Short Story: Unearthed Secret

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

With my black eye, I have found more people than I can count, but this time, I’m the one who needs to be found.

A sudden landslide has buried our car. No one is seriously hurt, but none of us can get out either.

Once everything settled, the first thing everyone reached for was our phones. Coverage is almost non-existent in the mountain ranges, but Jenny’s phone has reception, and I use that to call Officer Farah.

Many years ago, Uncle James insisted on putting a tracker on me. It comes in handy now. A rescue team mobilises to our area in record time. The problem is pinpointing our actual location.

The dense forest canopy and mountainous landscape interferes with the tracker, making an accurate reading difficult. That’s fine. Now that the team has our general location, they have a much smaller area to comb through to get to us.

But that’ll take time, especially because they need to be extra careful so that they don’t accidentally hit us instead of rock, or crush us in the process.

I can speed things up.

I look at the faces of my fellow trapped passengers. These are the faces I have practically grown up with. Uncle James wants to keep my eye a secret, but surely this can be an exception?

My hand reaches for my bottle and I take a drink to wet my dry throat. Once done, I grip the bottle with fingers tense from nerves and anticipation.

look at the rocky debris.

At the edge of the landslide, an excavator waited while rescuers carefully cleared the debris. 

“Can you keep a secret?” I ask.

Four faces turn to me and eagerly pounce on the topic.

“What secret?” Bruce asks.

I pry my fingers off my bottle and gesture for Jenny’s phone. “Gimme.”

Jenny hands her phone over. I lift the phone closer to my mouth, happy to see that my hand is almost steady.

“Officer Farah, I’ll direct you to our location. Please get the excavator ready.”

“Alright.”

With my attention on the outside, it’s easy to imagine myself at my desk back at the missing persons unit, relaying directions to the rescue team through the officers. First I use the excavator to point out our exact location buried under the debris, then it’s their turn to ask me questions as they asses the area and fine tune their approach.

After I’ve exhausted all the information I can provide, I keep my black eye on the situation outside, and reluctantly turn my attention back to the inside of the car.

To the four curious faces around me.

Once again, Bruce is the first to speak.

“You’re psychic?”

A bark of laughter escapes my lips. That’s a story for another time.

“No, I’m not.”

I take a breath, feeling a little like a superhero unmasking for the first time. I’ve wondered about moments like this before. Now I get to see if expectations match reality.

“It’s my eye.”

I lift a hand to point at my black eye. There’s no turning back now.

“You already know that I’m blind in one eye. But that’s not the whole story. This eye is blind, but it can see the past. I used this sight to see the outside.”

My friends do not disappoint.

“So you are psychic.” “Is that why you always find everything?” “How far can you see?”

My black eye sees the past, not the future. I don’t know what kind of repercussions I’ll face in the future by revealing my secret, or even if my black eye will remain a secret after we get out, but right now, it is a welcome distraction while we wait to be set free.

~End~

 

Genre: fantasy

Part of the Mismatched Eyes universe.

Short Story: Embarrassing Weakness

Genre: fantasy, slice of life

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

As cool and convenient this special sight is, it has its drawbacks. The main one is that the past looks indistinguishable from the present.

More than once, I’ve reacted to someone or something, only to find out later that they aren’t actually present with me.

The reverse happens a lot too. I’ve ignored my parents, teachers, shop assistants, cars, pets, bicycles, and list goes on and on. The one thing that separates the past and present for me is that I can’t hear the past, so I try to look for audible cues or unnatural silence, but that isn’t completely foolproof either.

Public transport is tough. Everyone naturally ignores each other and sits quietly in their own carefully guarded personal bubble. It’s pretty much impossible for me to tell for sure if a seat is empty unless I cover my black eye.

Despite my best efforts, I’ve made enough blunders that I’ve gained a reputation as a ditzy airhead who can’t be left alone for her own safety.

“Don’t leave without me. Ok, Eli?” Jenny says.

It’s embarrassing. I, who can find a person who has been missing for decades in the time it takes someone to grab a drink, can’t be trusted by my own friends to go to the restroom on my own.

Oh well, such is life.

“Ok.”

~End~

 

Short Story: Ambition

Genre: slice of life, fantasy

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

With this sight, I started working in the Missing Persons Unit. It’s something I’m good at, pays well, and I get to help people. I like what I do.

Does it still count as an ambition if I’m already doing it?

I tap my pen against the sheet. Well, it’s just an exercise to ease people into the school year anyway. It won’t matter as long as I write something down.

1. Missing Persons Unit officer

What about the rest?

I look to the right. My classmate catches me almost straightaway and covers her answer.

“No peeking,” she scolds, “It’s private.”

“I don’t know what to write.”

“Write the usual ‘doctor, lawyer, accountant’.”

“None of them sound interesting.”

