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The Eye

by Jubbly 

Posted: 17 March 2004
Word Count: 503
Summary: A very short story

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The Eye

It never bothered me, not really, a puddle of greyish goo collecting in the lower lid then weeping, alien like into the creases of his face.

Psst, my mother would nudge, followed by an aggressive whisper.
"Your eye!"

He'd turn away embarrassed and wipe at it with a yellowing oversized hankie, popping the offending mess back into his trouser pocket only to reach for it again many times during the course of the day.

As a child I thought he could see me with both eyes, I didn't understand that the left one was just for show.

"It used to be glass," he said once. "But I walked into a door and smashed it to bits, cutting my face, blood everywhere, it was terrible, they only do them in plastic now, much safer."

'"What's underneath it." My best friend once asked me.

I shrugged, "Don't know, just skin I suppose."

She made a retching sound and pretended to be sick. "Disgusting, ergh."

I never thought of it like that but there were two definite sides to his face, the smiling, caring side that loved me and looked at me with a thousand promises of safety, and the other side, the store mannequin, the statue, the man who never knew.

No, it wasn't from the war I'd say. It was an accident in childhood. He'd climbed up onto his mother's lap while she was bent double over her old singer sewing machine.

"Can I do it mummy?"

"No, get down."

"Can I sew?"

"No, get back, get away, no!!!"

A mother's howl of pain, animal - like, her child's agony worse than anything she could inflict on herself. I know that now, my two boys have drummed that lesson into me. Gashed knees, swollen lips, monstrous lumps on their foreheads, oh my god, how does a soldier's mother ever sleep?

His little eye was caught on the bobbin pin, skewered like a pickled onion at a cocktail party. Ruined forever and that foolish moment in time brought a legacy rendering him a half-life.

He could drive and read and write and work his manly tools, but for every look forward he had to make the movement once more, leaving him with constant headaches and neck spasms.

After his funeral, when the visitors had gone and my mother sat weeping over her brandy on the sofa, I ventured into their bedroom. Cremated I thought, that plastic eye has melted, burning much faster than the rest of him, gone for good now, finally blending him and it into one.

As the shock of missing him tore me apart I opened the drawer on his side of the bed hoping to find an old watch or a ring even a handkerchief just a small piece...

I gasped and slammed the drawer shut.

I see you, it called!

I opened the drawer again, slowly, preparing my heart for the invasion of shock.

I see you!

All those years and I never knew he kept a spare.

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 13:29 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Oh God, Julie, the end of this was almost as much a shock for me as for the narrator! The body of the story leads onwards with gentle sensitivity then you smack the reader round the face! Great stuff, you're really good at these shorts. One little typo for you:

'...how does a solders mother ever sleep?' ('soldier's)

Best, Nell.

Becca at 13:48 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, yuck. My daughter wears a glass eye made into a ring, it sometimes looks at me.
Lovely macabre little story this, what about doing a bunch of them of about the same size, and all with that sort of 'cockroach in the bee-hive hairstyle' quality,- not that this one is, but it has something of that essence about it, 'Did you ever hear the story of Uncle Jimmy's eye? No? Go and ask Aunt Julie over there, then.' You know what I mean, little gruesome urban tales?
Oh, by the way should 'bloody' be 'blood?'

James Anthony at 14:02 on 17 March 2004  Report this post

my stomach leapt a little at the end.

Really good story and I had no idea that would happen at the conclusion! Superb

Sue H at 16:42 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Shocking end! Especially as I have a complete phobia about dodgy eyes! Really well written - very dramatic and moving too!
PS - Yuk, Yuk,Yuk!!!!!

Jubbly at 17:15 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Nell, Becca, James and Sue - now would it creep you all out to know it's a true story? Twenty five years ago and I only thought about it yesterday. Thanks for the corrections all done and dusted. Becca, I am doing a collection, if things go to plan they may getter a wider audience, will know in a couple of weeks.

Cheers everyone


PeterOC at 17:34 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
I couldn't believe how quickly I got sucked into this one. Lovely imagery - and horrible imagery. It had me cringing. And a brilliant ending to round it off. Can't believe you did all this in just over 500 words.

This is really top class, excellent stuff.



Nell at 17:50 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, truth is stranger than fiction - I could elaborate on that, but the words in the yellow box are telling me not to! Fingers crossed...

SamMorris at 18:25 on 17 March 2004  Report this post

Great little story. Yuk indeed, but in a way quite amusing too. A series of these sounds like a intriguing idea.

All the best


Dee at 18:29 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Brilliantly toe - curling! That ending... I keep telling myself I should have seen it coming... but of course I didn't...


Go on... do another one...


Jubbly at 18:56 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Dee, Sam and Peter - I'm glad I made you all go Glurrrr! Now whenever I post a shorty here , everyone will go straight to the last line and I'll only disappoint.

swandale at 20:52 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Yuck! Definitely cringeworthy! Should go as a foreword in all sewing machine manuals - Do not use with a child on your lap.

On a serious note, I thought the idea of him having two sides to his face was fabulous.

Sam x

Jubbly at 21:31 on 17 March 2004  Report this post
Cheers Swanny, that was dad.

Ralph at 11:01 on 18 March 2004  Report this post
Wow Julie,

Another superb tale from such a compact collection of words - I really don't know how you do it, but the results are never disappointing.

You've had me thinking all morning, about how much a prosthesis is/isn't a part of somebody, and how much ownership over parts of the body really means to us... From 500 words?!? Amazing...

Quick typo? :"picked onion " Is that pickled? Not sure... Very vivid image though. Ow ow ow owch!

Looking forward to more of these...



Jubbly at 11:40 on 18 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Ralph, will amend typo. I'm doing some more but they won't all be grisly or even surprising. I'm hoping they are going to be dramatised in the near future - that's why the sudden gush, should know in a couple of weeks.

All the best


Account Closed at 21:34 on 19 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie,
An original tale and very well told. You really do have a way with these shorties.

I really enjoyed the ending - it makes you jump back with an "Erghh!"


Epona Love at 13:30 on 20 March 2004  Report this post
I loved this... even though it was rather a like not being able to take your eyes away from a horrific accident at one point, But in the best way possible, and it is full of very vivid visual images. The ending was perfect. I think that my favourite part was the "mother's howl of pain", and the reference to understanding this later having kids... it reminded me of so many other things that later become clearer when you become a mother... and the way that we find ourselves saying the same things that our mothers told us. But it reached me more because as mothers we are constantly trying to watch for danger and hate the idea that we cant prevent these things, however much we want to, just be thankful if things turn out well. Somedays its like living with your heart in your mouth. Reading this gave me that same sense.
Very involving and well written... good luck with the dramatisations.


Jumbo at 23:27 on 22 March 2004  Report this post

I loved the ending - the sudden shock, the sudden wrench out of the quiet scene that you had so carefully described!



glenn at 19:30 on 26 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie,

This story was excellent. Well written and crafted. The twist ending actually did make me cringe!

This type of very short fiction is great to read and write. The brevity of the piece gives it a natural economy of words - no over-elaboration, no superfluous rambling - that makes the story that much more immediate.

This is a great example of those qualities.

Thanks for an enjoyable read!


Flash at 12:07 on 02 April 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie

YUCK is the right word.

A very, very impressive vignette, horror and chuckles at the same time.


Watson at 15:35 on 17 April 2004  Report this post
Julie, a wonderful short story, very vivid with some beautiful descriptions. It brought back a few memories as I had an uncle with a glass eye. He lost his in the war. One day I was mooching in his bedroom and found his spare in a tin on his dressing table. I really felt the horror relived as I read your ending. Very well written.
All the best,

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