Sightless Eyes, flash fiction by Mark Kuglin at Spillwords.com
David Werbrouck

Sightless Eyes

Sightless Eyes

written by: Mark Kuglin

@cr8fiction

 

Ross Timmons loathed the long, yellowed with age white tiled, light grayish-green walled hallway that led to Dr. Crowe’s office. Each step felt like that of a condemned man on his way to the gallows. And though his shackles and keepers were invisible to any passers-by, Ross could commiserate with the prisoner nonetheless. The only difference between them made Ross envious. The condemned man knew his visit to the end of the hallway would be brief.

On this day–as he’d had on each trip for a little over a year, Ross found the hallway trudge even worse. He made the trek accompanied by louder than normal boisterous voices. A cacophony of echoing sound which increased in intensity and volume as he neared the open doorway.

That’s just great… The idiots are even more wound up than usual…

Ross paused before stepping across the threshold. The cause of the ruckus sat directly opposite. A long platinum-haired, deeply tanned, violet-blue-eyed beauty holding pre-session court as usual. And like on every other occasion, she had the men in his therapy group vying for her attention and most of the previously desired women fighting for their perceived property and the rest shooting her hateful stares.

Ross uttered a sotto voce curse and looked for an available seat. He found a corner chair. Once ensconced, he shot surreptitious glances at the girl. With each, he saw her typical routine. A mixture of her uncrossing and recrossing her legs, shifting her weight from one hip to the other, or pulling her short skintight dress down. All of which made her ample chest bounce.

Why are you here anyway?… A smile here, a bounce there and every door opens…

Thoroughly disgusted and beyond his breaking point, Ross rebuked the problematic girl after the session then walked away before she could respond. As he marched off, Ross filled with glee with each replay–in his mind’s eye– of the scene of her with her mouth agape and speechless.

Ross felt triumphant, the following day, when he discovered she wouldn’t be returning.

***

Late One Afternoon–Three Years Later

Ross startled at the sound of his name and angrily tossed his newspaper aside, nearly spilling his freshly purchased cup of coffee in the process. He was about to chastise his disruptive interloper, a conservatively yet fashionably dressed brunette, when he glanced up from his coffee shop table and noticed her violet-blue eyes.

“I’m so glad to see you,” she gushed. “I have wanted…,”

“I couldn’t care less.” Ross fired back–before pushing himself away from the table and walking off without another word.

The following day’s therapy session started with a somber announcement: “I have bad news…Kari Swenson, a former member of this group, was killed yesterday afternoon by a hit-and-run driver.” After a pause to wipe away a tear and regain his composure, Dr. Crowe added–in a choked voice, “We’ll have a short meeting at the cemetery after her funeral…That way I can be available to those who need me and I can give my mandatory clients a session credit.”

The day of the funeral Ross feigned illness. He employed this ruse to enable him to stand alone, away from anyone else. He found a spot, which left him partially hidden behind a tall wide trunked oak tree, about twenty feet from the gravesite. Ross chose this place stand for several reasons.

First, the wide oak’s canopy afforded him the only shady spot on an otherwise flat as a pool table and devoid of any other trees or shrubbery plain of tombstones. Second, his position kept him in semi-direct sightline with Dr. Crowe; a necessary evil. And lastly, and more importantly, Ross did this to avoid as many grief-filled interactions as possible and with the hope the tree would dampen the sounds of any sobs or outright wailing.

From his vantage point, Ross surveyed the crowd of mourners. Mixed in with the members of his therapy group, Ross noticed a number of unknown men of various ages, a few twenty to thirty- something young women, and one short, small-framed, octogenarian female.

Humph, mostly men… No surprise there...

After the service, the elderly woman noisily cleared her throat and said in a shaky and clearly heartbroken voice, “I am Helga, Kari’s grandmother.”

“Kari had always been a wild child,” Helga continued. “But over the past few years, she’d really cleaned up her act.” After pausing to dab a tissue at her eyes and blow her nose she added, “She wanted to thank the boy who caused her change and ask him out on a date.”

Helga’s revelation infuriated Ross to no end.

Dammit!… She’s killing me from the grave… All of the idiots are going to claim he’s the one…

Ross’s blinding anger so consumed him, he didn’t notice that Helga had finished speaking; nor her approach.

“Thank you for coming.”

“Dammit lady,” Ross barked–with unmistakable vehemence and a hint of menace in his voice. “Don’t do that.”

Taken aback by his outburst, Helga stumbled backwards; nearly falling in the process. She then said–in as soothing a tone as she could muster, “I’m so sorry I startled you… You’re Kari’s…,”

“No…It isn’t me,” Ross retorted–in a slightly less aggressive and angry tone.

“I’m not mistaken,” Helga insisted. “You’re…,”

“Dammit lady… It isn’t me,” Ross fired back. “I couldn’t stand her.”

For a brief moment, Helga was at a loss. “Shame on you,” she scolded–while trying to fight a losing battle to hold back tears.

“I don’t know why Kari even tried,” Helga huffed. “She was right…The damage to your psyche occurred long before the burn marks on your face and hands.”

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