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Something just flew into my eye

By William AndrewsPublished 2 years ago 12 min read

I was close by when it happened. He flinched, bringing his hands up to his face and then slowly dropped into a crouching position.

“What?” I said.

There had been no sound other than the gentle lapping of the waves on the pebble shoreline and an occasional breeze causing the shrubbery to dance around us. The lake was eerily quiet which was unusual. We had been coming here every year for the last 5 and it was common to come across the odd family or couple during our stay, but not this year. We hadn’t seen anybody for 6 days and now it was time to leave.

“My eye” he replied.

I continued folding the blankets watching him remain crouched and still like a statue.

“Something just hit my eye” he continued.

I ignored his last comment. We still had some packing to do and a long trek back to the van with all our gear. I wasn’t planning on standing around whilst this lazy, selfish boy came up with any excuse to not have to do any work. This was supposed to be a trip to try and re-ignite the adventure in our relationship. The fun times of drinking and dancing, exploring and getting high, something it was built upon in the early days, but I think we both knew it was more of a make-or-break situation - at least I certainly did.

The week had been long and tiring and there had been times for quiet reflection. Occasionally I would look back at him to see if there was anything still there. Any deep connection, any burning energy that would break down the newly formed resentment and urge me to drop everything and run back into his arms. And there was none. I was coming to terms with the fact that this was a curtain fall - I did not love this man anymore.

“Stop messing around and finish packing the gear. We’re already leaving late” I said a minute later once I had strapped my backpack.

“Shit” he replied softly, only just reaching earshot.

I spun around to look at him once more. He had remained in the same crouching position with his back to me and very still. This time I sensed concern.

“What is it?” I replied, walking around to face him and his issue.

He was shaking with his head lowered. His quivering, tilted hand pulled away from his face and reached out as if going to show me something but paused in between us both. That was when this story took on a whole new journey and things started to get weird.

“What the hell is that?” I said, not trying to hide any discomfort at what I was seeing.

Spread along his shaking index finger were a dozen maggot-like insects, no more than a couple of millimetres in length, aimlessly wriggling in every direction. White in colour with a glowing purple dot at the front, they seemed unlike any insect I had ever seen. I noticed how the surface of the skin on his finger had become red and irritated by the crawling things.

“Look at me,” I said, in a more forceful tone.

He uncomfortably raised his head. Both eyes could barely open, but his right eye was already raw. The skin around it had turned red and seemed hot and a pinkish hue had bled into the whites of his eye.

“It hit me in the eye,” he said.

“I swatted it, it’s there on the grass”

I looked down at the grassy patch to where he gestured. A large purple, part-fur, part-scaley insect lay dead on the ground. I had noticed on one occasion over the last week this purple insect hovering just above the surface of the lake, and I had been curious about it. It made no appearance in any of the wildlife books for the area and I had never seen such an insect before. I remembered how mystified I was at its ability to dive into the water like an ocean gull and disappear to the depths, strange for an insect. I looked back as he spoke.

“It’s burning. How…” he stuttered in confusion.

“I rubbed my eye and… Why were there maggots on my finger?”

“Look at me” I interjected.

“Open your eye”

He lifted his shaking finger and gently let it rest on top of his cheek. Slowly, he pulled down his skin, peeling the lower eyelid away from his eye. I gasped, feeling my face tense up. Over a hundred squirming bright white maggots with glowing purple dots were frantically wriggling around the moist inner section of his eye as if it was their home. I’d like to say I kept my cool in this situation and maintained a level head to keep him calm - but I didn’t.

“Holy fuck” I shouted.

“There are hundreds of them. Tiny glowing maggots! They’re all in your eye” I screamed, as I watched two of them spill out over his eyelid and wriggle up his eyelashes. This made him shudder.

“Wash it out, wash it out, wash it out” I yelled.

He ran the few paces to the edge of the lake and collapsed at the break of the waves, submerging his face below the surface and back out every few seconds. I stood there horrified at the scene. What had just happened?

He was silent when he lifted his head out the final time and leant back on his knees facing out to the lake. I bent down next to him.

“Look at me” I ordered.

His face gradually pointed in my direction, and it quickly became apparent how the severity of the situation had been taken up a level. Most of his face was red and new purple blotches had appeared around his eye. Small capillaries in his face were now prominent, pulsing under his skin and the flesh looked like it was weeping although it was difficult to tell, looking at his wet face.

“Shit” I whispered.

“Let me look in your eye again”

He didn’t raise his hand this time. Instead, he sat there breathing heavily as if he had lost his energy in the last few minutes. I grabbed his face and carefully pulled down his lower eyelid once more.

“Fucking hell” I softly said, the pitch of my voice significantly higher.

“We need to get moving now!”

I felt my nose twinge and liquid fear tickle my tear ducts. What the hell was going on? There were certainly fewer maggots after the face wash but the area inside the eye had gone purple and black and on closer inspection, there were minuscule black dots that looked like holes. This was confirmed a second later when I watched three of the tiny crawlers disappear inward, into the flesh.

“My…. My head feels hot” he murmured.

“Wash your face again and again, quickly” I shouted and began gathering the essentials into my day pack.

