“Go upstairs to your room and don’t come down until dinner,” said Mother as she cleaned up the glass, trying not to kneel on the ragged-edged shards. “I’ve had enough of you today.”
I sulked as I took each carpeted stair as slowly and heavily as I could. I stomped my way into my room and slammed the door, flopping myself on the dingy grey floor, knocking the toys out of the way. When the sounds of the vacuum started, I stared at the ceiling. Despite the roar of the vacuum, I could hear a faint knocking coming from above me, from the attic. I wasn’t supposed to go up there anymore.
Slowly I got up and crept across my bedroom floor. I stood on my bed and pulled down the ceiling’s trapdoor, and as quietly as I could, let down the stairs.
The gloomy attic was filled with boxes and dust, the only light from a small round window. I found a dark green uniform with medals across the chest. I think it belonged to my grandfather whose name we no longer speak. Each box that I opened contained strange things: willow branches lashed together in the shape of a star; a flat wooden board with letters and numbers burnt onto its surface; thick, waxy candles with soft droplets stuck to their sides; a black hooded cape with a tattered crimson satin lining.
A small cardboard box contained three glass eyes, rolling in the box like marbles. Instead of blue or brown, the eyes were a raging-fire red. I knew at once they were my grandfather’s. He used to call them his evil eyes and he would take them out of his pocket to scare us grandkids, at least until he disappeared.
I held up one of the eyes and barely managed not to drop it as it moved between my fingers. It swiveled so instead of looking at the front of the eye, I was looking at the white glass back of it. After a while, I realized I could see through the eye, the eye the colour of the depths of hell, and I think I saw where my grandfather now resided. His face looked more runny than I remembered and he told me some things I wished I didn’t hear.
Taking the eyes in my hand, I crept down the stairs and made my way into the bathroom. I peered into the mirror, trying to keep my hands steady, choking back a scream as I did what I was directed to do. After I rinsed the sink of blood, I went down for dinner. The table’s cloven hooves began clacking and the Brussel sprouts, with their tiny, suction-cup eyes, blinked at me from the pan.
Mother didn’t notice at first. She doled out the casserole and the sludgy mashed potatoes. It was only after we had finished our meal in silence that she looked at me, and startled, asked, “Your eyes? What colour are your eyes?”
Then she started shrieking, and has been ever since.
Lena Ng shambles around Toronto, Ontario, and is a zombie member of the Horror Writers Association. She has curiosities published in close to sixty tomes including Amazing Stories and the anthology We Shall Be Monsters, which was a finalist for the 2019 Prix Aurora Award. Her 2021 upcoming publications include The Half That You See, Polar Borealis, Love Letters to Poe, Selene Quarterly, The Gallery of Curiosities, Green Inferno, Ghost Orchid Press, The Quiet Reader, Boneyard Soup, The Needle Drops, Dark Dispatch, Cosmic Horror Monthly, The Ghastling, Murderous Ink, and Sage Cigarettes. “Under an Autumn Moon” is her short story collection. She is currently seeking a publisher for her novel, Darkness Beckons, a Gothic romance.