The foot was perfectly preserved and why wouldn’t it be having been encased in the region’s worst ice storm in a century, its secrets buried beneath months of snow. Things go missing that time of year: mittens, socks, late-born calves that lose their way. Spring thaw unearthed what winter had stolen. Rex barked and leaped with excitement as he presented his new-found treasure to our back porch door. Blue as it was, you could still tell it had been well-tended. Polish the color of summer melon dressed each nail and a thin ring of gold snuggled the pinky toe. Neatly severed just above the ankle bone it could have served a shoe store window donned in the latest sandal-wear. We wondered of its mate, and other parts that might be strewn about. Strangers rarely wandered out here unless they were lost. We made up stories about who she might have been. The wife thought she must be a city girl, shop clerk maybe, but the foot didn’t look like it had been stood on much, which led me to other ideas that I kept to myself. We should have called the police, but it was just so darn pretty.
Jayne Martin is a Pushcart nominee, 2016 winner of Vestal Review’s VERA award, and a 2017 & 2018 Best Small Fictions nominee. Her work has appeared in Literary Orphans, Spelk, Crack the Spine, Midwestern Gothic, formercactus, Barren, MoonPark Review, Blink-Ink, Blue Fifth Review, Bending Genres, Hippocampus and Connotation Press among others. She lives in California where she drinks copious amounts of fine wine and rides horses, though not at the same time. Find her on Twitter @Jayne_Martin.