“Your Hands” – A Story by Halsted M. Bernard

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your hands

About ten years ago, I became a zombie. I got better, of course, but it was a scary time for me. (Zombies can feel fear. It’s a revelation, I know.)

About ten years ago, I picked a scab and became a zombie. It was such an innocent, childish thing, that scab-picking, and as a result I contracted a massive staph infection that hung on for months and impacted every aspect of my life.

In fact, it might have been the trigger for my adult-onset celiac disease. It is impossible to know, but since my myriad problems surrounding gluten began shortly after the several courses of antibiotics I had to take to kill off the staph, it is a distinct possibility.

About ten years ago, when I became a zombie, I wrote a lot so I didn’t go insane. It’s one thing to have your body stolen and corrupted, and another entirely to lose your mind too. Something I wrote during that dark time was published this spring in Map Literary. It’s called “Your Hands” and here is an excerpt:

You know the dark continent on the outside of your left ankle. You know its terrain, terrain that must not be touched except with ointment and bandages, terrain that cannot stand to be covered by socks or shoes. You know what lives there, the unseen enemy you fight carefully, gingerly, engaging it in the shower with the high-pressure setting, holding the metal head in your better hand, aiming the boiling water and cringing as it hits.

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