Below is an excerpt from my short story ‘Skin’ which appears in the collection ‘The Candle Game and other stories’ ( ISBN: 978-1-716-81687-1) which is available to purchase through various online outlets (Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble…)
Hope you enjoy!
I sat and watched as my right arm slowly began to snake its way into the blueness above me. It began to dance rings in the air in much the same way as I had been led to believe Native American tribesmen had sent smoke signals to one another across the plains in years now consigned to one-sided history books. Its hand tilted itself in my direction before, in an almost apologetic fashion, waving. Whether this was a wave of dismissal or a casual farewell I could not say, I merely watched as it flicked its wrist and continued its ascent.
In a strange and somewhat unfathomable way I had never felt quite as attached to my arm as I did at this precise moment, despite the fact that it was, even as my brain processed the thought, spiralling ever further away from me. I continued to watch, unable or unwilling to act, as if, by my very movement, the moment would be lost, as the distinguishable features of my arm began to blur and fade. Wrinkles and scars merged with sallow flesh tones until these too began to lose clarity as my arm continued its dance skywards. It was as if the two of them – my arm and the sky – had become two lovers intent on elopement, so focussed on their future that the past became a discarded book, or, perhaps more accurately, a closed chapter, and one to which they would never return.
A hole has opened up. A hole large enough for an arm – my arm – to pass through, and yet not too small for me to be able to pick it out amongst the clouds which skid past like children making their excited journeys home. Gradually its blueness darkens to a rich, bruise-like purple, before intensifying to the colour of an over-ripe aubergine. Its edges are saw-like and my one hope is that my arm will pass through unscathed: I shudder uncontrollably at the thought of flesh being torn from muscle, and the jagged cut that will never fully heal. My fears, however, prove to be unfounded as I watch first my fingers, then my hand and then my wrist disappear, almost reluctantly, as if this were the moment that there was a realisation of what they were leaving behind, into the chasm. This was clearly not the time for reflection, however, as I watched, still silently motionless, as my forearm, elbow and finally my upper arm were swallowed by the darkness which oozed from the hole.
Like a stuffed mouth the gaping hole closed quickly upon itself, leaving nothing more than a self-satisfied grin, which proceeded to vanish as quickly as it had appeared, leaving only the blue of a late Summer’s afternoon before my eyes. My arm had left me.