Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Vision of the Blind ★ Payton Smith

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I
Four years passed since the accident that took my sight, never to return it. I lost my job, my wife, and most of my old friends, sure the money is nice, but only when I have others to share it with. 

Mr. Hudson, or George as I preferred to call him, is my butler that I hired a while back and one of the few I can trust anymore, although now we are better friends than a master and his servant. The walls of my mansion are enormous or at least so I am told, but I do know that the halls stretch on for what feels like an eternity. Silence filled the building most of the time. 

I hate silence because it stalks me when I am alone. A few times a month a group of my friends stop by and we converse of the world today.


A while backI used to throw big parties like those of Mr. Gatsby for all my neighbors and anyone who needed a place to socialize, but that stopped a few months ago. George told me that he overheard a group from our last party talking about how a few of the rooms were “eerie”, and some even muttered that I was a crazy blind man intending to murder all the party guests, utter nonsense.
It was this rumor, however, that ended the parties. 


That didn’t bother me much because most of them were rude guests, always talking of gossip, nothing too exciting or intelligent.

A few weeks back I had a strange conversation outside with the local mailman, “While I was on my way to put your mail through the door during the week you and Mr. Hudson left town, I saw a man standing in your attic window, staring at me. Immediately after I slid the mail through the slot, I noticed a pair of legs standing on the opposite side of the door, they wore the same pants as the man in your attic. Who was that man?” he asked me and the first thing that came to my mind, came out of my mouth.

“The only ones I could imagine being here could be someone from my group of friends that I usually meet with about once every two weeks,” I told him, “but that’s unusual, I don’t think any of them would come over without me nor go in uninvited. Not to mention, it has been about a month or so since we last gathered.”

“You may want to consider having Mr. Hudson to check the entire house for any break-in points,” he finished, handed me my mail, said a friendly “goodbye”and walked off into the brisk evening.

I could feel the sun shining brightly onto my skin, a typical early summer day with the birds playing noisily in the distance and the vibration of the passing cars caused by the summer traffic. 

As I walked the straight pathway to the door, I thought of these strange occurrences mentioned by the mailman, could the mansion be haunted? Upon entering the house through the enormous wooden doors, I could tell George stood nearby, it’s as if I can feel the energy emitting off living bodies and my brain creates a mental image, almost like an outline of the person before me. He asked if I was ready to have dinner prepared.

Completely disregarding the question, I replied with a question of my own, “George, have you noticed anything different about the house?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” the reply was to be expected. “What do you mean by different?”

I quickly thought of a way to explain without George thinking of me as going mental, “Do you believe in ghosts, George? I’m not sure if I do, but lately it seems the locals have been very, standoffish.”

“I personally do not believe in ghosts, sir,” George replied quickly to show that he stood strongly behind his belief, “and the house has been the same since I arrived here.”

I trusted his word and decided to drop the idea entirely then went about my day as normal. A few days later, my good friend Dewey came by, George told me that he let him in and that he waited for me in the study. I quickly made my way to him and upon entering the study I could feel his presence, his outline a definite shape in my mind. The mental outline my brain created grew stronger the more I know a person, strangers seem to just appear as fuzzy blurs caused by unknown emotions.

“Does it frustrate you that you have the most elaborate personal library I’ve ever seen and cannot read?” Dewey asked.

“It doesn’t,” I told him my response after finding a comfortable spot to sit, “George reads to me, he apparently enjoys it and tells me it is more of an education than he received as a child. It’s good to hear from you my friend, it has been awhile.”

“Yes, it has, Thomas,” a book closed shut after he replied. “I came by about a month and a half ago, so that I could bring you a gift, but no one was here on any of the three days I attempted. I left the gift on your porch, did you receive it?”

“Sadly, I have not, I thought back but remembered nothing of a gift, “a month and a half ago would have been when George and I spent two weeks in Mexico, where we drank tequila from sunrise to sunset. As for the gift, little scoundrels tend to steal off of my porch. May I ask what it was?”

I could feel his energy move to a different side of me then he spoke, “a bracelet I found on an expedition, the legend that follows it claims that the wearer is granted sight when they themselves have lost it.”

“Dewey, I’ve told you before that my vision completely fried away from the chemical burn and no sort of foreign cultural object or medicine would be able to change that.”

      He sighed, I found it odd that he tried so hard to give me hope over something I already came to terms with, but upon asking why he cared, I heard of how Dewey wished to take me on expeditions and show me the places and objects we discussed about all the time. No one, besides George, knew more about me than Dewey, we connected on a very intellectual level. Our conversations that night scaled from tribes in Africa to the bankruptcies in Europe, he caught me up on the news beyond the local rumors and gossip.



II


Mr. George Hudson opened the enormous, red velvet curtains of his master’s study, Thomas laid sound asleep upon a couch that sat along the only bare wall of the room. The light from outside rushed into the room, giving the shelved books a unique shine, especially those with golden embroidering. Despite opening the curtains without trying to do it quietly, Thomas remained in a deep sleep, slightly snoring under his breath. Mr. Hudson approached the sleeping man and gently shook him until he woke.

“Sir,” the butler began, “Mr. Dewey Johnson, Mr. Fredrick Murphy, and Mrs. Hailey Ramsey are all waiting for you in the upstairs living room. I have already begun brewing a batch of earl grey.”


“Ah, it’s about damn time,” Thomas stretched out and stood from his resting spot, “It’s been too long since we’ve all gathered together. Could you also bring a loaf of bread with butter?”

“Of course, Sir,” Mr. Hudson said and waited for Thomas to leave the room. He left the room soon after and went to grab the tea and bread. Upon entering the kitchen where four cups of tea sat brewing with tea bags, he deemed them all ready and gathered a loaf and a small plate with butter, then laid it all out onto a silver platter and proceeded to take it upstairs.

It was well lit within the house because not a single cloud in the sky blocked the sun. Mr. Hudson thought of going outside and enjoying the summer day. As he approached the living room he could hear Thomas’ voice.

So the people there live and work like a giant unit, I see the positives to it, but where is the sense of individuality?” Thomas spoke, but stopped once he heard Mr. Hudson walk into the room and set the platter on a round coffee table in the center of the room. 

“Thank you, George. Everyone has told me of how nice the weather is today, you should take a break and go enjoy it.”

“I would like nothing more, Sir,” he replied and began to walk away, “I hope you and the others enjoy your time together. Just shout from the window if you need me.”

Thomas shook his head and Mr. Hudson began to take his leave, but before closing the doors to the living room, he peered in once again. 

Thomas pulled up one of the tea cups and began talking once again. He stood in the room alone, talking amongst himself.





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Payton Smith (P.L. Smith) runs a blog called The Unburied Stories on Wordpress. He writes in several genres: science fiction, horror, fantasy and alternate history. 


To find him on Twitter, visit his profile page here: @RococoPay !

1 comment:

  1. GREAT Short story..
    Well written good job PL Smith

    ReplyDelete

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