I Lost My Eye In An Accident, So Why Is It Giving Me These Horrific Visions?: Part I


Part I of II.

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened that night. I thought I had a fairly good idea of how it would all go down. Just moments ago, I’d dismissed my friends to continue their bar crawl somewhere else. I, however, stayed at Mallory’s Pub, seated next to a nameless dark-haired stranger who bought me shots of Disaronno as I let his hand move dangerously close to the inside of my too-short skirt.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” he asked. His voice had a hint of British, sounding almost archaic. That, and he was polite. I knew exactly how I wanted this to end.

“Of course I don’t mind,” I said. I’d been keeping myself elusive, just out of his reach; but that was going to change very soon.

Let me make one thing clear: I’m a mean, frigid bitch. Most guys make the mistake of assuming that because of the pink-streaked blonde hair and heavy black eyeliner, I must be some free-spirited, “fun” type of girl. Not true. Ordinarily, I have the sexual temperament of Maxine the Shoebox lady; unless, on the rarest of occasions, I could be otherwise persuaded.

This was one of those occasions.

“I don’t mind at all.” I took another sip from my shot glass. I never down the whole shot at once; it just doesn’t seem ladylike. “Maybe we should get out of here?”

His face was a perfect crescent moon in profile, half obscured by that raven-feathered hair. His lips curved slowly into a devilish smile. “Of course. Where would you like to go?” Maybe it was bad lighting, but he seemed partly hidden in shadow. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I was sure they glinted with impure thoughts about me.

“Just take me somewhere else,” I said.

The next second, something hit my left eye with bone-crushing force. I fell backward off the bar stool, seeing only a chaos-storm of colors as my optic nerves exploded. Then my head struck the floor and everything went black. My mind shut off like a TV screen in a thunderstorm.

I woke up to the uneven tune of a heart-rate monitor. Blurred white shapes milled around me, shapes I couldn’t blink into focus. One of them stuck my arm with a needle.

“Ugh,” I groaned, wincing more at the lack of warning than the short pain. I tried to move my arms, my legs; but I could barely register their presence. Someone shined a flashlight in my eye. My pupil tried to dodge it, but the beam was too bright and too close.

“She’s awake,” said a detached female voice. “Someone get the doctor, and notify her next-of-kin.”

I tried to move my head, but the entire left side seemed almost mummified with bandages. My left eye wouldn’t even open.

A moment later, my mom came in; at least, her blurry outline did.

“Sadie!” she cried. “Oh my God, oh my baby.” She blocked the harsh light as she placed her hand on my forehead.

“What happened?” I asked. It was the first groggy sentence I could manage.

“Oh sweetie…”

According to my mom, some “stupid young hoodlums” from the night before accidentally hit a pool ball into my face. It seemed likely; the pool tables were to the left of the bar.

“Is that why I can’t open one eye?” I asked.

She couldn’t even say; she choked on a sob, grabbed my hand and cried into it. I was in too much shock to ask her to please stop.

Then the doctor came in and recapped most of what she just said. At least his dull, rational voice made sense.

“So, yes,” he said, “we believe you were struck in the left eye by a billiard ball last night.”


“Seriously, I’m afraid. You’ve suffered a moderate-to-severe concussion, so we’ll have to keep you another night for observation. There’s also some news that…might be difficult to accept.”

I took a deep breath. “What?” It’s my eye, isn’t it? I thought, but couldn’t bring myself to say.

“Your left eye was severely damaged. We made our best effort to repair it, but unfortunately, most of the tissue could not be saved.”

I said nothing. My mom just kept crying.

“You will most likely lose permanent sight in your left eye,” the doctor continued.

Lose sight permanently. I wanted to correct him, but I realized how pointless it would be.

“Unfortunately, the eye will have to be removed. If left in, it could trigger a sympathetic reaction in your right eye and it could lose sight.”

“Oh, God, please, no,” my mom pleaded. “Isn’t there another way? There isn’t anything else you can do?”

