Phantom Pains

[3 Min Read]

A young man hung his head despairingly under the flow of a showerhead. Warm water struck his scalp and raced down his face. The fragrance of the lavender candle his girlfriend had bought floated through the misty air. She said it was supposed to be soothing, but he still felt far from at ease. It had been six months since the accident, but it was still so hard to let go.

He raised his right arm and examined the stump at the end of his elbow. It had healed well but still felt so alien. The doctor called what he felt ‘Phantom Limb Syndrome.’ Whatever it was, it only made it worse. Like his brain had some sort of agenda to rub his stupid mistake in even more.

The young man slapped a switch on the wall with his left arm, and the water ceased. Throwing open the frosted glass door, he stepped out of the shower and snagged a towel off the nearby rack. Without thinking, he stretched out his right arm to wipe the fog off the mirror. He grimaced and shook his head slightly.

‘Right,’ he thought, throwing the towel over his shoulder to free up his left arm. But after glancing back at the mirror, he took an uneasy step back.. A single handprint had broken up the fog. A right-hand print.

He tentatively reached his right arm out a second time and pointed his stump at the mirror. A second print appeared next to the first. Wiggling his arm, the print acted in turn, smearing the condensation in front of his face. In the new patch of bare mirror, the young man spotted his reflection staring back at him, his right hand held outstretched in front of him, clear as day.


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