“Out and in and out and in, don’t stop. I’m getting some things together; we can leave the rest. We need to get you to a hospital”

I pulled him to his feet and checked one more time. It deeply shocked me how much he seemed to have deteriorated in the space of a few minutes and how he couldn’t think straight. Or was the latter just the person he was? Always ‘me against the world’ and always claiming everyone owed him something. Now, glaring into a frighteningly serious situation, was he just going to blame this stupid insect and sit back and risk losing his eyesight, or worse?

“We need to move quickly” I ordered.

“There’s a rangers hut a few hours away, that’s our best bet. They can take us to the hospital, and we’ll collect the car and our belongings afterwards”

We began our trek around the water’s edge. The hut was located on the south-eastern peninsula which had a direct road leading out. I had rinsed a small towel in the cool lake water and fastened it around his face to chill his skin. I was setting a good pace ahead of him and could hear his staggering footsteps close behind me noting how well he was keeping up.

“Had to be me didn’t it” he sulked.

“You said it was going to be a nice trip and now I’m probably going to be blind”

“Shut up!” I snapped back.

“We’re not bickering now, just keep moving”

We had been travelling for over an hour when I noticed I was alone. Retracing my steps 40m back, I found him knelt at the water’s edge once again. Before commanding words could shoot out of my mouth, I watched him very slowly bend forward and dip his head under the water and back out again, repeating the process several times. This was odd. It didn’t seem like he was cleaning his eye. We needed to move quickly and get to a hospital and yet his demeanour was different - like he was a calm shaman performing a ritual.

“What are you doing?!” I shouted

He remained incredibly still looking out to the vast lake.

“Did you clean it? Let me look again” I continued.

There were no insects in his eyelid but my heart sank at the realisation that the majority had probably burrowed into his eye. His face was beginning to look unrecognisable with red and purple inflamed skin and pulsing blood vessels. Strangely both eyes were now open, a deep red hue replaced the whites and patches of dark punctured skin had appeared around his sockets and cheeks.

“You just left me here” he whispered, looking directly at me.

“Can you see?” I replied, ignoring his comment.

“You just left me here” he hissed.

“Get up, now!” I snapped, dragging him up to his feet.

“This is serious, your face is bad, and we need to get help! Now get moving”

At this point, a wave of fear drifted over me. Not just fear for the situation and the lasting damage that may be caused but also a new, sudden fear - of the man I had known for 10 years. He no longer seemed in pain and had thrown away the cooling towel I had strapped on earlier. There was a new, peculiar aggression and I felt nervous walking ahead of him as we continued to the ranger’s hut.

I estimated approximately 2miles to the destination, as the hut came into sight across the lake.

“I can see it!” I said, catching my breath.

“Another 20minutes maybe, we’re close”

“Come and join me” he sneered.

“The water is cool”

I glanced back to see him standing waist-deep in the lake with his top off. He was grinning at me, carefully waving his hands back and forth across the surface. He looked diseased. The marks had spread all over his chest and fresh flesh wounds now appeared all over his body. Everything about the man I knew, and his current appearance, suggested he should be wailing in agony at the sheer pain of his body’s rapid deterioration, but he continued smiling at me as if possessed. At this moment I was scared.

“I’m going to run on and get help,” I said, the words coming out a little quieter than I had intended.

“Come into the lake” he softly replied, still smiling.

I was confused as to why I was crying. It would be a perfectly normal emotional response to sob at this alarming situation, but it was more than that. I feared this man, and I wanted to get away from him. I tried to shake the negative thoughts.

“Just wait here!” I shouted back at him, unable to hide the flow of tears running down my cheeks.

“I’m getting help so you just stay here, don’t move, OK?”

I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins as I dashed around the lake’s edge, feeling his piercing stare burn my back until I was out of sight. After a short while, I was spitting out the story to a bemused ranger. We ran out onto the lake’s jetty with his binoculars, and I pointed in the direction. He scanned silently for a few seconds, panning slowly across the reeds on the shoreline to be sure not to miss him.

“I can’t see anything,” he eventually said.

I snatched at his binoculars and within a few seconds, I saw him, standing in the same position I had left him and looking directly at us. This zombie creature, barely recognisable other than the demonic smile forced upon his disfigured face, now held what looked like a large, jagged stone in his right hand. In one abrupt motion, he raised his arm high as if to display the sharp rock and brought it crashing down on the side of his head with incredible force.

I screamed as he collapsed into the water, dropping the binoculars, and losing my balance. The ranger picked me up and threw me into the docked recovery boat, uncertain of what had happened but judging the severity by my reaction. His shouting words were no more than noise as I sat on the deck, trembling and in shock. We sped off towards the shoreline and the ranger cut the engine as we pulled close to the sighting. Gently riding the ripples drifting closer to the scene, I noticed his hand hovering above his holster. There wasn’t a trace. No body, no blood, no belongings. I jumped into the shallow water so I could climb the bank and glance down the track we had made our way through 30 minutes earlier… nothing. My eyes were wide with a clear, horrified expression, scanning the surroundings for any indication of where he had gone, eventually landing on the ranger.

His face had softened, and he gave the sort of expression a parent would give a child who had returned home later than promised. What I saw was pity. And then I heard the ignition click and the engine start.


About the Creator

William Andrews

Writer of little fictional stories of whatever floats into my head.

[email protected]

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