Sunday, 14 April 2013

349: Retinal Photo-Bleaching?

Carl laid in bed with his eyes screwed up tight against the morning light.  He didn’t want to open his eyes in case they were still there.  They’d been there for the last three mornings and Carl was sure they were bigger every day.

The first time he’d noticed them had been when he looked up at the lights in the entrance lobby at work.  The modern chandelier had at least a dozen small bulbs burning at the end of curled arms and when he looked away, Carl saw eight of them floating as dark dots in his vision.  Nothing unusual there, everyone gets that effect from time to time, thought Carl and he went on with his day.

But the spots didn’t fade like they normally do and when he left the office at the end of the day, Carl still saw eight dark dots everywhere he looked.  As his vision moved from one object to the next, the dots jumped and settled, as if they didn't want to be left behind on something he was no longer watching.

Carl thought they would be gone by the time he woke up the next day.  He opened his eyes and as he looked up at the ceiling, he saw the same eight dots, but perhaps each just a little larger than the previous day.  By bedtime they were still there and the following morning each dot had started to uncurl slightly, taking on the shape of a comma instead of a dot.

Yesterday morning they had been worse still, uncurling even further during the night until they looked like little worms, all eight clustered together and still jumping about with every move of Carl’s gaze.  He hated the thought of opening his eyes today but he knew eventually he would have to.  Carl counted down from three and pushed his eyelids open with his fingers.

His eyes felt rough, like he’d had sand kicked in his face and a few grains had grazed his eyeball.  There were no longer eight dots or commas or worms grouped together in front of his vision though.  Carl wasn't quite sure what he saw as things seemed blurred.  And there was movement in what he could see even though he did not move his head and he was sure the wall wasn’t moving either.

Then a long wormy shape moved across his gaze, from left to right and disappeared.  He stumbled from his bed and to the shaving mirror in the bathroom.  Flipping over the magnified side, he looked closely into his own eyes.

From the side of his left eye, just beyond the place the white met the honey brown iris that made him so popular with clubbing ladies, a worm or grub of about one centimetre appeared.  It poked out of a hole in Carl’s eye and appeared to be looking about, as if wondering where it was.  The end of it didn't quite come out of its hole so it flailed about in the air moving from side to side.

Horrified, Carl moved his fingers close to his eyeball, so he could pluck it out.  Before he could, the worm retracted into the hole, making the gritty sand feeling, and Carl could see it cross his vision, back inside his eye, moving from right to left then disappearing again as it went to join its fellow seven worms somewhere inside Carl’s head.

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