Welcome Back Master

The words were spoken, D was certain, by his hand. On the desk, where he must have left it the night before, it seemed to hover. He looked a little more carefully. He noted that the base of the wrist was resting lightly upon the green faux-leather panel. He looked at his right arm. His hand was there at the end of it. He held it up to his face and moved the fingers. He touched the fingers of his right hand, one by one by one, with those of his left hand. They were all there. Yet the hand on the desk was real. It was twitching, spinning the mouse-wheel, and talking. He felt no corresponding twitch in the hand at the end of his arm. Or perhaps he did. He watched the hand on the desk, observing the way it handled the mouse, and the corresponding changes on his computer screen. He thought he felt a buzzing in the middle finger of his own right hand, but it was just a trace, as if an ant was trapped beneath the surface of skin at the tip. Surely the hand on the desk was his own right hand? He wanted to sit at the desk. He wanted to start work. But what to do with the hand? He was afraid. He pulled back his office chair, which moved easily on wheels. As he positioned himself in front of it, and sat down, the hand on the desk rose up to the vertical. D almost expected it to wave. He pulled himself in towards the desk, using his feet and also his fingers, which pulled on the wooden ridge that framed the furniture. As his body came in tight towards the desk, his legs slipping underneath it, the hand on the desk turned at 180 degrees so that its palm was facing D. Immediately, he snapped his own right hand under the desk, fearing some kind of assault. But the hand before him remained completely still before dropping into a low bow. The fingers flattened down, spreading straight towards D. When the hand rose again, back to its upright position, it spoke those same three words, the ones he’d heard when he’d opened the door.

[With thanks to Benedict Drew, Heads May Roll, 2014]

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