HE ASKED ME TO give something up, something that mattered.  I had no money, so I offered my right hand.

He cocked his eyebrow, wondering if I was serious.

‘I have nothing else,’ I said.



He chopped it off without warning, using a cutlass that flashed once.

There was no pain at first, just my hand on the ground, a spreading puddle of blood, and a squirting stump.

Then…I saw whole constellations of agony, a multi-headed stabbing sensation crawling up my forearm.


Whenever I thought the pain had reached apogee I was elevated to new heights of suffering. Yet, I did not scream.

He knelt, scooped up the hand, wrapped it in oilskin and left by the back door.

Then, sure of my privacy, I screamed.


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