Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flash Cards for the Blind

by Kurt Newton

These are not your average 4x6s. Instead of an equation on one side, a solution on the other, these thin rectangles are virtually featureless. They look more like opaque panes of glass...without the sharp edges, of course. That would be cruel.

(You fidget slightly. I know the feeling. Trust is a difficult commodity nowadays...rare in its purest form.)

"Then how do they work?"

(Your eyes stare past me. Though blind, they appear eager, open to new experiences.)

Well, they work the way a window works, only instead of using the sensory organ designed for sight, it uses something much more intimate: touch. It is the reason I am wearing these specially designed gloves. Just the slightest skin-to-surface contact induces a chemical transference that affects the region of the brain responsible for perception. Touching is seeing.

"What will I see?"

(A smile graces the corner of your mouth. It informs me I have chosen well.)

Ah, that's the beauty. It is entirely up to you. The mystics say if you stare at your reflection long enough your true essence will eventually reveal itself. Perhaps you will see your own death. Perhaps you will witness the torture of the innocent, or the savagery of nature, or the oppressive immensity of the universe. Perhaps you will be whisked away to a place unknown, a place forbidden, a place where your darkest fears dwell. A place where truth lies bound and screaming.

(You swallow your last naïve notion. Your fingers tremble as I place the first card in your hands.)

"And my blindness will be cured by doing this?"

Yes. But you will wish it hadn't.


Kurt Newton lives as a recluse in the woods of northeast Connecticut. He has been spotted on his plot of land harvesting grubs from rotted logs, setting tripwires for small animals and drinking from fresh water streams. He uses wood pulp and dried viscera to make the paper on which he writes his stories. He drives a black Ford Focus.


Michael Stone said...

I didn't get this, but it seemed well written so I read it again. And I still don't get it. Nor am I sure why some lines are in parentheses. Anyone care to explain what I'm missing?

Brad Chacos said...

The parentheses are what the narrator is thinking. The words without parentheses or quotes are being spoken by the narrator. The words in quotes are what the victim/"you"/the person being spoken to is saying in return.

...and, I loved the story. As Michael said, very well written. Cool idea!

Michael Stone said...

Yeah...I don't think the parentheses are necessary. We're in the narrator's POV so anything unspoken are his thoughts/observations by default. It was a distracting flourish for me.

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