Destination Zero

It’s been 6 months, 13 days and 4 hours since I last weighed myself. I hid the scales in a plastic bag under some books beneath my bed, kidding myself that I’d forget they were there. I didn’t. Every time I closed my eyes at night, I would hear the cruel squeaking sound they’d make as I clumsily balanced my grotesque body upon them. I hated them, but at least they were honest – probably the only honest thing in my life, other than her. She was always honest.
“You fat, pathetic, waste of space.”
She strutted around my room in her skimpy lingerie and stilettos, showing off her slender, perfectly toned and sun kissed body. She was everything I wanted to be, but made me hate everything I’d become. I glance towards the bed, knowing what’s coming next. I squeeze my eyes together tightly as she marches across the room. She gracefully crouches beside the bed, pulls out the books and retrieves the plastic bag. She takes the scales out of the bag and carefully places them in front of the mirror. My stomach tightens and I feel like I’m going to vomit. Not a bad thing – at least that’ll knock off a few ounces.
“Not the best hiding place. How long were you planning on keeping them under there?”
I keep my mouth shut. Everything I say is always wrong anyway, and I can’t escape the inevitable. As she delicately places the heel of her stiletto onto the plate, the slightest of squeaks makes me gag. She lifts her body onto the scales and balances elegantly. My eyes run up and down the full length of her figure, scanning every contour – she’s perfect. She looks down at the dial and smiles as she steps off.
“This is going to be fun.”
She laughs as I bury my head in my hands. My throat tightens and I struggle to inhale the oxygen I need for my lungs to function. I clench my fists with such force that my nails almost pierce the skin of my palms. I lift myself slowly. I walk across the room and stop in front of the mirror, looking myself up and down. I gag for the second time, but she clasps my mouth with her hand.
“Not yet.”
I take a deep breath before placing my left foot on the scales. I hear them groan as I start to lift the full weight of my body. I put my second foot on the cold surface below – they scream in agony. I daren’t look at the dial, but her cackle tells me everything I need to know. My stomach suddenly contracts and my head swings forward as I heave the full contents of my stomach over the full length of the mirror. She continues laughing. I drop to the floor in a heap – vomit drips from my lips onto my clothing.
“Was that so difficult?”
I close my tear sodden eyes as I rest my head on the pile of books from beneath my bed.


I open my eyes to find magazine clippings covering every inch of my bedroom floor. My calendar tells me that two weeks have passed. My vomit is still dried on the mirror, but the stench has gone. At least it blocks my reflection. She is sat on my bed in stockings and suspenders, flicking through a fashion magazine. She snaps the magazine shut and chucks it across the room.
“Let’s do something fun.”
I shake my head, but I know there’s no point. She stands, flicks her fiery hair over her shoulder and steps across the paper-clad floor towards my wardrobe. Her stilettos pierce the various clippings of models and media icons. I close my eyes as she starts to riffle through my wardrobe. I can sense her distain as she flings dresses, blouses, jeans, skirts, jackets and anything else she takes a dislike to across the room.
“This will have to do.”
I slowly open my eyes to see her holding a bright red dress – I don’t remember buying it, but I know it won’t fit me. She lifts it above her head and lets it drop down over her body. She shimmies from side to side as she pulls the bottom of the dress over her lean hips. She twirls and looks for my approval – I can’t help but smile at how good she looks. She turns back to the wardrobe, retrieves a tiny skirt and crop top and throws them onto my lap. I feel exhausted. My stomach suddenly contracts, but the pain of my muscles tensing makes me wince and stops me from gagging.
“Let’s not ruin the evening before it’s begun.”
She grabs a half drunk bottle of wine from the side of the cabinet, takes the protruding cork between her pearly white teeth and yanks it out. She spits the cork across the floor, takes a swig and thrusts the bottle in my direction. The harsh smell of alcohol hits the back of my throat and makes me wretch. I see her piercing blue eyes staring at me in my peripheral vision. My lips quiver as I place the bottle against them, tilting it upwards so that the red liquid swishes towards my mouth. The wine runs across my dry tongue, which tingles as it continues down my oesophagus. I attempt to pull the bottle away from my mouth, but she is holding it in place. I choke. She laughs.
“Looks like we need some more.”
She grins devilishly as she strides out of the room as if she’s on a catwalk. I wretch. Again. And again. Finally I stop, catch my breath and I think ‘fuck it’ as I knock back another few glugs. I start to feel lightheaded and my eyes glaze over. I feel good for a moment. I see her red figure at the door holding another bottle. It doesn’t take me long to spot the corkscrew glinting beneath a cut out of Kate Moss. I take the bottle from her, grip it tightly and plunge the corkscrew into the fresh cork. I use all my force to twist it round, but I start to tire. I’m panting. When did I become so weak? She waits in anticipation as I heave the cork from the bottle and nearly catapult myself across the room. She bends down and our eyes meet. As she speaks, I smell the alcohol on her breath.
“Six months you ignored me, but I came back. I forgave you for pretending I don’t exist, and now I’m here to take care of you. You’re lucky to have me, just remember that. And if anyone tells you different, you can tell them to “fuck off”. They’re the ones that pollute your mind with fake connotations of happiness. What do they know? We’re happy. Aren’t we.”
It wasn’t a question, but I can see she is awaiting a response. I nod frantically and force a fake smile. I can’t remember what happiness feels like. Maybe if I drink more, that will make me happy. I take a long swig from the bottle and wait for the effect of the alcohol to kick in. I’m on my way.


