The Sloan Men
By David Nickle
Mrs. Sloan had only three fingers on her left hand, but when she
drummed them against the countertop, the tiny polished bones at the
end of the fourth and fifth stumps clattered like fingernails. If
Judith hadn’t been looking, she wouldn’t have noticed anything strange
about Mrs. Sloan’s hand.
“Tell me how you met Herman,” said Mrs. Sloan. She turned away from
Judith as she spoke, to look out the kitchen window where Herman and
his father were getting into Mr. Sloan’s black pickup truck. Seeing
Herman and Mr. Sloan together was a welcome distraction for Judith.
She was afraid Herman’s stepmother would catch her staring at the
hand. Judith didn’t know how she would explain that with any grace:
Things are off to a bad enough start as it is.