The Tell-Tale Eye
Twisted from Edgar Allen Poe
True!—troubled—very, very horribly troubled, I am. You simply cannot say I am mad! My sickness—to plainly put it—merely boosted my senses, does not extinguish them! My friend, you cannot just label me off as a madman, as my sense of sight is greatly affected. See! Look! Behold how collected I am as I give my stories—tales of shadows, hate, and, of course, the Eye.
No, I do not despise myself! It is only the visage that stares back at me every single time I peer at a mirror that makes my bones shudder and my blood run cold. It is because of the Eye that I see shadows of demons and the dead spreading from behind me! I dare not look back, for the fear of facing one.
It is a very strange and hateful thing how once you have brought an idea to mind, it simply does not vanish, no matter how hard you wish, how much you try. The mind is very ruthless—so unsympathetic—to leave that thought to torture me, to dig into my mind until I could conceive nothing but it.
There was no other way. I had no goal, no devotedness. I had not wronged myself, no, but it was my eye that caused my loathing to boil and course through me. I owned a pale vulture eye—one with a glassy mist over it. Any time I glanced at a mirror, oh how I detested those moments, it would bore into me and grind me into a thousand pieces with no mercy. By the time the extra day had passed again, I was determined—no, firmly intent—to rid myself of the Eye so I may comfortably lie in peace.
I should make my basis clear. I am not mad—if I was, I wouldn’t have, no, couldn’t have, so cleverly planned it out. Isn’t it obvious that the clarity of a mind such as my own could not possibly belong to a madman? Not even the old man could have guessed what would happen.
The old man, I pity him, also found himself shuddering and cringing at the plain sight of the Eye. My acute sight perfectly caught his expressions. I felt myself sympathizing with the old man, so I kindly avoided him, but upon confrontation, gave courtesy. Despite my favor, he still sneered at me. At me! All because of my horrendous vulture eye.
And so I prepared to get rid of the Eye. So slowly, so sneakily, in terror that the Eye will notice. All of you would have gifted me a standing ovation if you’d observed as I—quite like a mastermind thief—secretly planned, avoiding opening the Eye. You should’ve seen me—eyes closed, moving slower than a snail, quiet like a cat. Nobody could dare call me a madman now.
However, what an unfortunate thing, the Eye was always closed whenever I attempted to gouge it out. My hatred was directed at the Eye, not I, so I could not put harm upon my body, which had done nothing wrong.
Before my Eye could awaken and spot the treachery its body was about to attempt, the sharp tools were swept into a concealed box. It was clever of me to keep the Eye in the dark. For seven days, I stood in front of my cursed mirror, slowly—almost painstakingly slow—drawing the toolbox out of its shelf and lifting the razor to the Eye. Centimeter by centimeter, millimeter by millimeter, I raised the razor up, so that even the rising sun could’ve beaten its progress. But each attempt was foiled by my eye.
On the eighth day, when dawn was approaching, the razor was still six inches (I knew this with my heightened sense of sight) too far, my legs, weakened from exhaustion, shook. It was a small movement, but the Eye, with all its terribleness, awoke and found the sharp razor aimed toward it.
My bloodshot normal eye made eye contact with the other in the mirror. Oh! the horror, how the blood ran cold. I saw the long, hostile shadows of demons—with my acute sight! I averted my gaze from the mirror, that despicable tool, so that I may not be able to see the actual terrors and owners of the shadows behind me through the reflection.
And what should I do? The Eye had figured the mutiny. I, with all my cleverness and quick thinking, made a decision—the Eye had to go. I drove the razor straight into it—pain! fire! Explosions of light! And again—again!—again! the razor went, gouging and slicing and mutilating the last of the torturous eye. Ha! Even though the Eye had punished me for my acts against it with indescribable and unbearable pain, it had gone. Gone! Finally!—free—free—at last!
I had not known I had been screaming—hollering my throat raw, quite like a madman I claim not to be. Whether it had been shrieks of delight and fierce pleasure, or bellows of pain, I do not know—nor do I want to know. With a surreal amount of control, I closed my mouth, shutting off the mad cackles and howls. Dark-red blood ran down my face and onto the hollow tub I set up. Ingenious, yes? My floor did not have to be cleaned later.
My unscathed eye caught movement in the shadows—no, not the tall, cold shadows of the demons, but the ones made from walls and desks. I whipped around, and immediately spotted the intruder.
“Good day,” I pleasantly greeted, ignoring the fierce stabs that the Eye sent. The old man who also shared my feelings for the Eye cowered in terror, grasping a long knife. “Perfect morning, isn’t it?”
“T-the Eye!” he yelled, standing on trembling legs. “The Eye!” I watched calmly as he scampered out of my house, hollering things about the Eye and the hospital.
A moment later, white-clad doctors rushed into my house. They spotted me, and froze dead in their tracks. I gingerly touched what was left of my eye socket. The doctors seemed to be stirred into action and approached me, staring at the pool of blood in the tub, hands held up.
They treated my eye socket slowly, and I let them. I would be a fool to decline treatment, just when my wounds were throbbing and burning. A few strange-looking men snuck to my side, not unnoticed. They asked me questions, interrogated me about how my face came to be. I answered them truthfully in a calm manner so nobody, not even they, could label me off as crazy. My normal eye was snagged by the words on a man’s backside of his shirt: Asylum for the Deluded.
Blood boiled like fire through my veins. Suddenly, the shadows of the demons that hunted me for a lifetime appeared, and grew larger—even still larger as my knees weakened, drawing closer and closer like a cat having cornered its helpless prey. I could see the shadows of the fingernails, deadly sharp. The interrogators, facing me, and definitely able to see the monsters behind me, showed no sign of having seen them. Ha! I knew their sneaky little plans! They were on the Eye’s side, rooting for all that went against me, its unfortunate owner, or rather, slave. The men were mocking me! Making fun of me! Solely because of my acute senses!
The demons behind me crouched, getting ready to leap at me. I fell to my knees, begging, “Please! No more! I know not why you are haunting me, but I beg of you! Stop!” I heard the footsteps of even more monsters pounding toward me. “Slay me! Kill me—kill me! So that my troubles may drag me no longer!” I cried, curled up at the foot of the demon. “It was I—me! that gouged out the horrendous Eye! Demons! Monsters! Do not punish me for that!”