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The Eyes

by  Chocabloc

Posted: Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Word Count: 575




The eyes were brown but their whites were mottled red. They longed to shut up shop and hibernate for the winter, but there was work to be done. They slouched above twin creases that wrinkled or relaxed at will. Occasionally their shutters drew down upon them and they were at rest- but this never lasted long. Encouraged by their bushy brows and sweeping lashes they emerged regularly to enlarge or shrink depending on the light; to scan or survey depending on occasion.
Without prior notice, the eyes were called upon to appear earlier than usual. Like blurred stars on a cloudy night they peered reluctantly through the darkness, translating their surroundings. They focused with difficulty, pupils wide. They needed light, but when it came- the harsh, artificial light of a bare bulb- they flinched and retreated halfway behind their lids.
Gradually they became accustomed to the glare, though they yearned for gentle moonlight.
To add insult to injury, water rudely splashed down on the weary eyes, upsetting their natural moisture so that some leaked away. They blinked several times in protest, but large droplets of liquid continued to fall.
The eyes drew down their brows and peered through the slats of their lashes; adjustment to the dawn was unavoidable.
But as the eyes were made subject to warm, then cool, then icy passages of air, they began to act up. One of them flooded spontaneously, losing focus and ejecting goop and its corner; the other attempted to look in wrong direction. They were ordered back in line, but instruction was weak and their rebellion wasn’t. The eyes crossed and uncrossed, darted back and forth, shot up to their lids then down to their lashes at random, focusing then unfocusing.
The eyes took little notice of their surroundings on this winter morning.
They made little effort to relay the images before them, or translate the figures and obstacles it was their job to identify. They were of as much use as two left shoes.
An object swung down before them so that their lids dropped like guillotines, an automatic reflex to protect the eyes from being squashed.
Cowering in their dark hiding place they felt some pressure; the left eye felt a poke and the right eye was kneaded and rolled slightly. When the lids drew back this time the eyes were stunned from the shock.
The eyes gestured, in their disoriented state, that they were no longer progressing forwards, to either side, up or down. They were poised in mid-air looking straight ahead like a blinkered horse. They gazed, glazed, into darkness. Then they began to tremble and shake. The eyes quivered, although they felt frozen into space as if mounted in frames. A thin, chilling breeze taunted their lashes. It was altogether too much for the eyes to contend with: they clamped shut.
The next time the eyes opened, all they saw was red.

Craig stuck a reddened, grimy finger into the petrie dish. Helen screwed up her nose, exclaiming ‘eugh, gross!’ Spurred on by her distaste, Craig took hold of the eyeball between finger and thumb and, with the other hand, stabbed at the iris with his blunt scalpel. The disc of dull brown colour was cracked, and inky fluid trickled out into the dish. Cackling with sudden glee, Helen took up the pair of tongs, seized the second eye, and said ‘here, Craig, plug in the Bunsen burner’. The eyes looked on.