The Seers

A short story about the life of a boy in a blind world, only he can see.

A Fantastical Thing
Writers’ Blokke


Photograph by Jeremy Lishner on Unsplash

TW: a brief gory scene involving a knife

I’ve gotten used to the screams over the years. A new discovery was made, oh, about thirteen years ago. Some scientists discovered a way for blind people to find their way around without using a cane or a guide — echolocation. This seems like a good idea at first look, I know. The only downfall is you can’t ever be completely and totally surrounded by silence without someone screaming bloody murder and scaring the bejeebers out of you to see if there is an object in front of them or not.

Let me spit up some background here. Everyone in the world except for me is blind — that I’m aware of at least. There was some exposure to radiation like a hundred years ago or so that damaged everyone’s eyes and made them, well, blind. Over the years the human race continued being exposed to little bits of radiation repeatedly and developed a mutation that, to put it into simple terms, prohibited anyone from seeing ever again.

And then there was me.

I haven’t told anyone that I can see. It was rough growing up as a kid, there was no one else like me. I used to draw pictures of my family and me with blackened-out eyes. I used to daydream about being blind and learning how to effectively use echolocation. The first time my parents asked me why I wasn’t yelling or creating some sort of noise to find where I was, I started crying. They waved their arms around until they brushed my face, “Louis, Hunny, it’s okay,” they patted their hands down to my shoulders, confused as to why I was crying — it hurt not being able to tell them I could see. (Although, I’m much better at hiding my pain now, thank you very much.) It took a little time for me to warm up to making sounds to not seem suspicious, but now whenever I’m bored, or things get quiet, I let out a big yell. It’s become quite a fun activity, for me at least.

Day-to-day life is quite normal, for living in a blind society. We go to school and work, everything we read is in braille, and there is a lot of automated doors and lights (not that we need them), and voices directing us where to go if we travel somewhere other than our small community. Cars are a rarity, seeing as they’re dangerous and useless to us unless they’re self-driving, but we use them occasionally. And if we want something to be done electronically, we simply say — out loud — what it is we want to be done, some sort of electronic system will do that thing, and a robotic voice will answer saying it has been done.

We don’t really know how everything in the world came to be, or who designed it so that we could live here peacefully, but it was done. And we non-seers are appreciative of that. I, on the other hand, am not.

Do you know how hard it is to live in a world where you have to pretend to be someone else the entire time? To live in a world designed for the blind, and not for the seers? To want to tell everyone about the beauties you can see on a daily basis? To keep your ability from your closest friends and family? To wish you were someone else? To want to live comfortably and without fear? Needless to say, it’s been an exhausting seventeen years.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been planning something, something big. I am going to do something that will make me like everyone else. I am going to blind myself, no matter what it takes, I am going to do this.

“Hey, Louis, let’s go! We’re gonna be late for dinner!” I rolled my eyes as I heard my mom’s voice echo through the house up to where I was sitting on my bed staring at my untied shoelaces. We were supposed to meet with my therapist to see how I was doing. I’ve only seen the therapist four times, and we haven’t talked about much. The only reason I’m seeing him is that my mom and dad think I’m too “quiet” and have an “off” vibe, or whatever that means. But my therapist is also blind, so I can’t exactly just come out and say “Yo, I’m quiet because I can see and have felt alone for quite some time now and haven’t told anyone that I’m planning on cutting my own eyes out.” I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now. I just need to find the perfect day to do it. But today will not be that day. We have to have dinner with my therapist today.

I dunno what people think a stereotypical therapist looks like, seeing how everyone in my community is blind. But my therapist fits the stereotype perfectly — although I’ve only ever seen one therapist in my life. He’s got white hair all the way around his head with a bald spot right in the middle, glasses, and always smells like scent-free lotion (can someone smell like a scent-free scent?).

Anyways, we’re meeting at a real classy sitdown burger place. From a non-seers perspective, they would say, “The chairs are very squishy and comfortable, the music is soft and not too loud -makes you wanna dance a little bit- and the tile floor must have been recently cleaned, I can’t feel any grainy or slippery substances under my shoes.’’ My perspective is pretty much the same, except that I have to see the dull gray floors, bland black chairs, too bright lights, and the hard wooden tables. Not exactly the thing you’d expect to see considering how much the non-seers romanticize this place. They’ve got good food though, that’s for sure.

