Human (Flash Fiction)

Susanne opened the front door for Bob, and he walked in. He took slow steps, quiet steps, and made his way to the living room. Susanne touched his shoulder as she passed him in the hallway. “Brian,” she said. “We’re home. Come see your father’s new hand.”

Bob froze. He saw the hair covered head dart along the other side of the couch. From the corner of his eye, Bob saw the hand clench and react. The feeling was horrendous, as if the hand of someone else was now attached to his arm. He thrust the combination of metal and plastic behind his back.

Brian paused in the doorway. His eyes scanned. “Where is it?” he asked.

Bob was silent. He looked to Susanne who only shrugged with her eyebrows. “I, it’s,” Bob stammered.

“He’s nervous, Brian,” Susanne said.

Brian’s face became a question. “Nervous from what?”

“I can’t throw ball anymore,” Bob said. “I mean, not yet I can’t. It’s gonna take a long time, a lotta practice before we can play catch.”

Brian shifted his weight. “That’s okay,” he said. “Can I see your new hand?”

Bob sighed quietly to himself. He slowly brought the mechanical wonder out in front of him. The gray plastics and black metals made subtle movements. Bob tried his best to keep it still, but it moved anyway. He forced his eyes away from his missing form and looked at his son.

“Cool!” Brian shouted. He ran to his father and stopped inches from the prosthetic. He reached his own hands up. “Can I touch it?”

Bob shrugged. “Sure.”

Brian ran his fingers slowly over the metal fingers and rubbery palm. He looked closely at the bends of the knuckles. He smiled when one of the fingers twitched. “Can you make it open and close?”

Bob was frozen briefly, lost in the sight of not feeling the touch of his son. When he came to, he saw nothing but amazed eyes and a bursting smile. He made the hand flex open and shut. He rolled the fingers up and down and wiggled the thumb.

“Awesome!” Brian shouted. “This is so cool!” Brian searched the hand frantically. “Does it have a gun?”

“No,” Bob said, a small smile creeping onto his face. “We could put a laser pointer on it, I guess.”

“Freakin’ lasers! Awesome!” Brian jumped into his father’s arms and gave him a hug. Bob hugged him back, hugged him tight, and did it with both hands.

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