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Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Leocardo Reyes

Ermisenda Alvarez

Chapter TWO

SINKING INTO OBSCURITY

BlindSightLeoBookCoverLeocardo rolled out of bed and cursed. He slept horribly, having woken up in a cold sweat twice before passing out from exhaustion rather than falling asleep. The bleak sun illuminated the pastel walls and dreary furniture in his room. He dialed his parent’s number, but once again received no response.

After the unfamiliar recording, Leocardo left a short message telling them not to worry and that he would explain everything. He hoped by the time he got a hold of his parents, he would have more answers and fewer questions.

Odette appeared in the kitchen shortly after him. “I need to go to school here.” She was dressed in oversized, mismatched clothing, her dark hair in a lopsided pony tail that allowed her bangs to fall gently across her forehead.

“School?” he asked. She was not suggesting they just accept their circumstances and stay, was she?

“I can’t just stop going,” she pointed out as she felt for the cereal box.

Leocardo suddenly envisioned their future here, Odette slaving away at school and him imprisoned to work at the bar for the rest of his life. Without hesitation he reached for his sister’s hand.

“We’re leaving this island now.” He whispered to his sister who had begun to tremble. Odette pulled back but Leocardo strengthened his grip. “We can’t stay here.”

Leocardo let go of Odette’s hand to grab his wallet and their passports. Odette stood in the middle of the apartment as if frozen.

“Leo, we can’t.” She murmured. Odette kept shaking her head. Her glassy eyes quivered, unfocused.

“Who says?” He reached for her hand again and they left the apartment. Leocardo began running down the street with his sister’s hand in his. Adrenaline shot through his veins. The wind carved at his face. They found the bus and they hopped onto it. The streets rolled by in a blur. Leocardo saw the port coming into view. His heart was beating twice the normal pace. He peered over to Odette who appeared to be hyperventilating. His hand began caressing her shoulder. He loved his sister, he loved her more than his own life and he wanted to take her away from this place.

“We can escape,” he reassured her. “I’ll get us out of here.”

Odette tried to smile.

They scrambled off the bus and ran towards the boats. There was a boat anchored. That was it. That was going to be their boat to Spain. He was going to escape, he just had to buy a ticket and they were gone. He could save them both. Darkness suddenly shrouded his vision. He lost Odette’s grip. He felt like something had grabbed him by the middle, pinching him in its hold. Winded, he gasped for air and shut his eyes tight. The pain was blinding.

Leocardo opened his eyes to see his apartment like it had been this morning. Odette’s hair was windswept, her hands were trembling and instinctively he reached out to hold it. His mind was foggy. He couldn’t remember what had just happened.

“Did you say something?” Leocardo asked, squeezing her fingers. The gesture wasn’t just to comfort her, it was also to anchor himself; he felt dizzy.

“I…need to go to school.” She formed her words slowly.

Leocardo scanned Odette’s features and noticed her eyebrows were furrowed in thought. Was this where they were standing? His legs ached.

His free arm wrapped itself around his stomach and Leocardo grimaced. The muscles in his thighs and calves tingled; he tried to recollect his memory. When he thought about Odette’s words, she was right. Until he got enough money and the required information to get out of this place, she could not just wait around.

“Do you feel…?”

“Just a bit dizzy,” Odette replied. “I’m used to it now.”

Leocardo sighed. He thought he must have been overreacting and he let go of his stomach. It didn’t feel like just another wave of dizziness, he felt like he was being punished. The idea of trying to escape retreated deeper within his mind.

“Let’s go school hunting then,” he agreed. Leocardo gave up trying to remember what had happened that morning. They did a quick tour around the city so Leocardo could get used to the prison they were living in. Cielo went with them wagging her tail, completely unfazed by the change of home.

Leocardo pulled the map out of his back pocket and made notes on the thick paper, taking special care to remember the places he might need in an emergency. After an hour and a half, they sat on a nearby bench for a break.

“Edaion smells clean,” Odette noted. She wiped her forehead with her forearm. Leocardo agreed. After living in a busy city for such a long time, there was no comparison to the clean air and chirps of birds rather than the traffic of metropolises.

Their next destination was the public high school, but as he started to fold the map up, something else caught his eye.

“Where to next?” Odette asked.

“Crescent High.” The private school just happened to be on the way, and he decided to check it out. If he was going to send her to school, he wanted a good one. He tried to help her up.

“I can do it myself,” she snapped.

Crescent High’s intimidating, historical architecture towered above them. It reeked of a private school, and the emptiness of his wallet seemed to transform into a leaden brick that weighed down his pants and his hopes for Odette.

As they entered, the first thing he saw was an office wall made entirely of glass. He felt like a fish in a bowl with the administration observing him, debating whether to throw him a line. He explained their situation to the middle-aged woman behind the counter.

“I believe you will find the tuition rather expens—Theodore!”

Leocardo twisted around to find a groomed man of similar age waiting patiently. He oozed with a confidence and authority Leocardo had always lacked. Compared to Theodore’s military-inspired haircut, Leocardo’s hair looked like a mop.

