Stories

The Ocularist by Ian Gammie

#doctors #eyes #ghosts #horror #ocularist

The Ocularist

In the second desk drawer from the bottom, hidden behind a small stack of index cards, sat two prosthetic eyes in their original packaging. Each eye was handcrafted and painted with expensive acrylics that had to be mailed in all the way from Chicago. It increased the cost of the prosthetics, but Martin was one of the few ocularists who specialized in blowing recycled cryolite glass and he liked to brag that his work had more personality than any mass-produced counterpart.

The ocularist tapped his fingers on the top of the boxes and sighed. Business wasn’t as good as it had once been. Too much childproofing, he suspected, too many kids staying in and playing video games instead of running around outside, climbing trees, throwing rocks. He’d made his name in careless accidents and when the carelessness went away, so did the customers. Selling his artisan eyes was all he could do to stay afloat. If he couldn’t have quantity, well, he had to make it up somehow.

The only patient of the day was a nine-year-old boy named Nolan Winters who’d had an unfortunate run in with a foul ball. The boy was wearing a black eyepatch and had a worn-down baseball glove on his left hand, which he was thoughtlessly punching.

“Stop that,” his mother whined from the corner. When Nolan shook his head, she turned to Martin and spoke in her grown-up voice, “Sorry, doctor, but he hasn’t taken it off since the accident.”

“That’s okay, Mrs. Winters, all I need are his eyes.”

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