Gaze upon my unearthly visage and tremble

29th January 2016 at 00:00

Winter casts a dark shadow. Under his dominion, unspeakable horrors take place. In the early hours of the morning, a pitiful human form is dragged from its resting place. Its bleary eyes are cruelly exposed to the harsh light of a fully-tiled bathroom. In the mirror of truth, an ancient creature appears. Its grotesquely haggard features look familiar.

Even a man who is fair of face (because he secretly uses his wife’s moisturiser) and says his prayers by night may turn into something visually hideous when the moon is full. Although I never thought in my worst nightmare that I would witness a sight like this. This isn’t just weary facial muscles refusing to battle gravity. This is something much worse.

As it is a medical (possibly a diabolical) emergency, I decide to exercise my right to wake my wife up on her day off. Heart racing, I stagger back into the marital bedroom, flick on the main light and howl for her to gaze upon my unearthly transformation. When this doesn’t work, I frantically shake her prone form. For some mysterious reason it takes several attempts to rouse her from a death-like sleep.

“What’s wrong?” she mumbles.

“My eyes; look into my eyes,” I plead like a deranged hypnotist.

Eventually she does, and casually observes that one of them is red. This is, of course, a massive understatement. The eye is not red – it is a terrifyingly vivid shade of crimson. It is a glowing sign that something alien and inhuman has invaded my body. It is a thing not of this earth, and it burns with a sinister malevolence that is not normally witnessed outside of a horror movie.

It takes 20 minutes for level-headed reasoning to wrestle my mindless fear into a state of submission. That’s how long my detailed consultation with Doctor Google lasts. All the available medical evidence on the internet suggests that I have suffered a subconjunctival haemorrhage, which (despite it’s terrifying name) is generally harmless, usually painless and likely to clear up within a couple of weeks.

But two weeks is a long time in education and two hours later my eye stands out like a bright beacon of unwanted interest in an otherwise grey landscape of learning. Every few minutes, children take the trouble to put aside the complex joys of rounding numbers to the nearest 10 and ask me about it. To allay their concerns, I make a public announcement on the subject.

“OK, everyone put your pencils down and look this way. Darren, stop rocking on your chair. I know some of you want to know about my red eye.Darren, I said to stop rocking. Well the truth is this; it is an evil eye. It is filled with demonic powers that can see directly into the souls of disobedient children and make bad things to happen to them.”

I glare at the still-rocking Darren but he is scornful of my warning. “No it can’t,” he says. Then, in defiance of both me and gravity, he leans back one time too often.

Steve Eddison teaches at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield

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