So my inspiration for the following story is artist Daniel Canogar’s piece Hide 2. The portrait was created by inscribing many different fingerprints ( all from different people) digitally; the prints blurred and overlapped creating only partial prints.When I looked at it, it made me think of big mixing pot were everyone was mixed together by their finger prints. So I decided to write a story where the melting pot was literal.
“Don’t go near it!” My mother said. But they were so enticing to a child. They were calling to me, literally. The landmass that we lived on, was bounded by a sea of an unknown substance. The murky mixture was also a combination of whatever fell into it: wood, metal, animals, and even humans. My mother always wondered why the sea didn’t gobble up the land and everything on it. For fun, kids would poke sticks into the mixture and watched as they slowly disassociated and faded away. They also liked to return at night and listen to the voices, while they told ghost in front of a fire they made from flashlights. The mixture wasn’t a stagnant body, but it flowed like a river does to the sea. If by luck, various pieces and particles would flow together and form a makeshift mouth, or something that resembled it. When that happened, you could hear a broken cry for help or a tortured moan. The children also liked to watch for fingers and hands that peeked out from the surface seeking something sturdy to grasp. Some children would run and hide, but the braves ones taunted the fingers and hands with outstretched branches that were just out of reach. The fingers and hands frantically jerked to even graze the branches. They laughed and chatted as they taunted these lost entities.
That was how I got pulled in. I remember the hand that I was taunting had a good grip. I didn’t let go thinking I could pull something out of the mixture. Maybe a dog with human limbs or vise versa, or a metallic hamster or a wooden rabbit that rocked instead of hopped. The strength of the hand overtook my own.
At first, I fell forward onto the bank, my hands dangling just above the surface. Whatever I was taunting sought retribution. It grabbed one of my hands, and slowly dragged it under. It seemed whatever entity, that had possessed the hand, had fade away soon after it submerged my hand elbow deep. I quickly pulled my hand out, hoping I was OK. I hadn’t lost any fingers. I shook the water off.
Instead of loosing a finger, I had gained one. From my elbow downward, my hand was not encased by skin any longer.
From my elbow to my wrist, my hand was covered by a thin almost sheer muslin like cloth. Most of my skin had dissolved, and under the cloth you could see my tiny muscles ribbed with veins. My new sixth finger was made from the remnants of a lizard’s tail, it wiggled like it had a life of its own. Three of my other fingers were now made of wood, another finger was made of copper and my thumb was made of a blue unidentifiable material. All my finger nails were made of glass and my hand was made of cardboard.
I start to cry. Mother will be angry.