“Good morning, Irene,” Theodore politely addressed the office woman. “Please, help them first.”

“Are you sure?”

He responded with a nod. Irene pulled out a pristine ballpoint pen and started to scrawl numbers down on a pad of paper. The large numbers made Leocardo’s head spin: costs for the year, costs for certain subjects, and even more for certain compulsory excursions. He sighed solemnly and glanced over to Odette who was standing perfectly still as she did when she was trying to be acutely aware of everything around her.

Leocardo took the list from Irene, and after seeing the final numbers, felt a wave wash away his hopes.

“Thank you.” He turned to leave with a grimace. Theodore’s presence didn’t help Leocardo’s mood. Theodore did not look like he would have any trouble paying the steep prices.

“Would she like to attend Crescent High?” Theodore’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Yes. My sister is in need of a high school, and Crescent High looks great.”

“Where did she used to go?”

“We arrived yesterday from Spain, but her English is very good.”

“So you two came with the new immigrants? That is wonderful. Let me introduce myself formally, I am Theodore Dawson.” His hand stretched out for Leocardo’s. He shook it and felt the tension ease. He introduced Odette and himself.

“I am the crown prince of Edaion. My family resides here in the capital, Nevaeh.”

The tension returned with a spark of nerves. Even Odette’s eyes widened at the news, and Leocardo wondered what she was thinking.

“Do not get flustered. Edaion is not like other countries where royalty is followed around by flocks of media, paparazzi, and throngs of bodyguards. We are simply part of the governing body. I am currently here taking a few notes about how Crescent High is operating and to deliver some news to my sister.”

“Your sister goes here?” Leocardo said in disbelief.

“Yes. Aniela still attends. Tatiana and I graduated from here; it is a fine school and I hope Odette can attend.”

“Are there any scholarships?” Odette asked. Leocardo was surprised since she was usually shy around strangers.

“There are,” Theodore confirmed. He spoke directly to Odette. “There are some reserved for immigrants since you are just getting on your feet,” he encouraged.

“Could you help us?” Odette asked, bravely taking the lead. Theodore seemed more than happy to help.

*

“Hurry up.” Leocardo urged Odette as she sniffed her way down the discounted perfume aisles.

Smell was the sense Odette noticed most. Changing scents for Odette was as normal and as practical as changing clothes. Her perfume collection grew constantly despite her frequent use, and she demanded Leocardo always reapply his even though she could sense his presence easily enough without it.

“One of your armpits smells more than the other,” she sniffed the air comically. “Lift it.” She waved a new bottle of Hugo Boss around as if looking to extinguish the smell.

That line always made him chuckle. “Will you ever stop using that line?” he asked lightheartedly. He took the expensive bottle from her hand and put it back on the shelf. “The joke’s getting old.”

“I’ll stop when you stop laughing.” Odette smiled.

They left the store. Even though he preferred shopping alone, Odette did not like to be left by herself in a new environment. As a result, she had become more demanding since their relocation. Spending time with her felt normal and he enjoyed that. But he had work shift schedules to abide to. Leocardo dropped her off at home and as soon as he arrived at the bar, he switched into work mode.

“You catch on fast,” his coworker encouraged.

That night, he was formally introduced to Cameron Pratts, the blonde bartender who had taken it upon himself to be Leocardo’s mentor. As other bartenders came on for their shifts, Cameron introduced him to Nate Pascal and Elizma Chai.

For a first day, the night progressed well; Green’s Tavern was vibrant and buzzing. As Cameron’s assistant, Leocardo was learning to mix drinks and which customers Cameron considered noteworthy. Cameron was fidgety, yet precise, and fast when he prepared drinks. At first the vivacious green theme of the bar was overwhelming, but within an hour he barely noticed it.

Leocardo’s eye kept drifting over to Elizma. She had vibrant short hair that went in every direction like a stylish porcupine. Nate, with his casually styled hair and tanned body, spent his time flirting with every attractive female in the building. His charisma made up for his plain face.

Leocardo could not help but monitor his environment, particularly his coworkers. At the other end of the bar, Nate greeted a blonde wearing a white sweater and talking to Cameron. Nate flicked his fingers at Cameron as if dismissing him. Cameron walked away solemnly scratching his acne-scarred cheek to serve the customers Nate had abandoned.

“Hey, could I get a soda? Don’t care which one.” A man had appeared on a stool close to Leocardo.

“Sure.” He served him before looking over to Nate again with an inexplicable curiosity. He wondered how Nate got away with abandoning his post to flirt with a customer who was already being helped.

This girl Nate was talking to seemed different than his other conquests. She was conservative and looked at Nate affectionately. She was in her late teens, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old. Peter’s voice shot through the music from the back room and summoned Nate. Nate made his way down the small aisle between the wall and the bar heading for Peter’s office.

Nate paused mid stride, “Hey Leo, could you take care of my girl?” he gestured, with a nod of his head, toward the blonde. “Just tell Cameron she wants peach,” Nate added, before disappearing around the corner.

