Prompt Writing: The Severed Hand

(Next weeks post will be on Saturday)

Forward: Hey guys! So I had nothing exciting happen this week, and I’m blanking on what to write, so I decided to take a look through one of the two prompt books I own! This one seemed pretty interesting, so here we go!

Prompt: A woman is helping her recently widowed friend in the garden. As she turns the petunia bed to prepare it for planting, she uncovers a severed hand.

Bridget froze, staring at the appendage that was sticking up from the soil. It was coated in blood, and even looking at it, she could tell it was stiff. What did they call it in those CSI shows she loved? Oh right. Rigamortas.

“He was such a sweet man. Oh, and he loved getting his hands dirty in this garden,” her friend, Nancy, sighed as she trimmed the roses.

“Oh?” Bridget forced out, quickly covering the hand again, her stomach churning.

“Oh yes.” Another sigh. “I hope the cops find the rest of him soon. What a shameful way to go. And our neighborhood has always been so peaceful. Who would do such a thing?”

Bridget glanced over her shoulder at her friend, horror radiating through her. The death of John, Nancy’s husband, had been odd. He’d been murdered, chopped up, and scattered. They found his torso in the woods surrounding their small community, his head not too far away. A leg was found off the path of the park two days later. It was brutal. But…

“Nancy,” Bridget started, forcing her voice to have an off handed quality. “I’m sure the police asked you this, but… is there any reason you could think that someone would want to murder John?”

“What? No, of course not!” Nancy sounded offended. Bridget just nodded, falling quiet, listening as Nancy once again praised the qualities of her murdered husband. But deep down, Bridget knew, there was something a lot more sinister happening here.


Later that night, Bridget paced her home, holding her phone. Should I call the police? I found one of John’s hands. In Nancy’s garden. But why would she do something like that to her own husband? With a sigh, Bridget realized it didn’t matter. She began to dial the tip hotline that had been set up for this.

The front door opened.

Bridget spun around, and froze, the phone slipping from her hand. “Nancy?”

Walking towards her, holding a large, serrated knife, was Nancy. However, instead of the warm, welcoming look usually in her eyes, or the sad loss that’s been there recently… her eyes now held a cold, calculating look.

“I know what you saw, Bridget. Hmph. I was an idiot for letting you take the petunias,” Nancy said, before lunging at Bridget. She dove to the side. Nancy jumped up and turned to her.

“I don’t know what you’re– No!” Bridget cried, dodging another lunge. Nancy continued to come at her, backing Bridget up.

“You don’t know what he was like behind closed doors!” Lunge. Dodge. “He was abusive!” Lunge. Dodge. “He always talked down to me when no one was around!” Lunge. Dodge. “Treated me like a slave!” Lunge. Dodge. “So I got tired of it, and I chopped off his head!” Lunge. Dodge. “And I refuse to be punished for something I was forced to do!” Lunge. Dodge. “So if I have to stop you, too, I will.” Lunge. Dodge.

Bridget gasped as her back hit the wall with that last dodge. “W-wait, Nancy, wait! I didn’t know! Please!” she begged. Nancy hesitated for a moment, her chest heaving with exertion, adrenaline, and anger. “I promise, I won’t tell… please.”

“I don’t believe you,” Nancy snarled. She swung again. Bridge grabbed the lamp that was on the table beside her and smashed it into the other woman’s head, gasping as the knife cut her shoulder. Nancy staggered back, dropping the knife, and Bridget kicked it away, sending it skittering under the couch. Nancy shook her head and looked around, before scowling and lunging again, this time wrapping her hands around Bridget’s throat.

Bridget tried to push her off, but Nancy was stronger. Years spent working in the garden, compared to Bridget’s lack of physical activity gave the former an edge, as did anger. Bridget clawed at the woman’s hands as spots danced in front of her eyes. I’m going to die… she realized, her struggles growing weaker.

BANG! BANG! The pressure on her throat disappeared. Bridget took a deep breath, blinking to clear her sight. Nancy had fallen to the floor, two gunshots in her back. Bridget looked up to see cops moving in. One came over to her.

“Are you okay, ma’am?” he asked.

“I… how…?” she stammered. The cop smiled slightly.

“You called the hotline, but didn’t respond when we answered. The dispatchers sent us to check it out, and good thing, too,” he said, leading her out and to an ambulance. “Thanks to you, we finally found the murderer.”


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