John Walker's Electronic House

In Her Eyes – Part 1

by on Mar.11, 2006, under The Rest

It’s been a long while since Big Robot disappeared from the interwaves, and I thought it might be time to give my extendo-short story a re-airing. Because it’s been… good grief, three years since I wrote it, it’s probably embarrassing or rubbish, but I shall stick it up as once it was in stages over the next few whiles.

In Her Eyes – Part 1

For a while there had still been a small entrance in through the eyes, but that was gone now, shrinking to a pin-prick, and then finally, in a blink, disappearing.

There wasn’t the darkness that might be expected. The world was still there – it was still visible, it could still be interacted with. It could be touched, moved, manipulated, helped or harmed. But it could have no influence upon her. It was now one-way. And this was better.

To hold a human brain in your hands is to know its weight, its size, its texture, but it is not to know any of its truth. To truly enter the mind, to penetrate it so deeply that it entirely enfolds you, and anything outside becomes so far removed that it can no longer pollute this truth, is to be aware. This awareness was powerful, and she held it in her grasp.

At first it had felt like shutting down, perhaps even giving up. For this to happen – to stop accepting the world, disallowing it from being a part of her consciousness – had felt as if she were accepting defeat. The stereotypical breakdown: when everything becomes too much, and the mental faculties give in, and all begins to stop. Coma. The terror she had experienced when gripped by the belief that she was falling into this state had been intense beyond anything she had experienced. It was as if nightmare had somehow clawed its vicious way out of her dreamstate, and wrapped its grip around the whole of her consciousness. It was death, despair, and pure fear. Until she started to see the lights.

You think you’ve seen the stars, until you visit the desert. Despite the thickness of the fear, she began to realised that her mind had been almost entirely invisible against the glare of the world. The world was never truly dark, never truly quiet, and this intrusion had constantly shrouded her mind in an orange misty glow. Now she could see the potential of the lights. It was something beyond; something more important and more significant than the fear, and it became her goal. Hope found in something to fight for.

It had taken a week to truly escape. A full week, no sleep, before the final pin-prick of fear blinked away. And then she understood, really understood. It was the outside world that had provided the terror, and once she was entirely separated from it, it could have no hold on her. It surprised her when, from within this new confidence, the new purity, she was not afraid to look outside again. It was as strangely simple as opening her eyes. Now she could see the world, but the world could not see her, and only then could she see how weak the world truly was.

Colours, which had formerly held her entranced when painted across a sunset, or vibrant and alive in bouquet of flowers, were dreary and washed out. Sounds that had once brought her to tears, or filled her with an uncontrollable urge to dance around her room, were now the hollow clanking of a stick against a barrel. The outside world was muted, faded, but most of all, weak. And now finally she could see the stars, see each individual light, pristine and clear. A new clarity. This was not shutting down, this was opening up. This was far from defeat.

She considered her fingertips. It was a new game she played. She would recite the instructions in her mind to an imaginary someone who still didn’t understand: Imagine your fingertips. Don’t look at them, but instead call an awareness of them to your mind. You already know what they look like, so forget the mental image you’ve conjured up – it’s pollution, it’s glare. And now forget what you can feel with them. That’s the tactile feedback produced by the nerve endings sending electrical impulses to your brain – the invasion of outside influences. You need to generate an awareness. The knowledge of your fingertips. They exist, they are a part of your body, and they are controlled by your brain, but you don’t know them! Again, she had won.

The rules that time plays by appeared to be the same. She was aware of how many days it had taken for the fear to be defeated and the knowledge to come; and how many days she had spent bathing in the wonder that was now hers. Hours, minutes and seconds passed by as she had always known, but instead of counting away her remaining lifetime, here she found they only measured the length of her joy. The passing of time had lost its power. The clock no longer counted down, but up.

It was on the third day, or ‘Day Three’ as it appeared labelled in her mind, that she realised she could change things.

1 Comment for this entry

  • skay

    I read this on Big Robot back in the day and it is still as intriguing and as compelling as it was back then, I can’t say I fully understand it, and i’m not sure i should either, anyway for lack of a comment system on the robot this was a comment on it. Hope to see the rest up soon…