Second Sight

By Chef Violent Harvest

Monday, August 3, 2009
Times are hard, and I work in a business that is slowly becoming obsolete. People are steering away from glasses and contact lenses to Lasik surgery and more permanent, feasible choices in the field of eye care. I’ve never been the type to collect my thoughts and put them down, and yet these have been the toughest months to endure as of late. My wife left me, along with alimony and a good chunk of everything I’ve struggled to build since I was in my early twenties. I don’t know if I’ll make my mortgage payment on time for the third month in a row. This hole is going to be impossible to climb out of.

Thursday, August 6, 2009
Got a phone call from corporate and had to terminate the positions of two employees. Stan has been here for seventeen years. He was a good eye doctor. I have a strong suspicion that more permanent layoffs are on the way. I had to go to a dealership and downgrade my vehicle, but the sales tax almost cleaned out my bank account.

Friday, August 7, 2009
I was helping Stan take his things out of the office today and a new vendor approached me. He works for some company called “New Vision,” and their prices are better than every other type of lenses we carry. They don’t do glasses or frames. Only contacts. He gave a pretty convincing argument, so I filled my own prescription with their lenses and I’m going to put them in tomorrow morning and try them out. This may be the small boost we need to stay open. I hope so.

Saturday, August 8, 2009
I called New Vision and told them my office was on board. I should have talked to our regional division manager before cutting the deal, but he treats me like garbage and routinely tells me that my office is in last place in every category but customer service. He says customer service doesn’t make money if you sacrifice profits. He’s not a doctor. These lenses feel more natural and it seems like the material adapts to light better than any other brand that I’ve seen in my twenty plus years as an optometrist. I’m going to keep using them myself. I mowed my lawn today, and I swear I could see every blade of grass. Maybe our patients will drop some greenbacks to try these out.

Monday, August 10, 2009
I prescribed my first pair of New Vision lenses to a patient today. He’s a six year old boy who was blind as bat before we fitted his eyes. His mother was concerned that six is too young for contacts, but after she saw him looking around and nailing the entire test on the wall, letter for letter and number for number, I convinced her to try them out. If I can get a pair of these out every day, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve stopped taking mine out at night because they don’t bother me like normal lenses do in the morning. I feel like I could leave them in forever.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I’ve prescribed them to thirty eight patients and it seems that word of mouth is sending more people my way. People are dropping HydraSoft and Toric left and right. The vendor from the company came by today and put a great ad in my office window. “See things in a new light. Fit some New Vision lenses today!” They also guarantee that you’ll read at least a line below where you normally would on the wall with any other vendor. They won’t tell me what the lenses are made of, but as good as they feel, I’m not hesitating to give my patients the best choice. The regional manager called again and congratulated me on turning business around. He’ll probably take credit for it at the board meeting. What an ass.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I traded in and got a Mercedes, and I offered Stan his job back. I told him he’d have to convince people to go with New Vision when pitching patients because with the healthcare reform bill on the way, this product is our only trump card. Without it, people will go somewhere else. I’m going to install a plasma TV on the wall in the reception area so people can watch football while they wait on their appointment. People love football. Whatever it takes to get people in the door.

Friday, August 21, 2009
Stan tried them out and he’s fifty five. He’s reading better than he was in his thirties, or so he says. We went to lunch today and he drives faster than usual; maybe it’s because he can see the road better.

Saturday, August 22, 2009
I’m a little rattled. I called New Vision today to order more product and to fill some prescriptions with some pending patients, but the line has been disconnected. I called the vendor’s personal cell and heard some sort of odd sound. You know when you’re sitting at a campfire and you can hear wood burning and popping in the flames? It sounded like that. Maybe their phones are down or there’s a power outage. I’m not sure. I’ll call them on a regular business day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009
I feel strange. I tried to go to mass with my mother today. I try to go to church with her at least once a month. I walked through the front doors of the chapel, and my vision started going blurry. The membranes around my eyes felt like they were going to burst open. I didn’t bring my glasses so I had to sit outside before we went to Sunday lunch. I think it was just a headache or a spasm or something. I’m not too worried about it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I’m frightened. Something wrong happened today. I fitted a 13-year-old girl for contacts, and while I was looking in to her dialated pupil, something appeared in the apparatus lens that hangs from the ceiling when I looked through it. It seemed like a bat, except its eyes were on fire, and it was getting closer and closer to my eye the longer that I stared in to the scope. I looked away before it got too big. I think I’ve been working too much and I may take a personal day. Stan is going to backfill my patients in to his schedule.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I almost died today. I wish I would have. I went to the old house in New Haven that now belongs to my wife, thanks to the courts. On the way, I stopped at a McDonald’s, and the girl in the drive-thru window looked like she was going to kill me. Her eyes caught on fire and her teeth elongated, and her voice sounded like one of those mechanical larynx boxes they give to people who smoke their throats in to oblivion. My Big Mac was shaking in my hands and I spilled that special sauce thousand island shit on my khakis. I looked down to wipe it away, and when I looked up at the road, the bat was on my windshield. It shattered and tried to claw my eyes out, and my eyebrows are gone. It singed them right off before I sped up and threw it out the window. My wife asked me if I was doing drugs when I showed up at the door with no eyebrows. All I wanted was my pair of shiny black shoes from the closet. I shouldn’t ever have to go back again. I saw her eyeing my car and my smashed windshield. I don’t really care anymore.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It’s almost midnight and I tried to take my lenses out. They’re not THERE anymore. I reached in to pull them off my cornea with my finger, and I poked myself straight in the eyeball. I’ve heard of lenses with high amounts of protein buildup dissolving in to people’s eyes, but I’ve worn these for less than a month. How can I still see if they’re not in my eyes? For the first time in my life, I’m scared of something more than my ex-wife.

