How Black Tom Lost His Eye

Short story by Samantha Y

 

It started with a girl.

I know, can you believe it?

But this girl was fabled to see the future.

Immediately my crew and I knew that we had to find her. But everywhere we went, no one seemed to know who she was. And when we told them of her powers, they simply laughed and left.

“A future teller? She must be a beautiful enchantress.”

-O-O-O-

“Tom, we’re never going to find her!”

“Shut up, Tetra,” I growled. It’s been weeks, and we don’t have a single lead on where to find the “enchantress.”

“Tom.” Hank gingerly laid a hand on my shoulder. His tone and the look in his eyes told me that we should stop. Hank is built like Paul Bunyan; he can crush a coconut in his fist (trust me; I’ve seem him do it), but he has a heart of gold.

I sighed and ran a hand through my shaggy black hair.

“I see a tree up ahead. We can take a break, but we’re not giving up.”

Tetra watched as Hank ran ahead while I pulled out a map.

“This journey… doesn’t it seem pointless?” Tetra asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked, not looking away from the map.

“I mean, we’ve been searching for weeks on end and haven’t found even a slight mention of her. You’d think we have something by now..”

I rolled my eyes. “Look Tetra, we-” I was cut off by Tetra rapidly tapping my shoulder. She was staring forward, her eyes wild.

“Hank is gone!”

I took a moment to process that before I lifted my head to look myself.

Sure enough, he wasn’t there.

“How? Weren’t you watching him?”

“I don’t know!” Tetra snapped.

“How could he have just disappeared then?” I asked.

“I don’t know, one second he was there, the other he wasn’t!”

My eyes widened in realization as I looked at Tetra.

“The enchantress.”

She grabbed my wrist and raced to the tree.

“Slow down!” I said, my legs barely able to keep up. She slowed down as we got closer to the tree. We began looking for any traces of Hank, and found none.

“Hank!” Tetra called. She continued to call his name while I double checked the area.

…ra..

I lifted my head.

“Tetra.”

“Hank!” She continued to yell.

“Tetra, shut up!” She glared at me.

“Why?” She demanded.

Tom…

Tetra stared at me.

“Am I hearing things?” she asked.

“Its coming from the tree.”

She approached the tree slowly. We continued to hear Hank call our names. Tetra took a step.

And another.

And another.

And disappeared.

“Tetra!” I ran towards the tree, and suddenly the scenery changed.

I was standing at the edge of an enormous meadow. Huge redwood trees lined the meadow, and bright green grass carpeted it. Flowers of every variety bloomed. Sitting — no, levitating — in the middle of the meadow appeared to be a young girl. She was facing away from me and wore a baby blue dress, with white frills at the hem. Her brown hair was braided and brushed the ground.

“Tom,” Tetra whispered. “I think she’s the one.”

“What?” Hank practically yelled.

“Are you deaf?” Tetra whisper-yelled. “That’s the enchantress!”

The girl cleared her throat and we all turned around to find her facing us.

I looked up at her face. She had pale skin and her hair fell over her eyes.

“I don’t recognize you.” Her voice was smooth, almost silky.

“I don’t usually get guests.” Childish, yet mature.

“But when I do, they never come back.” Bitter, yet sweet.

“Miss-” The girl held up her hand.

“Please. Call me Iris.”

Iris,” I corrected, “can you see the future?”

She scoffed and descended to the ground. I could feel her eyes piercing through me, as if she was already reading my future.

“So is that what people are saying about me now?” We all nodded. She scoffed again.

“No, I cannot see the future.”

“What?” We all yelled.

“You mean to tell me that I ventured all this way only to not know my future? I put up with these two,” Tetra gestured towards us, “for nothing? To not know if I would be rich? Rule over kingdoms?” Tetra’s complaints cut right through me.

“Yes, I do mean to say that your journey was for nothing.” Iris was somehow calm, despite Tetra’s yelling.

I heard Hank begin grumbling.

“Hank, no-”

Hank pulled out his sword and began charging toward Iris.

She giggled.   She lifted her bangs and we were greeted with a shock.

She only had one eye, situated in the middle of her forehead.

Hank screamed when the girl waved her hand. His body was surrounded by blinding white light, and we could only see his silhouette as he was morphing. We stood our ground, unable to do anything to help him.

And we watched as Hank was morphed into a hawk.

He circled overhead before landing on Iris’s shoulder.

Tetra growled. Iris giggled. I fingered the hilt of my own sword, ready to act if necessary.

“Perhaps a tiger?” Iris asked, averting her gaze toward me.

“No!” Tetra jumped in front of me, and I watched in horror as she morphed into a tiger.

“I’ve always wanted a tiger!” Iris said. “But Tetra isn’t a proper name.” She rested her chin on the back of her hand, pretending to think.

“C’mere Tabbie!” She flicked her wrist and Tetra bounded over.

“Iris, undo the spell this instant!” I demanded.

Iris glared at me. “Tabbie, get rid of this annoying man.”

Before I even knew what was happening, Tetra threw herself at me, digging her sharp claws into my left eye.

But she also pushed us through the portal.

I heard a soft poof when I landed on the sand. Dust swirled around me.

I pressed my palm into my eye. Pain shot through my head. Blood dripped onto the sand and soaked my shirt. I grimaced at the sight.

Tetra picked herself up and circled me. Hank flew through the portal and circled overhead. I groaned as I held my bleeding eye. Tetra jumped at me again, while Hank flew in from behind. I rolled to the side and watched as they ran into each other. Their daze allowed me to run away.

I ran and I ran and I ran. I could hear Tabbie’s footsteps and Hank’s wingbeats behind me. I ran until I could see a town on the horizon. I think they lost interest in me halfway to town, but I continued to run until I ran into a traveller. He offered me a ride into town and gave me some gauze to cover my eye.

“Weren’t you the one looking for the enchantress?” The traveller asked. My good eye twitched.

“Yeah,” I replied.

An enchantress.

More like a witch.

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