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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 20 page 02

fiction

many pairs of eyes in the dark

The Eyes Out There

by Dustin Keir

The smell is the worst. That’s what Montana used to say. Funny name, Montana. He was from Texas. Now he’s gone. Gone for good. I miss you, buddy. That sickly sweet smell.

Sam says it’s the eyes. At least he thinks. I don’t think that’s possible. Too far away. He swears he can see all of their eyes in the dark, or light. It’s dark now, I can barely see my hands, forget about seeing their eyes. Poor bastard, I think he's cracked.

You’re always listening. Listening for anything. It could be the difference. Maybe if you can hear it, you can do something. Anything. I always think I hear it. It’s never helped. Maybe I never hear anything. My head plays tricks on me. We all saw it happen. Trusty, Bill, Kansas Keith. We saw it happen and there was nothing that we could do, at best. Nothing we wanted to do at least. We all make our own beds and the fates decide.

If we had a dog, a real dog, that could help. Dogs don’t have that same fear feeling. They’re either too smart or too stupid. Nothing in their brains to tell them that this isn’t a good idea. Nothing until it’s too late. Guess we’re the smart ones. It couldn’t happen to me, that’s what the other guy is for. That’s what I tell myself, try to convince myself. The irony.

Trusty says we should get a puppy. A puppy that we could train. Kansas Keith thinks he has the kicker. We should get a few puppies, maybe a whole litter. Train them all. If something goes wrong with one, one dies, leaves, whatever, we’d have the others as backup. One puppy is one thing, but a whole litter? Puppies don’t ask for this. I think it’s a disgusting idea, but I don’t say anything, never do, I’m still the new kid here, besides, it’ll be the company leader who’d decide. He wouldn't care if we thought we needed a dog, puppy, litter or a friggin’ pack.

Every day since I’ve been here, my tongue’s been swollen. I can’t taste what I like to call the rations. Sam calls me lucky, deranged fool that he is. Kansas tells me it’s my body fighting back. Tells me that my body doesn’t want to be here. I won’t tell him that I don’t. He thinks himself as some type of doctor. Said he almost went to college, wanted to be a surgeon. Then this happened, this happened to him. This happened to me. This happened to all of us. Someone should give him a nickname, maybe me. If it sticks, then I’d be remembered when I go. We all have to go, we just don’t talk about it. Why did I ever sign? Self-reflection can be good, so I have heard. But not now. We’re in position. Just waiting. I’m nervous. Every time I’m nervous. If I don’t calm down, I’ll be seen. Not good for me. Not good for the others. Not good for anyone. I can’t keep on with the rations.

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