Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Aniela Dawson
Snowballs flew back and forth from behind soggy cardboard forts as Aniela pulled her flower print duffle bag from the car. Children no longer confined to the classroom celebrated the end of the school year. As Aniela grabbed her skates, she felt the cold smack of a stray snowball against her back, followed by an apologetic “woops” from one of the kids. It would be so refreshing to be able to use magic outside again once the tourists were shipped back home for winter. Aniela had once asked why Edaion’s citizenry had to tolerate tourists at all.
“Don’t be stupid,” Tatiana mocked. “How do you think other countries will react to their citizens disappearing to a country closed off to everyone else?”
When Aniela asked, she was too young at the time to wonder how people left behind accepted their loved one’s decisions to abruptly leave. None of her history classes had mentioned countries storming in demanding their tax payers be returned or families fighting to convince their loved ones not to stay. Since Viola had come with her whole family, it did not apply, but now that she was getting to know Odette and Leo, the question surfaced.
A soft buzz sounded as Aniela pushed the button to Odette’s apartment and greeted Leo with a cheery ‘Hello’ as he let her in. It was nice to see him properly rather than the back of his head or in passing. His black hair was in need of a trim, and the stubble on his chin looked a few days overgrown. Cinnamon eyes looked out over discolored sags, and even though it was afternoon, he gave her a tired smile. She looked around and surveyed the apartment for the first time.
It was best described as minimalistic. Drab. No art hung from the walls, and only the most basic furniture suggested the apartment had tenants. It was rather…depressing. As she looked down at the questionably colored sofa with bite marks on the legs, she could not help but realize her clothes were probably more expensive. She let her bag slide to the floor, not sure which room was Odette’s.
“Are those skates?” Leo stared at the pair she had dangling over her shoulder with a disgruntled frown.
Aniela knew what he must be thinking. Yes, she did actually plan to take his blind sister to the skating rink. Odette seemed excited by the suggestion when Nate had come up with it, and Aniela saw no reason why she and Nate could not keep Odette upright for a few hours. She tried to reassure him and smiled innocently. The protective older brother in him reminded her of Theodore.
He made several noncommittal sounds as he filled a glass with tap water from the sink. “It would have been nice for her to let me know…” she heard him mutter as he offered the glass to her. “When do you suppose she’ll be back?”
“She said she asked you…Nate and I were planning on taking her to dinner.” She hoped she was not inadvertently causing problems between him and Odette.
“Odette likes to be vague.”
He reassured her that she was welcome to spend the night. Her nails tapped on the glass. They had only spent a car ride’s time together, and she was not sure how to break the ice.
“Did you go to the carnival?” she asked.
Leo’s face lit up. “It was great. Actually I saw you there, with a child on your lap getting your face painted.”
She thought about Tristan’s less than flattering words on the subject and wondered why attractive males only caught her during undignified moments. She explained with only a slight blush coloring her cheeks and he asked about the orphanage, sounding surprisingly interested.
“I visit from time to time,” she replied vaguely. As proud as she was of her accomplishments, she did not want to brag or intimidate him. The longer they talked, the more her interest in him increased. He had an ease about him and a genuine demeanor.
“I’m surprised you have time, being a princess and all.” She knew he did not mean it the way it sounded, but he had struck a nerve.
“What do you think I do all day? Sit around in pretty dresses?” she snapped; she could feel the hair on her arms and back of her neck standing up in exasperation.
Odette joined them not a moment too soon. Without giving Leo time to reply Aniela spun around and was out the door, leaving the untouched glass of water on a table near the door.
“He’s really annoying isn’t he?” Odette asked, and immediately Aniela knew she had overreacted. Yes, she was annoyed, but not because Leo had done anything vindictive. She would have to apologize to him later.
“No, he just struck a nerve.” She was not just a pretty face that planned parties and bounced on trampolines with children, and she was tired of people thinking the life of a princess was an easy one, full of lavish parties, infinite gifts and endless money.
“He and Claudia are both good at that.” Odette’s bottom jaw jutted out and her lips pursed together.
“Who is Claudia?” Aniela asked, not recognizing the name as one of their schoolmates.
