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My severed arm.

My severed arm. published on

One of the DSH samples I ordered the other day was “Special Formula X,” which you’re supposed to be able to use to test your skin type – if it smells “green,” the Lord God meant you to wear sweet, vanilla-y stuff; if it smells flowery, you’re one of those smug neroli types; etc.

The problem being that my arms both smell different.

My left wrist smells burnt, which means amber and spicy stuff, while my right is faintly sweet, indicating light florals. It is as if my body were at war with itself. Examining my right arm closely, I discover something I had never noticed before – a faint, jagged white scar just below my shoulder, below which my flesh seems slightly tighter.

Since I was young my right hand has tended, without any conscious thought on my part, to draw erratic, looping borders around a piece of paper or a desktop when left at rest for long. I had disallowed myself from putting these patterns to paper for many years up until recently recently, upon the urging of my calligraphy instructor at Miskatonic University who feels that my grip on the pen is too tight and controlled.

At first I simply drew wide loops bordering the page, but for several weeks – since around the night I saw the deer – I have felt confined to the outer corners of the page, filling the upper right with tight, thickly-knitted-together loops that I then fill in partly – a sort of shading, though the patterns have no depth – before withdrawing and concentrating on the lower right. I feel uncomfortable allowing these drawings to overlap with my handwriting. It seemed to me upon rising very early yesterday morning, having again heard the deer, that the shading might move over the course of the day – but of course upon examining my many pages full of such drawings, this proved simply to be a dream. The position of the shadows bore no relation to that of our sun.

I have identified a particular set of loops that my hand is particularly comfortable drawing – they resemble a pair of eyes, and while most often are on their own and independent of context, I sometimes seem insert them into a girl’s face. She is the only pattern that I can find no way to shade. I have begun to look around myself for her, because I surely know the details of her face very well, and I know that she is sick. She must be real; I’ve seen her someplace, though I’m sure I don’t know her name.

Perhaps I will find my answers in the dining hall. Where the sauteed spinach is.

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