16 Oct Alien Hand Syndrome
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"Alien Hand Syndrome"Written by
Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
Alright, it’s working. My name is S______ and if you are reading this, then you are probably the police or some mental health professional, investigating my recent actions. Let just apologize in advance for any weird grammar errors, as I’m actually writing this on some pirated voice recognition software, and I haven’t really had time to calibrate it. What follows may not seem believable to you, and could all be the product of a disordered mind on my part, but there’s enough circumstantial evidence to make me believe what I will have done was the only rational solution.
It all started about 8 weeks ago, when I was in a major car crash. To my credit, I wasn’t the one driving. To my discredit, I also wasn’t wearing my seat belt. Not that I’m sure it would’ve helped. It was an older model car and the other guy t-boned us on the passenger side. My friend, the driver, escaped with some bruised ribs and some scrapes. Me, I suffered compound fractures in my right hand and forearm, massive bruises all up and down my right side, several deep cuts on my forehead and most disturbingly, a subdural hematoma. I’m told I was a mess when they brought me into the ER, but the doctors did there job as best they could, and I survived. Well, maybe they did their job as best they could. I’m starting to have doubts about it.
When they sent me home to recover a couple days later, I had several very expensive screws and plates in my arm, a prescription for some lovely painkillers, a lovely shaved head with small patch where they’d opened the skull to relieve the pressureand a cast thick enough to play baseball with. I would spend the next couple days in a drug filled stupor, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom, listening to either daytime or late night TV or dozing off into odd dreams.
It was about a week later when I first noticed it. I didn’t have a whole lot of feeling back in my hand yet, as the nerves had taken a hell of a beating and were still mostly numb. However, it’s kind of hard not to notice when your fingers decide to start twitch on their own. And I’m not talking the odd muscle spasm or cramp we all get from time to time, I’m talking full blown clenching and unclenching and moving side to side. The strangest part was I couldn’t feel it at all. It didn’t register in my brain that it was moving. It was like the hand belonged to someone else. This continued for a couple minutes before subsiding.
Over the next couple days, it seemed to spread through the rest of my fingers, though all but my index and thumb were immobilized by the cast. Still, I could feel them torquing against the cast for a couple moments, some dull pain in my hand and then the movements would subside. I decided to chalk it up to the interaction of the painkillers I’d been taking and various psychiatric drugs I had been on for years. It didn’t seem to be a problem, and honestly it was kind of cool. Very dissociative and trippy.
It was about 10 days after it started that I woke up in the middle of the night to an intense stabbing pain in my forearm. I fumbled for the light stand next to my bed, panicked and when I flipped it on, it was several seconds before I regained composure enough to start tring to figure out what had happened. The first thing I noticed was a small trickle of blood from the bottom of the cast. Several other bloody spots had started to form on the cast, all in a line down my arm from hand. When I looked back to the bed, I saw several spots of blood about where my arm had been resting, along with something else. It was very small, and I had to pick it up and bring it over to the light to get a better look. When I finally realized what it was, I was so startled I dropped it, and it hit the nightstand and rolled off the surface and behind the headboard. It was a single, bloody screw, similar to one the doctors had shown me after my surgery to explain what they’d done to set my bones.
I was back at the hospital ER the next morning. Turn out a bloody cast will get you pretty high up on the priority chart and I was seen almost immediately. Doctors examined the bloody spots and listened to my story, but their skeptical looks told me I wasn’t getting the benefit of the doubt here. Finally, after some hemming and hawing, they ended up cutting the cast off to examine the arm closer. When they did, it was revealed that I had a long, thin scratch from the base of my wrist down to where the cast ended. That gave them pause, but they said something about not taking proper care and letting something get in the cast. My story about the bloody bone screw was chalked up to a vivid dream brought on by the painkillers. They did seem a bit startled by an odd bruise in my palm, but in the end, they simply reapplied the cast and sent me back home, this time with with a bottle of tylenol.
