• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 02
Image by

Behind These Eyes

You are sweeping up in the corner, clearing away other people’s cast-offs: dolls' heads, chubby plastic limbs, even the odd ice-blue eyeball, when you feel its gaze boring into your back. You stop sweeping and pull your hood up. The manager will not stand for idle employees – if you can’t clean up their failed attempts, he’ll find someone who can. And there are legions of people out there who are willing to work for more hours and less pay.
The brush continues to gather polished hands and baby shoes for teeny tiny feet. Its gaze intensifies.
Finally, you turn to the Perspex box – five feet wide, eight feet tall. You think of it as a giant coffin. The thought unsettles you and your eyes drop to the floor. Beneath your coat, your flimsy jumper, your hole-ridden t-shirt, you count the beats of your heart. It starts off slow, then gathers momentum like a steam train pulling out of the station, flooding your ears with its erratic rhythm.
Subconsciously, your eyes flick back to the box where it stands, watching, staring, gazing right at you.
‘What?’ you call. ‘What do you want?’
You know it’s futile – it can’t possibly hear what you’re saying. The box is soundproof. It is cut off from the rest of the world.
It doesn’t blink or incline its head. Instead it continues to stare, watch, gaze.
You shiver beneath your three layers and silently curse the manager for giving you this job. Why did you have to be in the same room as it? It is creepy, unnatural and very, very wrong.


Inside the box you watch the boy clean up their failed attempts, staring at the mass of chubby plastic limbs and polished eyeballs which are quickly swept from view. You know that you will never see these things again. The thought saddens you.


Behind These Eyes

The boy pulls his hood up, concealing his face from view. Why? Why does he feel the need to hide when you are the one in the Perspex box?
And then he is looking at you. You watch his mouth open then close then open again. He is asking you a question. You don’t know how to reply so you continue to gaze in his direction.
The boy probably thinks you are looking at him, studying him as though he’s something creepy, unnatural and very, very wrong. If only he knew the real reason behind your gaze.
The truth is you’re watching the clock, waiting for 5pm to arrive when the boy leaves and you step out of the box. You will take your time unmasking yourself, running your hands through your hair, adding glasses, whistling all the while as you pull on your coat and leave for home.
The boy doesn’t know that the manager sees everything.