*Larita Kutsarita - n. see THE AUTHOR
*Spoonfuls - n. articles/dispatches/scribbles by Larita Kutsarita
(Background photo by Aiess Alonso)

Friday, July 24, 2009

An I for an Eye (fiction)

It all started in a dare when Paolo turned eleven last week. Paolo’s the oldest among us and he has always been our sort of “leader” since his dad bought him the complete collection of Zoids action figures. His toys line up along their living room like a marching band when our own sala set has pictures of Tatay, Nanay, Kuya Marco, Baby Jessie, and me instead. I dunno why all the other boys fuss over those Zoids when I’m pretty sure that they also think that Zoids are really for babies. I mean it’s got really small parts and pieces but after you put ‘em all up together and you get yourself this mean robot—so what? Zoids can only become different kinds of mammals, dinosaurs, insects. But with the Transformers, they don’t only end up as just mean-looking robots, they also get to be cars and trucks and planes and motorcycles and stuff, like there’s a lot of stuff you can do with the Transformers—not like Paolo’s, uhm, baby toys. But then, the only reason I don’t get to be kind of the leader is because Tatay can’t afford any of those robots—although they really don’t have to know that, so forget about it.

Besides, I’m like the youngest in the group—we call ourselves “Decepticons” although we were the “Spartans” last month, depends on Paolo’s ideas. They all say I’m the smallest but really, me and Jeremy are just about the same height. I guess they’ll just have to wait and see until I get to be Kuya Marco’s age ‘cause he’s like the school’s best basketball player ever, and he’s always told me that I’ll get to learn how to play ball like that someday and (whispers) I’ve been practicing.

Anyhow, we were just playing Beast Wars outside Paolo’s house after we ate some cake to celebrate his birthday—so of course, he got to be Megatron again—when he saw Old Carding’s house, blinked at me, and had the craziest idea. But since the boys always think that everything Paolo says is brilliant, I can’t just tell them it’s crazy, y’know, or else, I’ll be out of the Decepticons. So the plan was this: I should be going to the inside of Old Carding’s house and quietly take a peek of his “secret room” and get out before he wakes or something and I must not ever get caught because the old man might gobble me up. “Since you’re little, it won’t be a problem for him to chew you!” Paolo warned. I looked at him and give him my scariest glare just to show that nothing scares me but really, I never got so scared in my life.

Old Carding’s house is only one corner away from Paolo’s. It’s the biggest, oldest-looking house in our subdivision. Nanay said that it was made way back when the country was still with Spain and I remember that it’s like a hundred years ago, maybe even more. They say Old Carding used to be a soldier and maybe that’s why he has that eyepatch on his left eye, he must’ve gotten it from the war or something. One thing’s for sure, though: he lives alone. And no one has ever seen him leave his house except when he goes out to buy some bread from Paolo’s family’s bakeshop. Paolo said that his Ate Maricris—she tends to the bakeshop—told him that once, Old Carding forgot or intended to not put his eyepatch on and she said his left eye had stitches all over and you could tell that there really was no eye in the socket at all. The first time we heard it from Paolo, we screamed—but not like little girls, of course. Old Carding has always scared us out of wits.

Well, to cut the story short, I gulped and breathe heavily and marched straight to Old Carding’s house, followed by the boys. I held my breath as I looked at the broken fence and worn-out gate and the old, big trees that towered behind them. Paolo was saying something like “You can always back out, Tommy. You really don’t have to do this if you can’t!” and the other Decepticons were like, “Yeah, Little Tommy’s scared! Little Tommy’s backin’out!” And in my head, all I was thinking of was Old Carding’s eyepatch and how it had no eye in the socket and how he can really eat me whole. My heart was beating so hard, I held onto my chest and I can feel it go up and down, up and down. All the other boys were jeering and making fun of me so I faced ‘em all and talked in my deepest sounding voice. “I’ll do it!” I said and I did felt more like a Spartan when I said it, too. Suddenly, there’s this brave feeling that bursted inside me and I feel like I can do most anything. In fact, I’m going to find Old Carding’s missing eyeball—it should be hidden in a bottle, floating in yellow liquid somewhere—and bring it to them as my surprise. I’ll give it to Paolo as my birthday present and his jaw will drop and he will make me the second leader or something and they’ll never, ever make fun of me again. I can imagine it all in my head, it was all so clear, and everything was worth it.

And so I said I’ll do it and Paolo went, “Alright! Go now, we’ll wait for you here” and he grinned at me as if I was about to chicken out on them and they were ready to wait and see if I was really gonna do it. But I was ready, y’know, I felt like a Spartan, you bet I did. I looked at the old house and then at the closed gate and saw that I could easily go through the wooden fence because it was broken somewhere. I found this hole which was big enough for my size—I bet Paolo can’t fit into it—and I slipped through it. Once I found myself in Old Carding’s front yard, I heard a lot of footsteps outside, and it sounded like the boys were all running away and they were laughing. I peeked through the hole and saw that the Decepticons were really gone, there was only the empty street outside and me alone in Old Carding’s yard. I froze. Suddenly, I didn’t felt like a Spartan anymore, it was a horrible feeling. Images of empty eye sockets kept flashing in my head as well as eye balls floating in yellow liquid in sealed clear jars, and Old Carding’s teeth sinking deep into someone’s skin—whose skin? I trembled and shook my head. I felt tears were coming on, but I held them and straightened myself. Whatever happens, it’s gonna have to be the boys’ fault, and at least, I’ll die with honor. Still, I was scared but I walked to the house anyway.

The front yard was big enough for six cars to fit in it. And the house looked even bigger and older and scarier when you’re near it. Its white paint was already fading away and there were holes and cracks everywhere on the walls. The house had a front porch just like my Lola Nelly’s old house back in the province and it also had a rocking chair and some potted plants but they didn’t look like my Lola’s. Old Carding’s plants already look dead because they’re all black and droopy. And his rocking chair moved because of the wind but I wondered if he ever sat on it since nobody ever saw him do so. The chair creeped me out, I didn’t like things that look like they could move on their own. The windows were all shut close and the main door was about six times my height and it actually had a metal knocker that looked like a really angry lion—just like the knockers that I see on TV on castle doors. My heart was beating even faster than before. The wooden stairs creaked under my feet as I took my every step—I counted, six big steps all in all—and I was wishing sooooo hard that I was climbing the steps to my my Lola’s house instead. Of course, I wasn’t expecting that the door was open so I made my way around the house—the porch sort of surrounded the whole first floor—and tried to look for a hidden passage, an open window maybe, or a weak door, or another little hole I could slide through.

And then, I saw that there was this back door with a screened window and I peeked through it. There was an empty kitchen inside where there was a really long, wooden table with tall wooden chairs all around it. I didn’t notice if there was any refrigerator but there was no one at the sink. Old Carding didn’t seem to be around, too. “He’s probably sleeping in his room with his eyepatch on his bedside table,” I thought. And I bet the eyeball was somewhere near as well.

I held my breath and touched the door knob. I turned it. It wasn’t locked at all.


Anonymous said...

and! and! AND!

warped4lyf said...

alright, here it is ^^:


Anonymous said...

; ) lara thanks

you sure can tell a story

warped4lyf said...

thank you, ms./mr. anonymous =)