A young boy sat in the shade of a tree in his backyard. Not much could be said about him. He was a somewhat ordinary child with reddish brown hair and stunning hazel eyes. He had fallen asleep about an hour earlier while reading a book. Now his slim frame rested against the trunk of the large oak tree, his chest rising and falling as he breathed softly. A woman walked out the back door of the house that the yard belonged to and approached the boy. She smiled, placing her hand on his shoulder and shaking him gently. He opened his eyes a little and rubbed the left one with the back of his hand. His vision came back into focus and he saw the smiling face of his mother looking down at him as she said, in a sweet and kindly voice, “Jack, sweetheart, its time to get up.”
He got up shakily, his body still half asleep, and asked, “Hmm? What... What time is it...?”
“About six o'clock, dear. Your dad will be home any minute.” she answered.
Jack nodded then stooped down to pick up his book. It had fallen off his lap when he stood up. He gripped the worn pages in his hand and followed his mother inside, yawning and rubbing his eyes on the way.
When they got inside he was almost awake. Jack noticed as he sat in one of the dining chairs that his mother had already set the table and that there were more plates than usual. He yawned again before asking, “Mom, why did you set four plates?”
She looked over at him, bringing food into the room and carefully placing it on the table, “Your dad's bringing a friend over for dinner, sweetie. You remember David, don't you?”
Jack thought for a minute, trying to recall who David was. Then it dawned on him and he replied with, “You mean Dad's work friend? The one who came to my birthday last month?”
She nodded and left to finish preparing dinner. Jack's father came in the door about ten minutes after all the food was on the table with a tall man with black hair behind him. This man was skinny, but lean, and he had a happy, kind face that always bore a caring smile. The two men entered the dining room, Jack's father kissing his mother and sitting down, and David patting Jack on the shoulder before taking his seat. A conversation started up almost immediately. David smiled at Jack and said, “How's it goin' champ?”
Jack shrugged and answered, “Ok, I guess.”
The rest of dinner Jack was silent. He always became like this when David was around. He wasn't sure why, but something about the man unnerved him. He listened to the adults talk about work until his mother took the dishes away to the kitchen and everybody retired to the living room. The preteen sat at the end of the couch with his knees close to his chest, drawing, while the two men watched an incredibly boring game of golf on the telly.
Around eight David left. He hugged Jack's mom and said, “Dinner was lovely, Miranda. See you at work tomorrow, Jonathan. Goodbye, Jack!”
He waved at the boy and then he was out the door. Jonathan and Miranda sat on the couch and his mom asked Jack, “Would you like to watch a movie, sweetheart?”
Jack shook his head though and told her he was tired and would just like to get to bed. That night he lay in bed awake, staring at the ceiling. Jack didn't like David. For some reason that man gave him the creeps and he just felt like there was something off about him.
The next morning Jack woke up, sitting up and stretching his arms over his head. When did I get to sleep? He wondered for a moment. He dismissed the thought and headed downstairs for breakfast. There were some waffles on the table at his seat and a note sitting next to them. Jack ate his breakfast and read the note. It was from his mom and it simply said, “Jack, I ran out to the store with Susan. I'll be back soon. Love, Mom.”
When his breakfast was gone Jack went back upstairs to the attic, which he had turned into a studio space where he could paint. Since he was young Jack had loved art and dreamed of one day having his pictures and paintings displayed in museums. His parents had helped him converted the dusty attic into a work area so he might succeed in doing what he loved.
About two hours later he heard the front door open downstairs and his mother call up to him. He hurried downstairs and helped her with the groceries then sat with her on the couch and watched House MD. The day was quiet and completely normal. His father came home early and brought David with him again. They ate dinner and David left. Tonight was the night Jack's parents went out, the second Saturday of the month. Miranda and Jonathan said goodbye to their son as they walked out the door, leaving him alone for the night. Things were normal for him. He curled up on the couch that night, his head resting on its arm and his knees close to him, and slowly fell asleep.
Jack was startled from his dreams by a loud knock on the front door. He glanced at the clock on the coffee table. Midnight. Who would be at the door this late...? he thought, still groggy from sleep. The tired brunette pushed himself up to a sitting position and rubbed his eyes. Slowly, he got up and answered the door. His eyes widened when he saw who was on the other side. A man stood on his front porch wearing a deep blue uniform and a badge. On the edge of the street was a black and white car topped with flashing lights. The officer looked down at Jack, his eyes cold and emotionless. When he spoke it was obvious the man wasn't used to talking to children, “Hello, son. What's your name?”
Jack was nervous. Why is there a cop at my house? He answered, sounding quiet and worried, “Its Jack, Sir.”
The cop nodded and asked another question, “And how old are you, boy?”
He nodded again, “Your parents are Miranda and Jonathan?”
