In my hometown, there is a phenomenon known simply as “the Gibson Feet”. It’s a pair of severed feet suspended in the air about two meters off the ground, in the driveway up to the old Gibson construction company grounds. Just below the feet the road was cracked in two from the weight of the heavy construction vehicles. A big puddle of water liked to gather there on rainy days.
The feet appeared long after Gibson went out of business and left their old buildings and garages to rot. The site had only seen the occasional urban explorers since then. One of which eventually noticed the feet above the road. Naked, sockless, one of the less ugly pairs of feet. Still, something kept people away from examining them further. Some aura nullified any desire to get closer than a few meters. It wasn’t a sense of danger. No one felt anything bad would happen should they approach the feet. They just really, really didn’t want to. A feeling they’ll carry with them once first felt. It also suppressed any desire to think about them. Which is why the story never made it out of town. This feeling that the feet should better be left alone was contagious.
But, they were human feet, weren’t they? They could concern us, surely. They must’ve belonged to one of our own. Some managed to fight what might be their better judgement. I for one just couldn’t let it go. I thought, if I could only find out if these feet belonged to an actual human or may be just replications, that would be answer enough for me.
We found that people had a strong desire to not be near the feet, but weren’t physically kept from it. Someone once stumbled closer to them than anyone had dared before. They scrambled back and unfortunately the feet were too high up for them to touch. That was what gave us this ridiculous idea. We wanted an answer so bad, we resorted to somewhat unethical means. We had to force someone to touch them. No one would willingly agree to it. And they might get hurt in the process, even if the feet were perfectly harmless.
We built a makeshift catapult that would fling a person directly into the feet. Sure, it was far from a dignified or scientific approach. We found it only fair to force one of our own into it, though it had to be one gullible enough not to expect it from us. Curious little Thomas would make this voyage for us. He only figured out what was happening as he noticed our grip on his arms wouldn’t loosen. He soared through the air, flailing like a dying insect. The feet knocked the wind out of him as they dug under his ribcage. His upper body flopped onto them but soon slid off and into the puddle below. He was unconscious, as far as we could tell. Some rushed to make sure he did not drown in the water, but he was directly below the feet. Even though we wanted to, we could not get close.
He laid on his side. Walking around him, we could see, the water did not reach his mouth. Suddenly, we all felt very sick. We left Thomas there, we just couldn’t bear to be there anymore. We didn’t know if it was the feet or our cruel behavior that made us feel that way.
We returned the next day. Thomas must’ve woken up and removed himself. Our next idea was less childish. A drone would collect a sample for us. Just a bit of skin to analyze. We found that the feet were definitely human. We asked the police to search for a match in their database, but they found none. We tried the hospital too, also nothing. Our feet belonged to someone who had never visited a hospital or prison. Or perhaps never existed. Progress?
We visited Thomas at his home the next day. He told us he quit the internship and told us to leave.
We had no reason to return to the feet over the weekend, not without another plan. On Monday, we found a corpse on the cracked road before the feet, dick still in hand. He was identified as Mr. Hanson, local foot fetishist. Suffocation. This puzzled us. “They’re girl’s feet, I can tell.” His last words written on his social media, when he wasn’t posting close-up photos he took of women wearing sandals in town. The final pair wasn’t wearing sandals, or stood on the ground.
The following days, about 1,200 more men were found dead in their homes. Some suffocated, some were missing their intestines, with no signs of an operation. Really, the only commonality among the deaths was that none were instant. And each death had a picture of the Gibson Feet nearby.
This kept me awake at night. We all felt no danger emanating from the feet, but now they were connected to thousands of deaths. Unable to sleep, I drove up to the old Gibson grounds. It was night but the pale feet were clearly visible in the moonlight, which reflected off the puddle beneath. Before I could approach them, I noticed the figure hovering beside them. I snuck closer, my dark jacket hiding me in the night. I heard the strange visitor chanting something I couldn’t understand. It was a woman, with wild hair, wearing a long, hooded cloak. In my curiosity, I kept sneaking closer, until I could see her legs ended in nothing. I saw the bone and muscles that should’ve attached to the ankles of her feet. I understood. When she fell silent, the Gibson Feet were freed from their stasis and she simply popped them back on. Having something to stand on, she lowered herself to the ground. I gasped. By such luck, I was able to find the explanation for this strange phenomenon.
She looked over her shoulder. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“You placed the Gibson Feet here!” I stood up straight and walked closer. I wanted more answers!
“Yeah, you’re one of those science guys? Pricked me last week?”
“Why did you do it? Who did all those people die?”
She watched the moonlight glimmer in the puddle. “Posted a picture of me on my facebook, sitting on the couch, just showing off a sweater I knitted but then I got all those freaky comments and I kinda snapped. Just got sick of it, you know?”
I wasn’t sure I understood.
“Well, goodbye.” she lifted herself back in the air and floated off towards the forest.
At home, after two hours of searching, I found her facebook account. Found the photo of the knitted sweater. I was curious what kind of horrible comments people left, but all the names I recognized from the victims list only complimented her on her feet. Must’ve been private messages.
She posted a new picture while I was browsing. A mirror selfie, smiling and holding up a peace sign. “I can now safely not wear socks in my own home, ladies. Took care of it.”
This was the first time I saw her from the front.
“Damn thosde are some nice big oll tiddies, kinda wanna dorwn in em with my peni” I commented half-asleep.
The next day a co-worker called me. “Dude, you won’t believe what’s floating this time at the old Gibson place.”
He sent me a picture. With a smile, I opened it in full view and whispered: “Nice.”