in Fiction, Short Fiction

The surgery had taken four days ago. The doctors said it was a success but they had bandaged my eyes since then. The doctor hadn’t said anything about needing to bandage my eyes before the operation even though he insisted now that he had. It seemed a bit fishy, but the doctor and the nurses were all quite supportive, so I didn’t give it much thought. I had laid in bed the past four days, blind, listening to podcasts and to reruns on the TV, so that I could watch along inside my head.

The doctor entered my room, beaming. “And how are we feeling today, Mr. Rathod?”

“I am feeling good. How has your day been?”

“Good. Good.” I could hear shuffling papers. “So, today is when we remove the bandage from your eyes, Mr. Rathod. Would you mind sitting up, please?”

“Ar … Are you sure? I wouldn’t mind waiting one more day, if it’s required.”

“Quite sure.”

I sat up in my bed and I felt his hands on the back of my head, slowly untwirling the bandage from around my eyes. “Do not open your eyes,” he said when the bandage had already come off. I heard him go to windows and lower the shades a little. He came back and stood in front of me. “Now, slowly, open your eyes.”

I did. It was too bright. I waited for my eyes to adjust. The brightness changed into a flashlight being pointed at my eyes. “Good, good,” the doctor nodded and then moved to my other eye. “Pupils are responsive. The eyeball is clear.” And then a confused look passed across his face. He bent back down to my eyes and looked into them. I stared back. I could see myself stare back at him in his eyes in between his blinking. “That’s weird,” he said. “Mr. Rathod, are your eyes burning?”

“No,” I shrugged. “Should they be?”

“No, no. It’s okay. I am going to discharge you today. Of course, should you feel you need a follow-up, do not hesitate to call up my office.”

“So, I’m all okay now, doc, right?”

“Absolutely,” he said, smiled, signed my records and left. A little later a nurse came into the room and discharged me. Five days after I had checked in to the hospital, I was going to walk out, my eyesight fixed. The street looked different. There were statues of angels everywhere. It must be some sort of celebration that I had probably forgotten. Statue day or angel day or something. I walked to the bus-stop weaving in and out of the people and the numerous statues that now dotted the streets. I am sure they were even there on top of the buildings. And yet that wasn’t the weird part about the street. The statues were all being moved. Surreptitiously. I would have heard of this street fest if people were taking it so seriously. But, I hadn’t. And so it was odd. A know appeared in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t explain it, but the hairs on the back of my neck had risen.

I waited for my bus. There were people around me. And statues too. I looked at the man standing next to me. “Hello, do you know why there are all these statues around us?”

The man looked up at me and then around. “What statues?”

“That one,” I said and then pointed to an empty place next to him. Someone had moved the statue. So, I pointed to the other one, a little behind the man. “That one,” I said and looked at the man. Once more, I was pointing at empty space.

“There’s no statue there … or anywhere. Are you okay?”

“Uhh … yeah … Just got out of the hospital,” I said. I could still see the statues all around me but I couldn’t point them out to anyone. I decided I was going to let it go. I didn’t have the will to try and understand it now. Plus, someone would report on it in the evening anyway. The mystery would be cleared then.

The bus arrived, and we started to get on it. The statues didn’t. They remain fixed. As I got onto the bus, I saw two people run past the bus – a man and a woman. The woman had some sort of contraption in her hand. The man was wearing a long brown overcoat and had a sort of a blinking toy in his hand. They were shouting, “Move! Get away! And don’t blink!” to anyone who would hear. I don’t think anyone did. I took a seat in the bus, and never thought about them again.

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