VESTIGE • by Yvette Managan

The first time I took off my hand, I hadn’t meant to, but with one slick twist it was off, hanging from my other hand at a strange angle. It’s not normal to see one’s own hand suspended from one’s other hand, the one thumb bent around the palm, the loose hand’s fingers curled in the air, dangling. I wondered, Where is the blood? I turned the hand upside down — no sign that the hand had ever been connected to me. The loose hand ended sharply, as if cut off, with the skin neatly following the sudden curves and bends, just as if it had always been that way, as if my hand had forever been a separate thing.

I was frightened, so twisted my hand back on and felt relief when it adjoined itself. My fingers flexed, I stretched them out, closed them together. Each request I gave my hand it followed, as if we’d never been apart. As if the whole episode was my imagination.

In time I knew my memory must have been false, my experiences the mental ramblings of a lunatic. I dared not try it again though, and kept my hands to myself, sequestered each one from the other. I did not scratch myself, never clapped, and never smoothed my palms over each other. All temptations resisted, and possible contact prevented, I avoided thinking about it.

For a while at least. Then, one day when the sun shone gold and orange through the late afternoon as I walked by Lake Louise, I tried it again. I’ve told my friends and family that it had been an accident, but now I must be honest. I did it on purpose, with full intent, and as an act of deliberation. I simply reached my right hand over and around the left, grasped the backside of my hand between the fingers and thumb of the other, and twisted again. Once more, my hand came off with grace. Once more, the fingers lay slack and supple against each other. Once more, I felt surprise at the bloodlessness and the ease of movement. I celebrated the quick release. A sense of peace fell over me. I tossed the left hand into the deep blue water and it sank after some time of bobbing.

I think it would have been a pike that ate my hand. Maybe it was a sturgeon.

Yvette Managan is a writer who works by day maintaining the chemical integrity of the Banana River. At night, she acts as intermediary between the horses, hound-dogs and husband. She reads to remember, writes to forget and re-enacts the American War Between the States to teach others that war is never healthy. She acts as fiction editor for The Linnet’s Wings and Divine Dirt Quarterly. Her work has been recently seen in Flashshot, Sporkpress, Eclecticflash, Twisted Tongue, Lyrica, Oysters and Chocolate, Killer Works, All Things Girl, Literal Translations, Polluto 6, Mirror Magazine, and Sinister Tales.

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