PodCastle 326: Haunts


Haunts

by Claire Humphrey

The chirurgeon’s knife severs my little finger from my palm, just above the mount of Mercury.

“You are permitted to look away,” the chirurgeon comments.

I shrug the shoulder that isn’t locked down, and keep watching.  The knife, obsidian, joints me like I’m a bird.

Somewhere inside my forearm I feel the pull of my tendon loosed.  Little blood, and no pain; the chirurgeon knows her work, and the numbness of the lockdown extends all the way to my breast.  In five minutes the chirurgeon has stowed the finger in its cooler, joined flaps of skin over the hollow socket, and healed it over with a couple of passes of a graft-stick.

“You’ll have minor pain for a few weeks,” she says.  “You don’t need to keep it covered.  The scar will change colour; that’s normal.  If you feel a loss of sensation or have any discharge, come back to me.”

She takes off the lockdown and feeling surges back through my breast, up over my trapezius, down my arm.  I flex my hand.  Sure enough, it hurts.  Nothing I can’t bear.

She walks me to the front desk.  The buyer waits there.  An attendant comes out and hands him the tiny cooler tagged with my name.

About the Author

Claire Humphrey

Claire Humphrey’s short fiction has appeared in Strange HorizonsBeneath Ceaseless SkiesApexCrossed GenresFantasy Magazine, and PodCastle. Her short story Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond Binary, and her short story “The Witch Of Tarup” was published in the critically acclaimed anthology Long Hidden. Spells of Blood and Kin is her first novel. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

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About the Narrator

Julia Rios

Julia Rios is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. Her previous PodCastle narrations include “The Transfiguration of Maria Luisa Ortega” by E. Lily Yu, “Who in Mortal Chains” by Claire Humphrey, “Mermaid’s Hook” by Liz Argall, and “Haunts” by Claire Humphrey. Her own story, “Oracle Gretel” was featured in episode 261, narrated by Marguerite Kenner. To find out more about Julia and her work, visit juliarios.com or find her on Twitter @omgjulia.

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