Opening for a Novel that Will Never Be Written

It had begun with the little finger of his left hand.  He had woken up one morning and been unable to move it.  He’d held the hand up to inspect it in the half-light of the room.  When he’d curled his other fingers, it had remained resolutely in place, prominent, erect, immobile.  And the strangest thing about it was that it hadn’t hurt at all.  There had been none of the dull toothache-within-the-bone of arthritis, nor the all engulfing agony of a fracture.  It had been less than an absence of pain.  He’d been unable to feel anything at all.  The finger appeared to be dead.  He’d rubbed it with his right hand in an effort to restore sensation.  The skin felt different somehow.  It was cold and hard and completely smooth.  And it had refused to return to life.  Perhaps he was still dreaming.  He’d closed his eyes and the room around him faded.  It seemed not, then.  He’d got out of bed and crossed the room to the window.  He’d pulled back the curtains and allowed the morning light to colour in the details of the room.  Then he’d looked down at his left hand.  His little finger had turned to wood.

Text and image © Paul Sutton Reeves

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