Once we arrived at the restaurant, my parents let out little yelps to find an open seat and rang the bell located at the center of the table to get a waiter's attention. Loud screams were heard from the other side of the restaurant as a waiter made his way over after hearing the bell ring close to five times.

“Hi, we’re waiting for someone, Dr. Contrex, will you lead him over to this table once he gets here please, thank you,” my mom requested and then proceeded to order four glasses of water. The waiter grunted a yes and sang a single note as he walked away, accidentally stubbing a toe on the corner of a chair. My parents and I sat in silence, awaiting the heavy footsteps of Dr. Contrex.

Not one minute had passed when Dr. Contrex arrived. He shuffled his feet before he sat down, checking for any unusual lumps on the ground. Once he was satisfied it was clear, he mumbled a short greeting and sat down next to me. “Hullo, son, how are we today,” he said once he shifted around to get comfortable in his seat.

I scooched away from him slightly, “I’m doing fine sir, yourself?”

“I am blessed by God,” He said with a subtle smile, and I shook my head at his usual predicted response. “Well, let’s get to it. Mr. and Mrs. Dartin, nice to be here with you, thank you for meeting with me. Your son seems to be fine, the conversations we have are normal and he seems level-headed. There isn’t much more I can do for him.”

My eyes widened in surprise, not expecting those words to be said. I didn’t think Dr. Contrex liked me very much; due to our lack of conversations in our previous meetings at least. I glanced at my parents, taking in their speechless faces, and tried to anticipate how they would react.

“Well, okay. Thank you, Doctor. Are you sure there’s nothing you can do for him?” My dad asked finally.

“I am absolutely sure,” he nodded, shifting his head in my direction. “Thank you for meeting with me, though it was rather unnecessary. I only need one more session with your son and I believe that should do it. How does tomorrow night after school sound?”

My mom blinked her milky white eyes, “Uhm, yes that should be fine. Louis? What do you think?”

“Yeah, that’s good,” I mumbled discouraged.

“Alright, sounds good. If that’s all, I really should get going. Thank you again for meeting me,” And without another word, he got up and monotonously yelled his way out.

My parents brushed arms, talking softly to each other. The waiter came back and took our orders, unfazed that we were missing one person. I sat listening to my parent's muffled voices and ate my burger quietly, focusing on the sound of the food squishing around in my mouth. When all of us were done, we got up and walked back to our house, which was only about four blocks away. All the while, listening to my parent's hushed conversation and occasional howls to make sure we were going in the right direction safely.

We got home and I went straight up to bed. I didn’t want to have to confront them or talk about what happened or how strange it was. I just wanted to have one last session with Dr. Contrex and get it over with. I fell asleep on my bed, fully clothed, drifting away with my thoughts.

I skipped school that day. Wasn’t really feeling up to seeing all the teachers or trying to focus my attention on seemingly insignificant assignments. It’s not like I was going to college or anything. I had more important things to plan. Instead, I sat in my bedroom, strumming some minor chords on my guitar, and waited for my session. I heard my mom’s soft voice humming as she made her way to my open door. “Hey, Hunny, how are you today? You ready for your session?”

I mumbled a disgruntled yes and shoved my shoes onto my feet. “Let’s go so I can get this over with.”

We went into the garage where our voice automated bicycles were, and told them where we wanted to go, and hopped on. The garage door opened as we neared it and our electric bikes took us a little over a mile away to where the Dr.’s office was. We took two right turns, a left, another right, and arrived at the gray building that was looming in front of us. My mom swung her arms around until she brushed my face, grabbed my face with two hands, gave me a kiss on the cheek goodbye, and rode away on her bike after whispering some commands to it. I sighed and walked up the brick steps to the office door. I pressed a button and was soon buzzed in. I walked towards the front desk on the tile floor when I suddenly heard a shout. I flipped around thinking I was the only one here, but soon saw it was only the cleaning lady mopping the floors and was trying to keep herself from running into a desk, chair, or wall.

Since no one was at the front desk, I walked straight up to Dr. Contrex’s office, rapped on the door twice, and eased my way in. He was sitting front and center at his desk, staring into space awaiting me. “Hullo, son, how are we today?”

I closed the door gently behind me and took a seat, “I’m fine sir, yourself?”

“I am blessed by God.”