“I’m afraid that is our only option,” replied the doctor, “but with the right therapy, the right eye could regain full vision. It’s likely that Sadie won’t be legally blind after some time.”

“Well that’s good,” I muttered, half-consciously hinting at sarcasm.

“We will need to perform surgery,” he said. “The tissue will need to be eviscerated.”

“Eviscerated,” I said, fully crossing over into Sarcasm-Land. “That just sounds lovely.”

At least he understood the dialect. “It’s really not as bad as it sounds. It simply means that the damaged tissue will be taken out and refilled with a surgical implant.”

I must admit, I’d considered getting implants before — just not in my eye.

“Just do what you need to do,” I said. “When’s the surgery going to be?”

“Tomorrow would be best,” he answered. “We really need to move quickly on this.”

“Sounds good to me,” I said; but at this point, nothing really did.

“Perfect,” said the doctor. “A nurse will be stopping by periodically to check on you. Do you have any other questions?”


My mom just sobbed and shook her head. “Thank you, Dr. Noonan.” So that was his name.

“All right,” said Dr. Noonan. “I will see you tomorrow, Miss Lowe.”

He left the room; my mom and her histrionics stayed. She smoothed my hair back and gazed into my one good eye.

“Why did it have to be your eyes,” she lamented. “Your beautiful, beautiful eyes.”

I would’ve rolled my right eye if it was in less pain. “Mom, it’s fine. I have one more.”

“I know, sweetie.” She massaged my tired, unresponsive hand. “I know.”

As much as I hate to admit it, I’d probably miss my left eye, too. Like most people, I grew up between varied highs and lows of self-esteem, especially through my teenage years. Yet, that whole time, my eyes were probably the one thing about myself I always liked.

They’re blue, but not your typical blue; they’re like frost on stainless steel, with dark sapphire rims. I’ve pierced so many hearts with them – or so I’ve been told. Most beauty magazines say brown eyeliner is the best complement to blue eyes. Not mine. I only use the thickest black kohl, blackest-black mascara, smokey eyeshadow with a hint of silver. No other colors do them justice; my eyes put lesser colors to shame.

Forgive me for sounding vain, but this is my only eulogy for my left eye. It is, after all, dead.

Over the next few days, they had me on a battery of painkillers. I had only a few conscious moments before and after the surgery, which mostly involved getting out of bed to use the bathroom. I had to lean on my mom because tiny black moth-shapes swarmed around constantly, throwing off my balance. One of the nurses said it would take my entire optic nerve system a while to recover from the shock. During that time, I might experience minor hallucinations and a heightening of other senses.

They let me pick out a patch – an actual eye-patch. I had three choices: black, white, and a “flesh-color” my skin was way too pale for. I picked black.

Texts from concerned friends came flooding in, especially the ones with me at the bar that night. I tried to answer them all; probably with embarrassing spelling errors, though, as I could barely see the keys on my phone. At one point I woke up to a tall dark shape standing at my bedside. I thought it might be one of my friends, but then it was gone. Strange.

From that point on, it would only get stranger.

That same day, Dr. Noonan signed my discharge papers and gave me some post-care instructions. He said that “some excess fluid runoff” from my eye would be normal. Whatever that meant, it sounded gross. If everything went as planned, he said I could be ready for a prosthetic fitting in as little as two weeks.

“Sure,” I mumbled as a nurse helped me into an outpatient wheelchair. My mom thanked Dr. Noonan and wheeled me into the elevator and through the lobby and out to the car.

She offered to let me stay with her and my step-dad through this delicate recovery period, but I kindly told her I needed my own space. In other words, time alone, away from her – and every human, for that matter. She insisted on visiting daily to check on me, though; to this, I reluctantly agreed.

As she drove, my right eye strained to read the post-op care pamphlet in its weakened state.

“So, it says I can’t…carry heavy groceries…” I deciphered.

“Of course not,” said my mom. “You just write down what you need and I’ll get it for you.”

