The Head Vine
_Under the Pseudonym Steven Bishop
There was a vine that grew from this poor woman's head, thick and intermixed with her gnarls of hair and winding its way casually down her body. It crossed from her back to just below her bosom; behind again across her buttocks; and from there wound its way down her left leg, almost to her foot.
When the thing first began to grow she had tried to cut it off, but to her horror, it hurt her to cut it, and the thing bled her very own blood. It was a green vine, sure as any she had seen outdoors, but this thing was a part of her. She reluctantly let the thing mark its path, sliding confidently down her body, and she wondered over the many weeks of its growth whether it would continue past the length of her body; it did not. As it reached the bottom of her calf, it ceased its travels, but to be sure it did not cease its strength, and it often felt as if a mighty arm gripped her all her waking hours.
She had to make some changes in her life, of course. She began to wear looser clothes to fit over top the vine, and when people asked what on earth that was climbing from out her head, she had only to smile and say, "Why it's a vine -- and what did you think it was?" At first this was a terrible embarrassment for her, but as time wend its own vine-like way through the year, she came to feel comfort by this powerful presence gripping her, and in her lonely nights she sometimes moved about to have the pseudo-arm rub warmly against her skin.
After a year with the vine, the woman found that problems with her back were nearly disappeared, for the vine acted as support to straighten her stance. With this posture she walked in confidence, and despite the strange visage of a growth from her head, she found the new stance to attract other people who wished also to stand as this. She was called on to speak, and she did, and she had many congratulations. She was soon in high demand.
At last the woman fell in love with one who cared for her in many ways. He attended to her needs and desires, and the two spoke of marriage. One night, as the woman slept, the man said to himself, "I will assist her in her one weakness, and as she finds new strength, our love will be so sure, and we will marry with great success." And so he took a blade, and with one mighty slice, severed the bizarre thing from atop her head.
With a cry the woman awoke, and the man was startled to find fresh blood pouring from the ousted vine. He took her into his arms as she quivered in unexpected pain; she writhed for a moment only before taking leave from this ill-receiving world.