One day, Nate vowed to put out his older brother Harry’s eye. “I double-dog dare ya!” Harry had said. Standing in front of the forbidden bedroom door now, Nate imagined the ugly thing open and searching. Everyone feels watched sometime, but he really was. Ever watchful, the Eye stared, waiting to expose any mistake. He could blind it, and he would.
The Eye had caught him filching candy in the kitchen and coins from his parents’ bedside table, little thefts he and Harry used to share. Last week, it stole the kiss Nate stole from Jenny. All this mischief with Harry’s help, of course. The hideous little orb on a miniature tripod watched him lose a game of Lord of the Rings Risk played like strip poker--lose a territory and lose some clothes--with Harry and his twelve-year-old friends last night. The Eye recorded it all. Little had Nate known it was connected to the Internet at the time. Tonight, he would make good his boast to end it.
_Pop._ Nate sucked Bubble Yum off his chin and tucked his slingshot into his Levi’s, snug against his back. He climbed up between the wall and the bookcase to grab the tiny key perched on the trim above the door. Turning the sticky brass doorknob, he stole a deep breath and dropped down on his belly.
Mom’s words echoed: “Ah, Nate, just play with your own friends and Harry’ll leave you alone, dear. He’s growing up, getting too old for your games now.” But they were Harry’s games too. His brother had changed since his big-boy toys had stolen him away, and Nate wanted him back. He pushed the door closed and crawled deeper inside.
A fan’s chill grazed his ears and filled his face with the musty smells of old books and well-worn shoes then, with a change in angle, assailed him with meadow-scented Febreze. Mom had been squirting her magic again, trying to slay the dragon’s breath. Soon he understood why. What at first looked like the hulking forms of crouched guard trolls turned out to be shadowed piles of stinking clothes littering the floor.
Nate pushed through, not daring to look up. His hand hit a sharp edge of a ten-sided gaming die, and he recoiled. Carefully, he reached around on the blue shag carpet to see what other traps lay in his path. The cardboard Risk box, slick role-playing maps, muddy shoes. Was that Sally’s headless doll? He moved them aside and pulled forward on his elbows.
All the while, the Eye watched. He knew the red lights swept like Sauron for Frodo on his way to
White light flicked. _Click._
Could it be on a timer? He froze, caught for sure now. Nothing to lose. Hand trembling, he reached for his slingshot, for the sacred white river stone from Dad’s display in his pocket. Bile rose as he devised his plan. One shot. Aiming as best he could over his head, Nate drew back. Frodo brought down Sauron with a ring. A stone would work too. But he found no purchase. Without resistance, it thumped him on the head.
The Eye caught him waving the slingshot, he was sure. Heat rose up the back of his neck. Harry would see. He would know. He would tell. The monster was all that mattered to Harry now, not his stupid little brother. The lights flickered. Nate had to stay, had to rip out the Eye and smash it against the wall.
Unable to resist, he looked up. The Eye squatted on the desktop just above. Nate lunged upward, into the motion detector’s death rays, and wrapped his bare hands around the hated plastic orb. A moment of inspiration dawned. He popped his gum to the end of his tongue and pressed it against the webcam’s lens like a kiss of death. He flipped the shutter down hard, and it caught.
He dropped to his knees. Even without violence, he’d blinded Harry’s all-seeing Eye.
Donna Johnson works for the University of Arkansas Physics Department and, besides writing, enjoys frozen co ffee, loves autumn and gathers end-of-life stories from hospice staff and volunteers.
Her work has or will appear in Poesia, Bleeding Quill, Flash Me Mag,Sage of Consciousness, FlashShot, Flashquake, Foliate Oak, Long Story Short, The Deepening, Skive, THEMA, The Sidewalk’s End, Night to Dawn, Bewildering Stories, The Harrow, Outcry, Illumen and The Sword Review.
Her motivation for “Harry’s Eye” was a chance encounter with her own round webcam on its tiny tripod. The room was dark except for a desk lamp that happened to cast the light just so around it. Being a fantasy buff, stories instantly flowed, connecting easily with one of her favorites, _The Lord of the Rings. She settled on Harry’s little brother Nate by chance when she wondered what a little boy in his big brother’s room might see if she changed around, just a little of course, what she experienced at that moment. “Harry’s Eye” was born!