Thursday, August 27, 2009
I checked the ledger today and business is out of the red and in the black. We’re officially making a profit on every patient now, but I’m having trouble focusing. I can see fine, but every now and then, my vision goes blurry and I see the winged thing coming at me from off in the distance. I tried going in to the broom closet and just keeping my eyes open in the dark. I still saw the bat in the distance, flying at me, head-on. It’s trying to get my eyes. I’m an optometrist. I NEED my eyes.

Friday, August 28, 2009
Stan is dead, and so is the six year old boy. No one else has made the connection that the only thing they have in common is my office and New Vision. They found Stan about a mile from work, his car caddy-cornered with the shoulder of the road. His hair was burned off and he didn’t have any eyebrows, either. His eyes weren’t missing. They were burned and melted in to his eyesockets. I never got to ask him if he’d tried to take the lenses out. I have to call everyone and tell them to return their prescriptions and stick to HydraSoft. I tried to call the vendor guy from New Vision. The line was popping and snapping again. The bat started coming at me, so I hung up.

Monday, August 29, 2009
Fourteen more patients are dead. I’d say that I would be looking at a lawsuit for my prescription records, but they haven’t found any traces of any company named New Vision or a brand of lenses by that name. The same thing happened to their eyes as mine. I’ve closed my office (Dr. Mendez and Associates will be closed until further notice due to illness) until I can find out what’s happening. We’re about to be in the red again, but something tells me that I won’t be around much longer to worry about the fruition of my business and craft. I was going to retire in the next five years anyway.

Tuesday, August 30, 2009
My eyes are not red. My eyes are not bloodshot. There’s this pink, fleshy, THROBBING membrane of skin around my eyelids. It breathes, and it pulses when I stare off in the distance for long periods of time. The thing becomes to come again. I finally let it get close enough that I saw what it really is. It’s a hairless human head with talons growing from a rut in the chin. The wings have wrapped around the temples and extended from the ears. Although the eyes are on fire, I recognize that mole on the corner of its chin. It’s not any human head. It’s MY head.

Wednesday, August 31, 2009
It came to me this morning and gave me a bottle of pills. Said I should go down to Doctor Margaret Lenore’s pediatric office in New Haven and tell her about this new drug. Helps kids with ADD and ADHD focus and get good grades. Supposedly works 400% better than Ritalin. She tried it on her hyperactive pomeranian and it works. Saw dollar signs in her eyes. I didn’t tell her that the bottle smelled like burning fire to me.

Friday, October 1, 2009
I found the New Vision property. It’s deserted. Everywhere I go, things are on fire. The gas station attendant’s face melted and stretched out thirty feet to the floor when I gave her my card to pay for gas. The pink flesh is dark maroon now and it’s growing out from the sides of my head. When I was shaving this morning, I ran my razor down from my chin to the base of my Adam’s apple. The skin broke open and I saw a little white sharp claw poking out after the blood stopped. I found something in the back room of this place.

The vendor guy is missing his head, and this entire office smells of ashes.


Every Second Counts

By Chef MethadoneDonor


I am twenty years old as of writing this. I don’t want these words to be destroyed. That is why I am posting these words now. I want someone to see these words in case I don’t survive the next three weeks. Every second counts.

He has lived in the house since before I was born. He has tormented me my entire life. Sometimes he pretends that he cares about me. When I was a child, I used to believe him sometimes.

I sleep in a room on the second floor of the house. I would normally call this room my bedroom, but I cannot anymore because he sold my bed last year. I sleep on the floor now because he wanted one hundred dollars.

I cannot call the police because there are only two phones. One is in the living room, and the other is in his room. If I pick up the handset of one phone, a small light lights up on the other phone. If I call anyone on the living room phone, he will see the light and pick up the handset on his phone. I cannot call anyone because he sees the light every time and he listens to every word. By the time the police came, it would be too late.

I cannot rely on my neighbors for help. They all hate me because I live in the same house as him. They probably don’t know that I hate him too. More than one of the neighbors has called the police on him before, but nothing ever happens. The police don’t see any evidence of anything and then they leave.

