Amy’s not wearing the McDonalds’ ghost glasses the first time she tries, and that’s partially because she’s in her dorm room, while the glasses are miles away, in the medicine cabinet at Dave’s place, but it’s mostly because she’s most of the way asleep.
She’s most of the way asleep, and all sleep-heavy in her limbs, dreaming, and even in her dream, her eyes are closed, but she can still tell that the big, dream-hands cupping her breasts, thumbs resting on her sternum and then sweeping up to flick at her nipples are Dave’s hands, even before his dream-head leans down to brush dream-lips surrounded by dream-stubble against her ear and whisper her name.
“Amy,” he dream-murmurs, and she smiles, eyes still closed, and she can feel both hands in her sleep, so it doesn’t seem to matter much which one creeps down to slide under the waistband of her cotton briefs, middle finger sliding down to rub at her clit, then lower, and it’s not until she’s got a decent rhythm going, two fingers sliding in and out, that she realizes the hand she’s got down her pants isn’t there.
She’s gone too far to want to stop, though, so she grabs hold of the sleepy acceptance as firmly as she can without jolting herself awake, slides in a third non-existent finger and feels the three of them slip against each other as she gets wetter and wetter, and bites down on her lip to keep from making a noise because—shit—her roommate is asleep just over her head in the top bunk.
After she rolls over onto her stomach, teeth sinking into her pillow to keep quiet, the weight of her somehow driving her non-existent hand deeper into her body, and comes, she turns back over, all the way awake now, but still lazy and heavy with it, and thinks, damn, what was that about?
She doesn’t try again until she’s back at Dave’s for the weekend. She thinks about bringing it up with him in bed the first night she’s back, but there’s a little part of her that still thinks it might have been a dream, so she decides she’d rather give it another shot by herself before bringing him into it.
So after Dave leaves for work on Saturday, she gets up, makes herself breakfast and eats it on the back porch with Molly, IMs Dana for a while, pretends to read her philosophy textbook for a hot second, then gives up pretending and, with a brief stop on the bathroom to grab the ghost-glasses, walks back to the bedroom.
She puts the glasses on, looks at the place where her hand usually isn’t, and sees, the way she usually does with the glasses on, a kind of ghostly outline. Not a twin to the other, non-ghost hand, but the hand she lost when she was a kid, with summertime-dry skin and chipping green nail-polish on too-long nails.
It’s the nails she’s having trouble getting past, all jagged and overgrown and not looking like anything at all she wants to put into the more sensitive parts of her anatomy. The nails she hadn’t clipped before getting in that car the day of the accident. The nails she could feel digging painfully into the missing palm of a missing hand for years afterwards.
They’re not even really there, she tells herself, exasperated, but herself doesn’t listen, just continues to stare down at the fingernails which may not technically be there, but which she can still definitely see. They are definitely not turning her on.
This is why Dave comes home from work to find her digging through the contents of the shed out back.
He leans against the doorframe and asks her, “Looking for anything in particular?”
She spins around, cardboard ghost-seeing glasses still on her face, and asks him, “Do you have any, like, possessed fingernail clippers here?”
His brow furrows, and she can tell, with a rush of fondness, that he’s actually mentally sorting through the shed’s inventory, trying to figure out if he has anything that fits the bill.
“A knife would do,” she tries, “Some kind of little, sharp ghost-knife?”
Dave shakes his head regretfully. “Not too many little knives. I’ve got that sort-of-ghostly-machete in back?”
Amy remembers what he’s talking about and shudders. She can imagine losing a finger to that thing. Re-losing one? Would she get a phantom-phantom-limb feeling if a ghost-knife ghost-amputated part of her already-phantom-limb?
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” she tells him, and then, because he’s been so great about not asking she could kiss him, she does, and says, softly, near his face as she pulls back, “I need to clip my fingernails.”
He grabs her hand, holds it near his face, and says, “They look fine to me.”
“No,” she clarifies, smirking a little because how often does she get to be the mysterious one, “The other one.”
His eyes catch on the ghost-seeing glasses and widen in recognition. “Huh. Okay. Are you still doing the hand-clenching thing?”
She shakes her head. “Nope! Not in a while. I had a dream about you last night…”
Dave still looks wary, which is not exactly what she’s going for, here. She goes on, lets her tone get insinuating, “It was a very good dream. And I woke up with my ghost hand getting in on the action?”
He’s losing the wary look, now, grin stretching across his face, “And I thought I might, you know, repeat the experiment, but now that I can actually see it,” she taps the glasses, “I can't get past the nail thing. I just—with these, I can see them, and they just don’t look like anything I want near my vag, you know?”
“Did you try,” Dave stops for a second to swallow, then asks, “Did you try just regular fingernail clippers? As long as you can see the nails, it could work, you know this shit never makes any sense, so it's worth a shot.”
It’s an idea, and a lot more of an appealing one than the machete.
“Babe, grab me the trash can?” she asks him.
“For the nail-clippings, duh.”
“The ghost-nail-clippings from your ghost-hand? Amy, I don't think you’re going to need to worry about feeling it if you step on them in the dark.”
“So I’m supposed to, what, just let them get everywhere?”
“It’s not like you’ll even be able to tell once you take off the glasses.”
“But I’d still know,” Amy insists, sighing. “Just grab me the damn trash can, please?”
It’s strange, pressing ghostly fingers against her clit and then stroking lower, feeling the catch of her skin drifting down between her labia, just a little bit further every time until they’re inching their way in and in, wetter and wetter, till Amy can almost smell herself.
It’s stranger doing it now, in the light of day, wide awake, when she’s aware of more than just the fact that, yes, something odd is going on, but she’s turned on and it feels good. Now, she can both feel and not feel her own warm ghost-palm connecting to her non-ghost-wrist where it lies along her abdomen, can both feel and not feel that palm firmly cupping her pubic bone, can both feel and not feel fingers inside her body.
She wonders what it must look like to Dave, who could only see her ghost-hand when he was on the soy sauce, who must be seeing her body respond to stimuli that don't seem to be present. She darts a glance to where he’s sitting at the end of the bed, watching her, and his eyes are hot and intense.
“This is fucking insane,” he tells her, voice low, “You should see yourself, I wish you could see yourself like this.”
Amy shoves her fingers in hard and gasps.