• By Rebekah Barnabas (she/her)
  • Art “Mira’s Creatures” by Mira Palmer (she/her)

I gingerly open the towering front door to my house, careful to turn the knob in a slow and controlled manner to minimize any potential creaking. The second I step onto the carpet runner lining the front door, the eyes swing open. I ignore them and proceed to trip over myself while taking off my shoes without using my hands. I can just hear their voice resonate in my mind: “just sit down and take the laces off! You’re ruining the shoes!” That’s beside the point, the yellow glow of the eyes grows softer, while their inky-black pupils continue dilating. Their usual sharp slits are nowhere to be seen, as the black seemingly consumes the whole eye. A shiver runs down my back. It’s ironic how the eyes are coming alive, yet the black makes them look lifeless. Even though they don’t physically do anything to me, I brace myself for the ensuing inquisition. Where did you go? Why didn’t you tell us earlier about your plans? Do you realize that you ruined everyone else’s schedule? When are you going to grow up and take responsibility for your actions?

I stand still. The eyes on the walls, on the doors and in the corridors continue watching me, yet they don’t bludgeon me with their usual questioning. I’m front and center and in perfect view from the kitchen, awkwardly straight ahead as soon as you enter the house, all the bedroom doors on the second floor, the office room to my left, and the small nook with a few couches to my right.

It doesn’t help that we have a grand staircase circling and connecting the two floors together in the most public way possible—so I can’t even run up the stairs stealthily. I feel a drop of sweat trail down my back feeling the glare of dozens of eyes on me. I calmly walk up the spiraling stairs and enter my room. Shit. I remember that I need to head out again. While the eyes didn’t harass me this time, they definitely won’t let me sneak out later. I pace around my room trying to think of a solution. The blindspot! There’s one way to sneak out of the house without alerting the eyes, of course only if you’re fairly quiet about it. I can crawl out of my main bedroom window onto the roof, carefully tread to the edge, slide down the drain pipe, worm across the yard, scale the fence, hop over it, and run away, careful to take the long route to the main road through the side street which runs past the east side of my house, void of any doors or windows—and eyes—and doesn’t run parallel to the front of my house, where there are multiple sets of eyes constantly on surveillance. I successfully make it to the fence, but while I am climbing over it, my foot slips and a loose wooden panel falls down. I thought Dad fixed this last week! I crouch down and snap my head back to see if I’m still in the clear. The eyes on the French patio doors frantically dart around, searching every nook and cranny of the yard after sensing the disturbance. Once satisfied with their thorough scan of the whole premise, the eyes relax their pupils, and slowly shut—still ready to scan at a moment’s notice. I make my second attempt over the fence, careful to avoid the faulty panel. Once over to the other side, I sink down to the ground and catch my breath, relieved that I made it out successfully! I start happily walking away, but the relief doesn’t last long because it hits me that I need to sneak back into the house somehow—or worse—come in through the front door at who knows what time, and face the eyes’ inquisition at their full wrath. ▲