It’s that spooky time of year, folks, and Asylum is no exception. Cait and I have been tossing around some myths, legends, and tall tales told on long, dark nights around various cultures’ homes. This one came to me (unhappily enough) in the shower this morning. So instead of trying to go to bed with creeping fingers on the brain, I decided to jot it down and share. Your choice if it’s a trick or treat.
It comes on spindly limbs, arms that become legs, legs that become arms, as they tumble over one another towards you. Fingers just as thin, just as long, stretch from the reaching arms, brushing against an invisible force. They dance delicately over the surface, testing, probing, as an eyeless face looks you over. If you are lucky, your parents have hidden you in caps shaped like monkeys and ducks, mitts like leaping fishes, jumpers with silly faces that distract from your own. If they’ve armed you with things that rattle and beep, that flash and whirr and distract, the hand will lift, pause, then fall away. The hand will transforming as it falls to the ground, arms becoming legs as it skitters away.
But if your parents have dressed you sensibly, in little flats and slacks, sweaters and dresses, tiny miniatures of their own… If they have given you nothing to defend yourself with, nothing to shake or twist or hold… The hand will lift. Pause. Then fall. The fingers will brush over whispy curls and flushed cheeks and chubby fingers, reaching out to chase what is being stolen. It will not return to you what it takes, what your tiny hands open and close for. Instead, it will hand you a ball, shining and silver and translucent, and you will put it in your mouth, as all young children do. You will breathe it in through a button nose and angel bow lips, as the noseless and lipless face breathes in the thing your hands no longer reach for.
And late in the night, when the yard is dark, and the house is still…
It will come back for the rest.