Alice searches for the hand.
She wonders. Will Mac be angry because I took the hand? Will he understand my situation? I’ll tell him it was important. I’ll tell him that one of the aliens needed it to live.
She looks in the obvious places… in the closet, in the basement, in the drawers. She checks Mac’s bedroom and all his things.
She starts to become frantic. She looks outside and sees the alien, standing. Waiting. She keeps searching faster. She empties the drawers onto the floors. She pulls out the boxes from under the bed and empties it on the floor… nothing. No hand.
She goes outside and tells the alien, “I can’t find it in the house, but I will check the barn.”
In the end, she doesn’t find it in the barn. When she tells the alien, he is very disappointed. She is as disappointed as he is.
“I watched you search everywhere,” he says. “I want to thank you for your effort.”
“I’m awfully sorry,” she says. “I don’t know where Mac put it. When he comes home, I’ll ask him.”
“I’ll wait for him,” the alien says. “It’s important that we get the hand. When we have it, we will leave your planet right away.”
“I’m sure my husband will give it to you,” Alice says. But she knows that Mac can be stubborn. She starts to worry again. What if he refuses? She feels shaky.
She walks back to the house with Dobie. She still feels shaky and cold so she puts some wood into the fireplace. She pours a cup of hot coffee and sits next to the fire. As she drinks, she looks at the clock. 11:00 PM. She had searched for the hand for almost two hours. She looks out the window and sees the alien. He is standing motionless, like a stone statue.
Mac finally comes home at midnight. Alice sits, like she is frozen to her chair. Her heart stops beating while she listens to her husbands steps. Step, step, step. He’s coming up the driveway. Step, step, step. He’s coming up the porch stairs. Step, step, step. Finally, he enters the house.
“You’re still awake?” His face is red. He talks like his tongue is too heavy.
“Mac,” she says with hesitation. “Where is that hand?”
“Are you still worried about that?” He takes off his coat and throws it on the table.
“But Mac! They’ve come for it!”
He looks at her dully. “Who?”
“The aliens! From the ship. There is one of them in the yard. Look out the window.”
He turns around and sees the motionless figure in the yard. He takes a deep breath. “So, that’s one of them, huh?” He laughs. When Alice hears his laugh, she feels shivers in her back.
Mac takes a few steps toward the back of the room. He reaches for his gun on the wall. Alice jumps from her chair. She puts her hand on his shoulders. He stops before he touches the gun.
“Listen, Mac. They need that hand. It belongs to one of them. They need it because they’re going to put it back on. Then, they’re going to leave the planet.”
He looks down at her. His eyes are red and squinted. He has food stuck to the side of his face.
“That thing outside,” Mac said, “shouldn’t be here. It’s out there, on my property, scaring my pigs and scaring my chickens. And I am going to take care of that alien.”
“I wish you simply told me where the hand is,” Alice said. Her eyes feel hot with tears. “I tried to find it. I looked everywhere. If I’d found it, I would have given it to him. He would have left.”
He pushes her away. “Women are always looking for trouble. You didn’t ask me about the hand.”
He is breathing hard. He moves to the window to look at the alien again. “You, out there! You want that hand, huh?” He laughs again and turns to Alice. “You looked for it, you said? Well, you looked in the wrong place. I hid it well.”
He goes back to the table and picks up his coat. He pulls out something that is wrapped in newspaper. He unwraps it on the table. It is the hand.
“Please bring it outside to him, Mac,” Alice says. “He’s waiting for it.”
His face is sour and his lips smile wickedly. “Give it to him? Hell, no!” he says. “Dobie brought it here, right? I think I’ll let Dobie eat it.”
Mac puts his hands on the table and stares down at the hand. He shakes his head. “But Dobie is a bad dog. He doesn’t deserve it.”
He picks up the hand. Alice feels sick when she looks at it, so she looks away.
“Just give it to him,” she pleads. “They are waiting. Please take it to them right away so they can use it.”
She watches Mac. He turns around with the hand and tosses it into the fireplace. It disappears into the fire.
Alice’s stomach turns. She stares at the fire, in shock, and she hears Mac’s laughter.
“Go upstairs,” he says. “Go on! Get to bed.”