John Maggs was feeling terrible, but that was normal for this time of the morning. Twenty minutes before, his alarm clock had once again mercilessly torn him from the sweet veil of slumber, into the pre-dawn gloom. Dragging his slightly corpulent self out of bed, he had, as usual, gone to the vicious torture chamber masquerading as the gym down the street.
Live Till Eighty is a great exercise program to stay healthy, he thought to himself. But did it have to decree that you must exercise in the morning?
Because it was lower body day, John was seated at the leg raise machine looking out over the pool. He liked looking at the pool early in the morning, without anyone in it. It formed a huge mirror for the industrial ceiling of the gym. Staring at the interesting patterns in an endorphin fuelled haze gave him a strange visceral satisfaction.
John strained to lift his eighth repition, and collapsed back into the machine, furiously rubbing his aching quadriceps. Only three more sets to go, he thought to himself. Lapsing into a semi-comatose daze, he stared out over the pool as usual.
That's strange, he thought, Look at how the patterns over there look almost like a hand, with the little finger... After blinking and rubbing his eye, he stared at the pool with an overwhelming sense of shock and revulsion.
It was a hand!
Floating all on its own, trailing a pink cloud of semi-dissolved blood, the hand slowly drifted from one side of the pool to the other like some macabre carnival float.
John saw a movement in the far corner of the ceiling from the corner of his eye. His gaze snapped to it. Normal ceiling. The same thing that he saw reflected in the pool every day.
His eyes reluctantly creeped back to the pool, only to see that the disembodied hand was gone. The pool was the same empty expanse of blue that it was every morning. He thought that he should maybe have a quick snack tomorrow before coming to gym. This exercising on an empty stomach was doing things to him.
Just a small snack, only one donut.
Or maybe two.