My classmate shrugs. “It’s up to you. Write whatever you like. It’s not like they’re grading us over this.”

In the end, I can’t think of anything better, so I just scribble her suggestions down and hand in my sheet. The topic, on the other hand, lingers in my mind even as I head to the police station after school.

“What did you want to do when you were a kid?” I ask Officer Farah.

She blinks at the question before a smile narrows her eyes. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional athlete.”

“I wanted to be a magician,” Officer Dennis chips in.

“Doctor,” Officer Lam says.

We turn to Officer Merah.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police. It’s in my blood.”

“What about you, Eli?”

“This? I can help people, I’m good at it, and I get paid too.”

“Is there anything else you’re interested in?”

“I haven’t thought about it before.”

Officer Farah gives me a one-armed hug. “You’re still young. There’s still time for you to explore. If nothing else, you still have this, which is better than most people can say.”

“Yeah.”

“If you’re interested in trying some sleight of hand, I can teach you some tricks,” Officer Dennis offers and casually pulls a book out of thin air. That sparks a competition in the office as everyone offers to teach me their passion.

It’s really cool how everyone has a special thing they’re passionate about outside of work. Maybe I’ll find my special thing too, one day, and if it turns out that what I love is what I’m already doing then, well, how awesome is that?

~End~

Short Story: Search Party

Genre: fantasy

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Some people think that means I know everything from the past. They’re both right and wrong.

Ever walk into a situation and be completely lost due to lack of context? That’s me. All the time.

I have a lot of practice digging around to find out more, but certainly not enough to stake someone else’s life on it. There is a world of difference between finding a missing person and pinning a murder on someone.

“No,” Uncle James says.

“She can save lives,” the homicide detective says.

“Eli already is saving lives.”

“She can save more by helping us.”

“And what will you say at the court hearing? Going to tell them all your evidence comes from one ‘psychic’? You want to let all your hard work go to waste because of technicalities?”

“I’m not picky with where I get my leads. Especially not when innocent lives are on the line. She only needs one day to do what a whole team needs weeks for.”

“You think she doesn’t need to work hard to do what she does?”

A sudden weight on my shoulder startles me.

“Who let papa bear James out this time?” Officer Farah asks.

“The homicide division wants my help,” I say.

“HahahaNO. You’re barely in secondary school. No murder mysteries for you until you’re at least allowed to drink. Come on. Let’s go.”

I happily follow Officer Farah into our office. Finding people is much better than talking to angry adults.

Today’s first task is to find a hiker who was accidentally separated from the rest of the group and is now lost in the mountain.

“Any reference point?” I ask.

“I was there last month. First Saturday,” Officer Dennis says.

look at him.

He grabbed his keys off the table. His watch showed yesterday’s date.

look back.

The car pulled into the parking lot. On the dashboard flashed the right date. The family of four followed the footpath to the cafe at the beginning of the hiking trail.

look at the mountain and look forward as close to the present as possible.

A group of young adults waited around the cafe. Two talked with the local rangers.

I look backwards and track the group’s progress until I find the point where the missing person separated from the group.

look at him.

Trees stretched as far as the eye could see with no path in sight.

“Found him,” I say as I look back to retrace his steps. “Can’t see any unique landmarks but I can guide someone to him.”

“I have a staff on the phone.”

Switching in between the past and almost present, I lead the search party to the missing person. Only after the rangers undeniably finds the missing person do I pull back and close my eyes with a sigh.

“Well done.” Someone claps me on the shoulder.

“Thanks.”

I look up and freeze at the sight of the homicide detective by the door. He tips his head to me and leaves without a word.

“What did he say?” I ask Uncle James.

“Don’t worry about him. He decided his team could handle their own case after all,” Uncle James says with a smile.

As expected of Uncle James. He can solve any problem.

“Ok!”

~End~

Short Story: Safety Measure

Genre: fantasy, family

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

What this means is that I’m very good at finding things and people. Not to brag, but there isn’t anyone else that’s as good as me.

And that’s the part that worries Uncle James the most.

“This is a tracker,” he says as he holds up a necklace. “If you ever get lost or need help, this is what we’ll use to find you. The red flower in the middle is a distress button. Do this and we’ll come find you.”

Uncle James shows me how to twist the red bit just so until it pops out into a button I can press down. Together, we practice until I can do it every single time.

Always wear this,” he says as he fastens the necklace around my neck, “Don’t let anyone know, or someone might find out and take it from you. If that happens, we might never find you again.”

“Ok, Uncle James.” I tuck the necklace under my shirt, where no one else can see.

“Good girl.”

~End~

Short Story: An Employee’s Worth

Genre: fantasy
Related to Different Views and Magic Trick.

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Looking at the past is different from looking at the present. There is only one present, and just like everyone else, my brown eye sees only what is in front of me.