Odette was quiet for a moment as if considering how to describe the person. “I guess you could call her Leo’s girlfriend.”
Aniela was not sure what to say. She could hardly comment about someone she had never met, and she did not know Leo well enough to be disappointed that he was currently off the market.
Once they were at the rink, Nate wandered over to them, one pair of skates over his shoulder, another pair in his hands. If Aniela had not known Nate, she would have thought by his hair that he had just rolled out of bed, but since she did, she knew he had spent at least an hour to make it look just the right level of tousled. He was dressed nicer than Aniela, on constant prowl for his next bedmate. He helped Odette with her skates and promised he or Aniela would be by her side at all times. Odette hardly seemed phased by the idea of falling and jumped around with childish excitement.
Aniela slipped on her own skates and placed their belongings in a locker. When she returned, Odette was barely balancing on the blades, but Nate was steady and held her without difficulty. She took Odette’s free hand and helped Nate lead her out onto the ice.
Aniela twisted around so that she could skate backwards, taking both of Odette’s hands. Nate skated beside Odette, instructing her on how to move her feet and making sure people moved around them if an uncontrolled skater got too close. Most people gave them ample room as they slowly completed a lap. It took Odette a full time around to get her feet steady, but after that, she took to it rather quickly. Nate kept his promise and did not let her fall. At one point, while Nate was skating with her and Aniela was a ways ahead, Odette’s feet shot out from under her. Nate barely caught her in time. His hands grabbed under her armpits so that her bottom hovered only an inch above the ice when she fell.
“You can put me down, it’s okay,” Odette told him, but Nate was adamant.
“I promised not to let you fall, and I won’t,” he shot back.
Odette probably could have gotten up faster had he put her down and let her regain her footing, but with help from Aniela and several near tumbles, she was up without ever touching the ice except for her skates. Nate beamed proudly before the toe of his skate caught a dent in the ice and he went flying forward and face planted.
Odette smiled and laughed, “And you were worried about me…klutz.”
Several hours, a few bruises, and numerous sore muscles later, the three of them sat down on a bench. Aniela’s feet throbbed; she had forgotten how long it had been since she last skated and she probably should have eased herself back into it. Regardless, she was elated. As Nate took the locker key from her to grab their things, Aniela loosened her laces, feeling her feet swell to fill the new space.
She turned to Odette, not bothering to hide the surprise in her voice, “You did very well for your first time skating.” Odette, however, did not respond. “Odette?”
Odette’s eyes were glazed over and she looked less in tune with the world than normal. Aniela almost shrieked as without warning, Odette slid off the bench onto the ground. Before Aniela had a chance to move, Odette’s right leg began to twitch and Aniela wondered if she was having some kind of seizure, but the rest of her body remained still. She was not sure what to do; paralyzed by indecision, she watched helplessly as Nate ran over and placed his scarf under Odette’s head.
“Odette?” he called, equally panicked.
Aniela kicked herself for not thinking of that. She snatched her cell phone off the ground where Nate had dropped it, but Odette’s eyelashes batted rapidly and she started to come out of it.
Aniela put her hands on Odette’s shoulders to keep her from getting up. “Are you alright?”
Odette did not respond; her hand went to the side of her head, and though Aniela did not think she had hit it, she pulled it away gently to look. Odette continued to look dazed and confused.
“Odette, do you know where you are?” Aniela asked.
A white light and a click went off behind Aniela and she turned to find Nate standing an arm’s length away with a camera pointed at Odette’s foot.
“What is wrong with you?” Aniela snapped.
“You were handling it,” he responded, as if this sort of thing happens all the time. “She made a picture with her blade,” he added, pointing to the lines Odette’s skate had dug into the squishy floor material.
Aniela stood up and smacked the back of Nate’s head, “You idiot! It is a bunch of sporadic scratches in the floor, her leg was twitching.” She gave him a hard glare before turning her attention back to Odette. She helped Odette up into a seated position and pulled off her skates.
Aniela paused, and she noticed Odette’s dilated pupils, a side effect of using magic. “If you are sure you are okay we can go straight home. In light of your slip, I do not think we should go out for dinner. We can order in once we get there.” She decided she would call Theodore from the apartment once they got there to see if he thought Odette should to go to the hospital.