I am acutely aware that the distance from my window to the ground is sixteen feet straight down. I constantly think about jumping, but not to kill myself. I would jump in order to escape. I would jump in order to survive. I think I could survive a sixteen foot drop mostly intact. If I hang off of the edge of the window and drop down, it’s only a ten foot drop. I’m pretty sure that I would survive a ten foot drop without injury if I landed right. If I landed on the hood of my car, it might be better than hitting the concrete driveway. I wonder how many seconds it would take to remove the car cover and start the engine. Would it even start after sitting in the driveway all this time. If it did start up, how many seconds would it take to do so? Every second counts.

Sometimes when my mom leaves the house to go to work or buy groceries, she will say cryptic things. “If I don’t come back, take care of your brothers for me.” “I hope I see you again.” “I’ll be back, I hope.”

About half a year ago, I began leaving my window unlocked at all times. I worry that if my window were locked, I wouldn’t be able to get out in time if anything happened. I would have to take time to unlock the window before I could even open it. If my window is already unlocked, that will buy me at least a second or two of extra time. Every second counts.

He doesn’t want me to go to college. He has prevented me from going to college for two years now. I have been trapped in this house for two years since graduating high school. I have been able to find work sometimes, but most of the money is taken and goes directly to him. Two years of my life have been stolen from me so far. Two years is a really long time when you measure your life in seconds. Every second counts.

He had a nightmare a while back. He walked into my older brother’s room where we were both watching television. He just stared at us for almost a whole minute in complete silence. Then he walked back down the hallway and stopped at door to his room. He just stood there as stiff as a board, staring into his room but not entering it. I asked him why he was staring at me and my brother. He didn’t answer. I asked him if there was something in the room that he was looking at. Without looking at me, he whispered some words which terrified me and continue to scare me even to this day. I was afraid that I was going to die that night. Eventually he entered his room and closed the door. I went back to my own room and picked up the spiked bat that I keep next to my window. I got it at the renaissance festival last year. I locked my door and I didn’t go to sleep that night. The spiked bat was hard to hold onto because my hands were shaking and my palms were sweating.

It was this night, three months ago, when I began locking my door at all times. Having my door locked buys me some more time. I think that I could probably make it out of the window before my door was broken in. A locked door adds precious few extra seconds, but a couple extra seconds is better than none. Every second counts.

The next day, my mom asked me where the rope ladder was. I told her that it was probably in the hall closet. She told me that I should keep it in my room. “If something happens, I would want you to make it out at least.” In this exact moment, something became perfectly clear to me. I have two brothers who sleep in adjacent second-story rooms. There is only one rope ladder, and my mother wants me to have it. She wants the only rope ladder to be in my room where only I have access to it, instead of in the hall closet where everyone has access to it. My mother had asked herself which of her three children was the most likely to survive if something happened, and the answer was me.

My next door neighbor’s house was broken into and robbed last week. It happened in the middle of the day. I even heard the glass break, but my window doesn’t face their house, so I didn’t see anything. I didn’t call the police. It’s not that unusual to hear glass break sometimes. I continue to keep my window unlocked at all times. I don’t fear anything that could come through my window from the outside. What I fear lives inside of the house.

The other day I opened my window, and I cut loose a corner of the window screen. Then I cut small slits along all of the edges of the screen. This was to make it easier to rip the screen out if I needed to escape through this window. I wouldn’t want to waste precious seconds struggling with a screen if something were to happen. Every second counts.

I have spent the last couple of months gathering documents. I have been frantically searching my house for W-2s, 1040s, proof of SNAP, etc. I need all of these things if I want to escape. He has tried very hard to shred all important documents and then burn them in the backyard, but some survived. He does this because he doesn’t want anyone to escape. What documents I do find, I must hide from him. If he found out that I had all of these documents, I don’t know what he would do. At the same time, I know exactly what he would do.

I went to the community college last week, and I brought all of my top secret documents. The college person told me that I have all of the documents that I need except for one. This special document is called an IRS tax return transcript. In order to obtain it, I must file taxes secretly without his knowledge. Then it will take three weeks to become available, and then up to ten days to arrive in the mail. That is a very long time for someone who measures their life in seconds. Every second counts.

Using the documents I had gathered, I was able to file a tax return without anyone knowing. Now I must wait. There are fifteen days left until I can request the transcript, and then I might have to wait ten more days. When it arrives, I must get to the mailbox before he does. If he reaches the mailbox first, he will open the envelope and read the words therein. If that happens, the IRS tax return transcript will be shredded and burned. After that, it will be too late and I will have to wait an another year to try to escape again. It will be the third year that I will spend trapped in the house with him. I cannot fail again. That is why I must reach the mailbox first. Then I must go the college and submit all of the documents. Once I am enrolled, I will be able to leave. I will have to leave secretly, without anyone knowing. When he finds out that I have escaped, there will be nothing that he can do to me. I will be already be gone. My two siblings and my mother will still be there, however. He might take it out on them. I don’t think that they will ever escape. I have survived for my entire life, but escape is so close I can almost taste it. I have to survive for three more weeks. If I survive for three weeks, I have to reach the mailbox first. Every second counts.