The Sight. Short Story.

Happy Christmas Eve!  (I know that isn’t really a thing but shush)

I hope everyone has a good, mostly stress free day. Though I know a lot of you (at least those who celebrate Christmas!) are probably trying to get the last few bits together. Just take a breath and try to relax.

On with the show!

____________________________________________________________

 

There was one rule, one simple rule.

Don’t make eye contact.

Make eye contact and you will die.

It was simple, so simple that there hadn’t been an accident in a long time. In public he usually wore sunglasses, to protect those around him. No one knows what his eyes truly look like, no one who has seen them has survived. Photographs where his eyes are visible are blank. Completely and utterly.

The effect of his eyes didn’t start until puberty, up until which point they were a green tinged with grey. Though it is said that as a child he made holding eye contact difficult, he rarely blinked and never looked away. Most people could only hold eye contact with him for a short period and after a few years, people avoided it almost entirely. It is hard to say whether or not he was aware of what would happen to him when he aged and whether or not this was some kind of preemtive action on his part.

His first victim was his mother. At thirteen, he killed her. Unintentionally of course, and no one quite knew that it had been something he had been the cause of. However it is agreed upon that it is not his fault, as he cannot control it. The medical report officially states it as an aneurism. As it would for the next four deaths. A teacher, a classmate, a friend and a cousin. It is a miracle that so few people died. At the time of course it was a great sensation, splashed all over the papers, articles about the boy and his “gaze of death.” Some even compared him to Medusa, though no victims had ever been turned to stone.

The boys final victim was his father. Later it was determined that his father, drunk and blinded by grief, tried to murder the boy. The boy was found the next morning, huddled in a corner, his face scratched and bloody, as his father had tried to gouge out the boys eyes. The body was removed from the house, as was the boy. This too was all over the papers and soon after the boy was sent to care homes. Their job was simple, to keep him safe, well fed and to bring him back and forth to doctors who tried to safely study his eyes. It was not an arrangement that went well for the boy. Many of his foster families feared him, he was shuttled to one after another. Some families accepted the sunglasses, others felt that was not nearly enough precaution for their own children, after all, what if the boy removed them? These families took to blindfolding the boy and sometimes locking him away. Despite the cruelty and treatment, the boy, who would have been well into the grips of puberty, never removed his glasses. Of the homes he was moved through, he stayed in contact with one, the final one, where the people treated him kindly. He moved from that home when he was nineteen, moving into a small flat by himself. By this stage he had faded from the public eye, occasionally there would be a news story, a kind of “where is he now?” piece, or a reporter who tried to get an interview, but for the most part, he was forgotten and that was how he liked it. He no longer looked like the young frightened boy he was and now he was just a man with a strange peculiarity. No one connected the charming and affable young man to the child who had once killed people with a single glance.

He worked hard and graduated with top honours and so began his venture into the business world He rose through the ranks quickly. Throughout his life there had been times when he had been tempted to use his strange ability, to kill people who he deemed unscrupulous or deserving of it, but he always held back for fear of killing someone else, someone who didn’t deserve it, and of course, fear of getting caught. And so he refrained from using his ability until he was almost thirty. He was approached by a man, offering him a job. It was the first time he had received such an offer and the boy was actually surprised that it hadn’t happened sooner. He was offered fifty grand to kill someone. Easy enough he was told, when walking by on the street, make eye contact, then just keep walking. It seemed simple, but he did not take the offer, after all, it could be a plot by the police to trap him. He had stopped attending medical studies when he turned eighteen, and if he was imprisoned he may not have a choice. Besides, if he was caught on security footage, and the person died of an aneurism, he’d be the first suspect, and if they caught a single image of him without his glasses, he’d be done for.

So, despite temptation, he had turned it down. However it did give him an idea. Sure he might be well known in this country, but then, was he as well known in others? Probably not. Not since he was a child at least. Even now it was extremely rare that someone would recognise him, the only danger would be from police running a background check on him in this country. What about others? Would that have any information on him? Could he have a false identity? He could vanish, disappear. He probably had enough money saved to do so.

He took the job. Of course things had to be tweaked a little, they went on a vacation, a celebration of their wedding anniversary and the boy was there and waiting for them. It was easy, particularly as most people were wearing sunglasses, he looked like just any old tourist. It happened in a church. Small, secluded, beautiful. They were touring it when he simply stepped from an alcove, sans sunglasses, and looked at her. She smiled at him, a brief acknowledgement, then she collapsed. After that it was all very simple, he just walked from the church, ignoring the cries for help.

Outside he walked down the steps of the church, slipping his sunglasses back on. Soon after the payments started. It seemed prudent to be paid in regular instalments rather than on lump sum, paid to a shell corporation to avoid further suspicions. When he returned to the hotel he found his new documents neatly placed on the room desk, his bonus. Smiling, he grabbed his packed bag and the documents, then he checked out.

It was the last time the boy was seen. There were theories about what happened to him, but eventually it was decided that he was probably robbed, or attacked by a local gang. A few months later a body was found, roughly his height and age, with no identifying features. Far too gone for most tests, with hands, feet and teeth removed. Soon he was forgotten about entirely, just a medical anomaly who had died too young in tragic circumstances.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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