The Other Eye

This one was based on a first sentence prompt. It was an ominous first sentence too, and there were many (dark) ways to take it. For prompts I like going with the first idea that occurs to me, so this is what I ended up with.

A friend of mine commented that it was an interesting experiment with language, though he admitted he had to read it a second time when he realized what was going on. Normally that’s a red flag about the writing, but I think it works in this piece. Do you?

The Other Eye

The eye stared at her through the keyhole, rarely blinking, but always watching. For so long the only things the eye had ever seen were darkness beyond the keyhole, the four walls of the room, and the tiny hole in the ceiling which was sometimes light and sometimes dark. Sometimes the hole cried too, and then it was very loud, booming. Every second light, there was also the grey.

The grey was like the eye. It had two standers and two grabbers, but it was all grey from top to bottom. The grey always brought the food. The eye shared the food with the white. The white was not like the eye. It had no grabbers but four standers, and it was tiny (it could even stand in the eye’s grabber), and it had a long flicker trailing behind it. The white would sing sometimes, a nice squeaky song, and sometimes it made the eye laugh.

Then the eye would put its grabbers over its eater and cry, because laughing was noise, and when the eye made noise, the grey didn’t bring food but instead the hitter.

But for three lights in a row now, there was her, the other. She stood in the darkness beyond the keyhole and when she did, the darkness was gone. In its stead was something like the room, but it stretched on for ever and ever and ever, and there were oh so many things and colours in it that the eye could scarcely even begin naming them. But none of those treasures, those strange things with their wonderful shapes and exciting colours mattered, because the eye could only stare at the other.

The other was like the eye, but she was nothing like the grey. She was mostly–well, the eye decided to call it blue–in the middle and she had long and flowing fur on top–like the white–but hers was a brilliant golden colour. The fur hung almost to her standers, and it was tied in the middle with an apple coloured cord; only, it didn’t look like the cords the grey sometimes tied the eye’s grabbers with. Instead it looked nice, and it didn’t look like it hurt.

Her grabbers and her standers were both pink, and there was something with her eater that the eye just couldn’t look away from. It was twisted in such a strange way, both of its sides rising almost to her eyes, that at first the eye wondered if there was something wrong with her. But the longer the eye stared at that eater and the face it was on, the more enchanting it became. Never had the eye seen such a beautiful sight, and though the eye didn’t know it, its own eater twisted to match that of the other, mimicking her smile.

The eye watched the other as she came each light and played with the strange things in the otherroom. By the third light, the eye was certain that the other was smaller than the grey. Maybe even smaller than the eye. Definitely bigger than the white though. The eye imagined holding the other in its grabber all the same, and laughed.

And that was when the other stopped, and turned to the keyhole.

“Hello?” sang the other. She was always singing and the eye thought it was for ever and ever even more beautiful than the white’s songs, but right now it made the eye’s thumper beat louder.

The other approached the keyhole, walking slowly, her eyes bright with wonder. The eye scrambled away from the keyhole to the far wall, trying to climb into–to climb through–the corner.

“Hello?” the other sang again. Then the tiny point of light that was the keyhole vanished, and in its place was an eye. An other eye.

“Elizabeth!” came the wail of the grey from somewhere for ever and ever far off and away. The keyhole reappeared, and both the eye and the other gasped. “You’re not to play in the cellar, girl!”

The eye heard the other’s standers stomping away, and then the room beyond the keyhole turned once more into darkness.

The grey didn’t come that light, neither with food nor with the hitter. A dark passed, but the next light the other didn’t come back either. The eye placed the white in its grabber and cried silently to the squeaky songs.

Another dark, another light. This time the grey came, and again the eye had apples. Their deep colour reminded the eye of the other’s fur binder.

Another dark, another light. The eye cried again, sad that it had ever laughed. If it hadn’t been noisy, then maybe the other would still be here.

Another dark, another light. The eye wondered if the other had ever been real at all. Sometimes the white vanished too, but it never told the eye where it went. The eye imagined it must be some kind of wonderful whiteroom, filled with beautiful keyholes both big and small everywhere. Each of them would show for ever and ever many whiteothers, all of them singing squeaky songs to each other. The eye was happy for the white.

Another dark, another light, and then dark again. The eye fluttered open. It was still dark, but its hearer had heard something, something that wasn’t the white. And there was also light coming from the keyhole. Light in the middle of dark–this had never happened before. The eye gulped.

Again. There it was. A pair of standers gently scuffing the floor in the otherroom, and quick, delicate, breathing. Not like the wheezing of the grey. Not at all.

“Hello?” the other sang so quietly from beyond the keyhole that the eye wasn’t sure it had even heard it. “Don’t be afraid,” she sang again.

Though the eye’s thumper was thudding, it realized it wasn’t afraid. How could it be, with that beautiful melody playing in its hearers?

“I’m going to open the door,” the other sang.

Then the light from beyond the keyhole vanished, and the singing was replaced by metallic clicking. As far as the eye knew, only the grey could make that sound. It was about to crawl against the far wall when the door opened.

The eye grew wide. Opposite stood the other. She wasn’t mostly blue today, but instead mostly apple, and she held light in her grabber. The other actually held light itself! It flickered, burning atop a tapered yellow point. The eye felt tears coming on, and could see the other also blinking them back. The other took a step into the room, and the eye crawled towards her on all fours, like the white would do. She took another step forward and raised her grabber outwards, and the eye let her touch its fur.

There was no anger in the touch, no reproach, and no hitting. It was gentle and loving and kind. The eye cried and so did the other.

In the middle of the dark, brother and sister had met for the first time in their lives.