The blade was a number 6, made from surgical stainless steel, sterilised with Gamma radiation and set in a Swann-Morton handle. She thought it would be shinier, not so dull and matte. It didn't catch the light and sparkle or glisten. It felt surprisingly light in her hand and seemed more like a child's toy than a bonafide medical instrument. But, details aside, it was what she had available as the means to her awakening. The keepers-in-white did not know she had kept it safe, hidden inside a box of maxi-pads where they neglected to search.
Her belly was smooth and plump, creamy and pale, soft and fatty. It wasn't big by any means, but it certainly wasn't flat and sexy either . It was average -- completely and totally unremarkable. A million women in a thousand cities had bellies just like it. On a beach one would walk by and not cast it a second glance. Well, not now, but when she was done it would certainly attract attention, if in fact, there existed anyone not sleeping of whom she could attract attention.
The handle fit nicely into her hand. She began to realise that the lack of weight enabled the scalpel to be yielded with precision and accuracy; which probably wasn't a bad thing. She'd not made a plan as doing so would take away the spontaneity that was necessary for such a venture. Plans were too controlling and limiting. Plans took away freedom of choice. Plans destroyed individuality. Plans were for the waking world.
She began by pressing the tip of the blade against the skin, just below her belly button, where the flesh was plump and plentiful. Nothing happened. She pressed a little harder and felt the tiniest bit of pressure. There was no blood or sudden opening in her skin. She felt almost nothing. She pressed even harder and watched the skin become increasingly indented and stretched, but not enough to generate any significant pain. The dream continued.
She drew the blade lightly across the skin and saw, if she stared intently, the tiniest, thinnest red line. No pain, no blood, no cut, ... nothing. She drew the blade across the same place again and, as before, there was nothing. Then she did it again, and again, and again. Each time the red line got redder, brighter, easier to follow. By the fourth pass there was the tiniest spherical drop of blood welling out somewhere near the midpoint. She moved to a parallel path and repeated the process, but harder, faster, with a touch more pressure. The blood came a little quicker this time, but still only a few drops. The frustration only fed her madness, sucking away the rationality she was seeking.
The skin was tough and she was afraid to press too hard and deep. She wanted the dream to end and for the waking world to claim her. She feared that if she went too far, beyond the point of salvation, she might slip deeper into the madness and further from her goal. She moved to the side and pressed again, but harder still, moving slower, leaving a shiny red trail behind the blade. This latest cut stung just the tiniest amount. The endorphins that she hoped would claim her from the darkness were not coming. Perhaps she was too much of a coward to leave the dream.
The first cut was no longer a clean red line against her pale skin. It was now centered on a small raised welt that she could feel under her finger tips. As she stopped and watched, time becoming immeasurable, a welt slowly formed around the most recent cut. This last cut had been deeper and hurt a little more, leaving a slight sting. She wanted to feel more and realised that the fear had been holding her back. With resolve, she pressed the of the blade into her stomach and pushed down, watching the skin stretch until, with a audible pop, the blade pierced the thick membrane and the skin leapt upwards causing the blade to sink into the fat beneath it. At least half of the blade was buried into her stomach as warm, sticky blood oozed up and began to dribble down her side. Her mind screamed at her, in two voices, one urging her to stop, the other urging her onwards. One voice from the dream-world, and one that would lead her back to "normalcy." But, which was which?
She stabbed at herself again, the pain now much stronger and enjoyable. She watched the blade sink into her bloody tummy, leaving a bloody hole behind to mark its bloody passage. Another puncture followed, and then a quick slash, deeper than any she had done before. Her thoughts became clearer, less jumbled and easier to control. She knew she was on the right path now.
Seeing the random assortment of lines and holes in her flesh brought forth an idea. Without hesitating, she began to join them, adding new cuts and gashes with precision and care. The letters began to form on her skin, one after another. First a D, and then an R and an E. She had to stop and wipe away the blood with her hand, so that she could continue in her work. Next was an A and then an M. There, she had the first word done. It was a bit big and was going to make the second word hard to fit beside it. Then, as is always the case when an artist is inspired, she had an epiphany and realised that the second word could be below the first instead of to the side.
When she was done, she looked down at her bleeding body, reading the words she had carved into herself. Words that would leave a permanent scar to always let her know of her failure to awaken. She would now, and forever be trapped as a never-waking "DREAM GIRL".