Chapter 6

A visit from the parentals

I awoke in the morning to find the fire had long since burned itself out and there was a chill in the air. Running my hand across my forehead I vaguely remembered the events of the night before but wrote it off as a bad, wine induced dream. Throwing back the covers I got up and pulled on a robe. Looking at the time I realised my parents would be knocking on the door within the next half hour and I needed a coffee. I hoped that the kitchen downstairs didn’t have some complicated coffee machine. A kettle would do.

Trudging downstairs, I passed a mirror on the wall, catching sight of myself briefly. Something didn’t look right. In fact something looked very wrong. I stopped in my tracks and backed up. I was almost scared to look up as it was dawning on me what the problem was. Why I could only really see out of one eye. I had assumed it was just sleep sticking the lashes together, and that a splash of water would fix it. But no. Slowly I looked up at myself. My stomach turned. I felt faint. One of my eyeballs was hanging by its optic nerve, out of its socket. Rubbing against my cheek. Resisting the urge to vomit, I sat down hard on the cold floor for a moment. I would have to figure this out. Perhaps I was still dreaming? That would make sense! I pinched myself hard on the leg. Ow! OK. Not asleep then. Shit. How did this happen? Then I recalled the rats from the night before, though I didn’t think they would have done this. Logic dictated that they would have just eaten the eyeball. Ok what then? It had to be something in La Morte that had done this. I needed Erica. I also needed to sort this out before my parents arrived. I only hoped that my eye wasn’t damaged. A little dry perhaps, but not damaged.

‘Ericaaa!’ I called at the top of my voice. She responded immediately, as though she had been expecting something. Her bedroom door flew open and she appeared fully dressed and with a first aid kit in hand. Yep, she knew what was coming all right.

As she got closer to me I could see all the colour drain from her face. I don’t think she was quite expecting something so dramatic after my first night here.

‘Oh, oh no, what has she done to you Damian!’

‘Ummm … this?’ I said, pointing at my dangling eyeball.

‘I’m not sure I can help with this. This is beyond me. I thought bruises, cuts, she usually starts simple, but she’s gone all out with you.’

‘So it would seem,’ I murmured, ‘can we call a doctor?’

‘I don’t know, I don’t see why not, that’s not breaking the rules, but they’ll want to take you to hospital, and ask questions you won’t really want to answer…’

‘Yes… yes good point…. What would you do?’

‘I … don’t know… you’re taking this very well though.’

‘Well there’s not much I can do about it now, so no point in getting upset.’

‘I see… aren’t your parents going to be here soon?’

‘Yep… Okay…. Let me think for a second,’ I said slowly, then thinking out loud, ‘what if I just pushed it back in?’

‘What! No! I don’t think that’s a good idea!’ shouted Erica, alarmed.

‘Why not? I can’t die in here, I’m under Luke’s protection aren’t I?’ I reasoned, ‘he doesn’t want me to die in here, or get too fucked up, the game is to get me to go outside, so logically I should just be able to push my eye back in, as long as I’m careful, and use some gloves and saline.’

‘Are you serious?’

‘Very, look what have I got to lose? If it doesn’t work I’ll call a doctor OK?’

‘If you’re sure… well, I can’t stop you.’

‘I have to try! Now pass me that first aid kit, I’ll go in the bathroom so you don’t have to watch,’ I said grabbing the kit and stalking off, while Erica stood in the hallway dumbfounded.

Once in the bathroom I placed the first aid kit on the sink, and closed the door behind me. I washed my hands. Opened the kit. Pulled on a set of surgical gloves and popped a vile of saline open. Dousing my eyeball and cavity first. As the cold saline hit my eye I shivered. I was really going to do this. Alright then. No fear. Looking in the mirror I pushed aside the nausea that threatened to topple me from consciousness. Reaching up gently I touched my eyeball. I felt instant revulsion. It was soft. Gelatinous. Gross. With my other hand I peeled back my eye lid and without stopping to think popped my eyeball back in. I felt it slurp back into place and promptly fainted. When I came to I found myself lying on the cold tiles, a folded towel under my head. Erica was beside me. Looking concerned and wiping my forehead with a cold, damp cloth.

‘Oh thank goodness! I thought I’d lost you! I heard the thump and dashed in here to find you in a crumpled heap on the floor. It looks like your eye is back in place though. Can you see out of it?’

Slowly I opened my left eye. To my surprise I could see out of it. It had worked.

‘Looks like your theory about this house and Luke is correct,’ said Erica sadly, ‘I wish I had been smart enough to figure it out before I…’

‘Nevermind. It’s got nothing to do with smarts, I was half guessing and got lucky, how long have I got until my parents get here?’

‘I reckon 15 minutes. Enough time for a quick shower and some wake-up juice, I’ll meet you downstairs in 10,’ said Erica, helping me to my feet and then walking off.

She was right. This was no time to dwell on the morning’s incidents. I could do that later. For now I had the parental unit to deal with. Not wasting time to go to my room and grab clothes I simply jumped in the shower. I could grab some jeans and a t-shirt on my way downstairs in a few minutes. Turning on the water I let the heat and steam clear my mind. I washed my face gently. It was still tender, but I could live with it. I was sure it would start to bruise up slowly, and hoped Erica might be able to help me out with some concealer. A bit of a cover up never hurt anyone.

10 minutes later I was downstairs, sipping at a cup of coffee and waiting patiently for my parents. Erica kindly brought over a toasted sandwich, and as I took a bite the door clicked open. The parentals had arrived. I could only hope I would fool them, and that they would go away quickly. As horrible as that sounds, I didn’t want to worry them. The longer they stayed, the more chance I had of slipping up.