When the Eyes Lose the Light of Love
When the Eyes Lose the Light of Love
Jay turned into a massive room that held a full-size carousel. The trimmings were carved out of wood then painted gold, silver, and sapphire blue. The horses were made of porcelain with brightly colored saddles and iron stirr-ups to hold the children’s feet in place.
He could not understand how someone managed to move something this big into the house. He didn’t understand why they would. It must be a prop from a movie he thought, but he didn’t know which one. He didn’t know enough movies from his own time to curate a mental catalog that reached back to the silent period or the beginning of the sound or the advent of color film. Still, he was convinced this amusement ride must have been a part of a movie.
After the final breath left Meredith’s body, Jay started running. He ran down one corridor, then turned down another. Every time he reached the end of one hallway another one opened up before him and he continued to run. He ran and ran and ran.
None of the corridors seemed to lead anywhere. He wanted to believe he was lost, but he knew there was something else at work, he just couldn’t accept it. He needed help. He needed help navigating the enormous estate in the dark, also, he needed help with Meredith. He believed he should find help. Even though he didn’t know what kind of help would matter since she was dead. She was gone. He put his hand over her mouth and nose to feel the warm air and nothing came. Her eyes turned to glass. When life left her body, her eyes turned to two round, blue glass beads. He had never seen that before. He had never watched the life leave a person’s eyes. He did not expect the transformation to be so quick, so dire. Even in the shadowy room, there was a light that flickered in her eyes when she called out for her friends, the next moment he stared into a set of doll’s eyes. That was it. Life was gone in a snap.
That was when he started running. He might have believed he was running to find his friends, but, in truth, he was running to escape the image of the light leaving Meredith’s eyes. He was running away from something rather than towards anything. He wanted to believe he was trying to find his friends, trying to find help, holding on for one last grasp at the hope that someone could help. While in fact, he was fleeing the terrible fear that filled him at the sight of her eyes after the breath left her body.
Jay wanted to keep running until the memory of her eyes vanished from his mind. He did not expect to run so far inside the house. The hallways went on forever. He didn’t even notice because he wanted to erase his brain. Every time he turned another corner another long hallway stretched out before him and he kept running. He kept not thinking about what he was running towards. Desperate to forget what he was running away from. He didn’t pay attention to how many corners he turned, how many corridors opened up before him. He just ran.
How did he end up in this room? Why did he stop running? He couldn’t remember what compelled him to turn off his course from one hallway to the next hallway. There was a light on in the room. An orange glow spilled out into the hallway. It was the first light that he had seen since the group broke into the house...how long ago...he couldn’t remember when they came into the house. When he turned into the room he realized that the light did not have any source in the room itself. He decided it must be produced by the carousel. The amusement ride appeared to glow with a tawny hue.
Maybe he turned into the room because he thought his brother might be in there? Maybe he thought his brother and his friends had found a source of light in this dank, cavernous estate. He had stopped thinking about the why and the how of things? He didn’t consider what kind of energy would provide the light? This house had been abandoned for years, there would be no electrical supply. He still hadn’t considered these factors even as he stood in the room staring at the giant contraption. Even as he considered the detail in the horses’ faces and eyes and the saddles and the long, flowing manes that weaved along the creatures’ necks, he did not wonder where the light came from that revealed these details.
When he turned to look at the walls he didn’t notice at first how the paintings set at equal intervals around the room kept changing. When he first looked at a painting it showed a beautiful seascape. Tiny white caps rolled along a blue ocean towards a rock island that provided a foundation for a lighthouse. The structure of the lighthouse was white with two red bands painted around it. Seagulls perched on the rocks that formed the island. However, Jay did not notice at first that all the paintings were the same. There were at least ten paintings of lighthouses evenly distributed on the walls that formed the room.
Jay didn’t notice the first time the painting transformed. He didn’t notice how one minute the painting was of a lighthouse and the next minute it was the portrait of a woman with black hair staring straight ahead. The woman was wearing a white wedding dress. It was impossible to determine what the expression on her face meant. But Jay didn’t pause long enough to consider the implications of the woman’s face. There was no background in the portrait of the woman. Her face and torso floated before a blank void. White space. She was nothing more than a face before white space.
Jay lost his balance and stumbled backward when the painting changed for the third time. It would have been impossible to miss the third transformation of the artwork hanging on the wall. Jay almost fell on the floor. He reached out behind him but there was nothing to grasp that could steady him. He swung at empty space. His feet shuffled to find balance.
The third painting to reveal itself displayed a medical school lecture hall from two centuries in the past. The students stood on a semi-circular balcony above an examination table. On the table lay the body of a man clearly alive. Eyes open. Mouth pursed. His torso has been sliced open and spread apart for an autopsy. The detail is quite exquisite. The flesh of the man’s chest and stomach have been pinned to the table. There are three doctors standing around the table. They are removing the man’s organs. The man watches as the doctors remove parts of him. One doctor is taking a bite out of what appears to be the man’s spleen. The doctor has blood all around his mouth. He is tasting the man’s internal organs. Another doctor measures the man’s heart with a ruler. If Jay were to look closely at the audience watching the experiment, he would see that two of the observing students lean close to each other and laugh. One has a finger outstretched pointing to the man on the table. His mouth is open in a laugh and his teeth are visible in the painting.
Jay was afraid to approach the painting for a closer look. He knew even from a distance how terrifying the image was, so he refused to move closer and face the image in detail.
Before the image could change again, Jay turned back to the carousel. He took a step around it so he could see it from another angle. He wanted to understand what it was doing there. He didn’t know how he would find that answer by moving to another angle but he did it anyway. He stepped around to the back of it so he couldn’t see the painting if it decided to change again.
That was when he saw something move. Something was on the carousel. When he moved around to the backside of the carousel he saw that something was there. Something was standing on the carousel.