PodCastle 326: Haunts
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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’s first novel, Spells of Blood and Kin, won the 2017 Sunburst Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Fantasy Magazine, Crossed Genres, PodCastle, and many other places.
About the Narrator
Julia Rios is a queer, Latinx writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator whose fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Latin American Literature Today, Lightspeed, and Goblin Fruit, among other places. Their editing work has won multiple awards including the Hugo Award. Julia is a co-host of This is Why We’re Like This, a podcast about how the movies we watch in childhood shape our lives, for better or for worse. They’ve narrated stories for Escape Pod, PodCastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. Find them on Twitter as @omgjulia.