The eye collector

“That’s the third case of the month. The police are working to catch whoever this ‘Eye Collector’ is. Please report any information you have to the police. Stay safe, people!”

Before the next programme came on, Amma walked over to switch off the television, then got back to work on her computer at the dining table.

“That’s the third case this month. When do you think they’ll catch him?” Yeshvint remarked, perking up. He looked at his older brother and then his mother, waiting for either one to respond. He loved reading mystery books and to have something so macabre happening in their small town was exciting to the 13-year-old.

There had been three cases so far. All three were boys between 13 and 16. One of them was in the same school as Sharwin, although he didn’t know him. Someone was going around town gouging people’s eyes out before killing them.

“What is he doing with all those eyes?” Yeshvint asked, turning to his mother.

“I’m going to take a nap,” she said before getting up, apparently not hearing what Yeshvint had asked. She was zoning out a lot these days and was always tired. Yeshvint turned to Sharwin, a look of bewilderment on his face.

His brother shrugged.

“Better not go out too much, Yesh,” he said jokingly, pulling a face and moving closer to his brother to frighten him. Yeshvint rolled his eyes and pushed his brother away.

***

Sharwin was exhausted, and annoyed. He had been playing games in his room with his friends and was becoming increasingly frustrated as he lost game after game. Sometimes, games did not help with stress.

Taking off his headphones, he shoved his phone into his pocket before pushing open the door and heading for the stairs.

He squinted, then blinked a few times at the strange lump at the bottom of the stairs. Frowning, he ran down.

“Yeshvint?” he called, bounding down the stairs.

His brother lay face down on the floor, his body twisted in an awkward position.

“Yeshvint! Yesh! What happened?!” Sharwin shouted, running down the stairs. He could see blood on the floor and on Yeshvint’s shirt. Getting no response, Sharwin swallowed the lump in his throat, turning his brother’s limp form over.

He stifled a scream.

Yeshvint groaned in pain, slowly regaining consciousness.

Sharwin was speechless. Whatever words he wanted to say died in his mouth when he saw the state his brother was in. Where his eyes were supposed to be, all that was left were empty eye sockets and streams of blood.

“I can’t see! Oh my god. Sh-Sharwin? I can’t see anything!” Yeshvint cried.

“I’m here, Yeshvint. I’m right here,” Sharwin managed to croak out, his brother’s cries snapping him out of his daze.

“What happened?” Yeshvint cried out.

“I-It’s gonna be all right. Le-let me just call Amma.”

His brother passed out. He fumbled with his phone, trembling uncontrollably.

“A-Amma? Hello?” Sharwin said, his voice shaky.

“Hi, Sharwin. What’s wrong?” his mother replied, sensing his agitation.

“It’s… ” He cleared his throat. “It’s Yeshvint. He’s …”

“What happened? Are you okay?”

“He fell down the stairs. Oh my God, Amma. His eyes!”

“What? What happened to his eyes? I’m coming back. Wait! I’m coming… He fell down the stairs?” she replied, shocked.

“His eyes are gone. Amma! Oh God. Call an ambulance, Ma!”

Sharwin turned to Yeshvint, but he was still unconscious. He sat, back against the wall, trying to make sense of the situation.

Eye Collector. It must be. How could this have happened? Please don’t die, Yesh!

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from ‘The Eye Collector’ by Meera Tioe. It is part of a series of short stories – ‘The Eye: A Young Writer’s Anthology’. Priced at RM31.90, the book is available at BookXcess. All royalties go to Yayasan Chow Kit, a non-profit organisation serving the needs of children and teens in the Chow Kit area of Kuala Lumpur.

To give the younger generation an avenue to express themselves, Twentytwo13 has a dedicated space called Young Voices. If you are a young writer (aged 17 and below) and would like your article published on our news website, send your contribution to editor@twentytwo13.my.