“Okay…I also can’t move furniture, not that I’d want to. Wait, I can’t lift weights? Not even the little 5-lb ones?” I wasn’t being sarcastic; I actually enjoy going to the gym regularly and doing resistance training, even though my scrawny girl-arms have little to show for it.

Soon enough, we reached my apartment building. It had been one of the town’s largest mansions a century-and-a-half ago; nowadays it sported a fresh paint job and fashionable yuppie tenants such as myself. Luckily, the kitchens and bathrooms had undergone a complete renovation; otherwise, I probably couldn’t have lived there.

“Do you still need the wheelchair?” she asked as soon as we parked. I could have kept it; I lived on the first floor.

“No,” I said. “Get rid of that thing.”

I opened the car door and she helped me out. Then slowly, step by step, we made it to my unit. At least we didn’t have to climb any stairs.

As soon as I got in, I went right to my couch. I made a cocoon out of blankets and switched on the TV, and resolved never to leave my apartment again for any reason ever. My mom asked if I needed groceries and I texted her a list. She went to the store across town.

I took a deep breath. All this time a tension headache had been building; every nerve in my body relaxed in the silence now that I was alone. I switched on the DVR and browsed through Netflix.

What was in my queue? Oculus. The Latin word for eye; no way in hell I was watching that. I went with Wreck-It Ralph instead. I had trouble judging depth perception, so an animation seemed like the way to go.

Mostly due to the meds knocking me out, I fell asleep pretty early on. I caught some random scenes and completely missed others, so I had almost no concept of the plot whatsoever. All I remember was Ralph meeting Vanellope von Schweetz in that candy game, and her telling him she was a Glitch.

Yes, glitching was a good word to describe my fleeting grasp on visual reality at this point. The corners of my eye fizzled and jumped like bad tracking in an old VHS. The darkness on the left side kept sweeping in to overtake the right side; the right side only pushed it back with dogged persistence. I might as well have been watching my brain beat itself at chess — but which side was winning?

My mom came home sometime (I think) near the end of the movie. She rustled a few plastic bags and opened a few cabinets as she put everything away. I phased into consciousness just long enough to hear her say good-bye and feel her kiss the uninjured side of my forehead.

“Errrrm…” was the closest I could get to “bye.” She left.

When I woke up, a dark ultramarine had replaced the daylight in the windows; this introduced a whole new set of visual challenges. I craned my neck toward the kitchen. At least I could read the clock on the microwave – it was a little after 8.

By now I was sick of HD images. I turned off the TV and checked my phone instead. My missed texts went back several days. I ignored the ones asking about my eye. There was one from a guy I was almost-dating asking when he’d see me again; I ignored that one, too. Basically, I ignored all my texts and planned to do so for the next few days. Just to let everyone know I was still alive, though, I updated my Facebook status to “RESTING.” and left it at that.

Darkness seeped in deeper and deeper, with every shadow a growing ink-stain. On the left side of my peripheral vision, pools of negative space teemed with black amoeba. Was I going crazy, or did these shadow-figments have faces now?

Then a rasping whisper pricked the inside of my ear. It sounded like an actual voice; I couldn’t catch what it said, but it sounded malicious. I looked to the left – too quickly – and my head reeled with vertigo. My ears throbbed and my right eye watered. Did something dart back into my blind spot, just as I turned to look at it? The darkness swarmed with jagged insect shapes, crackling like leaves crunched underfoot. I got the sense that something was stalking me, slowly closing in. My heart-rate kicked into a sprint.

OH NO, I thought, No hallucinations. Not happening.

I turned the TV back on, switching it to Fox News and taking up the volume. Fatal plane crashes and Middle Eastern conflicts seemed like a good distraction. Let some solo commentator’s angry frustration calm my nerves.

Then it cut to a commercial break. The screen brightened, I assumed, to more effectively brand the advertising into my subconscious. I turned my tired eye to the window instead, to watch a flickering reflection of myself and the rest of the living room.

