• Jabe Stafford

Disembodied Foot Fight

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Do you know how long it took Tarsa to learn to walk on two toes?” Roy asked.

Jance threw her frizzy-haired head back and laughed at the I-beams lining the cafeteria ceiling. Several patients at the table clammed up and eyed her like she might become a threat beyond the eardrum-piercing one she was being. Jance ate up the attention. She prodded the ambulatory foot pacing on its toes between her empty plate and Roy’s meat loaf and baked potato. “You care ‘bout that foot more than gettin’ out. Thought you wanted freedom, boy.”

“I’m nineteen,” Roy whined through a yap full of meat loaf. “I’m older than your ratty little smock and so’s Tarsa. She can’t help her disability.”

Jance pointed a gun-finger at her bulging blue eyes, then turned it and shot at each patient along their table. Tattooed men and gaunt women flinched at her motions. Roy twitched harder than the others when she aimed at him. She said, “They’s got disabilities. Some’s their fault, most ain’t. Asylum’s here for true whack-asses and victims. And you act like this zombie foot’s got a gender. You stuck in here for sure now.” She drew a bead on the foot next and drew something that snicked out of her pocket with her other hand. A knife.

Roy wiped meat mush on the number they’d ironed onto his spearmint smock. “Tarsa’s a victim. Would you choose to have a disembodied limb as a body? If I get out, I can’t take her with me and she needs looking after. We should care even if she can’t share her story.”

“Don’t ya need a mouth fer that?” Jance said, cackling and slapping her knee. The jolt to the table tipped Tarsa over and she fell on her outside ankle, toes squirming.

Setting her in a ballerina’s pose again, Roy palmed his meat loaf with the same hand. “You shut up about her.”

As if she’d sensed the aggression, Tarsa twirled and stomped her heel on the edge of Roy’s plate.

The baked potato careened into Jance’s left eye at the same moment Roy threw meat. He hollered, “And you’ll be stuck here forever for having a switchblade.”

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