Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reflections on having only one arm

I don’t expect to be broken. It just doesn’t happen to me that often. Generally speaking, my body and I have a deal: I don’t ask too much of it, and in return it does what I ask.

Going without an arm for a week has been an unpleasant revelation. I wouldn’t have thought it would make that much difference. I mean, how many things do you really need both hands for? It’s not like I make my living swinging an axe or anything...

Yeah. Try it sometime. Turns out you use your other hand for an unbelievable amount of sorting and steadying and keeping things in place, even when you’re not doing something explicitly two-handed, like typing. (At least, I do. I don’t know, maybe there are people who don’t?) Getting my keys out and finding the one for my car door was a nightmare; it was actually easier to drop the key ring and then pick it back up by the correct key. Opening a can of Coke was a near-disaster. Washing dishes was almost impossible. And I could keep adding things to that list for another hour, maybe longer.

I'm lucky. I got my arm back. But Claire's right about one thing: I have to be more careful. The stuff we're using is dangerous. And yes, we have some tricks that normal people don't - but there's no guarantee that everything can be put back the way it was.

Which brings me back - cautiously, I suppose - to becoming a Watcher. I'm still at it. I haven't screwed anything else up. And I haven't yet been called upon to do anything more unpleasant than spy on my fellow believers and a few random outsiders... but I'm sure that's coming. I'm not sure how I'll handle it when it does. With the snake cult, it was... I don't know, not self-defense exactly, but it seemed kind of justified since they were killing us as well. I don't think it's going to be the same if I'm asked to take out one of our own people, oathbreaker or not.

So that's one of my big concerns. The other - that the Watchers and the Elders will want to know about how we travel through the place of mists - hasn't come up so far. I think there's a sort of informal truce in place on the topic: right now Claire and I are both tight with them, and so they're safe. I suspect they're worried - rightly - that if they pushed us about it, we might do something rash... like run away again, or even share our trick with Claire's people. There's a sort of balance of power that's preserved by the current arrangement.

Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real-world cults or medical conditions is entirely coincidental.

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