And a dark outline of a person standing right behind me.

Shit! I blinked several times, nerves tripping over alarm wires.

Then the human-looking silhouette was gone. In its place were three or four more crooked, leering shadows – and those did not look human at all.

I thought my heart was going to self-destruct. Automatically, I grabbed my phone. The white light as the screen came on dispelled these illusory intruders, for the time being. I also turned on a side lamp, which threw a balmy temporary relief over everything.

My mom’s number was still at the top of my recents. I called it.

“Hey, sweetie,” she said, probably thinking I needed her to buy more things.

“Mom, can you come over?” I didn’t think my voice would sound so scared.

“Yeah, what is it? Is something wrong?” Apparently she sensed it, too.

“Just come over. Please. I don’t want to be alone.”

“Listen, Sadie, I’ll be right there,” she said with an authority over The Unknown that only belongs to parents, even if I was no longer a child. “Just sit tight. I’ll be over in no time, okay?”


My eye locked onto the TV screen and did not move. I didn’t want to know what the shadows on the walls were doing. The next half-hour or so was a nerve-wracking, paranoid hell.

I nearly died when a key rattled in my door. Then I remembered my mom had a spare.

“Mom?” I called.

The door swung open. “Honey, I’m here,” she said. “What’s wrong?” She sat down next to me and took my hand.

I didn’t know what to say; I said something about the dark playing tricks on my eyes and making it difficult to get around. Whatever was in my apartment, my mom’s benign presence must have driven it away – for now. We watched more TV, and within moments I was asleep again.

It wasn’t until a few hours later – not quite dawn – that I woke up. The TV was off, so I figured my mom must have turned it off and fallen asleep. I saw only darkness to my left, but I could feel her soft breathing on my neck.

Something smelled like burning leaves, though. I would have ignored it, but my right eye started to water.

“Do you smell that?” I asked her. No response. “Mom?” The irritation spread to my left eye. I wished I could rub it with the back of my hand.

Then the bathroom door opened, and my whole body jolted.

“Did you say something?” said my mom’s voice behind me.

I turned to the left just as a charred skull-face on a twisted body disappeared. My left eye stung like hell before I could even register fear. A horrible rasping shriek burned in my ear, and somehow I knew only I could hear it.

“Mom!” Finally, my voice came back.

She switched on the light. “What is it, Sadie?”

No ashes where that thing had been; for some reason I expected to see ashes.

“There was something here,” I said stupidly. I turned to look at her.

My mom screamed, scaring me all over again. “Your eye! What happened?”

“Huh?” I felt the bandage over my eye, the sagging skin underneath. My fingers came away covered in blood. “Holy shit -”

“We need to get you to the hospital,” she said. “Now.”

The sun rose as we drove to the hospital. I assume a new dawn should have filled me with hope, but all I could think about was my hemorrhaging eye – and whatever ill-willed spirit caused it.

In the ER, a nurse pulled back my bandage; even the air stung. She gave me a strong local anesthesia – by sticking a long needle just below my left eye socket. I winced in pain, feeling my right eye tear up. My mom couldn’t take anymore; she found an excuse to go out to the hallway. When my eye was finally numb, the nurse threaded a hooked needle and began re-sewing my left eyelid.

I caught a glimpse of my face in the magnifying mirror; I could barely believe that hollow raw spot had once been my eye. It looked like a bloody, toothless mouth ripped into the skin below my eyebrow. Stitch by stitch, the nurse sewed the mouth shut. It didn’t hurt, per se, since the injection had numbed it; but I could feel the pull of thread, the tightening of sutures. More blood-tears trickled down the left side of my face.

“What were you doing?” asked the nurse, almost annoyed. “Your sutures were practically ripped apart.”

“Nothing,” I said. “I was laying on the couch, mostly sleeping.” All true statements.

She narrowed her eyes. “Is someone hurting you?”

“No.” Unless she wanted to expand her definition of reality, maybe.