I scoffed and tapped my fingers against the armrest, “Right.”

Dr. Contrex tilted his head silently and said to me, “Son, I think I figured out what is wrong with you.”

I snapped my head in his direction, becoming hyper-aware of the sweat that was forming in my armpits. “And what would that be sir?”

“Well, you don’t yell nearly as often as the others do, you never stumble or fall, and the first time you came here, I could feel you looking around the room and getting a feel for it.” He leaned forward in his desk, “Not the regular feel like how us non-seers do to find the layout, a real feel for it, the contents on the shelves, the plants I have in the corners, the colorless paintings on the wall.” Chuckling to himself, Dr. Contrex leaned back in his seat, seemingly unable to find a comfortable position. “I’ve only met one other of you before, the seers. He acted the same way. That’s what’s wrong with you. You can see, can’t you? You can see, you haven’t told anyone, and you want to stop being a seer, just like the other boy.” He tilted his head the other way.

“I-,” My stomach dropped and I’m pretty sure my heart stopped beating, “I don’t know what to say, sir.”

Dr. Contrex took a deep breath, “I’ve been studying you for some time, Louis. The evidence is all there,” I could feel his milky white eyes boring into my skull, “You can see it all. I’m right, aren’t I, son?”

I quickly ran scenarios through my head, trying to find the right thing to say. How could he have figured me out like that? And who was this other seer he knew? “Yes sir, you’re right.”

“That’s what I thought. Now excuse me, I have to go.”

“But, sir, what do I do? Who was the other person like me?’’ I stood up from my chair and paced to the closed office door. “You have to help me,” I pleaded. “I need to be like everyone else.”

“Son, the choice is yours now. Do what you want, but you’re the only hope we have. Don’t make any rash decisions. You can talk to me; although, the choice is ultimately yours to make” And with that he hollered his way out of the room, stopping only to wait for me to move out of his way, then proceeded to open the door. I stood alone in the sparsely decorated office, trying to make sense of what happened. He knew. Someone knew. I don’t know how he knew, but he’s obviously dealt with someone similar before. I let out a groan running my hands through my hair and ran outside to where my bike was waiting. I yelled directions at the bike to take me to the park and was whisked away.

I arrived about five minutes later and walked to the pile of woodchips behind the slide where I had hidden a small knife weeks ago. I brushed the dirt and wood particles away and took the knife out. I looked at it, thinking about what Dr. Contrex said. ‘I was the only hope they had.’ Whatever that meant. Does he think seers are better than non-seers? Does he think there’s a chance for the human race to become seers again? I shook my head to rid the thoughts. Today is the day to do this. It has to be today. I looked at the knife glinting in the fading sun and took a deep breath. I have to do this.

I closed my eyes, opened them again, and without thinking plunged the unsharpened knife straight into my left eye. Letting out a blood-curdling scream that echoed throughout the park, my free hand shot up to cover the eye. Clear liquid, similar to tears, fell from the hole. I did the same to the other eye, stifling my screams as best I could, and more clear liquid fell from it. I knew enough about eyes to know that these were the lenses, as we had studied a girl in history class who had done the same thing, hence where this oh-so marvelous idea came from. I tried blinking the liquid out of my eyes, doubling over from the pain. I heard a branch or twig or something snap and I attempted to look at whoever it was through my closing vision. Dr. Contrex waddled up to me. “You silly boy. Did our talk mean nothing? You had the gift, you were like me, and you threw it all away. I am here to help you, don’t you see? It was no accident you were assigned to me. Once I heard about you, I knew there was something special about you. I just needed time to make sure I was right.”

I shook my head at him, wincing at the pain, “Sir, what do you mean I was like you?” I breathed, disregarding everything else he said.

Dr. Contrex let out a sad smile and reached his wrinkly hands up to his eyes. He pulled down the bottom lid and took something out of his eye, revealing dark brown eyes underneath the film he pulled away. “I can see too, Louis.”

My eyes widened as my vision closed in on itself, reducing to nothing. The last thing I remembered seeing was Dr. Contrex’s soft mournful smile and his rare glinting brown eyes.



A Fantastical Thing
Writers’ Blokke

Hello! It’s great to have you here! My name is Aubrey & I love to write short stories & poetry & about plants. Feel free to follow! Instagram:@afantasticalthing