Eyes – Horror Short Story
My seventh son was born without eyes. In the place where each eye should have been, he had teeth. These teeth were surrounded by lips in place of eyelids. The jaws within each socket were considered fully functional by the doctors. Each mouth had a tongue and throat-like passage which connected to the child’s throat proper. I was more amazed than horrified at this strange occurrence, having seen this child of mine born with three mouths, two of which prematurely contained teeth, having heard it cry with three mouths. The cry was of two distinct voices, not three or one as you might suppose. One was a cry of fear and pain, a cry of being born in to a cold and unknown world. The other was the shrill cry of ravenous hunger.
My wife died giving birth. I never really cared for her. She was a warm, wet hole into which I spat my lust. Nothing more. My lust was greater than her. Greater than anything she could have ever been. I was surprised that she could, even given the union with my desire, produce such a thing as this child.
The doctors, who I despise, who exist without any fascination or regard for anything, having no drive, no lust, had little reaction to this occurrence, save some professional intrigue at this mutation. Of course, they suggested the course of “corrective surgery” on the child if such a thing was possible, which it was not. All veins and tissues that supported the function of the two unlikely mouths, the two unlikely throats, were connected to several other major veins and tissues of the child’s face. To alter these mouths or throats in any significant way would disfigure permanently the rest of the child’s face and would put the child’s life at risk. This, of course, could not be done. The other suggestion was to surgically alter the lips, to make them look more like “normal” eyelids, and to sew them up. I would not have it. I wanted the child the way he was.
I reared the child alone, bringing as little attention to him from my so-called friends and associates as possible. It was a task that my wife’s timely death made easy. This was the child that killed my wife in being born. No one had the desire to ask to see it. My friends and associates were far too polite for that.
I knew very little about caring for a child. My first six died at birth. I found most of it surprisingly easy. Most of it, except feeding. Feeding the child was a problem, always a problem, an incessant, unbearable problem. The child’s “proper” or larger mouth demanded fairly normal, almost less than normal, attention. It was the other two mouths the laid in place of the child’s eyes that create an intolerable nuisance. These mouths, without end, hungered and cried for food. They devoured amounts the one would consider unhealthy, amounts that left the child bloated and crying. These two mouths cried for food, always for food, and nothing else. They knew no pain except hunger, and their hunger was eternal. At one point they cried and cried no matter what I fed them. They would eat whatever I poured into them and would still manage to scream unrelentingly. I had to ignore this incessant yelping. I knew that these mouths would consume to the point of killing the child. So I did not feed them. I kept all sustenance from them and ignored their hellish wails until I found out, by accident, what they had been craving.
The child was sitting at the table in the kitchen when I was moving raw meat from the freezer to the counter in preparation for a meal. Upon smelling it, the child’s two mouths began the shrill screeching I had come to know too well. Curious, I cut a few scraps and held one in front of the child’s face. His head flew forward, the two mouths snapping and ripping at the meat. I had to drop it and withdraw my hand for fear of my fingers being bitten.
It became apparent that it would be impossible for me to raise this child without letting the outside have any contact with him. I invited only the most intimate of my friends to come over to see him. There was an initial shock and curiosity regarding these two mouths in place of eyes. The apprehension and interest ended quicker than one might expect, almost unnaturally so. The child was beautiful, despite the mouths… or perhaps because of them. He was pleasant to be around and play with when the mouths were satiated. I always fed the two mouths well with blood and meat before guests arrived and always had the guests leave at the slightest sign of hunger. The way the child devoured his food was not a sight for guests to behold. The two mouths had long tongues which would flick and curl around the child’s face, searching for blood and pieces of meat which always slid down from the gnashing teeth and over the lips. The teeth would snatch and rip and gnaw. Blood would often splatter over the dark wooden table at which the child ate and on the cold white shiny tiles of the floor. I would spend hours caring for the child’s mouths. In fact, the child and his two mouths seemed to be two separate entities. The mouths required more care and attention than all the other parts and needs of the child put together.
Soon the child learned to feed himself. He could not feed his two mouths with his hands. The mouths would devour his fingers as soon as they would anything else. Great care had to be taken, but the child learned quickly. The child learned everything quickly.
The were no difficulties until he learned how to speak. It was after he learned how to speak through his normal mouth that the two mouths began making strange and vulgar noises. clicks and groans and screeches began to pour out of these mouths like blood from a deep wound. Shortly after the child became verbal, these mouths began shrieking vulgarities with the voice of a sick old woman. This voice was, perhaps, more abrasive and sickening than what was actually being said, which in itself foul beyond description. The voices were unnaturally loud and caused the child to cry. They became so unbelievably loud that they caused the child’s ears to bleed and the neighbors to complain. It became necessary to control them and their incessant squawking as well as their appetite, which was growing at an alarming rate.
