The Hand – Chapter 1

Note: This story was rewritten by Judy Shinohara for English learners. The original story was written in 1955 by Jerry Soul. He is also famous for writing episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek.”

Alice is washing breakfast dishes and looking out the kitchen window. The November sky is gray. She sees Dobie. Dobie is walking slowly and carefully.

“Oh no,” thinks Alice, “Dobie killed something again.”

Dobie is Alice’s pet dog. Just this month, Dobie killed a cat, a bird, two rabbits and a mouse.

Alice dries her hand on her apron, “I hope he didn’t kill one of our pigs or chickens.”

Her husband, Mac, hates the dog. When Dobie kills something, Mac gets very angry. Sometimes, Mac threatens to kill the dog with a gun. To make it worse, Dobie always growls at Mac, too. Alice was very worried about Dobie.

“Dobie is lucky,” Alice thinks, “I’m surprised that Mac didn’t kill him last time.”

Alice knows Dobie’s behavior is bad, but she loves Dobie. The dog always comforts her. And he always looks so happy when Alice gives him dinner.

When Dobie kills something, Alice tries to scold him, but she loves him too much. Instead, Alice hides the dead animal and bones. Mac is usually in the barn or in the farm, so he doesn’t know. Alice keeps it a secret.

Now, it seems that Alice must hide another dead animal. She doesn’t want Mac to be angry at Dobie. Alice opens the door and looks for Dobie. Dobie is still far away, hiding under a bush. Alice can see something in his mouth.

“Dobie!” She calls in a low voice. Mac is in the barn, and she doesn’t want him to hear.

Dobie’s ears perk up. He looks at her.

“Dobie!… Come here, Dobie!”

The dog hesitates. He looks at her and doesn’t move for a moment. Then, his tail starts wagging. He lowers his head and walks toward Alice.

Then, she sees what he has in his mouth. Alice’s heart stops.

It is a human hand, and blood is still dripping from the wrist.


The dog hears the panic in Alice’s voice. He drops the hand. It falls to the ground, lifeless.

Dobie’s head and tail are down. He walks up to Alice and touches her hand with his wet nose. But Alice can not stop looking at the thing on the ground.

Dobie was like a child to her. She raised Dobie like a baby. Last year, when she found the baby dog in the country, she adopted him and named him Dobie. And she loved him.

But this! This hand! This is too much.

She has no choice. She has to tell Mac about this hand.

Alice looks around. She sees a bucket, and she puts the bucket over the hand. She puts a heavy rock on top of the bucket. Now, Dobie can’t take the hand again.

She hears the telephone ringing. “It’s early,” she thinks, “Are my friends really calling now?” She ignores the phone.

This is more important. For the first time in months, she was thankful for Mac. Alice doesn’t know what to do. But surely, Mac knows what to do.

November mornings are cold, but Alice runs to the barn without a coat.

“Oh, why didn’t I answer the phone,” she suddenly thinks, “Maybe it was news about the hand or a dog attack!”

Alice thinks about the hand and her body shivers.

Alice finds Mac in the barn. He is up on the loft, working on the hay. When he sees Alice’s scared face, he stops his work.

“Dobie found something,” she says. She wishes that her voice was more calm, but it was shaking.

Mac spits on the floor. “He’s a no-good dog,” he says. He is standing on the loft above Alice, so he speaks in a loud voice. “He scares the pigs. He’s always sneaking around. We should get rid of him. We should have got rid of him a long time ago. What did he find?”

Alice swallows and her body shakes. “A hand.”

“A what?”

“A hand. A human hand.” She suddenly feels good. It’s rare that Alice can tell Mac something new and interesting. He doesn’t usually listen to her stories. But now, he was very interested.

“I don’t know where he got it.” Alice continues.

Mac leans over to look down at Alice. Mac has a large, muscular body from always working on the farm. He comes down the ladder, without saying a word.

Silently, he follows her to the house. Alice doesn’t see Dobie around and she is very thankful for that. She points to the bucket.

He kicks over the bucket, and gasps. Alice feels pride for showing him something exciting.

“My God!” he says, staring down at it. Then he kicks the hand over with his boot.

“My God!” he says again. It’s the first time that Alice saw him so upset.

He turns to Alice. His eyes are narrow. “Did you look carefully at it?”

She nods yes. She looks down again at the hand. It’s fingers are bent like it is holding an invisible ball.

Mac spits again. He rubs his face and his fingers run against his short beard.

“It isn’t human,” he said. “You dummy. Anyone can see that. It’s got six fingers.”

Published by Judy Shinohara

Hello! I’m Judy, living in Osaka! I love teaching English to my students. In my free time, I enjoy simple gardening, reading and writing, art, and watching Netflix.

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