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Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Leocardo Reyes

Ermisenda Alvarez

Chapter SEVENTEEN

CONSTRICTING WEB

BlindSightLeoBookCoverThe emptiness of the apartment threatened to consume him. It was painful to pass Odette’s room or glance at it. The scents of her perfumes had faded, and he even missed her angry slamming of cupboards and doors. Somehow he managed to sleep for a handful of hours before waking up early and going to the pool again, unsure of what else he could do to clear his mind. On the way, he teleported, increasing the distance with each jump. He didn’t want to tell people about his gift until he had good control over it.

When Leocardo arrived at work, he saw Nate there as well and received a brief but firm brotherly embrace from him.

“Thanks Leo, I owe you one.” Nate’s face broke into a smile.

“Peter hired you, not me.”

“I owe you one. I’ll buy you a round, you choose!” Nate insisted.

Nate held Leocardo’s gaze for a moment, his eyes watering before marching off to work. Leocardo could see that he had done more than provide a job for Nate.

Work proved to be more of a blessing than a burden. There was a monotonous rhythm which he found familiar, easy and rewarding. It kept him from dwelling on the fact that there had been no calls from the hospital. Since Nate had been called back to work again, there was a new, uplifting mood at the bar. Whispers emerged between the co-workers, excluding Leocardo.

“Are you going to do anything?” Elizma asked Nate in soft tones, but Leocardo heard it. He hoped they were not trying to hide things from him.

“I don’t know…with Odette’s situation it’s really hard. I just got my job back. Usually Ana pushes me to do something, but she’s been somewhere else lately.” Nate’s voice grew too soft and Leocardo assumed Nate made a comment about him. “I don’t blame them, but yeah, I think I’ll call off the small party at the bar. It’s not the time for a party.”

“It’s your birthday,” Elizma insisted. “Your shift is over in a few hours. You asked Peter, he said it was okay. People need a happy birthday party.” Leocardo felt suddenly empathetic. In the grand scheme of things, it was only one birthday, but he was now realizing how many people Odette’s event had affected. On one side, he was grateful they cared this much, but he also felt guilty.

“Hey Nate,” Leocardo said, he turned around in mid mop as he was cleaning the floor. “Aren’t you having a party for your birthday? Cameron mentioned something,” he didn’t want them thinking he had been listening in.

“Yeah, it’s meant to be here, but I’m still thinking about it.” Nate shrugged.

“Keep it, it’s a good thing. Don’t you want to celebrate too, Leo?” Elizma asked.

“Of course,” he said with a smile, hoping that the circle under his eyes didn’t reveal his exhaustion. He really was not up for a party, but for Nate he would gladly go.

“Okay,” Nate agreed without conviction. It worried Leocardo to see Nate so disheartened. Did he value birthdays? Did the event with Odette affect him that severely? Was he worrying about Ana? Even with Odette in the hospital, Leocardo wanted to enjoy himself. Odette would have kicked him for moping around. He, however, was not giving up without some further investigation.

As he finished up his shift he kept thinking back to the Dawson library and tried to remember if he had read anything about comas. He could not recall, but thought it might be a good idea to remind Ana in case she had the time to search. He really appreciated her efforts, but now that he saw the burden of Odette’s coma, he wondered if it had been wrong to allow Ana to take so much responsibility. Was this wearing her down the way it was him?

As Leocardo punched out, Elizma reminded him to show up later that night to congratulate Nate on turning twenty one. As he was leaving, Peter called him into the office. The stench of cigarettes burned his nostrils. He sat and Peter turned around in his seat with a somber expression.

“I know you must be going through a horrible time at the moment.” He paused and got rid of his cigarette although he had just started. “I just wanted to say, I really appreciate what you did for Nate too.”

Peter stood, and for a moment, Leocardo thought he was about to hug him, but he received a pat on his back and a gentle squeeze on the shoulder. The man’s warmth radiated like that of a freshly lit cigarette. “Is there anything I can do?”

“I am just trying to understand what happened. Not even the doctors understand.”

