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Open your (too many) Eyes

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The first eye appears not long after he accepts the position as Head Archivist of the Institute. Half asleep, Jonathan Sims stumbles out of his cot in document storage and towards the bathroom. A quick splash of water, and he lifts his face up towards the mirror to see himself for the first time that day. And, right there under his right eye, sits another one that he was certain had never been there before in his life.

He screams, of course. Stumbles away from the mirror and hits his back on the wall behind him, and hard. His toothbrush toppled off of the sink and he can see something that had been hanging on the wall slip to the ground out of the corners of his eyes. Breathing fast and shallow, he brings both hands up to his face and starts rubbing furiously at the two eyes he’s more familiar with. And when the hands fall away, his cheek is just as pristine as it was before. Peppered with faint acne scars and still slightly damp, but eye-less.

Jon rushes back towards the mirror, hands softly going over his skin where the eye had seemingly been. Not even the slightest impression remained, no line in the skin or bump left behind. Maybe he just... needs more sleep. That’s absolutely it, he’s decided that’s the answer and is taking no more suggestions. He cards his hand through his bedhead and sighs deeply. Maybe he should’ve headed home last night. Getting such bad sleep must be messing with his head. Jon turns, one last time, back towards the mirror before shuffling out of the bathroom, desperate to leave whatever just happened far behind. And if he’s a bit more snippy than usual today? Well, nobody takes much of a notice to that.

The second eye is even easier to forget, even though it can’t simply be written off as Jon’s sleep-addled mind playing tricks on him. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it is easily and successfully played off as his panicked mind putting something where it shouldn’t. Because the archives are currently being flooded with worms, and that probably isn’t the best time to focus on any new additions to the body of the Archivist, other than the worms crawling into his flesh.

Jon and Martin are hiding, gazing out a window towards the writhing floor of bugs. The tape recorder spins dutifully, capturing every ounce of audio that enters the room. The two soft voices talking to one another, the squirming of worms desperately trying to find something, anything to feed on, and it’s own staticky feedback. Jon asks Martin a question, and loud laughter fills the spaces in between and around them in the span of a second, before quickly silencing itself.

Jon shifts, sitting beside Martin instead of facing him. Their backs face towards the empty remainder of the room, as well as the door that let them in in the first place. Completely blind to the worms wriggling under the cracks and tearing into the walls. Without knowing why, Jon gets the feeling to open his eyes. Which makes absolutely no sense, why would he need to do that if they already were? But he doesn’t have many better ideas, so he obliges, and sees the worms doing their very best to get under and around the door.

“Martin, GO!” The yell rips itself from Jon’s throat, followed by a startled noise from Martin as his hand is grabbed and dragged towards the other end of the room. The corkscrew is held so tightly in his hand it hurts, and he can feel the edges digging into his sweaty palm. He looks up from the worms, from his hand (one gripped oh so tightly in Jon’s), and at Jon himself. Or more specifically, the bright eye that has decided to make its home on the back of his neck.

The eye itself is nothing special. It shares the same deep green hue that Jon’s do, with the same long eyelashes and even the same sleep-deprived bags under it. If it weren’t so absolutely horrifying, Martin would think it was funny that even his weird spooky extra eye needed to take a nap. But this was no time for laughing or questioning, and the two fled to the back of the room. Too late to notice the knocking (which scared the both half to death, especially with the worms gaining on them), but thankfully just in time to be with Tim as he burst through the wall, fire extinguishers in hand.

When Martin looked again, the eye was gone. He never mentioned it to anyone after.

Jon had no idea for a long time how exactly he knew the worms were there, and why the back of his neck felt so irritated for the next week.