The Eyes of Doogle

Chapter Two — The Birth of Doogle

Beneath Mount Nellis, in the land of Taman lived Doogle’s people. It was a land of mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and hope and fear and love and loneliness.

It was much like our own except for one, distinct, feature. It existed in the cavernous underground, in the heart of a mountain. It was a world of rivers and lakes and deep pools: of rock with secluded caves, and cavernous spaces; a dark world. It is here that Doogle’s story begins.

Long ago, the leaders of Taman realised they were running out of space. In the best interests of the inhabitants they made a rule. It was a straightforward. Each family could have only one child.

Children became more loved, valued and protected. The future of the household depended on it.

Like other families, Doogle’s gathered, sharing dreams of the child to be born. Like every child born in the land of Taman, Doogle’s life course was planned before he was born.

In a land without sun, eyes were large and luminous. The typical Taman eye glowed with a golden hue. What every parent hoped for their one precious child, was the mark of rare beauty: bright white eyes.

Kern and Hadra, sensing the time to give birth followed the custom of their people. Choosing a warm pool of water in an obscure niche deeper in the mountain they waited. Near by, Doogle’s Grandparents and Great Grandparents passed the time. Guessing at the gender, weight, length and of course beauty of the eyes of this, the child of their destiny.

The smoulder of two pairs of golden orbs rising and falling with the waves started the shouting. Hadra’s mother’s pudgy white body giggled with excitement, her eyes bright with tears. “I see Kern and Hadra; I see their eyes! But where is the child?”

It was customary to parade the child, showing off the clear eyes of a new life, a sign that all was well, a mark of pride.

The couple floated to the water’s edge. Their smiles were solemn, and their eyes shone less given the importance of their arrival.

Kern held the wiggling bundle of the child wrapped snuggly with a flap placed over the face. Beneath this flap shone not gold nor white — but green! Kern removed the flap revealing their green-eyed child.

A soft “Oh My” slipped from one of the grandparents

Kern and Hadra paused, their parents fidgeted. The excitement of the moment leaked away.

“Well, let’s have a look at the child.” Someone needed to say something, so Kern’s father said it. He stepped forward, with arms outstretched he gathered in the infant.

Doogle’s grandfather stared, his golden eyes large as he took in this peculiar green sight. “It’s a boy, he announced, and he looks like ”… the grandfather stopped, embarrassed. He realised too late that no one wanted to hear that this green eyed child looked like any of them.

“What is his name.” “Doogle” Hadra, quiet till now spoke emphatically, “He is Doogle. It a fitting name for a child of Taman. And it is fitting that he should take your name my dear father in law. The way she said it, and stepped forward as she said it, was a promise that Hadra would fight for her child.

The elders came closer, shoulder-to-shoulder, as though to protect the child. Circling the new parents, they stared at the little life. Even then, there was a depth and knowing in those green eyes that were both comforting and disturbing.

Talk of the green-eyed child belonging to Kern and Hadra stretched across Taman. Doogle became a spectacle. Too few were sensitive, too many offered advice. “Wash his eyes in the juice a squid” or “it’s because you ate too many greens.” or “expose his eyes to the light of the Outland that surrounds Mount Nellis, and it is sure to burn off the green.”

Doogle grew, and in his growing other differences came to light. Doogle was colour-blind, seeing only shades of white to black. But more bizarre, when others looked into his eyes, they saw themselves. Looking into his eyes revealed the deep thoughts and feelings of their souls. “What do you see Doogle?” his mother would ask, “I see holes in people. The holes fill with things that are nice and things that are not.”

He grew, and named the things he saw. He saw Love, joy, peace, generosity, happiness, grace, and patience. And He saw pain, greed, loneliness, lust, anger, and vengeance. Hadra pressed, “What does this look like to you.” “The holes fill with a watery paste that is black and white, and every shade between them. In this paste float the things that give meaning to the words. There is more that I see but do not understand.”

You would think that Doogle would hide this, but he didn’t, not at first. He had a sense of destiny. He believed his green eyes to be a gift, not a curse and what he saw, he was compelled to name.

When he was little, he amused his friends, telling them what he saw in the cavities of their spirits. They laughed when he said love and scowled when he said greed. Some parents would bring their children so that Doogle could see and tell what he saw. “I knew it; you are filled with lies,” a parent would shout. If the child became angry, Doogle would add, “and anger too.”

Parents bringing their children ended the day he told a father that he too had large holes filled with lust.

Doogle tired of being the spectacle and his friends wearied of him seeing in them. He spent more time with the servants of Taman.

Before Doogle’s people colonised Nellis, her inhabitants lived freely. The Livyatan, whale-like creatures with iridescent stripes and gaping jaws of saw-like teeth. Livyatan colonies were intelligent but less advanced. They were soon dominated, becoming burden bearers of the water.

It was the similar with the Arthropo. Multi-legged, bright blue, hard-shelled, and large, they climbed the highest ledges. Their strength and agility used for building the cities of Taman. The Livyatan and Arthropo accepted green eyed Doogle. Their world became his retreat.

Doogle’s people grew tired of being confronted with their failures. Doogle could see a hole in almost everyone he met. It alarmed him because he could not name it yet he felt compelled to speak, which frightened the people.

“You should leave this be” Hadra would encourage him.

“I can’t” What I see is hurting us, and may destroy Taman. How can I leave it be?”

“But Doogle you are frightening us.”

“I’m sorry mother, but this is what I see.”

He continued until all Taman knew the message of Doogle.

A letter from the Office of the Governor arrived. The Governor wished to meet him. Doogle believed meeting the Governor was sure to be part of his destiny, his calling. A welcome party of golden Taman officials lined the shore. Doogle felt welcome, special. They fed him and remained calm even as he spoke of what he saw in them. They nodded like sages as he warned of the new frightening thing that he could see but not explain.

“Doogle” they advised, “if there is truth to what you see then someone must keep watch for us and who better than you”.

Be our gatekeeper for the cave of Besnick. Make ally’s of the Outlanders. Guide them through the treacherous waters. While you do, watch for anything that can cause harm to the land of Taman. Acceptance and understanding. Finally recognised for his gifts. Of course, he would do this.

They escorted Doogle, Levi of Livyatan and Cretore of Arthropo to the far reaches of Taman. The last pass to Besnick was on fire with a multitude of gold eyes. Minutes into the tunnel rocks shuddered. Behind them the sound of groaning and cracking. Then an explosion! The force of wind and waves propelled them to the far side. The cascade of rock was the seal to keep them out. Doogle, blind to their deceit was cast out.