It wasn't a coincidence that the intensity of her eyes didn't suit her face. She was just the outer shell containing the glares of innumerable reincarnations. Together they resembled a set of Russian stacking dolls perfectly aligned all gazing out the same opening. They were birds and butterflies and kings and slaves each reflecting their own stories of hardship and triumph.
Strangers would look up for the source of their discomfort, for the thing that caused their skin to itch.
People swam in other’s tear drops and wished upon the sequins of a woman’s dress they thought were stars. The flowing valleys that cut through the mountains and
defined landscapes were the grooves of another’s fingerprints. The civilizations were locked inside one another in a
balance so fragile impatient finger tapping held the potential to decimate
thousands of civilizations. A fallen fingernail, tossed
from so high it looked still, was called moon. No one knew the others
existed and remained ignorant of how many layers deep the interactions went.
Today the transformation was creeping upward, but he knew better than to try and predict it. Some days his consciousness was lost before the human form of his bottom half dissolved; rendering him ignorant of both the transformation and where his legs would carry him in the minutes before they were immobilized. Other nights it was a gradual fade from left to right that held him in the ecstasy of a man with two minds. Tonight he knew only of the dreaded window of being paralyzed but feeling more awake than ever in his life.
She was his life's greatest work. His impression upon her was
as tangible as hands clasped across her eyes. But he trained her so well that his
body physically shielding her wasn't necessary. He dedicated his life to her
innocence. He left and she aged but her eyes never dulled. She smiled wildly and without restraint, uncorrupted by self-awareness. She was forever blind with her
eyes wide open; just as he intended.
The tree broke through the ground in the middle of an unkempt
cornfield. It had long ago been taken hostage by a tangle of vines whose knotty
braids slithered up the length of the trunk. In the winter when the leaves
fell to the ground the rough sketch of a face could be seen in the blanks
between the branches against the sky. The frail vines arched and coiled around
the tips of the tree forming eyes and a mouth in the familiar location and
proportion. The mouth stood in a line perfectly parallel to the ground, void of
expression except for when the wind blew from the northeast corner of the field.
The wind would disrupt the branches and bounce the features of the face; creating
the illusion that the mouth was smiling, maybe she thought, in remembrance of the land from whence it came.
He thrashed until his memories banded apart, until they frayed and became separate. And in a violent final flail his inner most demons lay exposed. He then stood motionless as his layers congealed leaving behind a few translucent visages that floated away and disappeared within the walls.