Let me tell you of a recent evening. It’s sad, honestly.
The doorbell rang. It echoed down the hallways of the mansion. I unlocked the double doors, throwing them wide.
“Lovely night!” I held out my fingers. “Lovely, lovely night!”
My guest placed her hand within mine. We shook, a greeting. We had never met. But, she clearly could not resist the invitation.
She said, “I received a letter. About an ‘exciting visual experiment.'”
I clapped. “And so it shall be! So it shall be! Come in!”
I led her into the foyer, and she followed closely behind, walking through the halls and rooms.
She asked where we were going.
“To the library! To the library!”
I felt her reach for my back. “Why are all the lights off? I can barely see my feet.”
“Oh!” I exclaimed. “I hadn’t realized! Had not realized!” I kept my hand on the wall as we continued walking, waiting to come across a switch. Until I found one, and flipped it up.
Around another corner, we arrived at the library.
“Am I the only one here?” my guest asked.
I chuckled. “For now. Only for now.”
“Okay…” She sounded uncomfortable. “May I sit?”
“By all means! Be my guest, by all means!”
A silence fell between us. I listened to her breathing. I could smell her nervous sweat.
“So, uh,” she said, and paused. “What’s the experiment?”
“It’s visual.” A foolish response. She already knew that. “Quite visual.”
A new quiet descended on us. The bouquet of her sweat filled the chamber. Again, she broke the silence.
“Have you read all of these books?” My guest tittered. The anxiety spilled from her pores.
“No,” I lamented. “Only some. But, I haven’t read in a very long time… ’tis a shame.”
She began to question why, but stopped herself, abruptly. I believe she watched me in horror. I could hear her body contracting into itself. She recoiled, and recoiled, and did so until she was as far from me as she could make herself. My guest retched.
She stared at me, keeping me within her dilating pupils. I assume.
Why? Well, I’ll tell you. But, don’t you recoil, also.
As she questioned my lamentation, I raised my right hand to my face, my fingers at my eyelids. It was not a pleasant sight, I’m sure, but, I took hold of my left eye.
And removed it.
I dropped it into a silver bowl at my left side. It rolled around the bowl. Like a marble.
My fingers to my right eye, I extracted that one, as well. Depositing it into the silver bowl. The eyes clinked against each other. Rolled and swirled in the bowl.
As I’ve told you, my guest did not care for my actions. But, this was the beginning of the promised visual experiment. And one must expect anything when they arrive at a stranger’s mansion based on a cryptically sent invitation!
I opened the drawer below the bowl. From inside, I pulled out a small silver spoon. Serrated along the curve.
“Now, if you would kindly, kindly sit still,” I informed my guest, “we can get to the exciting portion of the experiment!”
Holding the serrated spoon high, I stepped toward her.
Over the back of the chair, I heard my invited guest scurry, and dash from the library.
I gave chase through the many hallways, trying to keep up with her, without crashing into walls.
I listened as my front doors were flung open, and she ran down the steps and along the gravel path.
I stopped at the doorway, hearing the noise of her light feet becoming less and less.
I shouted, hollered to her, my guest, the only one invited. “Please! Come back! Come back!”
In my hand, I felt the silver spoon, the coldness of it.
By then, she probably could not even hear my pleas. “It’s not what you think! It’s not!” I explained to the summer moon. “I was only going to remove your eyes! Just your eyes! It’s a visual experiment! It’s exciting! It’s visual!”
When I knew she was not coming back, I bowed my head, closed the doors.
I retired to my library. Sat in the seat my disturbed guest had claimed only minutes prior. I breathed the lingering sweetness of her sweat, tapped the spoon on my knee.
I stayed awake through the night.