by Simon Evans
This sorry tale all started when I went to Specsavers for a routine eye check. They found some sort of ‘shadow’ or ‘blemish’ or ‘scarring’ behind my left eye. The follow up appointment at the Eye Hospital involved no small amount of head scratching and reassuring vagueness. Ultimately I was told not to worry but that they had to keep an ‘eye’ on it (ha ha). The following year I was told that the shadow had grown and that there was ‘cause for concern’. During the months following this check-up I began to experience dizziness and occasional blurring of vision. A blind patch was appearing. My dreams were becoming more confused and vivid. I was worried.
One morning I awoke feeling extremely disorientated and nauseous. I looked in the mirror and saw my left pupil looking extremely dilated. It was pulsing. I felt movement behind my eye and a searing pain which made me cry out. Something was coming out of my eye; something was pushing itself out of my eye. A black head, a long wormlike body was pushing itself through my eye. The body emerged, more and more. The relief as the pressure lessened was replaced by horror as I realised that my eye was being ripped from my head. The worm’s tail was barbed and my eye was wrenched from the socket as the black worm fell into the sink – eye attached.
I held the wriggling beast between forefinger and thumb and placed it into a lunchbox. I caught a taxi to the Eye Hospital and presented them with my worm. I must have been quite a sight. I held a handkerchief over my eye socket but blood covered the front of my shirt.
The eye people in the hospital were fascinated. They asked me the same questions again and again as if they didn’t believe me. Some senior eye boffins detached the worm from my eye but told me in calm, professional tones that my eye could not be saved. I don’t know what they did with it.
They took my worm away and cut the end off it to do some tests. They literally patched me up and sent me away. I felt better – more comfortable physically – but I felt different, bereft somehow.
I received a call two days later and was told that the high priest of the Eye Hospital wanted to see me.
As I entered his office I immediately caught sight of my worm, in a glass box. It wriggled and battered the glass with its head when I stood before it. My heart leaped.
I was beckoned to a chair.
“We’ve dissected a sample of the parasite” said the important eye man.
“It appears to be a physical manifestation of your unwanted thoughts.”
“My unwanted thoughts?”
“All of the things you decided not to say, all your shit jokes that weren’t worth telling and all your forgotten nightmares, they have formed a worm and taken on a life of their own.”
“Have you…has this…has this happened before?”
“Not to our knowledge.”
I left the hospital feeling empty headed, empty hearted and empty left eyed.
What did it all mean? What would become of my discarded thought worm?
When I arrived home my telephone was ringing. Someone told me that my worm had smashed through the glass of its box and slithered through an open window. Search parties had, as yet, yielded nothing.
I was devastated; I felt an immense loss and an aching sadness.
That night I tumbled into bed a broken, drunken man. I awoke in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling, at a dark shape snaking its way through the gloom. I turned the light on and the worm recoiled. It had found its way home! It had come back to me!
I didn’t tell the medical professionals about the return of the worm. They would take it away and cut it apart, like on ET. I knew my worm and I depended on one another.
Over the following decades my worm and I co-existed. I remained tight lipped and my secret was never discovered.
I returned to the Eye Hospital for annual check-ups. Several decades later, sure enough, a ‘shadow’, a ‘blemish’, a ‘scarring’ was discovered behind my right eye. There was talk of emergency surgery, talk of lasers and talk of radiation. None of these options were palatable for me. As the discomfort and pressure grew behind my right eye my old worm became more animated. I would wake to see it, coiled on my cheek, gazing at my right eye, patiently waiting for its mate.
I began to ignore the communication from the eye hospital. Unopened letters would be shredded immediately and I put my telephone in the fridge. The shrill, distant ringing became more frequent and seemingly more frantic.
Before I could be carted away against my will, like King Kong, I decided to disappear. I had, for several months, been preparing a cabin by the sea. It was in a remote location and I needed to be there, to hide and to wait.
As my confusion grew and my memory became crazed, I followed the instructions I had written for myself and travelled far away to the cabin on the cliffs. My worm travelled with me in my lunch box, quivering in anticipation.