“How did you get these marks?” she asked, pointing toward my thigh.

I looked down; I’d worn my workout shorts to bed, which left most of my inner thigh exposed. Red marks trailed up and down from my knee to underneath my shorts. They might have been burn marks, except they didn’t hurt. I’d had no pain in my leg at any point in this whole ordeal.

“I think I had an itch or something,” I lied. “I didn’t realize I scratched it that hard.”

“Well, be more careful next time,” said the nurse. She recommended some over-the-counter creams I could put on it. Then I put my eye-patch back on in the mirror as she prepared my paperwork.

My mom drove me home, and stayed with me while I slept through the morning. Every time I woke up, I checked my leg for the marks; of course, they were still there each time.

The only person who touched me there in the past few days had been the guy at Mallory’s. Maybe…maybe he knew something I didn’t. Maybe someone at the bar knew who he was, and where to find him. Either way, it would be nice to see him again. In some odd, irrational way I almost missed him.

That evening I asked my mom if she could take me by Mallory’s.

“You mean the bar where you..?” she asked, not wanting to complete the sentence.


“Why on earth would you want to go back there?”

“I think I forgot something. It’ll take five minutes.”

“You do know their insurance company already paid us a settlement. We don’t need to ask them for anything.”

“This has nothing to do with that.”

She let out a lengthy sigh. “Fine. Let’s go.”

The bar was actually just a few streets away, in the historic downtown district. It looked like it had once been an old factory building. With the sunset behind it, and the windows all lit up against the dark stone bricks, the place might have been elegant once. Nowadays, it possessed a strange, ruined beauty all its own.

“You can drop me off at the front,” I said. “There’s 15-minute parking.”

She pulled up to the curb. “Hurry up. I’ll be here.”

I opened the door and stepped out, surprisingly able to find my footing. The brightly-lit streetlamps easily guided my way to the door. When I walked in, the bouncer knew me.

“You’re good,” he said without seeing my I.D.

I caught my reflection on a large wall mirror; the eye-patch actually looked kind of femme-fatale chic. Sure enough, every male gaze in the place turned toward me. The wolfish desire in all those roving pairs of eyes was almost disturbing. Still, I couldn’t argue that the black strap against my blonde-and-pink hair was undeniably sexy. It probably evoked some sort of pirate fantasy, or a kinkier amputee fetish. Not that I would have entertained either of those ridiculous notions – at the moment, at least.

Whatever thoughts lurked behind their leering, grease-stained faces, it didn’t matter. I put on my favorite Expressionless Bitch Face and breezed right past them. Luckily, my favorite gay bartender was working tonight.

He’d also been there the other night, I suddenly remembered. I pulled out a bar stool and sat down, hoping he wouldn’t ask too many questions.

“Hey, Vinny,” I said.

“Whattup, home girl.” He’d been wiping down the counter with a rag and some industrial cleaner. Vinny was a short, chubby-ish guy who wore a lot of polos and had impeccably neat short-cropped hair. I don’t like to assume that all gay guys are effeminate, but I already knew he and I had more refined tastes – in liquor, and film…and men. He definitely would have remembered the guy who’d bought my drinks the other night.

Then he noticed the patch. “Right … About that. I’m really sorry it happened, for what it’s worth. The insurance company said not to apologize to you directly, like that would be an admission of guilt, or some bullshit. But I think you deserve some kind of apology, at least.”

I nodded solemnly. “Thank you. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you for anything. I just want to know what all happened.”

“Okay.” He looked around before he leaned in, as if someone from the insurance company might have been listening in right at that moment. “I’m really not supposed to say this, but …”

I leaned in closer, to show that I took this secrecy seriously.

He went on, “… there was no one actually playing pool that the time of …”

“The incident?” I finished.

“Right. At least, the insurers couldn’t find that any customer was personally responsible. This didn’t seem right, so I looked at the security camera footage myself. The only guys at the pool table were still deciding who was going to break. They hadn’t even started yet.”

