HOLISTICATED

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Jess, getting out of the car, said, ‘What’s that weird looking hole in the wall?’
She stepped close and looked inside, ‘Smooth and clean. Looks like money’s stuffed in there. Maybe this is our lucky day Zac.’
Placing her hand inside she said, ‘Nah. Another hope dashed.’
Trying to withdraw her hand she found it gripped. Immovably.
‘Zac, can’t get my hand out. Help.’
‘Don’t be daft. We’ve gotta go.’
‘No, really. Can’t move my hand.’
Zac squinted into the hole, which was glassily smooth, ‘Nothing’s holding it. Tug it out, we gotta go. Movie starts in fifteen minutes. Stop playing around.’
‘It’s caught, can’t see why.’
‘Come on, give it a pull.’
‘Can’t! My hand’s gripped. Can’t see what’s holding it.’
‘Maybe it’s a crazy science fiction force field.’
‘That’s a perfect description.’
‘Yeah, but that’s pure Star Trek, right? A physical impossibility,’ Zac said, ‘Pull the other one.’
‘Very un-funny. I’m trapped.’
Zac tried sticking a finger inside, but it was impossible. Jess jerked her hand vigorously towards her again. Nothing, except a hint of dislocation to her shoulder.
Zac grabbed Jess, ‘Let’s pull at the same time - Pull!’
Jess yelped, ‘Stuck!’
Zac said, ‘Okay. This can’t be happening. We have to solve it. Try easing the hand out slowly, without force. Try mindfulness. Deep breath. Eyes closed. Gentle pull.’
The hand remained immobile. She tried wriggling her fingers, exploring her sense of touch; the fingers would not wriggle. ‘No feeling, no pain. Zac, look around the other side of the wall.’
Zac said, ‘Okay, I’ll take a look. Don’t go away…’
‘Not funny.’
He walked along to the turning point, and searched the other side. The wall was perfectly ordinary.
‘Absolutely no sign of anything. How is it your side?’ he shouted. Jess said nothing and he hurried back. Jess and the hole had vanished. Zac went to the car, expecting Jess to be there, but there was no sign. He turned back to the wall, and saw Jess’s shoes neatly left against the wall. Zac picked them up and looked closely at them.
‘They look new. As if she’d never worn them…’
He dropped the shoes and placed his hands over his eyes.
Jess was never seen again.

About the Author: 
Prize winning writer. Runner up for the Lightship Prize. Shortlisted for Bridport Prize. Winner of Anthony Burgess Award.