One-Eyed World

One-Eyed World

By J J Dewey

(This was the first short story that I have written back in 1961 when I was sixteen. I think it illustrates the principle of illusion.)

Man what a nap! Never have I felt so rested after a sleep. As I get up off the bed, I feel rested, light as a feather, and have an exhilaration of energy. To sum it up, I feel great. Strange though, I have just come to the conclusion that I do not know where I am. The room I am in has the appearance of an ordinary hotel room. I don’t have total amnesia — I just don’t know how I got here. Apparently, I was placed here just recently. The last date I remember is July 25 at about 2 p.m. No doubt it’s that same date, but how did I get here and why do I have partial amnesia? I look at my watch. It’s exactly 6 minutes past three. One hour and six minutes have elapsed without any memory.

As I wander around the room, I glance out the window and see the Moonbeam Bar, one of the better-known places in town. This means that I must be in Bill Gates’ hotel — why I know Bill — he’s one of my best buddies. The Moonbeam is one of my favorite hangouts. Perhaps he found me there lying on a table and gave me a room to sleep it off. According to my last memory, that wasn’t where I was. The last I remember, I walked into a restaurant about a block away from the Moonbeam and met an old friend, Lee Maloom. At this time he introduced me to his friend. His name was Mark… I never was good at remembering names, especially last names. He seemed to be a normal person, though I will never forget his face; it marked an impression on me. This is the last memory I possess. I’m almost positive that I didn’t go to the Moonbeam, and I’m sure I wasn’t loaded, because I don’t have a trace of a hangover.

Perhaps I was given some kind of sleeping pill and was later robbed. Wait, I still have my wallet. Let me check; yes, everything’s in order, no money was taken, I’ve even got the grocery list Mary made for me this morning. I can see her now — cleaning house, watching the clock, waiting for me to come home. Yeh, I was lucky to get a girl like that for a wife. I can also see Jack and Bobby playing in the yard. It’s things like this that makes a guy want to come home.

I am pacing the floor wondering what I should do. It seems as if the most reasonable thing to do would be to leave this place, then I could find Bill and maybe he could explain how I got here. I have a strange feeling of direction as to not leave; it’s as if I am forbidden to leave for some purpose. I am extremely curious as to how I got here, but have no desire to leave. There is nothing to do except for pacing the floor. I notice a comic book lying on a chair. It looks like one of the science fiction variety. I pick it up and notice that all the characters have only one eye just above their nose. The odd thing about it is that even the heroes from earth have only one eye. Comic books are sure different now, than when I was a kid. I don’t mind something a bit different, but this is weird. It seems to be presented in such a way that it seems normal for a person to have one eye.

I feel as if I have to wait in this room for a purpose, as if I shouldn’t leave yet. There’s nothing to do so taking a nap seems to be a good resort. As I lie down, I feel restless, as if I’m being watched, the kind of feeling that makes one afraid to turn around for fear he will see something horrible. Perhaps this is why I don’t want to leave the room; perhaps there is something out there — something I shouldn’t know about.

I can’t seem to get to sleep; at times I nearly dose off, but it doesn’t last. I look at my watch, only twenty-seven to four. Every minute seems eternal. What’s the purpose of my being here and why don’t I want to leave! I wish I knew. One thing I do desire to know is! “How long I will have to wait before I will want to leave?” I know I can walk through that door whenever I want, but some exterior power is compelling me not to.

I am trying to go to sleep. My head is turned away from the door. I know there is something out there, something I shouldn’t know about. Call it instinct if you wish, but I know there is something weird, something which seems so far away, as if it were locked within my subconscious, and I know the answer is behind that door. I feel that I must wait for a period of time, but how long, I don’t know. Surely this period of time will end soon; then I will know the answer to my questions.

I nearly fall asleep in my thoughts, as I hear the door open. It makes little noise, but I know that it is opening and that it must be nearly all the way open by now. Within the next second numerous thoughts flow through my mind. I fear exceedingly. I am afraid to look. Why? Surely no bug-eyed monster is waiting to overtake me. Suddenly I hear a woman’s voice, “Mr. Jack, Mr. Jack. Sorry to bother you, it’s just me, the cleaning lady. I hope I didn’t alarm you. I was told not to disturb you, but I had to get some towels. I hope you don’t mind.”

