Writing Prompt #80 — The Gray Underneath

Prompt: You just bought a new metal detector. Before you go use it, you jokingly point it at your arm. It starts to beep rapidly.

The metal detector begin to beep against my forearm, and I pull it away until it stopped. Then, slowly, I put it near my forearm again and it starts to beep once more. Again, I pull it away, but when I move it near me, I put it to my chest. Maybe I had gotten a scrap of metal or something stuck in me when I was a kid. The metal detector beeps once more.

What the hell? Is this broken?

I move the detector over my body — chest, stomach, legs, even groin — and it continues to alert me that metal is present.

It has to be broken.

I lean over and snatch the metal bat from under my bed, and the detector beeps; it also beeps after running it over my key chain and belt buckle, but not over my bed, the floor, the walls and hanging posters.

I put it to my forearm again and it beeps again.

I look at the open door, and got up to close it, then grab my pocket knife from the desk and sit back down on my bed, setting the metal detector next to me. I flip the knife out, and stare at it for a moment.

Am I really going to do this?

I press the pointed end of the knife hard to my skin until blood begins to seep from the sides. I grit my teeth, hissing, wincing, but soon, as the knife digs into flesh, I notice I don’t feel anything at all; no pain, no pleasure… Just indifference. It’s strange, but I push that thought aside, assuming it has something to do with the flight-or-fight thing I learned in school a few weeks ago.

I make a long enough cut to get two fingers in, and set the knife down. If I didn’t feel pain with the knife, I figure I couldn’t with my fingers, so when I dig and hook my fingers into skin and tear it back and feel nothing at all, I’m confused, surprised, everything that I’m not meant to be. I should’ve been in immense pain, should’ve been crying and screaming, but nothing washes over me… It’s like watching grass grow or paint dry.

After I wipe the blood away from the cut, I see there isn’t muscle or veins or bone… It’s glossy, gray. It feels cold on my fingers.

Holy shit.

I tear my hand away as though it burns me—

My door slams open and I jump, turning to find my father barging into the room.

“What the hell are you doing?” he screams.

I shake my head. “Nothing, nothing.” I hold my forearm against my leg, away from him.

“I got the alarm, don’t lie to me.”


He strides over to me, searches me with his eyes, then snatches my arm up. Blood trickles down my forearm, but the cut’s clean, revealing the glossy, gray metal.

“Damnit,” he spits, throwing my arm back and taking out his phone. He dials a number. “It’s me, yeah — he did it again. I don’t know, you were the one who gave him that damn detector. Fine. Fine. Whatever. Yes, I’ll do the shutdown. We’ll do a total reset when you get home.”

“Reset? What are you talking about, dad?”

He looks down at me, then puts his phone to my neck.

“Nothing, nothing at all.”

Then a burning pain shoots through me and blackness overcomes me.

Read my previous prompt, “The Ever-Changing Woman.”

Purchase my work on Amazon.

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