The following is an original horror short, not intended for those faint of heart. If scenes with blood and gore are disturbing to you, turn back now!
Ginny was the top girl in her class. Tall, slim and not a flaw in sight. She walked with resilience and courage, chin high and hopes even higher. Her hair was dark and long and her eyes were green. Her skin was paler than Snow White’s. She was, for now, perfect. Everyone saw her as flawless. Except for one small habit. She was always biting her fingernails. In class, at home, with her friends, her fingers were always in her mouth.
“It’s a nervous habit,” she’d tell everyone.
As she got older, her habit grew. But it hadn’t always been this way.
It started when she was in eighth grade. Her best friend Amber had the habit first. Amber and Ginny were closer than sisters and were always together — until one day, when Amber didn’t show up at school. Ginny went home and told her mom to call Amber’s mom. No answer. For days Amber was missing and no one knew why or where she was. Ginny tried going to Amber’s house but no one was ever home. About a year had passed when Ginny’s mother finally heard the news about what really happened to Amber.
According to the town gossip, Amber had a problem. A habit, you might call it. Ginny’s neighbor told them the story.
“Amber had an accident. She was missing for about three days until her parents heard scratching coming from the basement. Amber was found with skinless arms and a bad infection. According to medical examiners, the wounds were self-inflicted.”
Amber had eaten the skin off of her own arms and hid herself in the basement of her family’s home for days, until her mother found her barely alive. At that point the hospital did everything they could to save her, but the infection took hold before help could be administered. Amber died in pain.
After Ginny heard this news, she cried. She cried all night until her throat hurt and her eyes were swollen. She cried all through the night until she heard it. The scratching that came from the closet. She perked up and looked around her dark room. There it was again, the scratch.
From that night on, Ginny’s habit began when she knew that Amber’s had ended.
Fast forward to freshman year of college. Ginny’s habit had grown so bad that she had to wear bandages on her fingertips all the time. But that didn’t stop her from having a good life while she could. Her best friend, Holden, asked her once in a while how her hands were holding up.
“I told you, it’s my anxiety and I can’t just stop when I want to, Holden,” she told him over and over again.
“Well, it’s a bit concerning when I can literally see blood coming through your bandages, Gin,” he told her. “I’m just worried, that’s all.”
Ginny, with a weird, unfamiliar look on her face, stared at Holden. All of a sudden perking up, she smiled and told him he had absolutely nothing to worry about. “Everything will be fine when it’s all over.” She walked away from him.
“What the hell does that even mean?” Holden said to himself out loud.
In their last class of the day, Holden noticed Ginny staring at her fingers. Her pupils were dilated and drool seeped from her lips. She looked like an animal about to pounce on its prey. She started to unravel her bandages and pick at her fingertips. They began bleeding. As blood dripped from her hand, down her forearm, and onto the table, she licked the blood from her arm. Not seeing that Holden was watching all of this, she excused herself to the hallway.
Holden followed her out and met her in the hallway. She was sucking on her fingertips with blood all over her lips.
“What the hell is going on with you?” he yelled at her.
She immediately smiled and said, “Holden, you’ve got nothing to worry about! My bandages were coming loose and I accidentally opened one of my cuts. You’re overthinking this.”
“You need to stop this, Gin. It’s weird and you’re scaring everyone.”
She gave him a weird look and walked away. She exited through the door down the hall.
Ginny didn’t say a word to Holden the next day. He tried to stop her in the halls, but no luck. She was distant and cold to everyone. Her attitude was no longer sweet and innocent, but rather angry and unapproachable.
She cut Holden off, and everyone else she knew. A few weeks went by and the light she used to shine slowly diminished. Her long vibrant hair was lifeless and frazzled, turning almost grey. Her skin was paler than snow, almost resembling that of a corpse.
Eventually, she stopped showing up to classes altogether and started declining phone calls. Holden drove by her house, like he did every day, and decided to stop and knock on the front door, hoping to get some answers.
“What do you want?” someone said from the other side.
“It- it’s Holden. I just wanted to see if everything was okay with Ginny?”
“You’d be better off getting in your car and driving straight to hell,” an eerie but familiar voice said. “Mind your own damn business, kid.”
“Ginny, if that’s you, you’re not scaring me. I want to know what’s going on and I’m worried.” But he was scared of her.
Slowly, the door opened and fingers with shredded skin and exposed bone wrapped themselves around the frame.