I explained to the child that he must control both his appetite and these voices. Remarkably, he was able to gain some control over it. The vocal outbursts became less and less frequent, and the cries for food were controlled if not abated for some time.
After the neighbors had grown accustomed to the fact of such an unusual child lived nearby, I allowed him to play in the back yard. It was by his own accord, however, that he avoided other children and playing in the front of the house. When I asked him about this, he merely replied that “It is safer.” I never asked him to elaborate on that statement, for I always respected him and his stated wishes, which were few but succinct.
Around the age of five, his mouths began to change their appetites. They refused to eat the raw meat which was offered to them. I had encountered this problem before and had solved it by changing the kind of meat that I served. It did not, however, work this time–perhaps for the better, for I was running out of alternatives, alternatives withing so-called legal and moral bounds by any rate.
It was about this time that I found a variety of dead animals in the back yard. First it was birds, then squirrels. These animals always had particular parts missing from them and other portions left intact or semi-intact. In the initial period, these portions were cut off nearly, apparently with a knife. After a while, it appeared as if they were ripped apart by teeth. I found blood from this on the child’s clothes. I discussed this situation with the child. He silently listened and nodded. He said he understood but admitted that he could no longer control the appetites of his mouths anymore and that if he tried to deny them what they wanted he would experience a pain he found unbearable. He apologized for the mess and said that he would find a way to manage. After this, there were no more animals in the yard or messes on his clothing.
After I learned that he could satisfy his hunger in secrecy, I hired a professor from the local university (a dear friend of mine) to home school the child. The professor was a dynamic individual of various interests (a mortician and occultist, among other things) who held a great capacity for enduring the bizarre without the slightest flinch. He was perfect. He schooled the child and was amazed by him. The child’s scope of interest was broad and his hunger for learning was without parallel. The good professor did not question the strange hours and being required to leave once the child began to exhibit changes in behavior I had learned to detect which indicated hunger or an oncoming fit. The professor, being a good friend, merely accepted the fact that when I indicated it was time to leave that he must do so and as soon as possible.
During the child’s sixth year, I looked into the refrigerator and found what I thought were several marbles, smooth, shiny, and white as milk, lying between the gleaming rods of metal that made up the shelves. Three rows sat, containing 27 spheres of different sizes. Looking closer, I realized that these were not marbles at all. Underneath, on the almost glowing white bottom of the cold interior of the refrigerator were cakes of reddish brown. Coagulated blood. They were eyes. The child must have procured them and placed them there for safe keeping. They were apparently those of small children and animals, for in the neighborhood several had been reported missing in the past few weeks. I began to worry for the safety of the child. But if this sort of thing was necessary, then it was necessary. The child had appetites. He had needs. And he was clever. He had not been caught so far. Wherever the bodies of the victims were, they had yet to be found.
I installed the basement freezer and brought the child down to show it to him. I looked at him and said, “This is for you, do you understand?” He nodded. After that, I found no more surprises in the kitchen.
My friend,. the professor, soon gave me notice that he would not be rendering his services anymore. He admitted to me that the child had begun to disturb him long ago, but not unbearably so. It was only recently that the teeth of the child’s mouths began grinding audibly in the most unnerving way during lessons and that the child began making obscene noises through the mouths in his eye sockets. It was when they started grinning and cackling at him that he decided that he should leave. He went on about the impression the child had left him with; the child sitting in the room, his smiling teeth glinting in the darkness, making shrill laughter-like noises and making predictions about the deaths of the professor’s loved ones, of whom he never spoke about to the child and of whom I had never spoken of as well. I paid the man generously and gave him my thanks, and apologized for any pains he had suffered in doing his work.
The two mouths had begun to control more and more of the child’s behavior. After accepting my friend’s resignation, the two mouths began to screech the words, over and over, “Kill him! Kill him!” to me, and described scenarios in which I could cause his death and make it look like an accident. I cannot describe the number of times they related such things to me, nor can I account the variety of ways in which they contrived his death. It unbearable. The mouths only stopped when I threatened surgery to have them removed.
On the morning of what would have been the child’s seventh birthday, I found what was left of his body in his room. The child had eaten himself. Every part of the child that could be consumed by the mouths in the eye sockets had been eaten, and what I found was a mass of gore, atop of which sat the child’s uppermost torso. The one mouth was in a grimace of agony, the two others, bloody and smiling. His appetite had groped in every direction until it found what it had been craving. All his life, the child’s two mouths had been hungering for himself.