I open my eyes to find myself half naked and lying on my bed. The first thing I notice is the used condom draped over my bedside table. My head is thumping and vision is blurred, but this doesn’t feel like a hangover. The floor is still covered in magazine clippings, but now the walls are too. I look across my room and she is sat in front of my dressing table with one foot up on the stall. I manage to focus and see that she is painting her nails. I use all my strength to lift myself from the bed, but I can feel I’m getting weaker. I slowly stand, steady myself and carefully navigate towards the doorway.
“Are you forgetting something?”
I look over, but she remains focussed on her foot. Then, with her other foot she slides the weighing scales across the floor in my direction. A wave of magazine cuttings builds in its path. My stomach knots and I heave and wretch, but only sharp pains are the result. I look at the mirror, but still I can’t see my reflection – thank goodness. I hold my stomach. I try to speak, but something is blocking my airway.
“Come on. What are you waiting for?”
I drop to the floor and my eyes fill with tears. My breathing is shallow and I can barely hold up my weight with my arms. The squeaking sounds that haunt my every thought start ringing in my head. I close my eyes as the room starts to spin. I hear her stand from the chair. I open my eyes and she is towering above me. I take a deep breath. And another. Then I manage to find enough energy to speak.
“Please, don’t make me.”
Without hesitation she throws the small bottle of nail varnish across the room and it smashes against the wall. I close my eyes and push my hands against my ears to block out the sound. I rock back and forth and start to hum, but still I am unable to drown out the sound of destruction that surrounds me. I feel something hit my head, but I daren’t open my eyes to look. After a short moment, there is silence. I stop humming and slowly take my hands from my ears. I open my eyes and she is standing before me holding the mirror.
“You fat, pathetic, waste of space.”
She lifts the mirror high above her head. Her eyes are no longer blue – they are hollow. I raise my hands to protect myself, but she smashes the mirror down with all her might. The blackness is instant.


Before I open my eyes I hear the beeping. Slow. Steady. I recognise it, but I don’t know why. As my eyes slowly open I have to squint as they adjust to the artificial lighting. I am lying down, but this isn’t my bed. There are no windows, but there are tubes and machines. I know where I am. I look down to see my wrists bandaged – there are patches of dried blood on both of them. I try to breathe through my nose, but I can’t. I hear footsteps, so I close my eyes. There are hushed voices at the end of my bed.
“Lacerations on both wrists and a serious case of anorexia nervosa. She’ll be lucky to make it through the night.”
The voices fade and I open my eyes. I look across to the bed next to me and see a fashion magazine on the side table. As my eyes focus on the front page, I recognise the figure. The slender body. The bright red dress. It’s her. I look down at my wrists and realise what I have done. A tear rolls down my cheek as the beeping slowly fades.


The featured image accompanying this piece, entitled ‘Blossom’, has been used with the permission of Russian artist, Violetta Mamovich. You can find out more about Violetta on Deviant Art.

Dominic Brancaleone

Dominic graduated from Bournemouth University with a Masters degree in Screenwriting. He has been commended for his use of Humour in Radio at the Vox Awards, was a finalist in two consecutive London Screenwriting Festival writing competitions, and was a finalist in the C4/Oran Mor Comedy Drama Awards.

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