Clip from “Handprints”

June 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Handprints coverHere is a clip from the summer fiction writing class I’m taking. I have mixed feelings about the class, and I’m not sure I’m getting my money’s worth, but nonetheless, I have produced something.

They are standing in an empty room, save for the steel table and its covered contents. There are no instruments on the clean metal trays that line the counters behind them, nothing to indicate the purpose of the room except for the labels on the cupboards betraying their contents. Heidi has removed the clay from her bag, preformed into an oval the shape of a human hand. They both reach for the box of nitrile gloves at the same time and laugh nervously as they try to decide who will get the first pair. Hannah’s hands are damp with perspiration, making it difficult to don them properly. As she pulls on the glove there is a quiet popping sound; it has torn in half, leaving her holding two useless pieces of plastic. She wipes her hands on her pant legs and hurriedly grabs another glove before Heidi can see her hands shaking. She can’t explain this sudden trembling and sweating that goes beyond the typical case of nerves before seeing a dead body.

I’m afraid, Hannah realizes. She doesn’t know what lies beneath that white sheet in the center of the room except what she has heard on the news. She’s a girl, she’s her own age, and she was murdered.

Hannah tries to remember the last time she has heard that work, murdered. She has heard of people being killed, shot, stabbed, beaten in the bold black and white block letters of the headlines. This is the first time she can remember hearing that word.


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