This time Jack nodded, not liking where all of this was going. The police officer ran a hand through his hair and looked at the ground for a second. When he looked back up he did all he could to avoid looking Jack in the eyes as he said, “Uh, Kid… I think you should probably come with me…”
Jack’s eyes widened even further and he asked, “Am I in trouble?”
The cop was surprised by this and said nervously, “No, no! Nothing like that! I-I’ll explain everything when we get to the station…”
The preteen was nervous, but he let himself be lead to the cop car. He stared at the back of the seat in front of him the entire way to the police department. Whenever the cops show up at your door it’s a bad thing unless you were the one who called them. Jack had not called them, and now a million thoughts were trying to find room in his mind and figure out what had happened. By the time the car came to a stop in front of a large brick building in the downtown area and he was brought inside Jack thought he almost had everything sorted out.
A man sat in the room he was brought too along with a few cops. A few files waited on the big round table in the nice room too. Jack took a seat at the table at the opposite end, away from the files. He didn’t want to see them because he was pretty sure he knew what they’d say. The man cleared his throat and addressed Jack, “Hello, son. I’m Detective Horus. Do you know why you’re here?”
The young brunette shook his head but didn’t say anything. His insides felt twisted up and if he spoke he was sure he’d either vomit or start crying. The detective sighed and continued, “Son… You don’t know how much it hurts to have to tell you this, but… Your parents are dead.”
Jack looked down and ended up making a choking sound when he breathed in. He tried not to cry but the tears forced their way through and washed down his cheeks. The police officers watched for a minute, sorrow and sympathy in their eyes, before leaving the room. Detective Horus remained seated, now alone with Jack. The old man propped his elbows on the table, lacing his fingers and resting his chin on them. He felt bad for the kid, but business was business and he had other cases to work on, so he needed to get this over with. Horus stared at the sobbing child and said, “Since you don’t have any living relatives we’ll be placing you with a friend of your father, a man named David. He’s waiting out back for you. You’re very lucky, you know. If he hadn’t volunteered to take you in you’d have ended up in foster care.”
The detective got out of his seat and helped Jack to the back door where David stood outside his car. The man still wore his friendly smile and hugged Jack when he got close enough say, “Its ok. Its ok, Champ. I know its rough losing your parents, but I’ll take good care of you. You’ll see. Nothing to worry about.”
Jack sniffled and rubbed his nose before climbing into the car. He lay down on the seat and David got behind the wheel. They drove back to his house, which was a good sized place with a nice yard and fancy doors. It was smaller than Jack’s house, but Jack didn’t really care at this point.
After shutting off the car, the black-haired man walked into the house and hung his jacket on the coat rack. Jack turned to him and asked, “A-Aren’t we going to get my things?”
David looked at him, his smile turning into a frown, and replied, “You won’t need them.”
Quickly he grabbed the boy by his collar from behind and tossed him in the hallway closet, locking the door. Jack banged his fisted on the hard wood and shouted for help, but the person who he thought was his father’s friend shouted angrily through the wood, “Shut up you little brat!” and he curled up in the corner in fear.
It felt like he was in there for ages before he heard the front door open and footsteps walk past. Jack pressed his ear against the door trying to hear what was going on.
Strange voices were talking back and forth. The first one said, “So, do you have a kid for us?”
David answered and he heard the whoosh of a paper being passed, “Yeah. Name’s Jack. He’s perfectly healthy too.”
A different stranger responded, “He’s a little young.”
David growled, “Listen, I didn’t cut his parents brake lines for nothing! Are you taking him or not?!”
The first stranger spoke again, “Its fine. We’ll find something to do with him. Congratulations, David, you’ve finally repaid your debt. Where is he?”
“Closet.” Was all Jack heard before the lock clicked open and he was pulled out by his hair.
A silhouette stood over him with another next to it. The first said, somewhat disappointed, “You didn’t blindfold him. That won’t do… If he sees us he can give our descriptions…”
The second figure looked female. It gazed down at him then turned back to David, “What does he do?”
David shrugged and stubbed out a cigarette on the table, “As far as I know he’s a painter.”
Jack started to cry as he saw the male shadow pull out a knife and say, “Well I hope he likes the color black because that’s all he’ll be seeing from now on.”
He screamed as the man gouged out his eyes with the switch blade then dragged him out to their car and threw him in the trunk. When they left David looked over at the mess of blood on the floor in his hallway. Slowly, he stood up and walked over to it. Two eyes rested on his floor, glazed over with a dead bloody sheen. He picked one of them up and stared into it. His expression was one of irritation as he thought about how much time he had wasted just to get one child. He spit on it and dropped it back to the floor.