“That’s fine,” Odette said, “I think I am going to call it an early night anyway. I guess I was having so much fun I did not realize how tired I was getting.”
Sleepiness…another side effect of magic, particularly for those who had not used any recently, but most immigrants did not use their magic, accidentally or otherwise until much longer into their new lives. She glanced up at Nate and the pensive expression on his face said he had caught it as well.
“Well that settles it.” She got Odette’s skates off and helped her to her feet.
“Hey Odette, do you want a piggyback ride?” Nate asked.
“Sure!” Odette’s face lit up, and she jumped up on Nate’s back as Aniela returned the skates.
If the spasm had been a manifestation of Odette’s newly imbued powers, Theodore, who was in charge of keeping track of each immigrant’s gift, had his work cut out for him. It was like nothing Aniela had ever seen. She walked back slowly, trying to give herself time to think before having to return and socialize on the walk home.
She rejoined the pair and managed to make small talk on the way home, or at least as long as Odette was awake. About half way back the rather short excursion, Odette’s head slid down to rest on Nate’s shoulders, and her arms went limp around his neck. Her bangs fell unimpeded into her closed eyes; she looked quite peaceful in her sleep.
“Did you see her eyes? Was I imagining things?” Aniela asked Nate.
“I saw them, but what gift makes someone twitchy? At least no one else seemed to notice.”
Aniela nodded thoughtfully. The rules were bent for immigrants who could not yet control their magic, but it was still a serious problem if a tourist saw.
Once back at the apartment, Aniela rummaged through Odette’s bag for the keys. She pulled out a drawing of an ice skater tightly curled with her head back, leaving spin marks on the ice. She pocketed it to look at later and unlocked the door, holding it open for Nate before showing him the way to what she hoped was Odette’s bedroom and helped him get her onto the bed. She took a blanket from the other room and covered her up, not wanting to risk waking her by moving her around enough to get her under the sheets.
Aniela had to look through the cabinets and drawers before she found a phone book and started ordering food from a variety of places.
“I hope you don’t expect me to pay for all that,” Nate teased as he turned a chair around and sat with his arms resting on its back.
“Their refrigerator is barren, I think our freezer has more in it than they have in the entire apartment, and she is going to be hungry when she wakes up.”
She glanced over at Odette’s room. If it had been magic, she would be sound asleep until morning. Leaving Nate to answer the door if any of the delivery people came by while she was on the phone, Aniela stepped to the side of the room to call Theodore. Luckily, it was just Nate, and she did not care terribly if he overheard, but she certainly did not want Odette listening in.
When Theodore answered, she explained the situation and waited while he processed everything.
“If anything else weird happens, take her to the hospital,” he instructed. “Keep an eye on her, but from the sound of it, you were right. I am not sure what power would manifest in such a manner, so if you take her to the hospital, make sure they take her to the specialty wing.”
Aniela hung up and checked on Odette to make sure she was still asleep, taking one last look for bumps on the head before leaving her alone to rest.
Nate took care of the deliveries as they came, spreading each order out on the table and counters. Aniela grabbed some plates and the two of them dug into the Chinese food, opening all of the cartons and picking around with chopsticks to start. Once they were full, Aniela spent a good twenty minutes playing Tetris with the boxes to get them all to fit in the fridge. The Chinese was stacked on the Indian next to the pizza and styrofoam boxes of pancakes with paper wrapped burgers scattered throughout. She and Nate settled down on the sofa together to watch television, but Aniela was not paying any attention to the images flashing across the screen.
She worried about Odette, and her mind played through a multitude of scenarios. Low blood sugar, lingering jetlag, and sleep deprivation were all viable alternatives to magic she reasoned. She had never asked if Odette had any medical conditions or allergies.
“Hey, she’s going to be okay, stop worrying so much,” Nate tried to sooth.
Aniela’s eyes wandered over to the fridge where Leo had left emergency contact numbers. Should she call him at work and ask if this was a normal occurrence? She couldn’t help but feel she was taking too much the role of babysitter and not enough the role of friend. She reached across Nate for the remote and tried to find a distraction, trying to keep her anxieties to herself.