The next week and a half saw the weirdness of the whole situation increase. My hand was twitching almost hourly now, and the free thumb and index finger would sometimes pinch me, as if possessed of a mind of their own. Thats when I decided to get a second opinion from the hypochondriac’s handbook, the internet. It didn’t take long before I’d managed to track down my symptoms to a very specific condition, that of Alien Hand Syndrome. This extremely rare condition usually follows some sort of brain trauma, and is characterized by a complete dissociation from the activities of the given limb. These activities can include various rude gestures, violent acts or other inappropriate motions. The condition is sometimes thought to be brought about by a suppressed personality taking control of the limb. Needless to say, this scared me shitless, especially when I found that there was no known treatment for the condition.
At the same time, more weirdness ensued while I slept. Every other morning or so, I’d awaken to feel something jabbing me in the thigh, and reach down to find another bloody bone screw. However, the trail of blood would now lead back to the open end of the cast just past my finger tips, and there was no visible blood beyond a few drops on the cast. I still hadn’t regained much feeling in the hand or forearm, and was now starting to seriously about what was going on. A return trip to the hospital didn’t help at all, as I was told that I was being unrealistic. Alien Hand Syndrome, they said, was extremely unlikely with the type of brain injury I’d sustained. They were, however, concerned with new x-rays of my hand, which showed that the bones were not healing quickly, and they began discussing the possible need for a second surgery to re-set them. I didn’t even bother showing them the bag of bloody screws, now number a dozen, that I’d brought with me. I’m sure they’d have rationalized that away as well, despite the odd bruising on my hand when they replaced the cast yet again.
The next couple weeks are when thing started getting downright terrifying. More screws showed up in my bed, along with two bloody metal plates pushed out the bottom of the cast, always while I was sleeping, until I was pretty sure that every piece of metal that had been put into my arm had been accounted for. And thats when spasms started to get really bad. There wasn’t any pain, as I’d lost the feeling in the arm, but it was still noticeable. It seemed like the arm would pulse along it’s entire length, and sometimes I could hear faint organic squishing noises coming from inside the cast. This coincided with the hand itself really starting to act up. It seemed to have gained control of my arm up to the elbow, and it would now raise itself up and knock things off my desk, jam itself against the door to stop me from opening it, or even scratch gouges in my thigh.
I eventually resorted to using a homemade splint of duct tape and lengths of pipe to immobilize the arm. I’d cover the hand in several layers of socks to keep the exposed fingers from being able to find and bite flesh between it’s nails. Oh, I’d forgotten about the nails. The nails on the exposed hand, they always seemed to be too long. I’d tried trimming them for awhile, but they’d always grow back the next morning. When the fingers started to seriously avoid the clippers, I just gave up. That had been the initial logic behind the socks, but it was also what some people may refer to guy logic. “Out of sight, out of mind.” comes close to the logic, but there was also an element of blind hope. Hope that it would miraculously solve itself.
I couldn’t maintain a normal sleep schedule anymore, thanks to the odd noises and spasms coming from my arm. I would often awaken after passing out somewhere in the house to feel the hand straining against its bonds. What was more worrying was that it seemed to be getting stronger, while the weird noises and movements had gotten worse. I wasn’t able to see the doctor anymore. It was partly fear of what they might find and partly fear of what might happen if that arm somehow managed to get loose when I was driving a car. So I simply waited. Waited for the other shoe to drop.
That all culminated in what happened last night. Well, this morning technically. I awoke in the middle of the night, to an odd series of stimuli. The sound of scratching fingernails and peeling tape. The feeling of my arm being torqued by something. I didn’t want to turn on the light. But I did. I’m not sure why. I think I already knew, generally what I would see.
The sock tapped to the end of the cast were still there. Except there was now a hole through them. Extending through the hole was a single finger. Well, it had once been a finger, my finger. what it was now, I don’t think there’s a word for. It looked my a normal finger, with a neatly trimmed nail, a healthy skin color, unswollen and unblemished except for some short hairs on each phalanx between the joints. All two dozen or so. It was now easily over a foot and a feet long, and was was articulated like no hand on earth ever had been. It had bent backwards over the hand, forming a nauseating loop of flesh, and was scratching at the edges of the tape with that neatly trimmed finger nail trying to peel it loose. It kept at this for maybe 15 seconds as I watched, before it suddenly stopped, and the tip of the finger slowly rose from it’s efforts at freeing itself and pointed at my eyes. No, thats not right. That may have been what it might have looked like objectively, but I knew that it wasn’t pointing at my eyes. it was looking me in the eyes. This hideous, tendril-like appendage was looking me in the eyes.
