Since I was a child, I have always felt the need move my hands and fiddle with objects. My parents would always pester me about it, how I couldn't do well with keeping them still and picking up and messing with things.
This affected me in more parts of my life than I would think of. I had difficulty making friends, as I would typically touch and tangle with belongings that weren't my own. This was because I began to grow a intolerable, unrelenting madness when my hands didn't move, even after a short period of time.
The condition became so common after time that, occasionally, I wouldn't even feel or notice my own movements. Others would question curiously as to why my fingers contorted and twisted in conversation, or why I would loudly tap on a desk during a moment of silence. I would only apologize, and say it was just a habit of mine. My parents never saw it as any real issue, as they believed it to be common for my early, energetic youth.
My hands, with no surprise, also had a damaging impact on my process of sleep over the years. The feeling of my fingers became much more noticeable when I would seek rest. They dragged, curled, rapidly spread apart and closed, and did any other possible movements that would interrupt my falling into sleep. Sleeping medication helped to a point, but began to be ineffective when the problem continued to develop.
After years of attempting to cope with the problem, I took on a career that would involve an amount of finger movement, such as typing, in hopes that it would progressively lower my urges. I worked in an office building, and to my surprise, the problem never bothered me as much during the day. I still felt the urges to tighten and stretch my fingers, but it was never an obstacle to any task. I felt like a normal human.
Everything would change at night, when I was alone. The problem always returned far worse, more than I could often handle. It was because of this phenomenon that I began to see the condition as more of a...possession. This sounds completely insane, I know, but my hands seem to come alive in some sort of way when I was alone and exposed. They felt more there, more apparent than any other part of my body.
With my parents out of my life and unable to refuse, I finally went to a doctor with the problem. He couldn't explain what the source of the condition was, as he had never seen an issue that was acquainted with the hands in such a way. He compared it most to "Restless Leg Syndrome", which was classified as urges to move the leg muscles to cease uncomfortable sensations. Had my problem not been as bad as it was, I would have gone by this comparison. My problem was not "urges", however. I was positive that my hands physically moved themselves, that it was something that I had no real control of.
The doctor's only word of advice was to do regular activities that would exercise my hands and fingers, movements that would, in a way, satisfy and possibly remove the urge over time. This only lead to my fingers moving more, taking more control and seeking more attention than before.
I remember a particular night, where I first attempted to physically retrain my own hands, in hopes of sleeping well for the first time in years. I used a roll of duct tape to wrap each hand, forcing each joint and knuckle into a tight, immobile fist.
My hands were hardly stopped. After only minutes, they began to shake under the tape, rubbing against the material in a mix of cold sweat and burns from the friction. I forced my arms down to my sides as I lied on my bed, sweating entirely as my fists began to itch, burn, and ache. They had always felt like some sort of living, controlling being, and I had put it in a cage which it was desperate to be free.
I sawed the tape off with a knife as soon as I felt a pain begin to spread up my wrists, going as far as my upper arms. This horrified me enough to where obeying my hands felt like the greater option.
Once my hands were completely free, they were uncontrollable. They twitched and jerked at a speed that I would not expect the human body to be capable of. The beast that I believed my hands to be were now in a blind rage, with every muscle and bone moving all at once. They moved without my restraint until they began to slow to a stop, stalling as if it were a vehicle empty on fuel. I collapsed on the floor that night, waking up with no feeling in my arms, and not much more everywhere else.
That was the last time I ever attempted to restrain my own hands, but strangely enough, I didn't feel the need to from that point. The unknown condition, after that night, seemed to have left me. I often grew paranoid that it would come back, perhaps worse than before, but my condition appeared to have healed itself. I could still feel my hands as part of my body, but in the same way that I would believe any normal human would. Perhaps the spirit that I thought possessed them became bored, unsatisfied with my suffering, and simply departed. I pondered these ideas, but never fully questioned why it was gone, as I was unmeasurably relieved to have my hands at peace.
A year later, I experienced a nightmare, a dream that was the first sights of the condition since it had ceased.
I had dreamed of my own hands coming to life, rising above me as I awoke from a pleasant sleep. They rapidly rose above my head, pulling my arms along with them until I could feel them crack and break from the stretching. The hands twisted as if trying to escape from my own joints, like my body was their own prison. I felt them beginning to rip away, until they slowly lowered down, both in sync with each other's movements. They moved like they were their own machine, as I could only helplessly watch as they lowered themselves in front of my face, with all fingers extended. Seconds past with no movement or sounds, then both hands clasped around my neck in one motion.
My vision blacked out.
Then, I awoke from the nightmare.
I was drenched in sweat, breathing heavily as anyone would after waking from a horror. I turned my head to look out my window, and saw a full moon in the sky, which streamed light over my face, and most of the room as well. The rest of my body felt still, including my hands. I only stared at my ceiling, in a relieving happiness knowing that what I just experienced had not been reality.
Then, like I had snapped completely awake, I turned my thoughts to something that was moving.
I immediately sensed my hands, but they felt undisturbed. My right hand was the same as it was, with no feelings of movement. The same was for my left hand, except for its index finger. It tapped, slowly, in a calm but noticeable rhythm. It was so consistent that I began to count along with it in my head.
I did this as I was shaking, terrified of what I felt was coming. I viewed each tap of my finger as more of an audible footstep, an invisible being approaching to possess my hands and wreak devastation on my body and sanity. My hand began to occasionally twitch, as the finger continued to tap, and tap.
It wasn't long until the finger began to tap faster, harder. My left middle finger joined in its rhythm, bringing more dread of my approaching suffering. I shook on my bed, still motionless, thinking of what I could do to prevent my hands from springing to life. I had no ideas of bonding them again, as I didn't want to bring on its aggressiveness sooner.
