Curse of Habits

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

The click of front teeth snapping together every time Liana bit through a nail was like poking an already pissed off boar. Rosie glared at Liana from across the room. When her glare went unnoticed, she chucked a paperback at the wall over Liana’s head.

“Seriously. Stop.”


“Not only is that click-click-clicking obnoxious, it’s disgusting. Stop.”

“Good God.”

“I’m not kidding. I will… will… curse you.”

“Curse me?” Liana rolled her eyes. “Oh. No. Please. Not a curse. I couldn’t handle a curse.”

“You think I’m playing? I’ll hire a freaking assassin to chop off your hand.”

“Now who’s being obnoxious? Curses are bunk and you can’t afford an assassin.”

“So? I’ll do it anyway.”

Liana shook her head, but made a purposeful show of laying her hand on the desk. She glared back at Rosie, raising a brow. See? I’ve stopped. Relax.

The room was silent for no more than thirty seconds before the next snap of teeth. Rosie flinched, slammed her books, and hoisted them into her arms. “That’s it. Chew your hand off for all I care.”

“Christ, Rosie. Relax. I didn’t mean to. Don’t be such an ass.”

“Chew it off. I don’t care. I hope you do.”

Liana’s hand snapped to her mouth. Rosie watched in disgust as Liana ripped a nail past the quick and went on to the next.

“That’s enough.” She stepped back. Liana ripped the third nail. “Really, Liana. Stop.”

When Liana started crying and ripped the fourth nail, Rosie felt a panic start to well. There was a flurry of hands as Rosie rushed to pull Liana’s hand away from her mouth. Liana shoved Rosie away, revolted and alarmed — unable to control either hand. Through clenched, ripping teeth she screamed for Rosie to help.

Rosie rushed to the phone. “I need an officer. Or a psychiatrist. Or a priest. Something!”

The dispatch officer said something, but the static buried it in a hiss. Rosie pleaded with the officer to send someone to the apartment.

Liana had worked her way through all ten nails — she was working on her index finger. Rosie lost it when the finger tore off mid-knuckle.

“Liana, stop! Please? Stop?” She grabbed Liana’s free hand, pulling it and pleading. When the next finger came free, Rosie vomited. Worse, she didn’t turn fast enough to miss Liana.

All the first five digits were gone. Rosie stumbled backwards, falling across her desk and against the wall. She slid to the side, falling to the floor.

Watching Liana tear away her fingers and then move back to the hand and gnaw, she began pleading with God to make it stop. If He would just make it stop, she’d never curse another person as long as she lived. Then, if He’d make it stop, she’d donate her life to charity. Finally, if He’d make it stop, she’d give her own hands.

Liana continued to gnaw like a rabid coyote. She didn’t stop. Rosie managed to stay conscious through most of it. When she woke, there were officers leaning over her. She couldn’t hear them, there was too much static in her head. They stared at her, waiting for an answer. She started at them, waiting for the same.

Day 9 – 365 Stories


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