Kissing Carrie

I am a student at Brigham Young University studying History and Creative Writing. I love serial killer documentaries, crime shows, and English Bulldogs.

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
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Carrie Jackson wasn’t a normal child.

Science had always been her favorite subject, studying life and death and the cycle that all things had to go through in some form or another. After weeks of begging and pleading at twelve-years-old, three years before anyone in her grade would, she dissected her first frog with the help of a kind-hearted science teacher after school. The process of putting the frog down with chloroform-soaked cotton balls, watching the frog fall asleep, never to wake up again, seeing the last beat from a tiny heart—it was fascinating. Carrie couldn’t look away.

She started playing with the roadkill on the side of the road after that, curious about how the bones and blood and organs come together to form each creature. Pleasure filled her as she dug deeper into rotting corpses, digging for answers she couldn’t find in any textbook or bible she had touched before.

There were never enough dissections to complete or roadkill to eviscerate. Nothing fresh enough to bring back the pleasure of seeing the last beat of a frog’s heart. She needed more.

It was mid-way through high school when she came across a possum stuck in a coil spring trap set by a farmer down the road. She stared at the creature as it attempted to rip its own leg from its socket in an attempt to escape the fifteen-year-old. Carrie found a rock near where the possum was, a twisted sense of wanting to help the animal raising the rock above her own head. With two strikes, the possum lay unmoving, dead, knocked out, or just playing dead. A few more strikes and warm blood splashed up on Carrie’s pale arms, the contrast lighting a fire in her veins unlike anything she had felt before. She couldn’t stop herself from tentatively bringing up one bloody finger to trace across her lips, the taste of liberation bursting on her tongue.

Carrie knew she had to stop. It wasn’t natural what she wanted to do—what she was doing. But when things got too much—too much fighting at home; too much bullying at school; too much, too much!—she would find another creature. None so satisfying as the possum, but things she could take apart. She could reach inside them, feel their heat, the last beats of their hearts, and free herself through their blood.

People started noticing that small animals were going missing in Carrie’s neighborhood. Pieces would be found, crudely cut from corpses, until, one day, it stopped—the day after Carrie packed her bags for Stanford University on a scholarship for Biology.

Carrie was pleased with the work she was given at the university. She met others who were interested in life and death and seeing how things were put together. More scientists who were able to put their emotions away in favor of discovery. No one threatening to vomit as they explored formaldehyde-soaked cavities where lungs and hearts once resided. She was in her element. No more fighting, cursing, hiding. The first anatomy lab Carrie had was one of the best days of her life. The level of complexity that the human body offered was a mystery that she wanted to dive into hands first, forgetting about the scalpel and carefully set lab procedures. There were the arterial cuts made in the femoral arteries for females and near the clavicle for males, to drain the blood and introduce the embalming fluid. Carrie couldn’t take her eyes away as she sunk her ungloved finger to one such arterial cut. But no heat—no matter how long she searched for it.

She wasn’t allowed back into the anatomy lab after that.

Carrie wasn’t sure how it had gotten to this point. Maybe she saw the trapped possum once again, maybe things were too much, not enough, no release, no freedom. She couldn’t remember what she said to make this creature come into the woods, forgot when she had grabbed her roadkill knife, didn’t recognize when she soaked the cloth with chloroform like she did with the cotton balls all those years ago for a small frog. But she was aware now. Bright red against snow white skin. Blue lips, begging for a kiss, terror-wide eyes, dilated from drugs and pain. A masterpiece.

Carrie laid a soft kiss on those blue, bloodied lips and turned away, pleasure and liberty and heat burning through her entire body.

Carrie Jackson wasn’t normal.