“Hmm…” Peter pondered, taking a long suck on the cigarette he had just abandoned. “I might be able to help. There was a man who came in regularly by the name of Ned. He came in the day your sister disappeared, frantic, and downed a beer faster than I had ever seen him do before. I didn’t know what was happening outside because you weren’t working so I didn’t realize what it could’ve meant.”

Peter’s words held the ability to point Leocardo in a new direction, and yet there was an ominous foreboding edge to Ned’s actions. He was not sure he wanted to hear what Ned had said after all.

“When I asked Ned what was wrong, he was silent for some time before he answered. He was confused and rather worried. He said he had run into a young girl with a blank gaze who had scared him. He didn’t really say much more, but that she had hurt him and that she was probably a drug addict, out in the cold like that. It seemed a little odd and may not lead to anything, but you might be able to find something out.” He coughed and sounded like one of these days, he’d cough up his lung. “I haven’t seen him around for a while actually…”

“Where does he live, do you know?”

“No, I don’t, but his name is Ned…Ned Caraway I think. I used to know his mother quite well.”

“Thank you for everything.” Leocardo escaped the room, eagerly sucking in fresh air once he was out. What did this mean? Who was Ned Caraway? What did he have to do with his sister? Immediately he went to find a pay phone. He flipped through the phonebook and searched for Ned Caraway. There were only two. The first one proved unsuccessful, but the second was the Ned Caraway he was looking for.

Leocardo expected his voice to be low, menacing and ominous but he sounded young.

“Hello?”

“Hello my name is Leo, I believe you saw my sister a few days ago when she disappeared. She was alone, frightened.” Leocardo added a quick description of his sister for good measure. “I was hoping you could just tell me what happened.”

There was a long silence. Was he calculating his options? For a moment Leocardo thought Ned had hung up and a multitude of vengeful thoughts came to mind. Was he one of the faces she drew? Did he know she drew him? Would he recognize Ned Caraway from a sketch?

“Have you told the police?” he asked finally. Leocardo did not like where this was going.

“No,” he decided it was best to tell the truth. The police had been alerted, but for a missing person, they were not yet involved. For now, there was no reason to suspect foul play and that anyone had been involved, even if the drawings hinted at it. The drawings were only between him, Ana, and Theodore last time he checked. Maybe they should alert the police. Had they made a big mistake by leaving them out of it? “

“She’s very ill and I just want to help her,” Leocardo added as the silence persisted.

“Why do you need me then?”

“I think you were the last person to see her conscious,” Leocardo stated. The long pauses were making his forehead bead with sweat. He felt a bit like a hostage negotiator, having to tread on egg shells to get the information he needed.

“Okay,” he finally agreed.

“Can you come to the lake?” Leocardo assumed choosing a café was out of the question since it was obvious Ned did not want any more people knowing about his possible involvement than necessary. At the same time, the lake was public and open so he did not need to feel cornered about Ned being dangerous.

“Okay.”

“Can you come out now?” Another long pause, Leocardo tried to listen for any background noise on the line, but it was silent.

“Fine.”

“Thank you.”

“How did you find out about me?” Ned asked.

“Peter.”

“That bastard.”

Then there was beeping. Ned had hung up and Leocardo brought the phone down and heard the soft clink as the phone returned his change. He made his way toward the lake. He noticed that as his irritation grew, he found it easier to teleport from block to block. He suddenly regretted not telling Ned something distinguishable about him or asking for one in return, but when he arrived, he was completely alone and wondered if Ned would even turn up.

He hugged himself and turned his face away from the lake as repeated gusts of cold air hit him. When the blasts subsided, he was able to glance over at the beautiful winter wonderland. The white blanket that covered the lake was framed by snowy peaks. It was hard to look without squinting at the sunlight.

“Leo?” It was an unfamiliar voice, but Leocardo’s hopes soared as he turned to see a young man with dark hair, dark eyes, and a cautious expression. He wore a beanie and a high collared coat but still had to rub gloved hands up and down his arms for warmth.

