2. The Claw of the Man (part 4)

          “Three days later, I woke up in a bed at a local inn. My father was snoring in a chair at my side. I didn’t want to wake him, so I laid back down, staring at the dark ceiling, wondering how I was still alive. When he awoke, I sat up slowly, and we stared at each other for a moment, the silence enveloping our existence. Then, we found ourselves in a tight embrace. I cried into his shoulder when I realized that I had lost my right hand, my sword hand ─  all that was left was a bloody stump in a bandage. How would I fight, or even protect myself, now? Why had I listened to that glory-seeking voice? I had been so stupid! I felt as if my life was over, but really, it was only just beginning.

          “That afternoon, we set sail again, and I was charged with two weeks of agonizing bed rest. I wasn’t allowed to help man the ship, not even when five of the men caught pneumonia from working out in the rain tomorrow and we were low on staff. The most I was permitted to do was take a daily stroll around the main deck to help me stay strong, then I had to rest. I do say that the only good that came from those two accursed weeks was that I learned how to take care of myself with one hand, but the boredom was almost more than I could bear. Luckily, my father allowed me to accompany the crew to the market in the next city we stopped in. While I was distracted by my change of surroundings, my father was on a little quest of his own. He hired a blacksmith and a scientist to create a mechanical hand, which he had designed for my use, instead of giving me a standard hook. It cost him a great deal of gold and silver, but like I said, he truly did care for me and wanted the best for his son.

          “Once it was finished, he lead me to the blacksmith's shop, telling me that he had a surprise for me. I was hopping up and down with excitement, but the second I laid eyes on my new hand, my blood ran colder than a mountain snowstorm. You see, my father had designed this hand to look like bear claws, metal bear claws. Flashbacks of the fight swam through my brain, I might have passed out if he hadn’t urged me forward to try it on. The strange object fit perfectly to my arm, unfortunately I had no control over the movement of my new fingers. They just flopped around whenever I moved my arm. My father, wiser than he might have appeared, had expected this, so he then took me to a physician who had access to the latest technology and left his pocket as empty as a fool’s noggin. I went under an excruciatingly painful surgical operation that evening; my father never left my side once. After many tears had been shed and screams of agony cried, the surgery was over, and I could move my sharp metal claws."

The End

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