by Alex P. Grover

Left Behind
Omar Eduardo via Creative Commons

I still rub my eye a lot. 

I used to rub both of my eyes. I think that’s why the left one started to twitch. 

I’d always been worried something would get inside—I’d seen too many videos of botfly larvae removals, right from the crevice between the globe and the socket. I had a craving for that kind of macabre.  

I don’t know what I touched—what my finger captured, maybe under one of its deep grooves.

Go to the doctor.

It’s not too bad, I’d said. 

Because it wasn’t horrible at first. It’d happen after laughing at a joke. After sneezing. Innocent.

It took only a month. The twitch became unbearable. My left eye swelled up, ripe with hurt, always semi-closed. I couldn’t move without it stirring.

Go to the doctor.

Tomorrow, I’d finally said.

The night before my appointment, I slept. It was rare, but there were moments of rest in between the irritation. I was happy in bed.

I woke calmly to buzzing pain in my face. Then I screamed.

I could only see with my right eye, since the left was out of its socket, optic nerve pulled taut, the whole thing slowly crawling away on six legs.

Alex P. GroverAlex P. Grover is currently a digital production associate at Penguin Random House. His work has been published at Strange Horizons and A cappella Zoo, among other venues for the weird, as well as on the Quirk Books blog. Fortunately, his rational side left him long ago. You can visit or follow him on Twitter @AlexPGrover to find out why.

by Casi Scheidt

Eye Eye
audi_insperation via Creative Commons

“Why did my sissy die?” she asked, her blue eyes dull, tone flat, looking older at four years than she ever would again.

“Because it was her time, baby,” I said.

“I want the grown-up answer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want the truth.”

“God decided to take her back.”


“Baby, please.”

“No. Tell me why,” she said, glaring at me.

“I can’t.”

“You have to.”

“I don’t know,” I said, my eyes stinging and throat aching.

“Was it because she was sick?”

“That was part of it.”

“What’s the other part?”

For hours she followed me, demanding an answer to the same question I’d been asking myself since it happened.

“Tell me why. I won’t stop until you tell me why.”

“Because she wasn’t like you,” I said, both my voice and my will to shield her breaking.

She watched me, waiting, sensing there was more.

“Because you came screaming into this world, yelling so loudly the whole building could hear you. Nothing could quiet you, nothing could make you still. But not her. She came as if all her demons had already defeated her. She gave up. That’s why anybody dies, baby. Because they have nothing left.”

Casi ScheidtCasi Scheidt is a recent Southern Illinois University college graduate (B.A., English, Creative Writing), and currently lives in North Carolina. While in college, three of her poems, “The Bad Year,” “To Leave Charleston,” and “For the Woman Who Has Failed to Protect Her Virtue” were included in the university’s literary magazine, Grassroots. Scheidt enjoys horror, post-apocalyptic, and literary fiction. She is also a game inventor, and is writing full-time.