“Ned?”

“Let’s get this over with,” he growled.

Even without looking again, he knew Ned’s face was not one of the fourteen men. “Just tell me what happened.”

“I don’t want to get involved with the police.”

“You won’t, please just help me.”

Ned paused and stared at the ground. “Your sister attacked me.”

“What?” Leocardo asked. Odette would have come up to Ned’s shoulders, if that.

“She ran up to me in the street. I saw that she wasn’t wearing a coat and that she must’ve been freezing. I offered mine, but she kept moving and her gaze wouldn’t focus. She was muttering. I thought she must have been a drug addict and was about to give up until she grabbed me by the arm and hand with such force that she dislocated it.”

Ned took off his glove and showed his left hand. Startled, Leocardo flinched at the sight of violent bruises where Odette’s fingers had gripped him. Odette would not have done that. She was not capable of doing that. Was she?

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Then she stared at me with this look of fear and said, ‘He’ll burn, can’t die,’ before stumbling away.”

“What did she say?”

“He’ll burn, can’t die.” Ned repeated. “Your sister isn’t well.”

What Ned had just recalled hit him and he felt like he was staggering under the weight of the story. This was not how it was meant to be. Ned was supposed to look like one of the men Odette had drawn so that Leocardo could wrestle him to the ground and get him to confess to his involvement. Then he would have taken him to the police station where he was to rat out his thirteen accomplices. With everything solved, Odette was supposed to snap out of her coma, justice served. He felt useless; his plan had failed.

“She needs help,” Ned said in dark tones, but Leocardo didn’t want to hear it.

“So do you,” he snapped as he gestured toward Ned’s bruised hand.

Leocardo marched off. His heavy footsteps came down with such force that he was nearly up to his knee in white fluff, cracking through layers of ice below. He gritted his teeth and kept moving until he reached a café where he ordered hot soup. He was freezing, and the last thing he wanted to catch was pneumonia. His face, fingers, and mind were numb. When the soup came he devoured it in an instant.

With Ned’s words on his mind, he was unable to formulate any new plans. He could not help her; he was out of his league. He was not a policeman or a detective. Who did he think he was? Ned was right, Odette was ill and only the doctors could do anything for her now. What had he been doing, had he just been naively playing the detective like a schoolyard boy?

All that information he had investigated about 1902, Devna Sharma, and the corrupt Dawson family was rubbish. The drawings Odette had made were rubbish. It was just coincidence. Ned was right; Odette was sick, the drawings were scribbles of a damaged mind.

He wanted to go home, but what would await him there except memories of Odette’s absence? He wanted to visit Ana, but he did not know where she was and felt guilty putting this burden on her. Who could he turn to? Tatiana would not indulge in his misery. Nate was already sullen enough. Claudia was a problem of the past in itself. He had no family. His parent’s did not remember who he was. There was no one. As he sat in that café, he realized he had never felt more alone in his entire life.

After some time, Leocardo decided to go spend time with one other person who was completely alone, Odette.

*

Leocardo called Ana to see if she wanted to meet up before Nate’s birthday party. He only hoped she had been more successful in her findings than he had been. As much as he wanted to give up, he could not bring himself to sit there and do nothing, not when Odette needed him.

With his head in his hands, he sat at the bar with an empty water glass. He wanted to drink something stronger but he needed his head clear. Thankfully, Cameron kept his distance and nose out of Leocardo’s business.

“Hi.” Leocardo flinched in surprise when he heard Ana’s voice beside him suddenly.

A faint smile flickered as he saw her face painted, ready for Nate’s celebration. He felt like a depressive blob. At least he still had managed to comb his hair and get on some clean clothes. He was hoping that his youthful cologne made up for his weary eyes.

“You look nice,” he complimented.

“Thanks,” she said. Was the softness in her voice an expression of her affection or that she could tell he was fragile? Could she see how weak he felt?

“How are you?” she asked with concern clear in her eyes.

