21 THE GOLDEN ARM  

jasonabadboy4u 30M
48 posts
6/11/2006 3:09 am

Last Read:
7/23/2006 3:49 am

21 THE GOLDEN ARM

21 THE GOLDEN ARM
Once there was a woman who had a golden arm. She had lost her real arm in a terrible accident. But after she got the golden arm, she didn't even seem to miss her real one. The golden arm was beautifully made. It was slender and elegant and shone with a warm glow from its shoulder down to its fingertips. The woman vainly decorated its gold fingers with jeweled rings. People who saw her thought she must be very rich to have such a lovely golden arm. But, in fact, the opposite was true. The woman's husband made only enough money for them to get by modestly in life. For many years, he had carefully saved part of his paycheck. This money had added up to a considerable sum. But after her accident, his wife had demanded that he spend it all on the golden arm and its decorations. Being a meek person, he did as she asked. For he feared her wrath. But, deep inside, he hated the arm. Every morning, at the breakfast table, the man would stare at the golden arm lying on the table across from him. He would think of all the scrimping and saving he had done over the years. He would think of all the comforts the money could have brought him. Now it all rested in his wife's golden arm. He grew to hate its curves and shiny gold fingers. As the years passed, the woman seemed to grow more and more fond of he golden arm and less and less fond of her husband. She insisted on a new ring every birthday. Her husband, afraid of her terrible temper and biting tongue, scrimped and saved again to meet her wishes. But, with each passing year, his resentment against the arm grew and grew. One cold winter evening, as the couple was reading the newspaper, the wife read a notice about the death of a woman she had gone to school with. She dropped the paper suddenly and stared blankly at the wall, her face drained of color. The idea of death had crept into her mind, and it would not go away. The more the woman thought about dying, the more she found herself stroking the golden arm with her other hand. Slowly, an idea began to take form in her mind, and idea she had not considered before. She turned to her husband and met his eyes with a steely gaze. "If I happen to die before you," she said to him, "promise to bury me with my golden arm." Her husband clutched his newspaper so tightly that it ripped, and he stared at his wife in shocked amazement. "But that arm is the only thing of value that we have," he said, his voice shaking. "All the money I've worked for and saved has gone into it." "I want to be buried with it," his wife said in an insistent voice. "And I want all my rings on the fingers." She paused, picturing in her mind how she would look in her casket. "Just think how people will stare when they view my body." At that very moment, the husband's heart turned as hard and cold as the golden arm. Any feelings of love that remained for his wife were turned to bitter disgust. But, Still, he was afraid to cross her. Calmly, he looked her in the eyes and promised to do as she asked. After all, he told himself, there was little chance that she would die before he did, anyway. The future, however, proved him wrong. Just one year later, his wife died suddenly of a mysterious disease. In shock, the man went about the preparations for her funeral. He planned to tell the undertaker to remove the golden arm before laying his wife out in the casket. But then his wife's relatives arrived to help make the funeral arrangements. To his dismay, she had told them about her desire to be buried with the golden arm. She had even given them a signed, legal document stating her wishes. And, so, even in death, his wife got her way. At the funeral, the man stared at the body laid out in the coffin, with the golden arm gleaming at its side. On the golden fingers sparkled all her jeweled rings. And as the coffin lid was closed for the final time, the man said goodbye, not to his wife, but to his life savings. After the funeral, the man's mind settled into a heavy gloom that wouldn't lift. Day after day, he thought of his wife's coffin and the golden arm gleaming inside it. Why, he asked himself, should she still have the arm when he could sell the gold and live out the rest of his life without worry. Slowly, the man's meekness and timidity turned to anger and revenge. Then, on one cold and windy night while he lay in bed, an idea began to prey on the man's mind. What if the arm was no longer in the coffin? What if someone had already stolen it? After all, who would be so foolish as to let that much gold stay buried? The idea took root in the man's mind and grew there like a