Good morning! Another Saturday and another part of the story I started last wee, I’m Watching You, one man’s descent into insanity. Last time we had met MIKE and his wife, Gloria, who were having an argument over Mike’s inability to empty the bins. Whether from over work or home-life stress, Mike sees a disembodied eye staring at him through the kitchen window. At this point he shrugs it off as a figment of his imagination. We now see Mike the following day…
Read Part 1 HERE
When the alarm went off, Mike reached out and slapped it, knocking it to the floor. His mouth felt like a cat had crawled in there during the night. He turned over, but Gloria was gone. He could hear her downstairs, banging some plates or cups, probably in an effort to disturb his sleep. It had worked, he was annoyed to find. He pulled himself out of bed and realised he must have slept in his clothes. If there were any grease on the bed, Gloria wouldn’t let him hear the last of it; if having to do extra cleaning cut into her daytime TV schedule, she wouldn’t be happy. He walked into the bathroom without looking back – if he couldn’t see grease, there wasno grease, he reasoned.
He filled up the sink, squirted some shaving gel into his palm, and rubbed it over his chin. When he was happy, he picked up his razor and pulled the mirror towards him. As he lifted the razor to his cheek, he stopped. For a moment he thought he had seen something behind him, reflected in the mirror. He dropped the razor, balled his fists, and began to rub his eyes. He gripped both sides of the basin and looked down into the water. He took three large breaths and looked up into the mirror.
An eye hovered somewhere over his right shoulder. There was no head, no eyebrows, no nose, just an eye.
Mike stared at the eye. As before, the eye stared back, unblinking. In the light of the new day, he could tell that the eye was not human. The white sclera was clearly visible, as was the yellowish-coloured iris. The pupils were long and stretched. Perhaps a cat’s eye, or a lizard of some kind, but he thought it was too big for a cat. The eye appeared to be part way up the wall in his bathroom, just above the towel rail.
Mike continued to hold onto the basin as he looked at the reflected eye. He could feel his heart racing and a prickly, tingling sensation played over his face. This time he cupped his hands, filled them with water and splashed it on his face. Without opening his eyes Mike reached for the hand towel that hung alongside the basin, and buried his face in it, which was where he stayed for several seconds. After taking several deep breaths, he slid the towel down his face until he could see the mirror. The eye was still there.
He knew he should turn around, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“Gloria!” Mike didn’t want to involve his wife, but he was beginning to feel concerned. “Can you just come up here for a moment?” He kept his voice calm, fighting the rising tide of panic.
He heard Gloria coming up the stairs, then a moment later, the bathroom door opened.
“What? I’ve got things to do.”
“Could you just pass me that towel?” He pointed vaguely towards the towel rail behind him; if there was anything there, she would surely see it. He closed his eyes and waited for the screaming to start. He had wrapped the hand towel around his fist and was ready to dispatch the eye. It would give him some brownie points with his wife, and that was never a bad thing.
“Pass you the towel? Are you having a laugh?”
Mike watched in the mirror as his wife turned, snatched the towel off the rail and threw it at him. It settled over his head. When he pulled it off, he could still clearly see the eye, as before, on the wall above the towel rail. Gloria was standing what looked like inches from the eye. She didn’t look shocked. She looked pissed off.
“You got me up here to pass you a towel?” Hands on hips. “Perhaps you could help me with something? I’m going to have a shit in a bit. Do you think you could wipe my arse for me?” She turned around and left the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
“Love you,” he shouted after her. The sooner he got to work, the better. But there was still the eye. It remained fixed, midway up the wall, staring. You’re going to have to turn around sooner or later,Mike reasoned, this time pushing the heels of his palms into his eyes and rubbing. It’s a disembodied eye. Sort yourself out. Mike turned slowly, eyes closed, until he was facing the towel rail. He eased his eyes open slowly and waited for the image to resolve. The eye was gone. He turned back to the mirror. Still no eye. He walked over to the wall where he had seen the eye and placed one hand on the white tile. There was nothing: no warmth, no change in texture, no discolouration, nothing. He rubbed his hand across the tiles, then stepped closer, placing his cheek against the cold tiles. There was nothing. That’s because there wasnothing.
After shaving Mike went downstairs into the kitchen, where Gloria was sitting, drinking a cup of tea.
“Sorry about that,” he said, “I think I need a couple of early nights. I’m not thinking straight.”
“Fetching me upstairs to get a bloody towel.” Gloria shook her head. “Kettle’s just boiled. Help yourself,” she said, looking up at him and tilting her head, “Unless that’s too much for you?”
More of Mike’s life next week. So what do you think? Real or imagined?