“I’m coping.” Leocardo drank from his cup. Cameron was busy cleaning but he wondered if he was eavesdropping on their conversation. It would not surprise him, but he continued anyway. “The other morning…” Leocardo started, trying to stay as casual as possible. “I hope I didn’t cause any trouble at your place.”

There was the sound of shattering glass as Cameron dropped something. Leocardo flinched again, he was unbelievably jumpy. At least when she told him that no one had noticed, it calmed him a little. He hated the idea of never being allowed to step into her home again. She sent Cameron off to the back to get one of her special waters and waited for him to be gone before she spoke again.

“I did get to talk to my father. He identified one of the men in the drawings, but I am not sure what to make of it. What about you, the man you said you met?”

“He well…” Leocardo started with a sigh. “He…wasn’t helpful. It was a dead end.”

“You said he was the last to see her awake? Did he suspect something was wrong?”

“Yes.” He paused. She clearly wanted more. Why was he so against telling her? Cameron gave Ana her water before continuing. “He was the last man to see her as far as I know. They had a confrontation. He told me nothing I didn’t already know, that she was sick.”

Leocardo kept stalling and pausing until he finally caved and told her what Odette had done. He did not think a grown man would make up a story about being bruised by an adolescent girl. The act had not been malicious, of that Leocardo was certain, but the power behind such a grip scared him. He worried about what kind of supernatural force had taken over Odette.

“Do you think she was still under the control of her powers?”

“She must have been. How else could she have injured him? He said she just grabbed his hand and that her only words were, ‘He’ll burn, can’t die.’”

“I wonder who she was talking about. Could it be one of the men?” Ana’s father had recognized one of them, which meant that at least one of the men, whether dead or alive, existed.

“I don’t know who she was talking about. She was probably out of her mind. The man thought she was a drug addict. I don’t know who we’re trying to be Ana, but we’re not detectives. It’s all just dead ends.”

Ana spun him around in his stool so that he had to stop leaning against the bar and face her. “I know we are not, but if there is a chance we can help, we should try, right?” Ana pulled the paper out of her purse. “My father recognized this as his fourth grade professor, but here is the thing…he died. What if we were wrong, what if they were not premonitions, this all points toward Odette being a medium.” She paused, and when he didn’t answer, her voice held a note of intimacy. “I have to believe we can make a difference. I have faith in us Leo. Odette said you have never let her down before, you will not now.”

Leocardo leaned over the bar. Had Odette really said that? The thought made him warm. “He’s dead?” Leocardo asked, he had to focus on the task at hand.

“Well I have not had a chance to check, but that is what my father said.”

“So…you’re saying that they might all be dead?”

He held his gaze as he looked at Ana. Once again she tried to encourage him. “I just feel so…shit,” he said before indulging in his delusions that Ned was supposed to be the real deal, the man behind it all. “What if she does wake up again? What if she goes through this every few months? How can we live like this, how can she? I just…I don’t just want her to wake up. I want her to get better. I don’t want her sick anymore.”

Ana brought herself closer to Leocardo and he felt her hands rest on his arm. Her voice flared with determination, “If there is anything in my power to keep her healthy, I will do it. We cannot give up; we can figure this out.” She paused. “I looked at the pictures again after talking to my father. All of the eyes are the same, like they are all related, a part of a group or something.”

“I just feel like they are the trouble,” he muttered

Ana told him that she would research the dead teacher. “I cannot help, but I feel I have seen those eyes before.” The eyes that all those men wore haunted him day and night.

“So either one of them is in trouble or…maybe they’re warning us of another? Maybe the person hasn’t been drawn.” The group Odette had drawn might need help; they might not have been the enemy but instead the victims. Was the purpose of Odette’s message to save someone?

“What if they all saw the same thing? They could have witnessed a crime. The person responsible could have gone free and now she is trying to tell us…something?”

Leocardo agreed in a murmur before requesting the image. She handed the paper over. He squinted and brought it as close as possible, trying to see a reflection in the eye, some hint that he saw something. Nothing, there was a twinkle in his eye, but that was all. What was he watching? Was it a crime as Ana suggested? A fire?