Great throbs of relief poured through my brain. I know now that I have nothing to fear. The lady’s voice was kind and easy to discern and soothed the fear that ran through my brain. I must answer. I see her bending over a drawer getting some towels. I glance out the door and see nothing unusual. The cleaning woman has most of the towels. She is turning and starting to say something. The words she utters I don’t know; I don’t know if she said anything. Upon viewing her face my fear came back tenfold.

She has only one eye!

It is slightly larger than mine and in between where the two eyes should be. Upon viewing her eye my limbs become rigid. I feel like I’m in a dream, one in which I try to run, but can’t.

While staring at her, my fear is increasingly growing. I can feel my heart thrusting blood through my body; I feel as if I have no choice but to run out the door. I burst through the doorway and hear her mumbling something, but I am in no mood for conversation. At the top of the stairs, I see Lee and Mark sitting at a table downstairs. I must tell them what I saw, even though they won’t believe me. I think back to the comic book I read. Perhaps this is a dream, or I nearly imagined what I saw. I try to ease my fear by thinking this over and over. I walk down the stairs and call out to Lee and Mark. They look startled. Mark seems to be whispering something to Lee. I call to them again; still they don’t answer me. I approach Lee and tap him on the shoulder. He grabs my arm tightly and Mark jumps on me.

One eye! Mark and Lee both have one eye!

Mark tells me to take it easy and everything will be all right. Seeing my best friend with one eye was too much, again my heart starts pounding and I am stuck with fear. With all my power I must strike against them. I push Lee across a table. I don’t know how far he slides, afterwards, and then I push Mark aside and run out the door.

Its nineteen minutes to four. The minutes pass very gradually. As I walk down the street, I see hundreds of one-eyed people. I’ve pinched myself hundreds of times wishing I could wake up. I wonder if I’m really at home dreaming all of this, but in a dream one can’t feel pain or sweat, like what’s on my brow. I think of the science fiction stories, which I’ve read, where people are transported to different dimensions. Perhaps somehow I was switched with my double from another dimension, except in this dimension people have only one eye. Perhaps by some form of transmutation I occupy his body, and he was switched to mine. If so, he’s probably having the trouble as I am. Wait; no it can’t be…if this is so. I must check. Perhaps I have only one eye. I have a small mirror in my wallet, I pull it out and hesitate, but then force myself to look. Yes, whew! Two eyes! At least I’m normal. This means that our bodies, and not our souls, exceed this dimensional barrier, if one exists. Meanwhile, I must find an exit to this one-eyed hell.

I must go home and tell Mary my story; we can work it out. Perhaps I can tell her, her real husband is in another dimension, my dimension, the dimension where I belong. Surely, I don’t belong here. As I walk toward my house, I try to hide my face, for surely everyone here would think of me as a monster with two eyes, the same I think of them being freaks with one eye. There’s our house, but as I approach it, I think of Mary cleaning the house, and turning around and staring at me with her one eye. I know I couldn’t bear it. I can’t go and see her. As I turn to walk away, I think that for some reason, I shouldn’t have been disturbed nor left my room.

Wow, suddenly I’m getting sleepy; I can hardly walk. I feel like I’ve been heavily drugged. I’m being overtaken with sleep. I remember falling to the ground and feeling very comfortable and relaxed. My subconscious seems to recall someone carrying me someplace.

I hear a voice; it sounds like Mark’s. He’s telling me that on the count of three every thing will be normal again, and I will remember everything I was told to forget, when he hypnotized me. He counts to three very slowly and the first thing I see is his face. Yes, I remember now. Mark is a hypnotist and tried hypnosis on me and found me to be an excellent subject. I cannot express my relief; everything is normal again and I am not afraid. He wanted to experiment with a strong post hypnotic suggestion by making me see things abnormal and unearthly. If all was successful, then after one hour I was again to go into a deep sleep only to be awakened by Mark. Now I am glad that everything is normal again. I see Mary and the two boys, as cute as ever. Mark says to look in the mirror and see if the hypnosis is entirely successful. As I look in the mirror, I see myself as a normal person.

I look at my one beautiful eye in the center of my forehead and am so glad things are back to normal.

I am presently congratulating Mark on his original idea to hypnotize me to think I had two eyes and it was not normal for those around me to have one eye. To end the day, we all have a drink and laugh at what a preposterous thing it would be if humans were created with two eyes.

You there… You reading this. When you awake from your concentration on this you may think that you have two eyes. If you do, you must have been the other guy hypnotized by Mark.

Oct 11, 2007

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