The Girl with No Eyes
Lisa Marie Hagerman
The Girl with No Eyes by Lisa Marie Hagerman
One morning a little girl arrived from the nursery. The girl had no eyes.
The girls gathered around the new arrival to stare at her face. When their protector unlocked the door to serve them their morning Wheaties, the girl with one arm asked what happened to her.
“She came out of the vat that way, just like you.” Their protector tapped the stump of the girl’s shoulder with his sidearm. “It happens.” He shrugged. “Now eat your Wheaties. Breakfast of Champions.”
The next day their protector brought a woman into the room. Her blouse was torn at the sleeve. Her right eye was swollen shut. Her fingers shook as she touched her bleeding lip.
Their protector gave her a book and locked the door. The woman looked around for a chair. Then she sat on a mattress and opened the book.
She read a story about a girl named after ashes in a hearth. The girl had a dead mother, and a father who married a woman with two daughters.
“What is a mother?” the girl with no hair asked.
“What is a father?” the girl with one kidney asked.
The woman looked up and squinted with her one good eye. “What happened to you?”
“We came out of the vat that way,” the girl with one arm said.
“You poor children,” the woman said.
At the end of the day when their protector unlocked the room to let the woman empty the pee and poo bucket, the girls looked at the book. They wanted names like the girl in the story, but no one wanted to be called “floor,” or “ceiling,” or “mattress,” or “light bulb,” or “pee and poo bucket.”
The girl with no hair wanted to name herself after something she wanted to see someday. She named herself “Daisy,” because whenever her benefactor came to take her hair, she was told her hair was like hers, the color of the center of a daisy.
Daisy named the girl with no eyes “Sky.”
“I want to be called Sky,” the girl with one arm said. “I want to see the sky too.”
“I also want to see the sky,” the girl with one kidney said.
“How about Blue?” Daisy said to the girl with one arm. “And you,” she pointed to the girl with one kidney, “can be called Sunny. The sky is blue when the day is sunny. All the names belong together, like a family.”
During the day, the woman taught the alphabet by drawing letters on the wall with chalk provided by their protector. At night, she slept on a mattress in the corner.
One morning in the middle of a spelling lesson, the woman broke down and began to cry. She told the girls she missed her children and wanted to go home. When their protector unlocked the door to let the woman empty the pee and poo bucket, she didn’t return.
The next morning their protector took the girls outside. The girls were delighted to see the sky. Everyone except Sky, of course, because she had no eyes. Sky asked Sunny what she saw.
“Sky,” Sunny said. “Sun. Wall. The woman, tied to a tree.”
The girls laughed at the oddity of shadows. They skipped and jumped on the dry, cracked earth, around the tree where the woman was tied up.
“Girls, pay attention,” their protector said. “This is what happens when you don’t follow the rules.”
Their protector aimed and fired. For once, Sky was glad she couldn’t see.
The following week a teacher arrived. She answered their questions. She told them they were special. They didn’t have mothers and fathers. They were genetic copies of their benefactors, designed for a purpose only their benefactors knew. Someday they would be taken to their benefactors and find out their purpose.
Sky remembered Sunny telling her about the wall surrounding the compound and asked their teacher what was behind it.
“Anarchy. Mayhem. The darkness of the human heart.”
One day they ran out of Wheaties. Their protector switched to Cheerios. “One hundred percent whole grain oats,” he said as he poured water into their cereal.
Years passed. Sunny and Blue were taken to meet their benefactors and never seen again. When Sky turned eight, it was her turn.
Sky was taken to someone called Doctor who gave her a shot that put her to sleep. When she awoke the next day, she found herself back in the room. Her hair was gone. The incision sutured around her scalp looked like a crown of thorns. A gift from her benefactor was tied to her hand with a silk ribbon.
Sky opened the gift but couldn’t tell what it was. Daisy told her she got sunglasses. Daisy knew this because her benefactor also had sunglasses. Daisy helped Sky put them on. For the first time in her life, Sky could see.
Barefoot girls in dirty smocks. Concrete walls. Mattresses on the floor. A bare light bulb screwed into the ceiling. The pee and poo bucket in the corner. Empty bowls by the door.
“What a worthless gift for a girl with no eyes,” their protector said when he served them their mid-afternoon Cheerios. He took Sky’s sunglasses and put them on. “Tell your benefactor thanks when you see her.” He laughed.
Sky was astonished she could still see.
She saw herself in her dirty smock and bare feet. Her face had no eyes. Stitches ringed her shorn scalp. When their protector walked into the nursery, she saw babies growing in vats of liquid. Outside, she saw the dry cracked earth, and barbed wire on top of the wall surrounding the compound.
For the first time in her life, Sky saw the sky.
That night Sky’s benefactor visited her in a dream.
An old woman with white hair sat in an empty white room. Frail hands rested on top of a cane.
Each morning when Sky awoke, she remembered the woman, but not the dream. Yet, over time, Sky began to remember.
Arm, leg, wrist, head locks. Kicks, punches, chokes, strikes, knife attacks, and defenses against them. Krav Maga. Plum Flower Fist. Muay Thai. Revolvers and semiautomatics. Machine gun takedowns. The XM25 and CS5.
She remembered Prague. San Salvador. The hijacking in Hong Kong. The assassination in Belarus.
She remembered everything.
She was pulled out of retirement for her final mission. The mission was complicated, and the most important of her life. When she learned the child had no eyes, she turned that handicap into an advantage.
If the mission was a success, her memories would belong to the child. Consciousness uploading. The miracle of technology.
If she failed, the child would die. So too her hope for humanity.
When their protector unlocked the door to serve the girls their morning Cheerios, Sky disarmed him and shot him between the eyes. She took back her glasses and returned them to her face.
In the hallway, she aimed and fired. Guards dropped. Security cameras shattered. She had enough rounds. She didn’t miss.
Thanks to the glasses their protector had worn all week, the layout of the compound was mapped into her implant.
Sky went to the office where the protectors were having a meeting and took them out. They weren’t expecting a problem. After all, she was a girl with no eyes.
Sky separated allies from enemies. Her allies swore their allegiance to her. She took her enemies to the firing range and ordered her allies to watch.
“This is what happens when you don’t follow the rules,” she said.
She aimed and fired.
Sky unlocked the door of the room, but did not let the girls leave the compound. It was not safe outside the wall. In any case, the girls had no mothers or fathers. They had nowhere to go.
Over the years, Sky taught them everything she knew. Krav Maga. Plum Flower Fist. Muay Thai. Revolvers and semiautomatics. Machine gun takedowns. The XM25 and CS5.
Sky did not teach the girls about mothers and fathers. There was no point.
One day anarchy would give way to order, mayhem to peace, and darkness to light.
With help from her new family.