his childhood, but the doctors had changed the diagnosis so many times they couldn’t keep it straight. He wasn’t right in the mind, not having a true comprehension of how things worked. It didn’t help though, as Paige shed tears over her loved one’s grave.

Samael Cochrane

The gravestone read:

December 7, 1989 – February 21, 2013