Blinded By Sight
Science Fiction Series - Dystopian Adventure
Blinded by Sight is a 170 page (35k word) short novel, and is Book 3 of the Gray Series.
There is more to blindness than just the absence of sight.
For Declan, that truth began as a painful journey to uncover the mysteries of the VAC machines and why they failed to bring color back to their dreary gray world.
For Sammi, the VAC machine has become her salvation, challenging the same truths Declan seeks, trying to reveal what is and is not real.
For Isla, her journey began more than a hundred years ago, eclipsing her own death, awakening deep inside the VAC Machine. She discovers an unexpected history and why death for some opens the wrong doors.
For Ms. Gilly and Richard, their chance encounter with an ancient artifact leads them to risking their lives to find answers to questions they may wish they'd never asked.
Blinded by Sight continues the Gray Skies story, exploring why the clouds fell from the sky and why what you see isn't always what it seems.
And don't forget to pick up the final chapters of the Gray Series series, Union!
READ AN EXCERPT
“He’s ready now.”
Declan’s mother’s voice sounded strong, automatic, and seemingly void of compassion. He wanted to cry out to her, to beg for help, but found he could say nothing. Though most of his senses were gone, he was able to hold on to some of his consciousness. But even thoughts of help were fleeting, as uncertainty and doubt eroded the idea, like the waves breaking on the shoreline. I’m on the beach, he remembered. Surely this is a mistake… this isn’t real.
He wondered if maybe he’d died during his journey from the Commune. Had he escaped the Outsiders? Had he buried himself deep enough into the sands? Had they walked over his body, passing him? Surely they must have. He remembered the days after his encounter, crawling along the shoreline, listening for their return. But he’d stayed alone; they were gone.
Declan tried to remember the last time he’d had food, or fresh water. Just how true were the reflections he had seen in the machine? Was there a machine?
I must be dead, he thought, and imagined his body far away, half-buried in the surf and black sands, with salt gnats burrowing under his skin while sand fleas invited themselves in for a tasty morsel.
If he was dead, then the visions of his family and Sammi must have been his final moments of life. It was a simple idea, really. He’d experienced the moment of his death. While the effects were intense, the visions weren’t real. They were the last of his brain’s electrical impulses, fired all at once; a torrent of random energy volleyed to his brain’s starving neurons. The images were just a random sequence of what he wanted to see, what he needed to see. He hadn’t really seen his mother; he hadn’t spoken to her. And he hadn’t seen his sister waving back at him from the machine. None of it was true. And if none of what he’d seen was true, then he couldn’t have seen Sammi, either.
With this last thought, he felt a deep sadness. Pain. But with death, could there still exist a feeling so intense? Did it matter? If Sammi was gone, then he had to be dead; he wanted to be dead.
He heard his mother’s voice again, but with the world around him disappearing, confusion played tricks on his mind. In part, he’d considered the experience a dream, as though he were stuck in that vulnerable place before waking. And when the sensation of being moved came to him, he tried to lift his hands, open his eyes. He realized then that his eyes might already be open: but blind to what was happening to him, and around him.
Whatever change started when his mother touched his face, he wanted it to be over. He begged for it to be over. The numbing sensation that bloomed from his cheek expanded over all of him, rendering him a living corpse. He was conscious, but then he wasn’t. He was aware, but only of the distant voices and scant images. He was a mere shell, and fear was evolving into the only feeling he recognized, consuming whatever sanity remained.
Time passed, but he didn’t know how much. Without his senses, he wondered if what his mother had started had finally come to him, relieving him of all living duties: death.
For a brief moment, there was a breeze touching him, and then the faint smell of the ocean. Death hadn’t come to him after all, yet more time had passed. Declan realized that he was skirting around consciousness, bouncing in and out of reality, like in a game of fast-tag where he was dodging whoever had been tagged. And, though muted, the rumble of a breaking wave followed, bearing hope and certainty to what he thought was real.
The salty ocean smell told him that he was still on the beach, and that he was breathing. It also told him that Sammi was alive. She’d come to him at last, when his mother touched his face, and spoke those words. He tried to motion his hand, reaching for where his mother touched his cheek, and then thought he’d laugh if he could, envisioning his hand locked away at his side, where it had been since his senses left him.