The two criminals reached there destination by sun rise. It was an old building in the countryside. The place looked as though nobody had been there for ages; the roof was caving in, the windows were boarded up, and paint hung off the walls in long strips. The man hefted Jack out of the trunk and stood him up, placing a hand on his back and forcing him the walk inside. Jack could hear the cries and sobs of other as he passed, eventually being shoved forward into a room. His kidnappers began discussing what they should do with him. He heard them come up with gruesome ideas then one would say, “Too young.” And they’d move on. Eventually the man sighed and said, “We’ll harvest his organs… He’s a real healthy kid so we should get a good price for ‘em.”
“W-What?!” Jack exclaimed, but he was hit over the head and told to “pipe down!”
The woman went and prepped the operation room while the man dragged him there and strapped him to the table in the center.
“I’m going to check on the other kids.” She said as her partner picked up the scalpel. He nodded and got to work, cutting open the scared boy and extracting his kidney. Before he could begin removing the other one the woman burst through the door and shouted, “One of the others is missing!”
“Damn it! He must have escaped!” The man swore.
She sounded nervous, “Do you think he went to the police?”
He ran a hand through his hair in frustration, “Yeah, but he couldn’t have gotten far. Nobody comes around here so he’d be on foot. I’ll close up this little punk and we can go look for him.”
Later Jack sat in a cell hugging his knees, blind and alone. He waited for the two felons to come back and kill him, and they were taking their time. He sat there on the cold stone floor thinking about how all of this had happened. Suddenly though, he recalled what he’d heard David tell them last night. He cut the brakes… David killed my parents! This realization made him angry. Jack stood up and balled his fists, bringing his arm back to punch the wall when he heard footsteps again.
Instinctively he turned his head to their source even though he couldn’t see. A female voice told him, “Don’t do that! You’ll hurt yourself!”
He didn’t recognize this voice. It wasn’t his captor though. Something made a clicking sound and then the noise of the heavy cell door opening echoed in the small room. Jack felt a hand grab his wrist and pull him along with it. The girl spoke again and said, “I’m Janette. We have to go quickly. They could get back any minute!”
The farther they went the better Jack could hear the other kids. Janette stopped when the voices seemed to be right next to them. She spoke and one of them answered, “Dee, are we ready?”
Dee responded, “Yep. I got the keys, so let’s all get out to the car.”
Just like that he was being pulled again. Six teens hurriedly filed into the car and drove off. Janette looked out the back window to see their tormenters chasing the car with a rifle. She turned to Dee, who was driving, and said, “Step on it!”
She sighed in relief as the vehicle sped away, dodging the first set of bullets.
Jack leaned against the windowpane and listened to the noise of the city. He didn’t notice until he felt a hand on his forehead that somebody was near. There was worry in Janette’s voice, “You’re kind of warm and your blood’s gotten darker… Are you feeling alright?”
He shrugged and she placed a hand on his shoulder, “Jack, this could be series. You probably got an infection from their filthy equipment…”
She paused and waited for his response. She was about to say something else when he turned his head to face the window and said, “I’m fine…”
She sighed. Janette knew he was lying but she wasn’t going to press the matter. After all he’d been through today she didn’t want to give him anything else the think about. They had all had a long day; first it was escaping that torture house, then the kids had to sit through six hours at a police station as each one of them file reports, and finally they got a hotel to stay in while the police found their families. She sat down on the floor near him and tried to start a conversation, “Do you have any hobbies?”
He was quiet for a minute before answering, “I used to be an artist…”
She looked up at him then turned her gaze to the ground, realizing she shouldn’t have asked. Curiosity won out over wit though and she asked, “So… What are you going to do now?”
A tension began to form in the air, carrying with it an ominous darkness. He stared out at the city streets without eyes and said, “I’m going to paint a new picture…”
As he said this headed for the door, only stopping to grab his black hoodie out of the dresser and put it on. Jack opened the door but a hand on his shoulder stopped him from leaving.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” Janette exclaimed.
Jack replied with a simple, “Leaving.”
She protested at this, “Jack, you’re blind! If you leave on your own you’ll end up dead somewhere! Besides, you’re getting sick! You’ll need medical attention!”
He shook off her hand and said, “Janette, I’m grateful for all you’ve done to help me, but there are some things I need to take care of… some things I need to figure out, and I have to do it on my own.”
Jack didn’t give her the opportunity to respond. He walked out the door and out of the hotel. He didn’t really know where to go from here though, so he wandered down the street. He didn’t need sight to know that people were staring at him. He was a blind boy with his eyes covered in blood-soaked bandages walking down the street alone. Why wouldn’t they stare at me? I’m a freak… he thought to himself with a sigh. Sure he was eyeless, but he didn’t really need his eyes anymore. When he went blind his other senses were heightened and he could create an image of the world around him in his mind by his senses of hearing, smell, and touch. He passed by shops and stands that sold different items. The smell of restaurants invaded with nose and the sounds of traffic assaulted his ears.
