“Wow, what a gorgeous day today; the sun is out, it isn’t freezing cold, the golden leaves decorate the green grass and the sky is bright blue. There is the fall crispness in the air without the bite of cold wind and I have nothing that I have to do. There is food in the kitchen, enough toilet paper and all the bills are paid.” I thought this morning as I made coffee.
My coffee was smelling amazing. It was a light hazelnut blend and I poured a little chocolate creamer in the bottom of my mug in anticipation of the hot steaming goodness that would wake me up and guarantee my soft warm bed doesn’t lure me back in.
Then the house shook and there was a crashing sound. I jumped up and ran around the house looking for the source of the disturbance. There was nothing inside the house or in the front yard but when I ran to the back yard, still in my robe I found smoke billowing up from a hole in the ground right in the middle of the lawn. There was an oval of dirt the size of a bathtub and I could smell the burnt grass. I approached the smoking hole in the far end of the oval and I could see a red hot glowing piece of something.
I ran inside and filled up a jug of water to pour on it. It was the plan of an impatient person and caused a lot of steam. I could actually see and get closer before I added water but I chose my plan of action and just kept getting cold water until it began to have a cooling affect after about thirteen jugs. I was a bit surprised none of the neighbors were out looking for the thing too. I’m sure it shook more than my house but I suppose most people work during the day.
Once it wasn’t glowing red hot anymore I reached in and touched it. It burned my fingers and fused to my skin. After the initial heat, my fingertips were freezing and I couldn’t get the piece off of my finger. I tried removing it with my other hand, now it was sticking to both hands. The already disintegrated blue metallic substance started moving up and wrapping around my fingers. Once the area of the metal all melded with my flesh luckily it stopped but now my thumbs and first two fingers of both hands were blue as well as the ring finger on my right hand. I ran to the kitchen sink and scrubbed with warm soapy water for a long time but it wasn’t coming off and my fingers weren’t warming up.
I started to feel desperate and I grabbed a knife and tried to pry off the strange metal but it wasn’t doing anything. I really wasn’t thinking straight by the time I threw my coat on and walked myself ten blocks and into the ER. When the desk lady asked my emergency I just looked at her with streams running down my face and held out my hands. She recoiled at the sight of them and handed me a clipboard with some forms on it. I couldn’t take the pen, my fingers were cast in the weird metal and wouldn’t move and now the flesh near it was turning black and the blackness was creeping into the remaining fingers and down the backs of my hands.
The lady noticed the spreading and called a doctor immediately. They put me in a wheelchair so that no one would have to touch me. Then I heard something about amputation and I began flailing and screaming and trying to get out of the chair. I felt a sharp warm pain in my shoulder and a calm rest came over me.
I remember bright lights, flashes of conversations, men in suits and lots of doctors but just snippets of drug induced day dreams. Then I awoke in a hospital room with the television on some sitcom I’ve never watched. I felt throbbing pain in both my wrists. I remembered from somewhere that there should be a morphine drip and I should have a button. I reached up to feel for one and I saw my bandaged nub. Loud screams filled the room and five white coats rushed in and once again someone sedated me.
I awoke calmer the next time. I just lifted up both arms and stared at two bandaged nubs. A quick deep depression set in. As a writer, I used my hands every day. I looked out the window and saw no light; the day had started so beautifully.
“Hello Jesse” A deep voice from in front of the bed said.
I hadn’t even noticed the man in the suit, I just stared at him.
“May I ask you a few questions about how you came into contact with that material today?” He asked.
I didn’t feel like talking, I just laid my arms back down and dropped my head back to the pillow in a way that I could stare out the window some more.
“Do not worry about your hands, we are replacing them but you will have to work with us as payment.” He said.
“What do you mean replacing them?” I snapped.
“Your new hands are being crafted with the highest level of artificial intelligence that we have now.” He said calmly.
“That won’t be the same.” I sighed.
“You will be amazed.” He assured me. “Now back to my question. How did you come in contact with that substance?”
“It was a meteor or something. It crashed into the backyard and I was stupid enough to pick it up without gloves.” I answered.
“A meteor, so it came out of the sky?” He asked.
“I assume so, there was a big oval where my lawn was torn up and a smoking hole where I found that metal piece.” I answered. “Archeologists and those treasure hunting guys on T.V. always pick up meteor rock and it doesn’t turn their hands cold and black.”
“What did it look like before you picked it up?” He asked.
“First it just was a burning thing and then the steam didn’t really allow me to see it and then it looked like a blue melted shiny thing. It looked solid, like a flat rock or a piece of blue metal. It didn’t look like it would stick to me and then it turned liquid like and melded around my fingers. It was cold.” I said.
“Interesting. Thank you for your cooperation.” He said, “Why don’t you rest now. When you awake you will have hands again.” He walked towards me and pushed a button on a screen near the bed. I felt automatically drowsy again and drifted off.
The next morning I woke up in my bed. I pulled the covers back with my right hand. I stopped and looked at my hand. It looked the same as it always had. I wriggled my fingers. They worked as they usually did. I looked close at my wrist. I couldn’t see any scars. Then I repeated that inspection of my left hand. I got up and threw on my fuzzy blue robe and went downstairs to look into the back yard through my living room window. There was a perfectly manicured lawn, no hole, no dirt oval but there were no leaves either. Yesterday there had been leaves on the grass.
I thought of the man in the suit and I rubbed my wrists. They felt normal. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The dew on the grass glistened and I could smell sweet apple blossoms from the neighbor’s tree. There was nothing that I had to do today. I walked over to the kitchen and started some coffee.