In his hands he cupped two magnificent gems--two spheres he had so longed to touch. The rotting body in the backroom of his shop slouched against a wall--dried blood and darkness in place of its once lively eyes. As he began stuffing his freshly killed fawn, he couldn’t help but smile. A rosy hue kissed his cheeks and his soul held the happiness only found in children. He gently picked the hazel eyes back out of the jar, and one by one placed them in the sockets of the newly packed animal. “Is there anything on the Earth more alluring than the complexity of the human eye?” he whispered to the fawn. The man stepped back and admired his work--his treasure. Although it was not the first time he had done this, it seemed as if every time he completed a new project his desire to do it again only grew more unyielding. He picked up the animal and slowly carried it over with the others. Each creature had eyes remarkably captivating, yet incredibly unnatural. Not many came into his shop, but when they did, he never let the opportunity pass him.
He heard the bells on the front door ringing, and with a swift walk he went to greet his new client. As he approached, he found himself unable to speak. The young woman standing before him had eyes that burned with a beauty almost too faultless to be real. The rays of sun seeping in through the window illuminated specks of amethyst and grey in her irides. He courteously smiled as the woman made her way into the shop. Generally, the man would allow his victims a few minutes of freedom before he began his process, but today his lust would permit no such privilege. As the woman stood with her back turned, admiring a screech owl he had stuffed many years ago, the man proceeded to the backroom. Blood bubbling with anticipation, he quickly dabbed an old cloth with chloroform and walked with a certain swagger over to the woman. As she opened her mouth to speak, it was violently smothered by the blood stained fabric. When he was younger, the man might have made use of a more aggressive approach, but his feeble bones were no longer capable of enduring that kind of physical encounter. He could barely even dispose of his victims properly anymore. He tended to carry them out back to the alley, but even that was found to be too strenuous. The woman collapsed in his arms and was dragged to the windowless and unusually bleak backroom. On a table she laid unconscious while the man finished eviscerating the fox, who was soon to be given a new pair of eyes. Like always, the man began muttering his favorite poem. The woman shot awake only to find herself tied down to the eroding wood table. In all his excitement, he had neglected to use an adequate amount of chloroform. Oblivious to his mistake, he carried on with his work and softly recited,
“The rain continued to puddle and pour, all the while Thaddeus could take no more.
His bottle of whiskey was nearly empty--eyes shot red and stomach filled plenty.
The trees began rattling, rattling and bustling, but Thaddeus seemed unable to react.
As he stood up to leave, a branch flew down and hit him with a blow.
The slab of wet wood fell straight to his back, pushing him forward into a cloud of black. Over a root Thaddeus stumbled, as the sound of thunder increasingly rumbled.
On Marjorie’s grave, his head was detached, and into the tomb his soul was snatched.”
Like a broken record these seven lines repeated themselves for what must have totaled an hour. The woman, rope-burned hands free at last, slid off the table and on to the floor.
A sickening stench enveloped the man. He couldn’t speak nor see. Foreign blood seeped into his skin. As he touched his face he found only a tunnel where his eyes had once rested. Like Polyphemus, he was robbed of his most valued sense. Although he couldn’t see it, nor would he ever, his final project had been completed. The fox watched the man from across the room with a glistening new pair of eyes.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.