The Limb

Michael Bazzett

The question wasn't whether to tell them about his extra limb, but how. 

Words failed him, of course.  He'd never told anyone beyond his Aunt Ursula.

Her only accommodation had been to acknowledge it in her knitting.  The result was the limb stayed warm in winter, but remained unmentioned in blended company.  This arrangement might not have garnered approval from child psychologists, but it developed in William a keen sense of the unspoken.

Surprisingly, scouting trips hadn't been a problem.  But as he neared manhood, he naturally wished to mix with others.  Autumn found him in a clearing in the sunstruck woods.  Yellow leaves fluttered in the light as William tried out possible openings,

"Have you ever wondered how—"

"Don't tell me you've never seen —"

"What would you say if I told you—"

When a cloud crossed the face of the sun and it grew suddenly cold, he unknotted his limb-sweater and took it out. 

He stood still for a moment.  Then he rocked his body over its unusual fulcrum and started.  The motion was surprisingly fluid.  He moved like a bent wheel, hurling himself forward until he was spinning among the trees with astonishing power.