I see my eye looking back at me!
Heavily drugged and nerves numbed, I’m in a darkened surgery office ready to get started. My head is encased in a thick, mechanical device designed specifically to hold me steady. Armed with sensors, lenses and lasers, the device is about to begin its de facto precision work. My LASIK surgeon leans close and tells me the procedure is starting.
I watch in real time since my eye is fully open throughout the procedure. After a series of scans, beeps, and adjustments, the laser slices a loose flap from my cornea. I can feel it.
The doctor pulls the flap back and applies fluid. Feels good.
The laser starts again, this time in percussive blasts that begin to carve and reshape my eye. The zaps frighten me. I see odd flashes of light everywhere, especially around the edges. Is that normal?
In the next few minutes, the doctor asks me questions then moves to the other eye. The procedure goes quick. Within ten minutes, the LASIK surgery is done. My vision is corrected. Or so it seemed.
“So, that’s what I’m facing and that’s what I want to know.” said Robin, head held high and defiant.
The Reader, having listened to Robin’s tale, sat motionless and aghast.
Impatient with the Reader, Robin took the Tarot deck and shuffled the cards. He drew the Seven of Cups. “May we continue?” Robin asked.
Stunned back to the task at hand, the Reader cleared her throat and said, “Yes, of course.”
“The Seven of Cups means…”
“The Seven of Cups has…”
Finally regaining her focus, the Reader said: “The Seven of Cups tells us to choose with care. The obstacles you face – your ‘monsters’ – are the objects portrayed on the card. They are distractions. They torture only because you are indecisive. They are…”
Interrupting herself, the Reader pleaded with Robin: “If they are torturing you then it is of your own making. You must reconsider your decision. Your choice is between reality and illusion. Your monsters are an illusion. Robin, you’re mislead. You must realize that. Please don’t do anything rash.”
Undeterred, Robin politely ended the reading and left for home. He had made up his mind much earlier. Without really asking for it, the card provided confirmation of the monsters. The Seven of Cups, with its ‘obstacles’, only hardened Robin’s resolve.
At home, he finished dinner and started washing dishes. Soaping, rinsing, and mesmerized by the dark night, Robin peers out the window, his mind is deep in thought from the activities of the day.
In the window’s reflection, just behind him off on the edge, his eye caught movement. He turned around and saw nothing. Returning to the dishes, he flipped on the hot water. As usual, the water was scalding.
Feeling a burn on his left hand, he shut off the faucet. On the back of his hand was a roundish blister. “Damn it,” he said. The blister hurt.
He took a shower. In front of the bathroom mirror, he wiped the fog and started to comb his hair. “Great,” he exclaimed. “Hair thinning on top.”
Robin put the comb down. He stepped back to look at his reflection. His torso and legs were covered in sores – the same roundish blister he got while washing dishes. But these were much older. Most are healed.
Robin put on his bathrobe and felt the dish knife he placed in the pocket. He grabbed the toothbrush and looked back at himself while brushing his teeth. He stared directly into his eyes. “Just like surgery, when it all began,” he thought. Then something caught his eye, something just out of view…
He felt a sting on his neck. From the mirror, he saw a fresh burn. He set his toothbrush down. They’re coming back sooner and faster.
In one swift but forceful movement, Robin grabbed the knife and stabbed each eye.
Earlier during the Tarot reading, Robin told the Reader his story.
“About five years ago, I got LASIK surgery. All went well and my vision was corrected – improved.”
“But it went beyond improvement. I was able to see things that couldn’t be. Always at the periphery and never in full view, I saw monsters.”
“At first I couldn’t make them out. They appeared and vanished just as quick. It was like that for a while until I got a good look at one.”
“It was small. Like a cat. But round. And its color – colors – iridescent. Not nice like a beetle, but sad like an oil slick.”
“But they also have tendrils. The tendrils don’t always come out. When they do, they touch me. That’s when I get a burn.”
“I’ve had two follow-up procedures to fix my peripheral vision. But none worked. The creatures do not want to be unseen. If surgery will not fix it, then I have to.”
“Which is why I’m here. As of tonight, it’s all going to end one way or another. I’ve made up my mind. I will repair what LASIK surgery broke. I want to ask the Tarot: why are these monsters torturing me?”
This is Dante P Ramon, your author and host of The Dark Reading, a collection of original scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to follow my website as I present new stories on a weekly basis. I also record and distribute my stories via podcast. So, visit us on the web at TheDarkReading.com, and feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.
I just picked the Death card, so good night for now.
Season 1 Episode 21.
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This, and all stories on The Dark Reading are original and written by Dante P. Ramon.
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