“He’ll burn, can’t die,” he repeated as he put the paper down. Its corner touched one of the circles of water made from his water glass and turned translucent.

“That’s future tense,” Ana murmured. “Maybe not a past crime, but a future one? These could be the people who are going to start the fire? Arson? Would someone still be in the building when it happened, someone who needs saving?”

“Are fires common around here?”

“No, never have been. Avalanches, floods, but I think our fire department handles more cats in trees than fires.”

“Arson then,” he agreed with her. There was too much information. Were all the men dead? Were some of them victims while the other were criminals?

“What would they want to burn down? If it is in the future, Odette cannot very well be a witness now…so…if it is a future crime they cannot be after her. I think that brings us back to her trying to warn someone. She must have been going somewhere. Do you think she grabbed Ned because her body could tell it was close to collapsing and she had to get the message to someone? We need to figure out where she was headed.”

Leocardo asked to see the building premonition and she brought it out for him. He stared at the drawing with the charred edge. Daisy had told him that everything a seer did to her drawings was purposeful. “Odette’s a seer so this is important.”

Ana hesitated, holding something back, as was he. “She is not a seer, she is a medium.”

“The faces or people aren’t the only important ones. The other drawings are important too.”

“Yes…” she murmured. Was she irritated?

“Listen to me. On the way to the hospital it clicked.” Leocardo confessed the link he had made with Odette’s appearance to Sleeping Beauty and Tatiana’s jellyfish.

“That could have been coincidental. How can someone look like Sleeping Beauty?” Aniela scrutinized. Leocardo did not want to confess how he knew Odette had to be a seer because at the end of that tangled thread was his petty crime at the Dawson manor. If he unraveled it, he would have to come clean and Ana would never look at him the same. What was worse, if Ana was stuck on the belief that Odette was a medium, she would overlook the building. He had to take that matter into his own hands.

“Whatever she is we know it has to do with the future. If you want you can investigate the faces, I’ll take the building.”

“Okay,” they agreed on one thing at least. He pocketed the charred premonition. He did not want to convince her of his beliefs; he wanted to steer right away from the seer versus medium issue so he could escape a possible interrogation. Uneasy with the tension, he tried to crack a few jokes. Their conversation blended into lighthearted humor as they kept each other company before the festivities. Nate arrived half an hour early with loud greetings and cases of beer.

“Isn’t there enough here?” Leocardo humored.

“Don’t give me that scowl Ana; you can have some of mine. They’re cheaper than buying it here and since it’s my birthday Peter said I could. Good to see you came, Leo!”

The night continued in good humor and within two hours there was an uncomfortable amount of people. Most of them were the people visiting the bar, becoming part of Nate’s birthday bash. Leocardo wondered how many real friends Nate had floating about in the mass. He and Ana were pushed to the outskirts and had barely had the chance to talk to Nate after the first hour. Leocardo did not mind Ana was often pushed into him and to keep from getting separated, they would move through the crowd with his hand on the small of her back.

Apart from Ana’s company that night, there was not much of interest. Leocardo did not feel like drinking and he had not brought a present. Tatiana made an appearance and he only managed to see her in the crowd because Nate yelled out her name with grand enthusiasm. Nate must have done something because Tatiana gave him a painfully loud palm-sized present that smacked against his cheek and Leocardo lost sight of them as a hulking bouncer passed before his vision.

Still early into the night, Leocardo said his goodbye to Ana with a lingering kiss on her cheek. He did not want to go, but at the same time, he could not wait to escape the drone of music and bursts of light. He apologized to Nate for the lack of a gift, but Nate was drunk and easily distracted by a beautiful woman who looked like an Egyptian goddess. Everyone appeared content, he tried to fake it.

When he arrived at Odette’s room in the hospital, he curled up on the uncomfortable seat. It was practically silent here in comparison to the bar. If only his loud footsteps would wake her up. It was not long before he drifted asleep to the regular beeps emitting from the machines, the ones that were keeping his sister alive.

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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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