I raised the eyebrow on my good side. “Wait, then how …”

“I think they wrote it off as an act-of-god.”

“That’s one pissed-off God,” I said with a bitter laugh.

“If you want I can show you the security footage,” he said. “But don’t ask me to explain it. ‘Cause I don’t think I can.”

He went into the back office and brought out an iPad in one of those hard-core protective shells. How nifty; I was picturing some seedy back room filled with empty Monster cans and Taco Bell wrappers.

“I saved the file on here,” he said. He swiped the screen on and moved some things around, until he found a video file marked with the date of the incident. “Let me know when you’re done,” he said, and went to help some customers settling down at the bar.

The screen loaded within moments. It started playing from the time the bar opened, so I moved the line-dot thing over until the time said about 11PM. From what I remembered, that was the approximate time around which my friends left. Shortly thereafter, I would’ve met that Mysterious Stranger.

Only, there was no one. The security camera showed me seated next to an empty bar stool.

What. The. Fuck.

I knew I had it on the right time. There I was, there was Vinny pouring my Disaronno; those were the pool tables about ten feet away; those were the people setting up the game – most of the pool sticks were resting against the table.

Then this dark, round object came out of nowhere – literally, nowhere – and struck me in the face. I fell backwards and hit the floor. That whole time, the seat next to me remained empty.

There had to be something wrong with the camera. When Vinny finished up with those customers, I asked him who paid for my drink that night.

He shrugged. “Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s on the house.”

I nodded. “Thanks, I appreciate that. But do you remember who was sitting next to me?”

“No,” he said, “there was no one sitting next to you.”

Are you fucking with me?! How could Vinny not remember him?

“Even when I got hit in the face?” I asked. I realized my voice was getting too loud, so I toned it down. “There was no guy sitting next to me, is that what you’re saying?”

He gave me a well-meaning, but infuriating look of pity; he probably just assumed I was suffering some head trauma right in front of him. “No, you were alone, sweetie. I did think it was kind of weird you were sitting by yourself; I figured you were waiting for someone.”

Unbelievable. Of all the hallucinations I could have, my brain picks getting felt up by some guy in a bar. As if that didn’t already happen to me enough.

I shrugged, shaking off my disappointment. “Something like that.”

Vinny shook his head. “I’m sorry, hon, I guess the son-of-a-bitch didn’t show.”

“Guess so,” I said; even though I knew it wasn’t true. “One more thing?”


“What happened to, you know…the actual pool ball that took my eye out?”

“About that…” His voice dropped to almost a whisper, and his eyes looked all panicky again – like he really shouldn’t be talking about this. “I looked for it, in case the paramedics needed it or whatever. But I didn’t find anything. Just some blood stains on the floor, but that’s it.

“Ha!” I laughed almost crazily, at everything that had transpired since the last time I sat in this seat. By this time, I had no faith in what I thought was reality anymore. Apparently I’d suffered grave bodily harm from objects and forces that didn’t even exist; at least not physically.

“You okay, hon?” Vinny asked.

My laughter dried up as if it never happened. “Did you know the name ‘Mallory’ means ‘bad luck’ in French?”


“At least I think it does. ‘Mal‘ means bad in French and ‘heur‘ means hour – literally, ‘bad timing.’”

“I did not know that,” he said.

At this point, I started to wonder if we knew each other well enough for me to confess that I’m a closet grammar geek.

“But I do know this building used to be a factory called Mallory Brothers,” he went on. “I think it burned down, or something.”

“Interesting,” I said. This useful tidbit might actually lead me somewhere. “Well, thanks, Vinny. You have a good night.”

He looked sad at the thought of me leaving. “You sure you don’t want to stay for a drink? It’ll be on me.”

“I wish,” I said. “But my mom’s waiting. It’ll be a while before I can drive again, you know, because of my eye.”

“Right. Well, take care, baby doll.”

I smiled. “Sure. Bye, Vinny.”

Neither of us knew it at the time, but this really was goodbye.