And like that my days in the garden began to go by.
The smell of the tunic and blankets faded as the stink of my own unwashed body usurped the last trace of the sheep I blamed for my suffering, whose coat was the source of my own. And while the itch became less pronounced and more irritating than incendiary, my body stayed swollen and red -- as it would for a while -- and I took every chance I could steal to rub my back and my sides against a rock or a tree, or to reach with a stick and scratch until I was bleeding and raw.
Meals were delivered and I ate without knowing whose hands had brought them. Trays appeared in the wall niche by my bed while I was outside or before I woke up; I tried a few times to watch their arrival but somehow they always snuck by.
Steve Himmer is the editor of the webjournal Necessary Fiction. "Whose Hands" is taken from his novel The Bee-Loud Glade, from which other excerpts have appeared in Pindeldyboz, PANK, and Emprise Review. He has a website at tawnygrammar.org.