Why They’re Called Hands

A pair of hands can tell a story; some happy, some dark.

Jack Kern

A pair of hands can tell a story; some happy, some dark.

Jack Kern, Staff Writer

I came home from school that day, and my mom and dad weren’t there. At first I was scared, but then I remembered that they had told me that they would be home after dark. I waited patiently on the stool by the window, looking out into cornfields that stretched out to the horizon. The hands on the clock continued to move. A slow and steady tick-tock filled the room.

It soon began to rain and the dust that layered over the road soon became a thin and uneven layer of mud. I felt afraid.

Bad things always happened when it rained.

Mom and dad had never been gone for this long before. I stayed still though; I knew they’d be home soon. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if they didn’t. Would I be left by myself forever? Would I ever see a human face again? I became lost in the possibilities. I didn’t dare move. The house was frightening when it was dark out.

I looked down at the palms of my hands. They were soft and small. I flexed and wiggled my tiny, fragile fingers and examined them, confused. I flipped them over and made fists, staring at my knuckles as they extruded slightly. I had never taken the time to truly observe my hands and their properties.

I began to see a stream of light resonating at the corner of the window. I peeked around the corner to see they came from the headlights of my dad’s car. He pulled into our dirt driveway, the thin wheels of the automobile creaking as they came to a halt. The rain weighed heavily down on the car’s silken retractable roof. The raindrops made tingling sounds as they collided with the vehicle’s hood grate. The driver’s side door swung open, and my father emerged, dressed in a white tuxedo shirt, a black tie, and a black vest. The rain trickled off of his already wet hair and dripped down to the ground.  Where was his jacket, he would freeze out there.

I glanced down to his hands. His knuckles were bruised and there was stained red gauze wrapped around the palm of his left hand.

He stormed to the other side of the car. Something wasn’t right; he was angry.

Oh no, not again.

He reached into the car, pulling my mother out by her arm. She wore a flowing navy blue dress that reached down to her ankles. Her dirty blonde hair was tied into a messy bun her makeup streamed down her cheeks. She held an almost blank expression on her face; and she too was drenched in the downpour. Her feminine hands were bleeding. I saw the red liquid running down from a wound in her upper arm. My mother was practically dragged behind my father as he aggressed towards the front door. I could hear the faint screams through the glass of the window.

I panicked and turned to run downstairs. But then I remembered, a greater danger lied down those steps. I was trapped between two unspeakable punishments, neither of which would ever leave. Neither of which would never forgive. I would always hear noises coming from down there at night. I would tell dad about it the following mornings, but he would always claim I was having a nightmare. I didn’t want whatever it was down there to get me.

I remained in place, and let my vision wander down to my hands once again.

What? What happened?

What was once clean and innocent was now mangled, bruised, and bloodied. I looked back up to see my father smashing through the door, my mother stumbling in behind him. Neither of them showed acknowledgment of my existence. Dad went straight for the basement door. Mom told me to go upstairs, to not look.

I didn’t want to. What was dad going to do to her? He wasn’t always like this. His hands used to care for me and my mother; they used to nurture and comfort us.

I reached out to my mother, taking hold of her hand. The blood from our wounds combined with one another and mixed our palms. The moment we made contact, I felt something. Something I had never felt before. The world froze around me; a voice echod in my head. I could talk to it.

Stop, that’s enough.


Listen to me, child. Your father isn’t who he says he is.

What? How did y-

This is a dream.

A flash of light.

I sit up in the bed, panting, sweat trickling down my forehead. I quickly check my hands. They are back to their smooth and unknowing state.

Something is different.

Feint scars are littered about my palms and fingers where all the old wounds were before.

I bury my face in my hands, not in sorrow, but confusion. What did that mean?

Oh, wait.

I lift my head, throbbing.


I slide out of bed, and run to the basement.