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They always told me the eyes are the windows to the soul, that scary, hidden part of me even I can’t see. When I look in the mirror, I see two white ovals, centered green. My mother’s eyes. Her father’s eyes.

If I haven’t slept or if my body clings to water, they sometimes tinge purple underneath, that unfortunate place where thin skin turns puffy. I’m beyond the age where creams and potions help. My eyes – they are what they are when I awake; they constrict and tear throughout the day. They’re stubborn in their quest to see the world.

Maybe their belligerence comes from the WAY they naturally see the world. When they don’t interact with a filter – glasses, contacts, the logical part of my brain – those gazers can misjudge others. They can expect too much. They catch a piece of a thing and complete a picture that’s unfair. Left unchecked, my eyes make mockeries of reality by imagining finished canvases from glimpses of things.

So, I look in the mirror, face myself eye-to-eye, and try to force my wayward soul to comply with my desire to understand, to accept, to be fair. It’s easy to talk to something I can’t see.

Until my soul winked at me.

In front of the bathroom mirror, it winked. Not one of those flirty, I-don’t-want-anyone-to-see winks. My mouth opened in a creepy grimace. My face elongated, contorted. One reddened eye bulged while the other disappeared in a furrow of rounded, putrid wrinkles. The details of the room behind me disappeared into an abyss. All I could see in the mirror was a monstrous creature, swaying to its own menacing beat, reaching toward me through the glass, threatening to pull me to its blackened side. A melange of decaying inherited features, bits I recalled from old photographs, they tried to suck me through that solo open eye.

I touched my face instead of screaming, just to prove what I was seeing wasn’t real. My vision is not dependable if uncorrected, I told myself. I don’t believe in monsters. That thing – it’s not really there, not who I am. I ran my hands over my countenance, even covered the winking eye, but the ghoul in the mirror did not follow me. My sight was held captive by a single, bloody eye as my fingernails frantically clawed my face. Salty wetness covered my lips, oozed into my mouth. Still, I couldn’t look away from my heaving soul.

It dragged me to the mirror with a violent tug, murmuring in a tongue I didn’t comprehend, yet I understood it meant to enslave me in the world beyond the glass. My feet wore indentions in the floor, grooves that scorched a path to the pulsating reflection of evil. I opened my mouth to scream, but my breath had been replaced by the freezing blast of rancid death, shrieking back at me. An icy, stinking gale blew hair into my eyes. Pain daggered through them as I blinked over the wispy strands. A blink was enough. When I looked again, I was only me.

But, my eyes were altered. Their ability to judge is untrustworthy, a lie. That horrifying visage of my soul, it’s imprinted there. With every blink, I see it, growling back at me.

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