Short Story
                                     Pieces
                                                   By Andy Mee

   It was the last time she’d ever open a package and see a severed finger.  
This was the tenth, the last.  She closed the box calmly, put it in the cupboard
under the stairs, where she put all such packages, and whistling ‘Happy
Valleys’, she continued with the cleaning (it was such a mess after all).  She’d
ring Detective Ellams later.

   It had been so long since Henry had started his gradual journey home,
courtesy of the postal-service, she hardly flinched when the packages arrived
these days.  She presumed that soon there’d be no more of Henry left for ‘the
cutters’ to send.  He must have pissed someone off pretty bad, she supposed.

   The first package had caused her empty stomach to lurch for many days
after.  That first foul moment, as she ran the key down the spine of the brown
tape breaking the seal and pulling back the cardboard wings, she’d looked
straight into the blue iris of the single bloated eye, as it stared straight back
at her.  She had known straightaway it belonged to him; ‘Old Blue Eyes’, she’
d called him when they were young.  Panic-stricken, arms flailing and lashing,
she’d accidentally knocked the box over and had seen the eye half-roll, half-
lurch out of the box and slap down, onto the hardwood of the kitchen table,
still looking up at her.

   Eileen, staring right back at it, coughed out choke-rasping monosyllables,
W ...H ...B ... , as she’d passed-out, hitting her head on the marble floor (you
could still see the scar where she’d made contact if you looked close enough
above her left eyebrow, but Eileen Fulas covered it with a concealer make-up
so it went largely unnoticed).  Eileen lay stone-cold as warm blood ran down
her temple, puddling on the white mopped marble.  Above, Henry’s bloated
eye surveyed the kitchen surfaces.

   When Eileen woke, jerking to her knees and scrambling out of the kitchen,
vomiting bile (good job she was having trouble eating, she’d thought), she’d
hack-sobbed uncontrollably until she had recovered enough to phone
Detective Ellams and pant her way through the morning’s delivery.

   Ellams’ arrived later that morning, sometime after the blue uniforms.  He
sent the package to the forensics, but Eileen didn’t need the experts to tell
her: it was Henry.  She was sure.  In rare cases, Ellams said, fingers had
been mailed, but these were usually after an initial refusal to meet ransom
demands.  There had been no ransom note in her box.  There had been
nothing... except his eye, left to roll in its box, as it made its way to Walkington
Drive, coming home.

   Eileen wanted an end to it now, and, as she handed the latest package to
the blue-uniformed collector from the precinct (it gave new meaning to giving
someone the finger, she supposed), Eileen Fulas prayed that ‘the cutters’
start sending bigger chunks of her husband special-D so that she might,
finally, have him back.
                    
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.