Saturday, 11 August 2012
02:16:28 AM (GMT)
She rubbed her eyes. Her vision was still grainy, but what little light was
filtering in through the narrow opening around the door frame was scarcely enough to
tell if her sight had improved. She heard footsteps in the hall, and she sat up
straight, and stared at the door, expectantly. It didn't open. The footsteps passed
on, and she sighed. When that door opened, she would have one chance to prove
herself, one chance to make them believe she could see. And if she failed...if they
did not believe her...she would die.
The door did open. No amount of time spent in the dark room alone could have prepared
her for this. The man walked towards her and crouched down. He held up his hand and
waved it in front of her face.
"Hello," he said. "Can you see me?"
"You are testing my vision in a dark room?"
"Can you see me?" he repeated.
"I know you're there."
"If you couldn't hear me, would you know I was here?"
"Of course. Turn the light on."
"I'm afraid your vision is too fragile. If I turned the light on, your sight might be
destroyed permanently." He spoke softly, in a deep voice she didn't recognize.
"You aren't the guard that brought me here," she observed.
"I'm not a guard, I'm a doctor."
"A doctor, a scientist, I'm a lot of things."
"Why are you here?"
"You're assertive, aren't you? I'm here because... Well, there's no easy way to tell
you this. The authorities have deemed you useless without your vision. You'd have
been disposed of, but I asked for you."
She clenched her fists in anger, her fingernails digging into her palms. "After all
I've done. Everything they accomplished in the three northern valleys was because of
me, and I'm worth nothing to them."
"I'm very sorry, but, surely you understand their mindset, having worked for them for
so long? They must do what they can do--"
"I understand nothing! They're disgusting. What did you say, that they would have
disposed of me? What is that?! I'm disposable?! I'm not some bloody common soldier,
you know! I'm their most valuable asset! I'm the only reason they've got anywhere
with their bloody disorganized plans and their idiotic attempts to convince
traumatized and injured people to join them when they're still in such a state of
shock that they don't know whether they're dead or alive! I'm--"
"Shut up! Do you not realize what I--"
"I empathize. But I'm here for a reason."
"And what is that?" she spat, tugging on a strand of her hair in agitation.
"To give you a purpose."
"You are the type of person who needs a purpose. You cannot survive without one. But
I can offer you a chance not only at survival, but a chance to thrive, to become
someone of importance, an asset, as you said."
"What," she asked, her tone venomous, "you need a secretary?"
He laughed softly. "I can give you sight. This isn't experimental. I've done it
fifteen times now, and every time it was a success. Well... There was once that...
Well, never mind. Listen to me. Are you listening? I can give you sight."
He sighed. "I suppose. But it's a superior sight. You'll be able to see in ways you
never could before."
"And what's the catch?"
He stood, stretching his legs. "Who says there's a catch?"
"There's always a catch."
"The catch is.. Well, you'll be able to see in ways you never could before, but you
won't be able to see in ways you could before."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Do you trust me?"
"No. Answer the question."
"You should treat me with respect, don't you think? If it wasn't for me, you'd be
very dead right now, and possibly already in the bellies of some poor starving people
"Are you done?"
"No. In the bellies of--"
"Shut up! How.. Why should I respect you? I don't even know your name."
"Forgive me. My name is Char."
Without warning, her eyes flooded with tears. "I'm...."
"I know who you are. Come on, let's get out of here," he said, gently tying a cloth
around her eyes. He helped her up and led her from the room.
Last edited: 29 August 2012