By Melissa L. Webb
I sneezed yesterday. It wasn’t particularly loud or long. It was just a normal something-tickling-your-nose sneeze. I guess I wasn’t paying attention or something, because I forgot to close one eye.
I know you’re saying that’s not possible. Our bodies automatically close our eyes when we sneeze. Well, something went wrong. One of my eyes didn’t close.
I didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident. I was just going along, minding my own business, when I sneezed, and my right eye stayed open.
A terrible pressure built up behind it, causing it to bulge. I thought it would shoot clean out of my head, but a few terrifying seconds passed, then I blinked and the pressure was gone.
My eyesight in that eye was blurry, but it hadn’t shot out, and that’s all I cared about at that moment.
I ran to my mother, to tell her what happened, but she took one look at me and screamed. My eyeball was bight red. She said it looked like I was staring at her through a pool of blood.
We raced to the doctor, my mother convinced I was dying. I wasn’t. My eye didn’t even hurt anymore.
He told her I was fine. He said I burst the blood vessels in my eye, but that wasn’t anything to worry about. The blood would go away on its own. As for the blurriness, I’d strained the eye and it needed to rest.
He taped a gauze pad over that eye and told me to wear it for a week. With rest, my eye would be as good as new. Better even.
Boy, was he wrong.
Everything was fine during that week. There was no pain and my mother kept me home from school. I got all the TV and ice cream I wanted. It was like a mini summer vacation.
Then my week was over. It was time to remove the gauze. At first my vision was still a little blurry. I couldn’t make out anything I was seeing with that eye. After a few days, the blurriness went away and my vision was as good as before.
That’s when I wished my eye had shot out of my head.
Everything looked different with that eye. I could close my right eye and see things like I always did. A lamp. A vase. If I looked at it with my right eye open and left eye closed, it would be different. A burnt lamp. A shattered vase. Nothing was the same.
Things got worse the more I looked. I saw my brother’s bloated corpse floating in the hallway when I knew he was standing there, alive and talking. I saw my cat, Tigger, hanging from a tree from his own entrails even though he was only climbing it.
The images were driving me insane. I put the gauze back on, determined to wear it forever if I had to. I had seen enough.
My mother cried, begging me to take it off. I was fine. I didn’t need to disable myself any longer.
I tried to make her understand. I wasn’t disabled with the gauze on. I was better. If I didn’t look through the eye, I wouldn’t have to see what really was.
My mother’s worried that I might be losing my mind. I’ve told her what I’ve seen.
The world behind the world.
Everything I’ve seen is real on a different level than we know. It’s waiting for us there. I’m sure of this. I don’t know why my messed up eye can see it, but it does.
Mom doesn’t believe me. She hopes that I’m looking for attention, but deep down she’s worried the sneeze gave me brain damage. I wish that was the case. I’d be able to sleep at night.
I’m hiding in my room, the gauze on my eye, and the lights off. Monsters lurk in the world behind the world. If I can’t see anything, I won’t have to know what’s out there.
My parents are deciding what to do with me. They want me see someone. I don’t want to see anyone. I’d rather not tell them what I see lurking over everyone’s shoulder.
© 2015 Melissa L. Webb