Parsec - June 1995
Blindness of Eyes - Tim StClair
(page 5/13)

Blindness of Eyes

There are monsters among us. I'm not talking about the kind you hear about on the news, the serial murderers who keep dismembered bodies in the fridge, cut and jointed, an obscene butcher's cold store. No, these killers are far more subtle, and far more dangerous.

They look like us, but they're no longer human. They've been around for millenia, perhaps as long as Man himself. There are myths about them, but nobody remembers how they arose, or why. They're not immortal - they die as do all things.

They steal soul. Not souls - soul. They drain the life, the energy, the spirit out of their victims and nourish themselves on it, in a kind of transposed cannibalism. They're not vampires, although they might have inspired some of the legends, from what they leave behind. The victims, you see, are left alive. After living for a while on little more than chemical reactions and instinct, they may even recover. But for a while, they might as well be monkeys, or insects.

Let me tell you how it goes. They draw the soul out through the eyes, a little at a time. They attract their mates and then consume them but unlike spiders, both sexes do this. In fact, the male tends to consume more victims than the female, but maybe the female is more efficient at using what she takes.

You don't believe me? Listen, think, learn, and be wary.

Look around you. Maybe you knew someone once who was in a long-lasting relationship, but never seemed happy? Maybe you wondered why not? I mean, you'd have thought they would have been happy, wouldn't you, having an affair which lasted so long? But I expect it broke up eventually, amid increasingly violent fights that you hadn't known about. And I expect you thought, "No wonder they weren't happy, fighting like that." Let me explain.

Soul is a strange thing, fragile yet resilient. It resists being dragged out of the body - the more that is taken, the more tenaciously the remainder retains its hold. That's why they need time, and remove it bit by bit. They must feed, in order to get the strength to feed further. And that's why they need to provoke, do you see? The only way they can extract the last few drops of essence is by forcing them out, like squeezing fruit. Emotion is the key. Angrill always be a small kernel left, from which more soul can regrow. It will be a twisted, shrivelled thing, lacking most of the life and energy of the original, but it will be there - without a soul, you die.

Though they leave us alive, they're killers nonetheless - killers and vandals. They destroy their victim and all that remains is a flawed reflection of what that person once was. You may not die, but you cannot live. Before the soul has started to redevelop, the body notices its absence

We retreat into ourselves and find only the emptiness. Needing something to fill it, we submerge ourselves in artificial worlds but phantom, temporary soul is no substitute for the real thing.

And so we prey on each other.

Look around you. Haven't you noticed how there's always one member of a group who stands out, who seems to have the most life and vibrancy? They're the strongest you see, they can take what they need from the weaker ones. There'll always be a quiet one, too - that won't always be the same person, because they soon become drained, and slip away. But that doesn't matter because more will enter the web, attracted by the charismatic spider at the centre.

The eyes are the windows to the soul and, just as a window may reflect, they are also the mirror. And those mirrors are being cracked one by one.

Look around you. Surely you've noticed the dullness in the eyes of those around you. Look at the people you know, when they look away. Look into the faces you pass in the street. Maybe you thought that people were always like this? You're wrong. A long time ago, people's eyes danced with light, and life. They take that away from us, leave us like this; soulless, lifeless and blind.

Yes, we are blind. We don't see each other any more. We don't feel the pain, or the fear, or the loneliness of others. And there is nothing else to prevent us expressing our anger, or our hatred. We cannot comprehend one another's existences, except as responsibilities to be sidestepped, inconveniences to be avoided, or obstacles to be trampled underfoot.

Do you think I'm paranoid? I'm not. Do you think I'm making this up? I'm telling you the truth. I need you to believe me. Just look into my eyes, and try to tell me I'm lying.

Look into my eyes.

Tim StClair