The next morning, despite not setting an alarm, Aniela was up at her usual time. She crept out of Odette’s room as quietly as possible. Not in the mood for leftovers, she found a box of chocolate sugary cereal puffs and poured some in a bowl with milk. Oh the heart attack her mother would have if she saw her now, sitting on the counter instead of at the table. Her feet swung back and forth as she took her first bite, and her taste buds tingled with glee.
Not having as much room to swing her legs as she had first thought, she accidentally kicked one of the kitchen chairs. Frozen, she listened until she was convinced she had not woken anyone up before she moved the bowl to her mouth, tossing the spoon in the sink and slurping the milk out of the bottom. She heard a door open behind her and leaned over around the corner of the kitchen cabinet to find Leo holding a lamp.
“Isn’t it a little early to be redecorating?”
Leo looked scruffy; he had Nate’s just-got-out-of-bed look but not on purpose, and even in the darkness, his dark facial stubble showed on his chin. Leo muttered something inaudible and put the lamp down on the nearest surface before he joined her. He pulled out the chair she had kicked and turned to face her with a yawn.
She felt so guilty, not only for waking him, but snapping at him earlier. His half-closed eyes reminded her of Theodore, but his warm chuckle and lopsided smile were friendlier than she had seen Theodore look in years. She apologized, and despite clearly being groggy, he kept her company until a noise from Odette’s room startled them both.
“What time does Odette usually get up?”
“Odette is far from a morning person, expect cave man answers when she first wakes up,” he joked.
The sounds of drawers sliding open and closed, cupboards slamming, and objects being shuffled around from Odette’s room caused Aniela to gaze at Leo inquisitively. Was Odette always like that in the morning? His expression, while not frantic, was concerned. He called out to Odette twice, but when she didn’t respond, he stood and went to check on her.
Aniela followed, sliding off the counter and keeping out of the way as she followed. What she saw when she got to Odette’s room concerned her deeply; Odette stood at her dresser, pulling clothing out and flinging them haphazardly over her shoulder. Navy fabric flew through the air and landed in crumpled piles on the nearest surface. Once Odette had removed all the navy fabric from one drawer, she moved to the next. Odette stopped and turned to stare at them. As Aniela continued to watch, unsure of what to do, she realized that the only color coming out of the drawer was navy even though she could see other colors in the drawers. How was a blind girl suddenly able to distinguish colors? Other than the piles, the room was pristine. The bed was made and all of Odette’s things were neatly put away. Her behavior did not line up.
Leo yelled at her in confused babbles, and Aniela looked down to find Odette limp in his arms. She ran for her cell phone and dialed the emergency number, returning to Leo’s side as it rang.
“What’s your emergency?”
“I have a teenage girl who just collapsed. We require transportation and might need the special ward.” She added the last part to clue the operator in that a healer might need to check for magical abnormalities in addition to the normal hospital staff.
After she had given the address and all the important information, she hung up and called her brother. “Theo, Odette collapsed, I called an ambulance; they should be here shortly. This might require your attention,” she added, trying to hint the same to him that she had told the emergency response caller.
“I understand, can you describe the situation in more detail at this time?”
“No, Leo is taking good care of her until they arrive.”
“Understood, fill me in as soon as they are in the ambulance and headed toward the hospital. I will meet them there; you have other things you need to be doing today. I will take good care of them.”
She waited with Leo, trying to keep him calm while they waited for the ambulance. Aniela squeezed his shoulder and he met her gaze with watery eyes. As much as Aniela wanted to go with him, she had to resist. They would only let one person in the ambulance anyway. Her eyes locked with Leo’s for one more moment before the ambulance doors slammed shut and she was left in the middle of the street, watching as they drove away, sirens blaring.
Next Chapter – Coming Next Week
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 Aniela Dawson. This volume is told from the point of view of Odette’s friend who thinks she’s a medium channeling spirits. The companion novel, Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes tells the same story, but through a different point of view. Odette’s brother Leo is convinced Odette is having premonitions and cannot be convinced otherwise. Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?
You can also learn more about our novels on our page, Ermilia Books.