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Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Leocardo Reyes

Ermisenda Alvarez

Chapter THREE

ARTIFICIALLY SWEET

BlindSightLeoBookCoverEvery day for the past week, Leocardo tried to get a hold of his parents. The foreign message became too familiar across the line as they refused to take his calls. Leocardo needed to leave this wretched place and fly back home before his parents forgot him forever. Unaware of their predicament, Odette assimilated into her new high school perfectly. Starting in the middle of the year had been difficult for her at first, but she had made friends who helped her catch up. Theodore had been more than kind, which made Leocardo feel uneasy and indebted, something he was trying to avoid.

The cool breeze penetrating the bus was refreshing against Leocardo’s face which held little expression. He wanted to feel excited about meeting up with Claudia, but he found it difficult with everything else going on. She had agreed to meet him at the restaurant where she worked. Leocardo jerked his head away from the window as his forehead fell unintentionally against the cold glass.

He gazed through the thick glass and could see the glimmer of the lake through the gaps between the buildings. He stared, mesmerized by the glittering sparkle created by the sun’s reflection.

Once at the La Cocina Española or The Spanish Kitchen, they greeted each other and the conversation flowed effortlessly. He was not sure where to take her and she suggested they just walk to the lake. With each step, the lake grew more enormous and yet, even more beautiful. The grass seemed healthier than what sprouted up between the cracks in the sidewalk. The sun’s reflection danced on the soft waves and water birds swam lazily across the middle. He liked lakes as much as anyone else, but as beautiful as this one was, he felt his stomach knot up at the thought of being plunged into the middle of the bottomless water that had haunted his nightmares of late.

The lake was framed by lush green land, most of it cleared for parks or winding pathways. There was something odd and mysterious about the lake, something he could not explain, but Claudia stole his attention before he could dwell on it further.

“Can you ice skate here in winter?” Leocardo asked.

Claudia’s head tilted up slightly as her eyes focused on the mountain peaks. She was barely taller than Odette now that she wasn’t wearing heels.

“Yes, they have certain areas where it’s safe,” she nodded. “Not many people skate though.”

“Why not?”

“Well…” she started, as if thinking about what she was going to say, “I guess people prefer other winter pastimes.”

They shared a friendly, locked gaze before they stepped away from the water, to nestle under a tree.

It felt incredible to reminisce about Spain with someone other than Odette. Claudia filled him in about certain aspects of the new country, particularly those different from their homeland. She told him about her experiences gaining citizenship and how he could attend the same classes her family went to, as they had been helpful and informative.

Leocardo could not keep his gaze still as he restlessly thought about his feelings toward his entire situation. Would he come off as crazy?

“I have to be honest,” he sighed, tearing at the grass underneath his hands, “I hate it here. I want to go back, but I feel trapped.”

Claudia reapplied her rouge lipstick. “I hated it too at first.”

“Why didn’t you leave?”

“You need to give her a chance,” she explained with a coy smile.

“Who are you talking about?”

“Edaion, of course.” She fell back onto the soft grass as she ran her fingers through her hair. He wanted to join her, to wrap his fingers around hers and cling to the intimate moment.

“Claudia, you have to help me get out of here. I can’t stand it. I can’t think straight, and I don’t know which thoughts are mine anymore,” he blurted. Her gaze shifted to meet his. “Did you feel like this?”

“I did at first,” she admitted. “Trust me Leo when I tell you that there is nothing to worry about. The pain and confusion you’re feeling now will pass.”

Her words did nothing to soothe his anxieties. “That’s all you can give me?”

“Excuse me?” Her voice was sharp.

“You know things I don’t. What’s up with this place? What was in your hand that night at the bar?” He had barely been able to think about it, the strange green substance and Cameron’s heated warning. Was she a drug dealer? She didn’t fit the stereotype.

Fear rippled her smooth features. Her eyes and lips had lost all softness. “I’m not the person to tell you.”

“Is it Edaion? Is it this place that’s robbing me of my thoughts?” His voice grew louder.

“Leocardo.” When she whispered his name, he felt a wave of calm wash over him. “I don’t want to get in trouble for saying the wrong thing. You will find out soon enough. We all had to wait.”

Claudia rose and scooted closer, enveloping his hand with hers. Having her warming presence allowed him to rest his tired eyes for a moment. He barely knew her, yet she was the closest he had been to a person for many days. A burning sensation overwhelmed his lips as he wanted to kiss her neck.

“Do you feel like a prisoner?” he asked sincerely. Her red lips grew into a smile.

“Of course not; I love living here. There’s no place that comes close to it. Edaion is…” she trailed off in thought as she looked over toward the lake. He moved his gaze to follow hers.

Even with her calming presence, he could not help but feel uneasy again observing the lake. It seemed superficial, like he was in the set of a movie production. The ripples seemed perfectly timed, the birds swam in distinguished swirls, and the grass was greener than seemed natural. The dark blue surface glistened, and the leaves that fell off the trees danced in whirlwinds despite the lack of wind. Little details seemed manufactured and made him edgy. What made him the most anxious was that everything seemed to lean in toward the water: the mountain peaks, the trees, the grass and animals; the buildings of Nevaeh were structured in a small semi-circle around it. Was the lake some kind of vacuum?

“Do you feel like going for a swim?” Claudia’s velvet voice caressed his ears.

