In my room, on my desk, sits a black, plastic casing which holds my glasses.
They have a power of minus 9 and they were very expensive to wear.
When I was younger, my mother used to warn me about sitting too close to the television. She used to tell me that my eyesight would get progressively worse and I’d either end up needing glasses or my eyes would simply be bad enough to make me legally blind.
Being an overly obnoxious nine-year-old, I never listened to her. So whenever my favorite cartoon or TV-show was on I would scurry to the living room and rest my head an inch away from the screen. I figured that the closer I got to the TV, the closer I could get to the show.
Whenever my mother found out about this she would yell at me about how expensive glasses would be and that we couldn’t afford even a single pair. She’d then proceed to slap the back of my head so hard that I would accidentally bite my tongue or unpleasantly acquaint my face with the hard TV screen. It happened every time and I always ignored her.
Until one day she got to say ‘I told you so’ and we were forced to get me a pair of glasses. Because we couldn’t afford to buy new ones, she took me all over the neighborhood to find a used pair that did the job well enough. And so it continued until my eyes settled at a power of minus 9. Finding a used pair of glasses that would suffice was hell.
We eventually spotted a proper pair at an antique store. The store was filled with objects and trinkets that could have come straight out of a horror movie. Most of it, including the elderly woman who was sitting behind the counter, looked fit for use by witches.
The woman was wearing sunglasses that were much too dark for the dusky little store. My mother asked how much they would cost and the woman simply replied ‘very expensive’. She seemed to be blind because she never looked at my mother while they spoke about the price, but she stared intently at me. Even as we left the store I could tell that she was following me with her gaze. It made the hairs on my neck stand on end.
Despite being very ugly, the glasses did the trick. She had to work 7 days a week for months in order to earn back what it had cost, but at least my eyesight didn’t seem to get any worse.
Needless to say that my glasses were a necessity. Without them I was essentially a baby in a suit. I had to look out for every little thing so as not to break or otherwise damage this life-saving piece of technology. Eventually, my girlfriend and I grew tired of having to always watch out for my glasses. And so, after a lot of coercing, she managed to talk me into getting laser eye surgery.
I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted making that choice. It was wonderful seeing things perfectly clear again without wearing my glasses. At first, the discomfort was horrible but eventually it faded and I got my perfect eyesight back. I felt like a new man; reborn with the eyes of a god.
I’m a sentimental idiot and so I never managed to throw my old glasses away. Months and years passed until one day, when we were packing our stuff because we were moving to a new town, I stumbled upon the old, plastic casing of my massively expensive glasses.
Holding them again after such a long time felt strangely nostalgic. They were once incredibly important to me, enabling me to live like a reasonably average human being. I may have actually shed a small tear or two. And in my nostalgia I wanted to wear them again, even if just for a little while.
Looking through glasses if you don’t need them is bad for your eyes, but I figured a quick peek wouldn’t hurt too much.
The moment the pads rested on my nose and the temple tips nestled gently behind my ears, I could feel something wrong. My eyesight wasn’t distorted at all, despite what I’d expected. In fact, when I think back, it might have actually improved marginally.
Naturally, as any sane person would, I was confused and I wanted to take them off to reassure myself that my eyesight was still perfect without them. But they wouldn’t budge.
No matter how hard I pulled, and I pulled REALLY hard, I can assure you, the pads stayed perfectly still on my nose and the entire damn thing wouldn’t move so much as a millimeter.
At this point, I was freaking the hell out. I called out to my girlfriend, who had been in the kitchen, packing our cutlery and plates and such, but she didn’t reply.
At first I figured she must have not heard me, so I launched myself out of the chair I’d been sitting
in, wanting to make my way to the kitchen with all sorts of haste.
Beyond the door, however, was a desolate, empty house where only moments before a vibrant, new home of a loving couple had been. The previously white wallpaper was filled with holes and patches of mold and it slanted away from the wall as if it had grown tired of its own existence.
Behind the wallpaper were cracks in the wall, as if the house had been abandoned for a hundred years. The wooden floor beneath my feet creaked so much I feared it would cave in, and the roof above my head was already partially on the floor.
Through the holes in the roof I could see the sky. Clouds rolled over each other, as if at war with themselves, and in the distance I could see the sun rising, leaving a blood red stain on the deck of clouds as it pierced through them like a knife through soft flesh.
I called her name again, suddenly fearing for her life. My legs were trembling but they obeyed me and moved faster than they had before.
When I finally made it to the kitchen, it was as empty and decayed as the rest of the house had been. The stench of rot and decay penetrated my nose and my gag reflex automatically set in. Panic and fear mixed in my stomach and I ran out of the house into a world that was completely and utterly dead.
There were no people, no animals, no plants. There was no sound other than that made by the wind. I was completely alone in a place that seemed to be rotten and saturated with death.
My fear fueled my adrenaline and with all the strength in my arms I pulled at the glasses, but they still would not move.
I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths and then punched the contraption of plastic and metal and glass that had glued itself to my face and was showing me the end of the world. I punched until I couldn’t feel my face and my knuckles were raw.
Her gasp is what woke me up.
She was standing in the doorway with a horrified look on her face; as if her worst nightmare was coming true. It filled me with worry but the sight of her dampened my fears with love and relief.
I crawled to my feet, wanting to wrap her in my arms and hold her. I wanted to make sure that this was real and that she was safe. But she shied away from me, as if she feared that I would attack her.
Her eyes briefly darted over me before feverishly fixating on my face again. I reached out to her again, hoping that she would understand that I wanted to hold her in my arms, but those very arms were covered all over with a red, sticky wetness. I felt no pain, so that must mean it was someone else’s blood.
Disgust and terror gripped my heart and I frantically ran my eyes over her entire body while she stood frozen in the doorway. The only thought going through my mind was ‘Did I hurt her? Is she alright?’ and I wanted to tell her that I had no memory of whatever had happened and that I would make sure that everything would be okay.
No sound came from my mouth. It was as if there was an emptiness in my throat that swallowed all sound I was trying to produce.
I tried talking again, but all I could hear was a low gurgling coming from the back of my throat followed by the horrific scream that came from the woman I loved. She turned on her heels and bolted away. I started chasing her, ignoring the wet, disgusting feeling on the rest of my body that I’d finally become aware of.
The stickiness didn’t matter. All that mattered to me was to tell her that everything was going to be okay, that I loved her and that we would make it through this if we stuck together.
She reached the front door, pulled it open and ran out before slamming it shut behind her with such a force that it rattled the mirrors in the hallway. I passed them by and glanced, briefly, from the corners of my eyes.
Except there were no eyes.
Two caves of rotting flesh stared back at me, oozing blood that crawled down my face and stained my clothes a dark, filthy red.
My mouth opened in horror but that only made it worse.
In my mouth was an emptiness. My tongue had been cut out and the same disgusting blood was bubbling up and over my shredded lips. I wanted to scream, but I was met with nothing but a gurgle.
I stood still for minutes, staring at the horrific creature in the mirror. Its hollow, bleeding eye sockets stared back at me and in the far reaches of my mind I wondered how that could be. How could I see without eyes?
But then I remembered an old woman who wore sunglasses in a gloomy store, as if she were blind, and my mind made the connection.
Back in my room, on my desk, sits a black, plastic casing which held my old glasses.
They had a power of minus 9 and were very, very expensive to wear.
Credit To – Ouroboros
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