The sensation of being lifted came to him, the feelings of rising into the air and moving. But he didn’t feel the pressure of hands beneath him, carrying him. In fact, he didn’t feel anyone touching him at all. He was being carried into the machine; he was as sure of it as he was afraid. Distant voices spoke back and forth, but with his senses nearly orphaned, he was unable to make out what was being said.
At once, he wanted to cry. He wanted to call out to Sammi and his family, to plead with them, to beg that they bring him back from whatever strange state of abeyance they had put him into. The world went black then. No more voices; no sensations of being carried; nothing.
Declan never remembered sleeping so soundly, so comfortably. He opened his eyes, spurred by the tickle of Sammi’s long hair dangling above his chin and nose. While her laughing roused him, sleep kept his gaze hazy. She snickered excitedly and shook her head, brushing more of her hair over his face. Through the veil of red tresses, he found her green eyes, large and inviting. As the sleep in him faded further, he offered a contented smile.
“About time you woke up; you’ve been sleeping for a while!” Sammi exclaimed. Leaning in, with her hair falling all around his head, she planted her lips on his and kissed him. For a moment, he was lost in her, but as the twilight of sleep waned, the reality of what was happening began to settle in.
They were on a bed, but this bed wasn’t like the cots in their dwellings. The mattress was thick and foamy, and seemed to remember him as he moved. It was nothing like the wool-filled mattresses he’d helped sew and mend a hundred times; those were more give than cushion. And they were covered with a silvery blanket that reminded him of the strange coveralls he’d seen Sammi wearing on the beach. Images of his mother and sister came to him then: images of his mother touching his face, and taking away all of his senses.
Alarmed, he pulled back from Sammi, questions pushing forward in his mind.
“Where are we?” he asked, drawing in a sharp breath. He pulled the blanket up, as though it were protecting him from the unknown. For a moment, confusion and emotion took his words away. Uncertainty stayed with him, leaving him to wonder if he was awake or still asleep, dreaming. He squeezed the sleep from his bleary eyes, adapting to the room, bringing into focus this new reality.
“Sammi? It’s really you?” he cried, and fought the urge to embrace her. Dropping the blanket, he moved his hands over her face, her shoulders, over her arms, and even to the injury that had taken her life. His mind told him how impossible it was, yet the touch of her fingers, her eyes staring back at him, and even her smell told him that she was alive. And when his mind was finally satisfied, Declan rested his hands in hers.
He tried to speak. He tried, but a sudden rush of emotion hitched his breath, fumbling his words. With a settling breath, he struggled to push out the words. “But… how?”
“Shhh,” she answered, pressing a finger to his lips. Sammi moved closer to him, and as she pressed her body into his, the sheen of the silvery blanket showed off her curvy form. She paused once, fixing her eyes on his. The warm touch of her skin was welcome. And as she feathered his eyes and mouth with her lips, her breathing deepened.
Reaching under the covers and taking hold of him, she made certain he knew what her intentions were. A flurry of anxiety and excitement tumbled inside him like awkward lovers, causing him to pause. Declan searched her eyes, and seeing that she was a little nervous too, he motioned to ask if she was sure. She answered eagerly, and pulled him to her, parting his lips with her tongue, kissing him like she’d never kissed him before. He returned the kiss, engaging Sammi, whom he thought he’d lost forever.
“I choose you, Declan Chambers,” she told him, her words soft and breathy. Sammi pushed away the blanket to expose their naked bodies. “We’re together, and we’re home. That’s all we need to know right now.”
She lifted herself on top of him, moving her hands with his, touching as their breathing grew heavy and fast. He soon forgot the questions he’d asked, and a moment later he was above her, resting on his elbows, his chest pressing against her breasts.
When she wrapped her legs around him, he said, “As your chosen, I accept you, Sammi Tate. I love you.”
She told him that she loved him too, and helped guide him closer, preparing to make love for the first time, and to make it last until they collapsed into one another’s arms.
Declan eased himself from that place where dreams are sometimes real, where dreams are sometimes fantasy, but, more often, are unforgiving. It was where people died and never came back. Waiting for his bleary eyes to adjust, he blinked away the sleep that was holding onto him.
