Vision, Visitation

by Dylan Hopper

An alien removed my left eye and replaced it with an egg while I was sleeping. When I woke up, my new eye was unseeing and bloated raw. I stumbled to the bathroom and found a forgotten steak floating in the sink, rancid. I tilted towards the toilet, where I crouched in time to vomit. The bowl’s water turned green, and no matter how many times I flushed, it stayed green. I lay on the floor, my head buried in the space between the tub and the toilet, breathing hard. I tried mediation techniques, the cliché image of waves crashing inside my chest. I thought of the word “wane,” and on an exhale, slipped into a vision. 

I was underwater, and the old woman from the apartment below was singing a jazz song to me. I never felt so alone. I reached out to the sound and found a hand. The hand of a dead friend, who pulled me out of the water. 

She said, “I need you to see something.” 

Her voice, soft and mellow, was recognizable to me still. I relaxed as she pulled me out beyond the water, out and out into sky, into space, into a dying star.

Inside, the star’s crystalline body danced with color and light. She turned to me and took my face in her hands. Her eyes were opaque. Her hair moved, serpentine and twisting as if it were alive. Her skin was translucent, capturing and reflecting the color and light. She looked more than ghostly, she was alien. 

I recoiled at the sight of her, but I was too weak to pull away from her hands. She gave me a sad smile and hooked her thumb into my left eye socket. I heard a crunch, and braced for pain but felt none, only hot, yolky fluid on my cheek, much too sticky to be tears. I reached up to wipe it away, but she grabbed my hands and held them in hers. 

“Wait,” she said.

The fluid trailed down my neck and chest, soaking into my shirt. As my eye hollowed out, my vision opened up, and I saw her face as I had once known it”—her flesh freckled and pale, her eyes that bright familiar green. 

“I need you to see,” she said, and took me by the hand again, pulling me out into eternity, out into omniscient memory. “Look again. See us—” 

Eating strawberry ice-cream sandwiches. Tying each other’s bikini tops and hopping over the country club’s fence. Swimming in their fancy pool. Walking home shivering wet and cussing at the blood moon. The neighborhood’s redneck boys calling out to us, following after us. Running and running. The boys’ wide-palmed hands, outstretched and empty. Laughing and laughing.

The memories stretched on, vivid and fast. I pulled against her. 

Our feet dangling over the edge of the small-town water tower. Holding hands and pretending to jump over the rusted railing.

“Slow down!” I said. I knew the end was coming, and I didn’t want to see it. 

She stopped and hugged me, “Don’t be scared.” 

Our memories did not wait for us. They burst past so fast, so bright. The image of her limp body flashed in my mind. The rest was light. 

Running under streetlights, in front of headlights, under the sun.

“Am I dying?” 

She looked down at our feet. The water followed us here, and it was rising. 

“Don’t be scared,” she said again.

Dylan Hopper lives in a small, one bedroom apartment by a harbor, and often thinks about starting a new life as a sailor. Her poems and short stories have been published in Miscellany and Plain China.
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