Stress Relief – Molly Pefley

 Stress Relief

The sun scorched James’ skin as he sprinted from the school with the lamb’s head he stole from his science class. That day in class, the students were using it for a dissection. All the “normal” students shied away from the morbid, decapitated head, but James was rather intrigued. He didn’t know why his mind thought that it would be a good idea until he saw the lamb’s grey, clouded, lifeless eyes soaked in the formaldehyde and his heart began to flutter.

He ran all the way home and up the stairs, hearing his parents bickering in the dining room. Sitting at his desk, he turned on the lamp, filling his dusty, dark room with a dim light. He opened a drawer in his desk, revealing leftover bones and dried up carcasses from experiments from previous science labs. He shuffled around and pulled out a box of white latex gloves.  Putting them on, he reached into the jar and stroked the hairs that the lamb had left on its head. It was mesmerizing; the way that his hands felt when they glided over the chemically-0dwindled hair on the lamb’s head. Oh, how good this would feel if it were human.

James furiously shook his head as he tried to shake the dark thoughts out of his head that came and went so often. He knew what he was doing was morbid, but it gave him a calm that nothing else would. With his newly acquired friend, he felt accepted and safe. He looked through the slits that his window’s blinds created. The moon filled the night sky. The light that shined in James’ eyes was almost blinding, but he didn’t mind. He shifted his body in his chair. But as he shifted, his grip on the jar slipped. To James, everything turned slow motion as the jar dropped with a loud bang and shattered all over his floor. The lamb’s head rolled quickly but was stopped when it knocked into the door across his room.

“James? Is that you up there?” his mother’s soft, weak voice spoke through his closed door. James silently cursed himself as he tried to pick up the shattered glass that once encased the lamb. He lifted his sheets and swept everything under his bed. Blood gushed from his hand as he cut it on a sharp piece from the jar. He clenched his fist and the blood fell in a quick patterns of drops rather than a large stream, almost like a red rain. James was still panicking to clean up the mess, though he couldn’t seem to get the pungent stench of formaldehyde out of his carpet.

 There were soft knocks on James’ door that turned into heavy pounds. The door then was shaken and busted down, revealing James scrambling on his floor. Helooked up at his parents and pushed up his glasses.

“What is going on here?” his father growled. His breath was heavy with the smell of scotch; it was similar to burning tires. James stayed silent while he endured the verbal abuse. His father leaned closer and his scent grew stronger. 

“I asked a question, son,” he said, grabbing James’ shirt and pulling his small frame up so he was standing on his feet. James’ hand opened and the blood began to stream out of his hand and onto the floor again.

“Pack your things and get the hell out of my house, coward.”

James quickly grabbed his duffle bag and stuffed all his friends, including his new lamb, into his bag. He started walking, not knowing where he would head to next.