But none of what had happened was a dream. He was awake, and he really was here in this strange place, with Sammi sleeping beside him. Not wanting to wake her just yet, he looked around.
Like the shapely curve of Sammi’s body beneath the silver blanket, rising and falling as she slept, the walls around them bore a smooth canvas, uninterrupted by cut-lines or corners. The room that Sammi called their home was bigger than any of the dwellings from their Commune. It was a round room with a mix of art and technology nestled flush in the walls. One image caught his eyes. It was a strange landscape: a great desert, with a hovering gray sky looking down upon it, all under the cautious eye of a white sun, high and commanding. Sands in the desert imagery seemed to move with each of Sammi’s breaths; an eerie harmony, or illusion, which Declan quickly dismissed as coincidence.
Above the entrance to their room, a series of six small lights blinked in odd successions, alternating colors and frequency. Declan stared at the illuminations, mesmerized by the patterns they played. He struggled to understand what the lighting was. He thought maybe it was artwork, or possibly a part of the machine’s technology.
Sammi stirred, a delicate yawn spilling out while she wrapped an arm around Declan’s middle. Stretching the sleep from her body, she pushed a slender leg over him, and dressed his feet with her toes. His heart swelled with the intimacy of the moment.
“I love this place,” she said, her voice sounding sleepy, but rested. “I can get used to this… can’t you?” Lifting the covers, she took hold of him in her hand, and moved to meet his eyes. She caught him off guard then, as she gave a playful squeeze with her fingers.
“Well… I can certainly get used to that,” he answered, laughing. “But I’m hungry… are you?” Sammi nodded a quick agreement, letting him go.
Putting her finger to his lips, she said, “Just wait until you see this!”
Intrigued, Declan said nothing, and watched as Sammi moved from beneath the covers. A rush of cool air fell over his bare skin. He watched Sammi, seeing all of her beauty as she stood up, free of any coveralls. And while she strode around the bed, he smiled at the lift and fall of her breasts.
“I can get used to that too,” he said, and then laughed. Sammi stopped, letting him stare another moment, and then returned a quick wink.
At once, the emotion of her death struck him, and images of her naked body lying on the steel table came to mind. He saw the blood running along her pale leg as he washed her wound; he saw her dead eyes before he shut them for the final time. Taken by the memory, Declan sat up, swinging his feet over the edge of the bed.
“Sammi?” He struggled to get up, and reached for her hand. She stopped, the smile on her face turning down with concern. Moving to him, she took his fingers.
“Declan, what is it?”
“You were dead… and now you’re here—” was all he was able to get out before emotion stole his words. He pulled her toward him, her bare skin warm under his touch. He brushed his fingers over her belly, which remained flat and clean, absent of painful memories. Gone was the wound that had taken her life; the pureness of her skin was uninterrupted. Like the walls around them, she was whole and unscathed. Wrapping his arms around her, he pressed his lips to her skin: warm and alive. Sammi leaned over him, her hair falling onto his shoulders, her chest resting against his head.
“I remember, Declan,” she whispered, and then kissed the top of his head. “Some of it, anyway. I remember the theater, and pain. But then the pain started to go away, and I remember you were there, looking down at me.” Sammi ran her hand through his hair.
“I don’t know how you can be here—alive,” he exclaimed. Sammi lifted his chin to meet her eyes, a tear from her cheek falling onto him.
“I do remember more, Declan. I’m so sorry you were there to see me die,” she finished, and then held him.
With those words, he began to cry with her. He tried to hold back, but to have her in his arms was too much. And as they held one another, she hummed a rhyme he’d heard her sing so many times before. The hymn encouraged more tears. Sammi was alive, and he wasn’t sure if he cared how it was possible. Not now, anyway.
Sammi lowered him back onto the bed, and then lay on top of him with her head resting on his chest. There they stayed for some time, saying nothing, just being together. When Declan kissed her, she kissed him back, harder and more sensual, and then she pushed her legs to his sides. Forgetting they were hungry, and forgetting Sammi had something to show him, Declan’s only thoughts were of the love he had for her, and the completeness in his heart as they made love.