The next few minutes were a blur. I can only recount snippets. The muscles of my forearm straining against the immobilizing bonds. Me stumbling to my feet, screaming in stark naked terror. The feeling of something else wriggling in the socks over my fingers, the sound of fabric beginning to tear. Me lurching across the room, stumbling and falling to the floor. The sight of rapid movement through the growing hole in the sock. My fingers, MY fingers on MY remaining arm feeling something solid and heavy under their grasp. Another frenzied series of movement, and when time slowed down again, I was slumped on the floor, a heavy wait in my left hand, a screaming pain in my right. I looked down to find a heavy duty Maglight I kept by the side of my bed for nighttime emergencies clutched in hand. Glancing right, I saw what I’d done. My elbow was bent at an odd angle, a series of heavy circular bruises visible where I’d useed the but of the flashlight to shatter it. The sock at the end of my arm was slightly bloody and I could feel a twitching mass inside. The one finger that had worked it’s way out of the sock was writhing on the floor, several joints broken. I’d beaten my fingers to a pulp with the flashlight, but they still had life in them.
I sat for a moment while I regained my wits. I ended up downing a couple of the remaining strong painkillers I had left, and by the time they’d kicked I discovered that the tentacle finger had managed to pull itself back into the sock. Even then, I could still hear the viscous, wet noises coming from inside the cast, and could hear the finger popping as they set the joints I’d dislodged. They’re still at it. I’ve already had to whack them a couple of time with a hammer I grabbed from my toolbox while I’ve been dictating this. I also took a couple swings at the elbow, just to be on the safe side. My arm probably would hurt like hell. But I don’t think I can really call it “My” arm anymore.
See, I think I know what happened. The doctors were right and wrong when they told me my type of injury was not correlated with Alien Hand Syndrome. What they hadn’t taken into account was that it might not have been the injury that caused the problem, but the treatment. You see, what they do when you have a severe subdural hematoma and time is in short supply is basically cut a hole in your head to let the blood out. This is similar to the ancient practice of trepanation, a process that was often used by primitive medicine to let ‘evil spirits’ out of the person. However, this technique was only widely used way before any form of modern medicine or science, because we know better now. Well, maybe we do. The thing currently repurposing one of my extremities begs to differ. But back on topic, since this occurred before our understanding of modern medicine, the patients would often die from a variety of causes before recovering. So, there was never any extensive data on the effects of the process. So, for all we know, it may have let the demons out. The problem is that no one ever did tests to make sure this was a one way street.
Maybe, when they opened my skull to save my life, they accidentally let something into me. Something with malevolent intent that doesn’t follow the laws of reality as we know them. And when they operated on my arm afterwards, the metal screws and plates, combined with the loose blood served as an impromptu ritual to ‘bind’ it to that part of my body for the time being. So it had to work it’s way loose from there. It tore its way free, and started repurposing what flesh it could get at to serve it’s new purpose. I’m not sure, these are only guesses, but I don’t think it matters anymore. It doesn’t really matter if it’s demons, aliens, or whatever. I just want this to end.
I’m filled with a strange sense of calm now. I have a plan, and I’m going to execute it. I know that, whatever is in my arm, it has to be stopped. But I also don’t want to die. I’m not sure offing myself would even help. I don’t think that the thing in my arm really needs me, judging by it’s behavior towards the rest of my body, so suicide or amputation are out. But I’ve hatched a plan. When I started telling this story, it was really just to kill time. When I do this, in order to survive, I need to make sure I’m somewhere people will see me and call for help right away. And thats what helped me arrive at the course of action I’m about to undertake. See, they county is doing some long overdue maintenance on the trees along my street. I can already hear them going at it a couple doors down with chainsaws. Those saws aren’t what interest me, though. What interests me, though, is another piece of equipment they brought with them that I can hear running. A large, industrial grade wood chipper.
If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to tear myself free after it gets to my elbow. And if not…well, I won’t ever have to remember what I’ve been through.
Credit To – Discardable