The past, on the other hand, is so much more vast than the present. The same patch of land has been walked by so many people and creatures at different times. How do I know if the dog licking the hot dog off the ground was there two years ago or just two hours past?

I can only see the past. I can’t hear anything, nor does the past come with convenient time stamps. Despite what other people may think, I do need to do a lot of searching and detective work to zoom in on exactly what I’m supposed to look for. If what I do appears to be effortless, it’s because I’ve had a lot of practice.

“Regardless, my pay should not be dependant on the amount of effort it takes me to do the job, but the fruits of my work. In fact, my pay should increase, since I can and often carry out the work of a whole team by myself,” I say as I carefully read the speech Uncle James prepared for me earlier.

“We will take your feedback under consideration,” the HR manager says before dismissing me. Uncle James joins me outside the room soon after.

“How did I do?” I ask. Instead of ruffling my hair as usual, Uncle James pulls me to his side in a one-armed hug.

“You did great. Now it’s up to them to decide if they want to keep you or not, because I know a lot of other branches who will pay double or triple what you’re getting now for what you do. You can go anywhere. Don’t stay just because of me.”

“I’m not staying just for you,” I say.

A smile cracks through his solemn frown. “You know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean, but I like it here.”

“Well, you’re still young, so money doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it does to us. And that’s perfectly fine. You’re already way ahead of your peers in terms of finances. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll make sure you don’t get bullied.”

“Thanks, Uncle James.”

Looking at the past isn’t as easy as people think, but it’s still easier than what everyone else needs to do to achieve the same results, so really, whatever decision the HR team makes, I can’t complain.

But if Uncle James thinks otherwise, who am I to stop him? I’m sure I’ll appreciate the extra cash one day.

~End~

 

Short Story: Present Danger

Genre: fantasy
Related to Different View and Magic Trick.

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

It’s not as exciting as seeing the future, but it’s not as dangerous as seeing the present. In the past, everything is set in stone. No matter how dangerous it looks, the past cannot hurt me. In the present, danger is everywhere, and I can’t just watch, I have to react. It wouldn’t be a problem, if I don’t have trouble distinguishing the past from the present.

A hand grabs my arm and yanks me back. A car honks as it narrowly misses me.

“Watch where you’re going,” my saviour says.

His hands shook as he read the ransom note for his brother. The phone on the table set the scene as two hours ago.

“Miss?”

In an ordinary house on an ordinary street, a group of people ate while one man sat blindfolded and bound at the corner.

“I know where your brother is.” The words tumble out of my mouth.

The man who saved me from the car pales. His fingers tighten around my arm so hard it hurts.

“Who are you?” he asks.

“Not your enemy.”

The man loosens his death grip on my arm but does not let go. His gaze is fearfully suspicious with a touch of fragile hope.

“Continue what you were doing. I’ll get help,” I say.

After we part ways, I pull out my phone to call a familiar number.

“Uncle James, I found someone.”

“Speak. We’re listening.”

watch the rescue mission as I wander through the mall. I can only see the past, but something that happened just a second ago is already in the past, and if I am quick I can still warm them before they step into any traps.

By late afternoon, the kidnappers have been subdued and the victim returned to his family. My feet are sore from all the walking but there is a bounce in my steps. It always always good when a mission ends without anyone getting hurt.

I bump into a lady I thought was in the past.

“Sorry!”

It’s so much easier to navigate the past than the present.

~End~

Short Story: Magic Trick

Genre: fantasy, family

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

It doesn’t sound as awesome as seeing the future, but it’s still cool. Cool enough to do magic cool.

“Red. Black. Red. Red,” I say as my sister reveals one poker card at a time from a deck to our audience.

Our friends ooh and ahh as I call the right colour, one after another, with my eyes blindfolded. My relatives laugh and keep the secret to the magic trick to themselves.

“Anyone else want to try?” My sister offers the deck around.

Some choose a specific card for me to name. Uncle James tries to trick me by changing the card as I name it but my black eye sees all.

After the show, Uncle James pulls me aside.

“Eli, how well can you see with your eye?”

look at him.

He grabbed the keys off the hook and put it in his pocket.

“Hey! That’s our keys!”

Uncle James grins and pulls out the same key I saw.

“Hey, Eli, want to help me with my work? I’ll hire you as my consultant and pay you good money.”

Help my uncle with his cool police work?

“Yes!”

“Did I just hear you hire my eight-year-old daughter?”

If Dad lets me.

~End~

 

Like this? You can also check out the related story Different Views.

 

Short Story: Different Views

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

But right now, it seems to be seeing a completely different world.

My brown eye sees a quaint cottage with a pretty garden filled with life.

My black eye sees a dilapidated house ready to collapse at any moment surrounded by dead trees all around.

Continue reading “Short Story: Different Views”