The Weight Of Support
There was so much missing that made it her. The wear on her knuckles, the faint scar on her forefinger, the stiff joints that engorged in the cold. The gentle push of nail into skin, suppressing the rising tingle of anxiety. The ghost of a ring, a groove still visible after she took it off. Her nails, the delicate curve of keratin, peeking over the tip of her finger, the hours of gardening, and the permanent black outline caught in her nail bed. The way the skin stained with the earth they sank into, nibbled pink and blue with the hungry kisses of cold. She always refused to wear gloves in the garden, the feel of the damp ground, teasing apart roots between her finger tips. There was so much she’d miss, she knew she should be grateful for what she had, it was so much more than most, but still… touching his face, the bending prickle of his morning stubble as she pulled him closer. The warmth of his skin as she slipped that same hand under the blankets, tracing his torso as she sank into his embrace. So much she’d never know again. Biting her lip, she pushed back tears, they had worked so hard to raise the money for this, she couldn’t let them see her cry now. She tensed the muscles in her forearms, her newly printed prosthetic fingers rippling, the metallic plating of her bionic joints forming open mouths with each movement. The synthetic smoothness, the lack of feedback. She tried to grip the curtain, to pull it back and face her excited family. The plastic fabric ripped, breaking free of the thin plastic hooks, crumpling before her, falling in a slumped pile of torn hopes.
Tender horror leached through his gut, writhing and squirming with each hollow footstep. The room was full of silent, staring people. His head swam as he looked around, barely recognising their washed out faces, their disconnected eyes. They were all waiting, he had to go first.
He walked along the gap between the chairs, the marbled floor resonating each step around the carved rafters. Few gazes met his, soft music cut through hidden speakers, the happy tone only adding to the heavy atmosphere. Swathes of fabric began to rustle behind him as those seated on the back row collected themselves to rise.
Everything drew his attention, everything except the thing ahead of him. He shifted his gaze around him, the checkered floor disappearing under each dragging step.
He’d had a week to prepare himself, and he’d spent it all lost to the world, unable to take anything in. He’d nodded and mumbled his way through the obligatory greetings and taken his seat at the first opportunity. He’d sat through the introduction, the words hanging around him, failing to come together as sentences. Finally, the speaking had stopped, and they’d looked at him, the man stood up at the front, the people sat around him, and there was nothing he could do. He had to get up.
The checkered floor, falling between each foot, came to a raised step. He looked up.
She lay, her eyes closed, soft silk fabric embracing her form. Weight shifting inside him. The edges of her lips were curved in the faintest smile.
The one he knew so well.
It hurt so much more than all the horror he had imagined. Reeling, he glanced at her hands, resting on the loose fabric of her dress. There, he saw it, the grip of death.
I love this contest, the prompt is always such amazing artwork <3 I had so very many ideas for this one, but I have been getting such bad hand pain I haven't been able to write them down, I manage to start things, then my hands hurt, and it slips away, it's like some kind of insane torture. Did someone curse me? This feels like curse levels of effective punishment, oh curserer, please uncurse me and free me from this pain that isn't at all related to too much time using keyboards/mice and my phone. (also, I am so sorry I am doing a rubbish job at replying to people right now because of this curse fiasco, so many half started comments and replies, but have to pace myself on how much I can do in a day right now <3) But woo bionics!!
Artwork by @vermillionfox who tirelessly shares these to inspire us every week <3