My left ring finger began to tap along, with all three of the fingers now sounding like a light beat of a drum. They continued to grow in speed and strength, with my hand beginning to shake more entirely.
I leaped out of bed and stood to my feet the second my right hand began to move.
I searched around the bedroom, looking for any sort of restraint that could guarantee my safety. I opened my nightstand drawer to find the roll of duct tape, the same that I had used a year ago. I went against my earlier state of mind, and reached for it's use.
The second my right hand touched the tape, a pain shot through it, which continued up my entire arm. I screamed and immediately withdrew.
It was back. Both my hands, angered with my attempted efforts, began to move and contort at their own will. It took much of my strength to keep them down at my sides, which began to rapidly weaken the rest of my body.
I searched for a stronger restraint, until the only real solution came to my mind. I had so long made an effort to restrain, to control the problem I had.
I never had the thought to destroy.
I stumbled to the bathroom, still using much of my energy to keep my hands down. I had trouble opening the door with my hands moving the way they were. Each finger retreated from the doorknob with every reach, fighting to keep me trapped in the bedroom. I managed to get in by using both hands.
I opened only a few drawers in the bathroom until I found the knife I was searching for. My right hand immediately began to reject as soon as I touched it, causing a burning in both my hands that nearly caused me to hesitate with my plan. I didn't hold back for long, as I was determined to not be literally killed by my own hands.
Pain began to spread more throughout my body as I gripped the knife tightly in my right hand. I went down on my left hand first.
I felt no difference in pain when the index finger went first. I slammed the knife down on it with most of the strength I had left to use, and it went with no resistance.
The middle finger wasn't as easy. The knife slammed down on it, but only went halfway through. This may have been because I had less strength to use on the next swing. It went on the second hit.
The ring finger also went with only one swing. Blood began to drain out of my now desecrated hand, and then moved across the counter and onto the floor. Rather than swing down on the pinky, it severed off easily with a few saws of the knife, which took a little less energy than a full swing.
I was just about to move onto the thumb, when I realized the ineffectiveness of my current efforts. I wouldn't be able to cut off my other fingers in the same way, as I wouldn't be able to hold the knife properly. What remained of my left hand continued to spastically flail for life.
I had almost accepted defeat, but I remembered a feature of my apartment: the sink in the kitchen had a powerful garbage disposal unit.
The idea at any other moment would have been utter insanity, but in my state, I was perfectly desperate to make it happen.
I walked slower to the kitchen than I did to the bathroom. Blood continued to stream out of my left hand remains. Pain was raging throughout my body at his point, as my hands punished me for my efforts of escape. It was becoming nearly impossible to keep them down, away from what other damage they could cause.
I arrived in my kitchen, and used my almost uncontrollable right hand to remove the drain filter from the sink. I immediately shoved my entire left hand down the drain, careful not to include my wrist with what I was about to erase. I hesitated for a moment when reaching for the disposal switch, but I was set that it must be done in order to keep myself alive.
I turned on the switch, and I screamed as I felt my remaining left hand begin to grind away. The pain was worse than It was before, but I couldn't tell if the pain was from the shredding of my hand or from the spirit that was rejecting my efforts. The time felt slower, but it took about fifteen seconds for the rest of the hand to be shredded away.
I pulled my arm out of the drain, and I didn't look at what remained. I went straight to my complete right hand, which was now completely still and calm. I paused, questioning why the hand had ceased its efforts.
I snapped to my senses. It was trying to fool me into stopping, into keeping the hand alive. It gave me the perfect moment to put the complete right hand into the drain. I used the end of my left wrist, which was now a bloodied stub, to turn on the disposal again.
All the pain that I had felt before came back at twice the force. I screamed even louder as my right fingers went away at a slower pace. I could feel each finger flailing to escape the drain as they sinked deeper, being cut to silence as they were blended into a red pulp.
Like the left hand before, the feeling in my hand stopped after time, the point at which they were no longer there. My entire body still shook as I pulled my right arm out of the drain.
I collapsed on the floor, letting each arm crash against down beside me, as I fell unconscious with all my energy drained.
I awoke on a hospital bed.
My memory was hazy, but I still knew where I had came from and what I had been through. I wasn't sure how long I had been there, but it couldn't have been long since my night of struggle, as I still felt a pain in both my wrists. I looked down to see both ends of them heavily bandaged. I felt satisfied at the sight, knowing that my hands had been destroyed, and will no longer be controlling or haunting me, like they had done all my life so far.
A doctor walked into the room, and performed a standard check-up procedure. He asked me a few questions, and explained that I had been asleep in the hospital for a few days. He told me that another apartment resident had heard screams, and called authorities. They had arrived in my apartment to find me unconscious on the kitchen floor, with a deadly amount of blood pouring from where my hands once existed. A trail of blood could also be found from the sink drain, where they knew I had mutilated my own hands.
I tried explaining my story to him, that I had acted to save my own life. He listened, but his expressions were not looks of understanding. His only response was that he would talk to me again once I had a few more days of rest. He told me to try and keep relaxed, and that I would be safe and okay, despite losing both my hands.
I knew that he, and most likely everyone else, believed I had gone mad. I didn't care at the moment. I felt at peace again, conquering what had claimed control of my life all this time. My happiness made me laugh out loud quietly, as I simply stared at the ceiling from the hospital bed. I felt rather rested, which was unfamiliar to me.
I didn't want to try and sleep again. I only continued to laugh, and I found myself blinking. It was very calming, and had a form of rhythm to it. It remained consistent, so I counted along with it in my mind.
Written by Emeryy