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Skin Deep
by Michael C. Keith

An object the size and shape of a nickel dangled in the air just inches from Saul’s face. At first he thought it was an optical illusion or maybe even an eye floater, but when he grabbed the object, it caused his arm to fly upward and then side-to-side. Oh, my God, it’s real! he thought, more than mildly startled.

Indeed, whatever he held in his fist was trying to break free, and it quickly achieved its goal by burning a hole clear through Saul’s hand. What shocked the young man nearly as much as the bizarre occurrence was the fact that he felt no pain, despite the fact that his skin appeared to be smoldering.

Although he felt nothing, his instincts prompted him to submerge his afflicted appendix in water, which immediately began to boil from the heat emanating from the fissure. When he finally removed his extremity from the basin, he saw that the tear showed no signs of trauma. In fact, the circular opening looked as if it had existed all of his life.

He raised his hand to his face and peered through the portal. What he saw astounded him. Before him stood a woman so beautiful he was instantly smitten.

“Who are you?” he asked, barely able to speak.

“I am your mistress, if you want me,” she answered, in a voice that sounded like sweet music.

“Of course, I want you. Why shouldn’t I? You are the loveliest woman I have ever seen.”

“Then will you marry me, sir?”

“By all means,” responded Saul, clearing his throat. “Will you be my wife?”

“Yes, I accept your proposal.”

“What is your name?” asked Saul, continuing to gape through the hollow in his hand.

“Endora . . . my name is Endora.”

“That is so perfect for someone as graceful and exquisite as you,” said Saul, lowering his hand.

As soon as his view was fully restored, he let out a gasp when he beheld the woman to whom he had pledged his life’s devotion.

“You’re not who I saw through the breach in my hand. You are far less pretty . . . perhaps even ugly. Yes, that’s it. You are ugly.”

“Oh, shut up and put your hand back over your eye,” barked the crone.

Saul did as he was told and again found the woman of his dreams through the cavity in his mitt. It was the last time he ever let his guard down.