Snapped awake, Jennifer lay in her king-sized bed listening. She felt cold, absent the warm back that had exited a week ago. She missed pressing up against his warmth enough to be willing to forgive the other kind of heat he emanated. The kind that stung and left scars.
Was that a dream, or did something wake me? Did I hear something? Jennifer tried to calm her heartbeat with the self-talk her counselor taught her. “Fear is just a feeling,” she whispered. The alarm clock red, blinked 1:00 A.M.
The electricity must have gone off and back on again. Now I’ll never get back to sleep. Jennifer stealthed into the kitchen to get her phone from the charger. I should really move this into the bedroom. It’d be safer. There were so many things to think about now that she was single. Jennifer combed her fingers through the hair on the left side of her head, grabbed a handful of hair, and tugged it around clockwise. A headache threatened.
The cabinet drawer, the one where she kept the wastebasket was ajar.
She waited. What she mistook for blood, glowed bright, pulsed like a heartbeat and quenched. She sucked in air making a ‘hiiigt” as she jerked her hand back.
The thing rotated and flashed blue. The egg carton squeaked against the discarded soup can. Jennifer stepped closer and cocked her head to listen. Was that a cry? A tiny squeak came from under the egg carton. The blue quenched and red glowed again. “Help,” so high pitched and quiet, Jennifer thought she imagined it. Until she heard it again.
Jennifer held out one finger and lifted the egg carton.
A minuscule, fur-covered creature about the size of a pencil-troll blinked up at her with navy blue pupils where black should have been. Jennifer offered a finger.
She withdrew her hand, stunned but not shocked. The hand that once had five fingers now had only four. A bloodless, painless stump remained. Humph. That’s interesting. She offered her palm. I wonder how he did that. She withdrew a handless stump and looked at it as if it were nothing more than a curiosity on her Animal Kingdom television show. No blood, no pain. It was as if she was born without a hand. She bent forward, removed the egg carton with her remaining hand, smiled, and extended a clenched fist to the interloper.
Note: This is a photo I snapped after Loved-One discarded one of those neon flashing necklaces kids wear on the 4th of July.
For more great photos, visit Jen at Pierced Wonderings. She’s got a lot of foggy photos. A little freaky, like these photos (edited with SnapSeed.)