poisonous weed. Finally, not able to stand it any longer, the man jumped from his bed and pulled on his warmest clothes. He went out to the garage and found a pick and shovel. Then he hurried toward the graveyard in which his wife was buried under the hard, cold ground. Breathing heavily with anticipation and fear, the man came up to the high iron gates of the graveyard. He hesitated and then pushed against them. The gates swung open like the jaws of a gigantic black mouth. Only the thought of the golden arm made the man force his legs forward, step by step, toward his wife's grave. His mind was still obsessed by the picture of the grave, dug up and disturbed. But when he reached the burial site, the grave lay tranquilly under the full moon, covered by bouquets of wilting flowers. In a mad frenzy, the man began to work. He dug the pickax into the hard earth and then shoveled it away, digging deeper and deeper. At last, the pick struck the top of his wife's expensive coffin. An image of the golden arm began to burn in the man's mind. It gave him enough courage to pull open the coffin lid and look down at his wife's decaying body. In triumph, he pulled the golden arm from the grave and cradled it against his chest. Quickly, the man shut the coffin back up and covered it again with the cold earth. Then, with a frightened gleam in his eyes, he hurried away from the graveyard, clutching the golden arm under his coat. The night had turned bitter cold. Rain began to lash down on the man's head as he ran back to his house. He hugged the golden arm tighter and tighter under his coat, but its icy embrace sent a shudder through his whole body. At last, the man reached his home, feeling sick with fear. He searched and searched for a place to hide the arm, but nowhere seemed safe. Finally, in desperation, he slipped it under the blankets of his bed and crawled in beside it. Outside, the wind howled around the house, and the rain tapped like angry fingers against the windowpanes. The man huddled in his bed and tried to calm his shaking body. He pulled the covers up higher around his face, but, beside him, the golden arm was still icy cold. It seemed to draw all the heat out of his body, making him feel like a corpse in a coffin. When sleep refused to come, the man tried to busy his mind by thinking of all the things he would buy after selling the golden arm. But, his mind was pulled away from these thoughts by a soft, strange wail that seemed to come and go with the howling of the wind. The man sat up in bed and strained his ears. Then he heard the sound again, just outside the window. (Whoo . . . Whooo's Got My Golden Arm?) The wailing voice made the man's blood run cold. It sounded like his wife's voice, mixed with the howling of the wind. He looked over to where the golden arm lay beside him in bed, and he shrank away from it. Again, the man thought he heard the strange voice calling from outside the window. He strained his ears to hear and listened carefully. But the sound faded away into the night with the howling of the wind. Slowly, the man relaxed and smiled at his own stupidity. He told himself that he had let his imagination go wild. But, just then, the wailing started up again, like a ghostly call from the grave. (Whooo . . . Whooo's Got My Golden Arm?) In panic, the man searched the darkness. The voice sounded closer now. It seemed to be coming from inside the house. All the man could think about now was hiding the golden arm. He couldn't be discovered with it beside him in bed! Reaching under the covers, the man tried to pick up the arm. But it was so cold that it almost froze his fingers. He dropped it and stared at it in terror. In the pale moonlight, he saw one gold finger pointing at him in accusation. Then, again, the wailing voice echoed into the room. (WHOOO . . . WHOOO'S GOT MY GOLDEN ARM?) Now the voice was coming from the staircase. Then the man heard the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs, one by one, as the wailing voice came closer and closer to his bedroom door. (WHOOO . . . WHOOOO'S GOT MY GOLDEN ARM?) With a sickening creak, the door to the bedroom opened. The man lay trembling under the covers, trying to hide from the thing that was coming nearer and nearer to his bed. His teeth began to chatter with fear, and he suddenly felt the icy-cold finger of the golden arm stab at him. Now the footsteps had reached the bed. The arm's cold grip was reaching up around the man's neck. Then, softly, the voice beside his bed whispered into his ear. (who's got my golden arm?) With a scream, the man jumped from the bed and shouted,
"I dO!"
He was buried beside his wife the next day.


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