Passing by a small stand selling masks Jack pulled one off the counter and left twenty dollars in its place. The clerk noticed and shouted after him, “Kid! Hey, Kid! Kid, you gave me too much! Don’t you want your change?”
Jack didn’t answer. He didn’t care about the money. Instead he tugged off the bandages and held them up in his hand then he let go, allowing them to blow away in the wind. He placed the blue mask over his face. It was a plain blue mask, completely ordinary, but it did its job. Jack stood on the edge of the street and waved for a taxi, ready and determined now to begin his final masterpiece…
The cab would only take him to the point where the long country jointed to the actual road, so he paid the driver and began walking. He had a long way before he reached his destination and it was beginning to get chilly. He pulled his hood up to try to block out the wind and picked up his pace. Jack wanted to get there by sunrise.
He reached the decrepit old building just as the sun peaked over the horizon. A car was sitting in the gravel driveway and several of the lights inside were on. Voices could be heard shouting through the windows. Jack crept silently up to the door and snuck in. The was a loud crash as something hit the wall and the voice of a man Jack recognized all too well screamed at his partner, “WHAT DO WE DO NOW, CASSIE? THE FUZZ IS PROBABLY ON ITS WAY HERE RIGHT NOW!”
His partner, Cassie, shouted back, “I DON’T KNOW, GEORGE! MAYBE YOU COULD STOP LOOKING TO ME FOR ANSWERS AND THINK OF SOME YOURSELF FOR ONCE!”
He grabbed a scalpel from a tray on the small table in the hallway and stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame with his arms crossed in from of him. Neither of the criminals noticed him until he said, “I wouldn’t worry about the cops if I were you. There are… other things you should be running from.”
Cassie and George looked over at him, puzzled. Cassie scoffed and asked, “Like what?”
Jack stood up straight and stood so he was facing them, “Me.”
George growled at him and spat, “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”
Jack shrugged and said in a somewhat care-free tone, “Oh, Just a kid… Who you made the mistake to let live.”
“I’ve had enough of this.” George said and grabbed a broken pipe off the ground. He ran at the child, swinging the pipe at his head, but Jack ducked and stabbed him in the stomach with the scalpel. Cassie back up against the wall and watched as her friend was cut opened with the blade and his internal organs were ripped out, blood and meat sprawled across the floor. Jack stood over the dead body, crossed his arms over his chest again and looked down at it, saying mockingly, “We’ll harvest his organs…”
She put her hands behind her back and grabbed the gun in her back pocket, but she held it behind her so he couldn’t see it. She sounded shaky and scared as she asked, “What… What are you?!”
Jack turned his full attention back to Cassie. As he advanced on her she pointed her gun at him, but hesitated in pulling the trigger. This gave Jack enough time to rush her and slice her throat with the scalpel. Blood sprayed everywhere. Jack laughed ominously, lifting his mask slightly and licking crimson from his fingertips. Cassie started to cough and her own blood dripped from her mouth as she somehow choked out, “You’re… a… a monster…”
Then she slid to down the wall, dead. Jack stared at her for a minute, thinking. A monster…? I thought the same about you. He dismissed her and strolled back over to where George lay in a pile of his own organs and picked him up by the hair. He took the dead man’s blood on his fingers and painted on the wall in dripping bright red. When he finished words were scrolled out on the peeling white wall: “Eyeless Jack”
He took Georges messenger style bag from the ground in the corner and stuck the scalpel inside then placed the strap over his shoulder. He spoke his thoughts aloud, “It was lovely working with you… but this masterpiece is not yet complete. There’s still one more eager participant who desires my company…”
Jack could still smell his own blood in the hall. I guess he didn’t even bother to clean it up. He stopped, remembering what had happened in this house. It gave him chills to think about it, but it also strengthened his determination. This place belonged to the man who got his parents killed, and his next unwilling volunteer. He didn’t bother to be quiet this time. He climbed the stairs and looked through the door to each room until he came to the one where a black-haired man rested peacefully. He didn’t remain resting for long. When Jack stepped onto the hardwood floor the sound woke David and he shot out of bed and put his hands out in front of him in a defensive position. He pleaded, “I don’t want any trouble. Take whatever money or valuables you want.”
“I don’t want money, David.” Jack said in a flat tone.
He wrinkled his nose a bit, but then his eyes widened in shock as he recognized the voice of the small intruder, “J-Jack?”
The boy nodded and David put on an innocent smile and said, “Jack! I’m so sorry about… everything. I- I was going to come and find you, really. You forgive me for sending you with them, don’t you?”
“Of course I forgive you for that, David.” Jack replied, voice still flat and emotionless.
The older man let out a relieved breathe and put his hands down. He plastered a big, friendly, fake smile to his face and asked while he begun making his way to the door, “So… Is there anything I could get you? Anything you’d like?”
Jack laughed darkly and said, right before pulling out his scalpel and lunging at the man, “Your eyes.”