Cameron told him where to get the special water and Leocardo returned swiftly. He placed the water on the bar close to the young woman. Her head rose as she thanked him. She seemed oblivious to the world around her, like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders, but she handed him money, and he gave her the change before moving along to the next customer without further inquiry.

The crowd at the bar grew; it was surprising how only a few minutes without two of the employees created such congestion. Cameron looked disgruntled and distressed as he tried to pull Nate’s weight. Leocardo helped where he could, but as a beginner, it did not lighten the load much. When Nate returned, Leocardo felt relieved. Cameron gave him a look of mixed relief and fury.

Por dios, estaba después de mí!” For God’s sake, he was after me!

Had he really heard someone speak fluent Spanish? His head twisted in the direction of the voice. A woman with dark tendrils of long hair and an annoyed look on her face practically slammed her hand on the bar, trying to get attention. Leocardo moved toward her, almost unable to trust his ears.

Señorita, what would you like?” She looked taken back at hearing her own language before her expression relaxed.

“Glass of sherry.”

“Where are you from?” Leocardo continued in Spanish, trying to make small talk. He was quick to get the bottle and glass. As he came back, he noticed her wonderfully intoxicating perfume.

“Mallorca. And you?”

“Barcelona.”

“That’s a pretty place.”

Something about the gleam in her eyes made her seem genuine. She pursed her lips and glanced at the bottle in his hands. Flustered, he realized he had been holding the bottle but had forgotten to pour. As he poured a glass and looked back at her, their eyes locked again. Leocardo saw the Spain he left behind in her voice, eyes, and body. He felt the weight of homesickness. No external calmness swept over him and he embraced the heartache.

“Do you miss home?” he asked as he handed the glass over.

“I came here many years ago,” her voice a lot more gentle now. Her hands overlapped comfortably on the bar top. “But yes, I do miss it.”

She was the closest thing to Spain he had encountered, and he was not ready to leave that behind. She smiled; her dark eyes mesmerized him. She was beautiful, with olive washed skin, defined hips, and affectionate rounded eyes.

They held a gaze in silence for some time before she spoke with a soft smile, “Claudia.”

“Leocardo.” Slowly he returned the smile. “Enjoy your drink.”

Claudia’s eyes smiled as she leaned in close. At first Leocardo thought she was about to kiss him and he leaned in, but her gaze shifted down to her hand. Her fingers pressed into her closed palm before opening to reveal she was holding something. Something green and he felt the tickling aroma of lavender. A hand shot out of nowhere and grabbed her wrist roughly.

Leocardo turned around ready to punch the asshole, but to his surprise he discovered a furious Cameron. Cameron retracted his hand so quickly Leocardo barely saw it happen. Cameron’s gaze flickered to the exit door where a red light glowed above it.

“Are you stupid? Do you want to get yourself banished?” he hissed at Claudia who simply smirked in response. Only after she left did he notice that she had written her phone number on the napkin for him with her floral signature underneath.

*

The moment he stepped into the apartment, Leocardo stumbled to grab the phone. He had to get in touch with his parents; he would ring all night if he had to. This silence between them had gone on long enough. He dialed his parent’s number.

Si?” his mother responded, catching Leocardo off guard. His heart leapt from his chest and he had to wait a second for it to settle back down.

Mamá,” he responded affectionately, imagining her smell and the warmth of her embrace.

Quien es?” she asked, questioning who was on the line.

“Leocardo,” he said, laughing nervously. “Tu hijo.

Quien?” she questioned again. The sound of agitation grew in the friction between her vowels.

Tus hijos, Odette y Leocardo…” This had to be a sick joke. Inside, Leocardo longed to tell his parents about everything that had happened, especially the parts he did not understand. He wanted them to hold him close, like they did when he was a little boy, and tell him it was going to be okay.

Mamá,” he pleaded.

“Who in the name of God is ringing me? Stop ringing this house unless you want me to call the police,” she said hastily, her voice sharpened by fury. She did not sound like his mother, but it was undeniably her voice.

“What are you talking about? It’s me, Leocardo. Why are you saying these things? I’m your—”

“Stop! I don’t have any children. Do not ring me or my husband ever again,” she threatened with a chilling tone.

There was a violent clack as the phone met the receiver on her end. The dull, persistent beep of a disconnected line froze his insides. The phone slipped from his hands and clattered on the floor. He was shaking and hoped he did not wake Odette. All he wanted was to wake from this nightmare. What would he tell Odette? How could he tell her that their parents did not remember them?

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FROM THE START (ProloguE)

Blind Sight is an urban fantasy series about a blind girl who develops the ability to draw. You are reading Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes. This volume is told from the point of view of Odette’s brother who thinks she’s having premonitions. The companion novel, Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson tells the same story, but through a different point of view. Odette’s new friend Ana is convinced Odette is a medium channeling spirits and cannot be convinced otherwise. Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

amazonbutton-purchaseYou can also learn more about our novels on our page, Ermilia Books.

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