Memoirs of an Assassin #7 – Like Dingy Milk

Self mutilation is the act of causing bodily harm without the intent of death. By definition, I mutilated my body by removing three of my own fingers. The intention was not to bare a battle scar that could be used in an attempt to pick up women, my intention was to preserve life. It may seem strange to some, the idea of disfiguring ones own body for the sake of a dog, but Nika was all that I had left in this wold. Perhaps if the game included only myself I would have taken death over the torture I put myself through.

With a life’s work of maiming the human body for profit, I understood the mechanics of my task. The pain and mental changes that take effect during such an activity were an experience, so say the least.

My first obstacle was the skin, which really was not much of an obstacle. A sharp knife circling the finger is no more work that cutting the skin from an uncooked chicken. With a sharp knife, a strong stomach, and a familiarity with pain, the first step to paying my debt was over in an instant.

Parting the skin of the finger is more intense than the actual cutting. Fighting back the urge to flinch, one must grit their teeth and move quickly before too much blood escapes. Even with a homemade tourniquet around my arm, the volume of blood is shocking. Grasping the finger on one side of the cut, one must give a slight twist before a quick tug. This loosens flesh from bone and allows room to operate.

The human skeleton is not a very attractive thing to look at. As my eyes fell upon the exposed bone, my mind drifted. The image of a tall glass of milk floated before my eyes. From somewhere, just a pinch of cocoa powder was added. Robbed of its pureness, the milk was tainted. Much like the milk in my drifting mind, the exposed bone of my finger shared the visuals of dingy milk.

Armed with nothing more than a butcher knife, the difficult part of my task began. I took a deep breath before getting down onto my knees and placing my hand flat on the floor. Palm pressed flat, fingers spread, steel contacted bone. Lurching forward to displace my weight, I heard a pop and felt a wave of pain like never before. The intensity rocked my senses. I could hear nothing but a ringing in my ears. My vision went out of focus. My body tingled, all except for my finger. My finger did not tingle, it raged with an inferno of pain.

The freshly sharpened knife was not sharp enough to cut bone. The popping noise I encountered was my finger fragmenting. Like a bamboo cane that has been crushed, my finger was nothing more than interconnected shards of bone. The second rocking of my body to complete the cut was debilitating. I lost control of my bladder and vomited down the front of my shirt.

I wish I could say that was the end of my pain. One finger down, two to go. What I experienced with the removal of my first finger was nothing compared to the second and third. During that experience I learned an interesting tid-bit. It would seem that human bone dulls a steel edge at an alarming rate.

In last weeks installment of Memoirs of an Assassin, I was trying for subtlety. I wanted to play on the title of the piece and weave in a couple hints of what was to come. After having received some excellent feedback, I realize that I was a little too subtle. It’s actually kind of funny how you see things when you know the answer. I was of the thought that it was a little too obvious.

This installment clears up the question, Did the killer cut off his own fingers? I was thinking about getting a little more detailed in the process but i didn’t want to overdo it. What are your thoughts, should I have been more gory in the descriptions or is this a case when less is more?

This piece has been included in the Tuesday Serial Twitter GroupOpens in a new tab.. For more information on the group, head over to the #TuesdaySerial page on Inspired By Real LifeOpens in a new tab..

Memoirs of an Assassin is an ongoing serial. To get caught up from the beginning, please use the links below.

  1. The First of Many
  2. Score a Point for Dear Old Dad
  3. Tough Choices
  4. Ignorance is Bliss
  5. Painful Memories
  6. Phantom Pain

I hope you enjoy reading this installment of
Memoirs of an Assassin
I look forward to your comments
and suggestions


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - Iā€™m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

10 thoughts on “Memoirs of an Assassin #7 – Like Dingy Milk

  1. Oh. My. Goodness! Walt! AAHHHHHHH! I don’t think you need more gore. Seriously, the more interesting part, to me, is what is going through his head. Of course that includes the gore but I like hearing the thoughts. He seems detached (haha, no pun intended) from the act he is doing to his very self. Keep going pleeeeease!

    1. I’m wondering if the story would have conveyed the same detached, willing to do anything for the dog, mindset had I been more brief in the gore and sort of skimmed over the act?

  2. I don’t care for gore for gore’s sake. I like to (try to) write horror, but I try and keep the gore to a minimum because that’s not really scary; it’s just gory.

    You described this pretty well. I thought you pushed the pain of this to the reader. Well written and the imagery with the milk was sort of gross. šŸ˜‰ Excellent writing. šŸ™‚

    1. The milk thing just came to mind and I knew I had to work it in somehow.

      I’m going to have to rethink the way I write in gore.

  3. Ok I now regret saying anything about wanting more gore. Please never give more than this – I actually had to turn away from the computer for a break after the skin bit. I half debated not reading anymore, but of course I had to. Really well done & excellently described!

    1. I’m not a person that enjoys gore, especially in movies, but this really didn’t seem that bad. Maybe the person writing it is less sensitive than those that read it?

      While you may have thought it was well done and excellently described, your having to take a break makes me second guess writing this piece of the story in this manner.

      Thanks for the comment

  4. HOW could you get more detailed? Ouch. My fingers were hurting as I read this strory. There’s a mental picture in my mind that will be there the rest of the night and I work in a hospital. I could even hear the POP.

    1. Terry,
      I was concerned about it not being gory enough because it isn’t totally correct. There are tendons and stuff in there that I knew should be mentioned but I was trying to hold back. It would seem I should have held back some more.

      Thanks for the comment

  5. Hey there Walt,
    loving the development of the character into a serial. I don’t think that the gore is overpowering. The description is very visual and confronting, yet contextually, it fits the character and the storyline. It inverts the horror and terror that he brings to his victims, onto himself. The image of the milk is superb.

    1. Adam,
      I’m glad you enjoyed this installment.

      I kept running through comparisons for bone and when I came up with “dingy milk”, I just had to figure out a way to work it in.

      Thanks for the comment

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