My life was fairly great, I’d say, judging the five years so far. I had no worries, I had friends, I was even pretty decent at soccer and it’s a lot of fun for me. I was a pretty normal girl. I think, I was pretty lucky with where I was born. There were no bullies and everyone helped one another out. Everyone in this place kept to themselves though. Nobody went someplace else and everyone made sure nobody came here.
There was something about me that I hadn’t realized until my this year. I was blind. I wasn’t born like that but I had been so since birth. My eyes had been removed before my parents took me home. That wasn’t just me. Nobody who lived here still had eyes. It was safer that way.
The reason why was only explained to me after I realized I was blind. Although nobody experienced sight first hand anymore, the concept of it wasn’t gone.
It was still referenced in our language, you see?
Characters in old books could see. See things from afar without touching them and it wasn’t like hearing or smelling. It’s hard to imagine and nobody made an attempt at describing it in these books.
I had asked my mother what seeing was.
She explained it to me and I asked: “Why can’t anyone see anymore?”
She said: “Because there is something among us that really doesn’t like to be seen.”
“A monster?” I asked.
“Yes”, my mother said, “You can tell if it’s there if you hear one too many people breathe. But you need not be afraid, it is only bothered by being seen.”
Of course I wasn’t afraid. I used to hear something scratching under my bed every night. One night I had simply got off the bed and crawled down there. Nothing happened and the scratching never came back. I sure scared the hell out of dad though when he didn’t feel me in bed the next morning.
I heard the ball rattle before me. It was all I focused on. This was so close to being the first match in which I score three goals. Hard footsteps rained on the ground, coming closer. When they came too close, I kicked the ball and listened to it rattle away. Then it hit something. The goalkeeper remained quiet so she didn’t catch it. The ref went to look whether it landed in the net.
Just before the match ended, I scored one of those glorious last second goals. I felt like a heroine. My parents always stood in the same spot so I could easily find them. Happily I skipped over to the usual place, by the pole, with the rock in the ground. I found my mother and caught her with my arms.
I was so happy that I didn’t notice at first how she wasn’t the usual width. Not slightly squishy. She didn’t smell like pineapple or some other exotic fruit. No heartbeat in her chest.
I pushed myself away from them. I heard faint breathing close to me.
“It’s the monster.” I screamed. “The one who doesn’t want to be seen!”
I wasn’t scared. I tried to tackle it to the ground. But it was gone. I hit the ground.
“I swear it was here!”
“Sweetie, there is no one.”
My mother stood beside me.
“There was! I touched them! You said you can’t hear or smell them. How would you know then?”
“I really shouldn’t have told you about this legend just yet, huh?”
I felt betrayed. Legend? No, it was real. I felt it!
Dad found my hand and said: “You scored three goals today. I think we should talk about that.”
But I was more interested in this thing. I felt it in my arms. It was warmer than any other person I had touched before.
That night the scratching was back. I tried to ignore it. But it kept me awake. After hours it finally stopped. I would have fallen asleep hadn’t I heard the door open.
I asked who it was but got no answer. I couldn’t sense anyone in the room.
It wasn’t as easy to not be scared if you didn’t even know what you’d be scared of. I got out of the bed and crawled below it.
I felt something on the ground. In the ground. Carved inside. After feeling it for a while I noticed something was carved into the floor in braille. Not protruding, which made it harder to read. But I got the message:
“I don’t like to be touched either.”