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DECOY by Chris Harris
SUMMARY: Do we really know who anyone really is. Indeed, do we really know who we ourselves are ? - This story looks at one possibility.
It was one of those rare English summer days when the sun actually shone. In fact it had been shining now for three consecutive days, and that afternoon was delightfully calm and dream-like.
I'd been working in the garden, rather more idle than industriously, drifting aimlessly through the afternoon as it moved towards evening.
Standing at the bench towards the rear of the garage, I was tidying some tools I'd used earlier in the day. From this position, I was able to see a thin slice of my neighbour's garden through a small window, which itself lay hidden admidst an old and densely overgrown lilac tree.
With uncharacteristic vigour, my somewhat obese neighbour was skipping across the lawn towards an electric mower. The machine had been left unattended and had begun to snare its own cable as it moved.
Hurriedly arriving at the scene, my neighbour foolishly clasped at the cable just as it became caught in the rotor. Automatically my eyes slammed shut in horror as the sounds of the spinning mower blades altered and then stopped.
In the silence, long seconds passed. I'd absolutely no stomach for accidents, but realized that my help was probably all there was at close hand. I slowly opened one eye. With caution I opened the other one, and then let them both focus on the scene.
My first impression as I recall, was that I must be dreaming. I'd experienced similar feelings just twice before in my life, one was at the sighting of a UFO, and the other was after having seen a ghost. Both these encounters had left me with a feeling of unreality, for although I'd never discounted either phenomena, actually seeing them, was quite another matter.
Out of the garage window, and unseen by my neighbour, I was witness to an incomprehensible event. There was no blood. There was no unconscious man or pain stricken face. Instead there was a man on his hands and knees, stuffing fingers and bits of fingers, into his trouser pockets.
Across the lawn he scurried, furtively secreting disembodied digits into his pockets. Every so often he'd pause, look around to see if he'd been observed, and then carry on.
Suddenly the whole event had passed. All evidence had been removed, and a kind of tranquility returned. My neighbour had now left the mower in the garden, and returned to his house for purposes unknown.
I felt an urge to run inside and tell my wife, but what could I say. Instead, I left the garage, and in a daze, found myself standing on my side of the fence, next to the scene of the accident.
What was happening here? Could it be that I'd never noticed Bob's artificial hand. We'd played cards on many occasions, and just last week he'd helped me with a very intricate job on the car; nothing made sense.
With a start, my concentration was shattered with the sensation of something tugging at my knee. Leaping back from the fence, I feared that a bee night have been resting between its uneven panels and was about to sting me.
I wish it had been a bee.