“No,” he said firmly.

Before he realized it, she was rushing toward the water. Fear gripped his insides. He rushed after her, certain she was in danger. Claudia kicked off her shoes and dipped her feet into the water, playfully urging him to join. Weak to her demands, he joined her even though he was still uneasy.

Unexpectedly, he had the need to drink. He became thirsty; he craved the lake’s water. His hands cupped it and brought it to his eager lips. He coughed and sputtered; the taste of salt was dreadful and unexpected. Although disgusted with his actions, he could not stop and brought his cupped hands to his mouth again and again. Claudia giggled beside him.

Abruptly his thoughts cleared and he stumbled back, scrambling away from the water’s edge. His expression contorted with disgust, fear, and confusion.

“It tastes lovely doesn’t it?” Claudia asked, moving to sit beside him and caress his back.

“No,” he spat in the grass, trying to cleanse his palate. The surface of the lake twinkled like a billion sapphires. His eyes stung with tears of disbelief. He had lied. He didn’t know why, but he had loved the lake’s water and continued to crave it.

*

People came into the bar, shaking their umbrellas and occasionally wringing out their hair. The quiet hush of rain hitting the sidewalk was only audible when the door swung open and closed. The radio was overpowered by the crowd and the music from the club upstairs. Leocardo, Elizma and Cameron had their hands full juggling customers.

When more people started leaving than arriving, Leocardo enjoyed the slower pace. On more than one occasion, Elizma’s conspicuous light blue short wavy hair distracted him. Every time he saw it, it was a new color, having been an aqua green the previous week. He wondered how she kept from damaging her hair. She was entertaining and nice to work with, and unlike Nate, she stuck around for conversation during lulls.

“Hey Leo,” Cameron greeted as the bar grew quiet. Leocardo finished wiping down the counter. “If Nate doesn’t pull his weight, tell him. If not he’ll just keep taking advantage of you. All he does is flirt with all those girls. Peter may as well be paying him to sleep with his customers.”

“Maybe that brings good business,” Leocardo humored. Cameron coughed; he was not impressed. Maybe Cameron was just jealous that Nate was sleeping around successfully and he, of a similar age and occupation, was not. “He’s a good worker when he works.” Leocardo changed tact and tried not get sucked into workforce drama.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t do the working bit enough. The other day, I was talking to Peter about it.” Leocardo hoped Cameron didn’t go behind his back and talk about his work etiquette with the boss. “Peter doesn’t seem to care that much. He doesn’t see it as a problem. Can you believe that?”

“Maybe Peter thinks he will improve.”

“Improve? He was working here before me. Nate had contacts with the Dawson family and so, of course, he was able to convince Ana’s uncle to hire him.” Leocardo’s brow wrinkled confusion. What did Ana’s uncle have to do with this? Cameron must have noticed Leocardo’s quizzical look because he immediately added, “Peter is Ana’s uncle.”

Leocardo stayed quiet. It didn’t bother him how Nate was hired, Leocardo was just happy that he was able to provide for Odette and himself with this job.

“It’s not fair on the rest of us. Don’t worry though; if the going gets tough for the bar, I am sure you’ll stick around. Nate would be the first to cut loose,” Cameron reassured him. Cameron ruffled his own hair as if relieving the tense thoughts from his mind.

Leocardo wondered if Cameron was trying to give him a hint about the bar being in financial difficulties. Was he trying to intimidate him to work hard, or did he honestly detest Nate?

*

Cielo panted and tugged roughly on her leash. Leocardo leaned backward, but she dragged him along as she sniffed at the bushes and trees along their walk. Leocardo pulled his jacket around himself to fight off the chilly weather, wishing he had remembered a scarf. He reached the travel agency determined to get them on the next boat, plane, or underground subway off this island. It really didn’t matter to him which.

After tying Cielo to a pole outside, he walked past the empty queue line toward a well-manicured young man at the first desk. The young man beamed at him. The gold pin on his chest read: Albert.

“Hello, what can I do for you today sir?” Albert asked as he turned his full attention to Leocardo.

“I want to leave.”

“Cutting your vacation short?” Albert talked animatedly as if shooting a commercial. “Winter is nearly here anyway so you have chosen a great time to leave.”

“I’m not a tourist, I’m not on vacation,” Leocardo clarified. He began to regain feeling in his fingertips in the warmth of the room. “I want to leave; I was taken here against my will. I’m done with all of this, I am going back home with my sister.”

Leocardo did not feel like sugarcoating his intention; if he was just blunt and truthful, he assumed it would get him further. Albert’s face grew somber.

“I see,” Albert whispered. His eyes darted around and then he abruptly stopped typing on the computer.

“What?” Leocardo barely heard him.

“Sorry, I can’t help you right now. We’re really busy.”

“What?”

Leocardo found it hard to contain his frustration. Busy? The travel agency was empty and there were two other idle agents, one of which was bobbing his head to the music playing from his ear buds.

“There’s no one here.”

“I am sorry; no boats are leaving right now. Have a great day.”

Leocardo clenched his fists. What kind of joke was this? He moved over to the next travel agent who blatantly ignored him. They both looked nervous. Leocardo left; there was no purpose staying there if he could not get a ticket. Who did he have to talk to so he could leave this place?

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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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