I hope everything is well in your world. This week, I have switched back from working on my novel, to writing a couple of short stories, which has been awesome fun, but more of that in another post.
I’ve also watched the testimony of Michael Cohen over in the US (I watched it in Nottingham, the testimony is over in the US!). As per a previous post, I am still baffled by the goings on of US politics (the UK too, before you start shouting), and how Trump still seems to garner so much blind loyalty. I must be missing something.
Anyway, onto today’s instalment. Last time, MIKE had made it home from work, in a state of drunkenness, much to the displeasure of his wife, who clearly has little interest in his problems – real or imagined.
On to today…
Mike stared into his mug, idly stirring the coffee. He didn’t really believe he was having a stroke, but there was clearly something. Otherwise healthy people in their thirties did not see things that weren’t there. That was reserved for old folks, living in warden-aided bungalows, or similar. Not him. Perhaps it was a symptom of a virus, he reasoned. Something picked up from the kebab he had eaten last week. Maybe a trip to the doctor was called for. That would be the answer.
He sipped the coffee slowly; he was in no hurry to get back to Gloria. He needed his head to clear before he said something that he might regret, although he was at a loss at this point, to know what that might be.
Their years together hadn’t all been bad, surely. He just needed a course of antibiotics, a few early nights, and some support from his wife. He could guarantee the first two, but the third was out of his control. He knew he loved Gloria. He didn’t know why, but he knew it to be true. The idea that she was having an affair flittered across his brain. It would need addressing, but at some point in the future, when he felt more able, more under control. At the moment, he didn’t trust himself to remain calm. He’d had several bottles of foreign beer, not to mention the fact that he was seeing things that no one else could.
He looked at the picture that stood on the kitchen table: it was a photo of the two of them at a park somewhere. Mike didn’t recall where, or even why they were there, but they looked happy. They hadbeen happy. She was attractive and young. They last few years had not been good to her. He smiled as he imagined what it was she had to offer another suitor. It wasn’t looks, it wasn’t intelligence, and it sure as shit wasn’t money. That left very few plus points, and all the ones he could think of, she hadn’t wanted to do to him in a long time.
He took another sip of coffee before turning his attention back to the picture. He was almost surprised to see that their heads were now obscured by the eye. It stretched almost from one side of the wooden frame to the other, almost four inches. It was not big, but big enough for Mike to see the vertical slit that bisected the yellow iris. He said nothing, but continued to stare at the photo. The eye stared back, its pupils dilating in the dim kitchen light. Mike reached for the photo and dragged it towards him. The pupil tracked his movement. He held the photo several inches in front of his face, the distance he would have held a book if he ever did any reading. At this distance, he could clearly see the veins in the eye, reaching for the pupil. The eye seemed more substantial somehow, and Mike reached his finger towards it. The eye blinked, and he withdrew his finger. He stared at the eye for several more seconds before he tried to poke it again. This time when the eye blinked, he didn’t pull away, instead choosing to see if there was anything there. The eyelid closed again as his finger made contact. There was definitely something there; something warm, vaguely skin-like. It was not the glass he should have been able to feel, and as he withdrew his hand, the eye opened again and resumed its staring.
“What are you?” he whispered. The last thing he wanted now was for Gloria to hear him talking to a photograph. The eye merely blinked.
“Are you real?” Again, he was met with silence.
“What do you want?” Mike spoke through gritted teeth. “What do you want?” he asked again. Brain aneurysmis what his mind said. Had to be.
“You talking to yourself in there?” Gloria’s voice came out of the living room. Mike ignored her but looked back at the photo to find the eye gone, replaced once more by the smiling faces of the two of them in happier times.
He drained his coffee and banged the mug down on the table. Partially hidden beneath the sugar that hadn’t dissolved, the eye stared up at him. Reflexively, Mike swept the mug from the table, sending it crashing into the kitchen wall where it shattered.
“What the hell are you doing in there?”
Shaken, Mike stood up and went back into the living room. He looked at the pictures on the wall in the hallway. It appeared to him that they were watching him. He flopped into the armchair in the living room.
Nearly there now. Next week should wrap up Mike’s saga. I hope you’ve been enjoying this horror story! Until next time…