1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Winner The End Short Story Contest 74: Dream Becomes Reality

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Sep 6, 2010.

    The End - Dreaming Blind

    The sun was bright and the sky clear. People were walking and talking in the masses around him. The city was busy as usual. Merchants barked their prices to those that passed by. Most ignored the gestures at the “grand” items and “cheap” prices. It was the normal day in the city.

    Nicolas sat on the ground, very still, against a wall on one of the street corners. Everyone was familiar with him. He sat there almost every day and most nights. He sighed again, which was usual. Even though the sun was full in the sky, he couldn’t see it. Sight had been robbed from him at birth. In his twenties, he didn’t have much potential. Who wanted a blind man? So he sat on the street corner, listening to the bustle around him.

    There was little to hear that was interesting or new. Most people talked about the same old things over and over again. He doubted that the people realized how stale their lives really were. They could see while he couldn’t; it was true. Sight may have added an element of excitement to their lives, but then why did their lives still remain so dry? The women talked of perfumes, clothes, and daily chores, while the men were more intent on their work and only discussed business, which sounded very repetitive. Nicolas could repeat the conversations of the merchants before they even happened. Today was no different; nothing new, nothing exciting, same old same old.

    Someone kicked his foot and yelled at him for being in the way. Pulling his legs in, Nicolas yelled back at them to watch where they were going. The disrespect everyone showed him was shocking. Very few people pitied or helped him. Occasionally someone would give him a piece of bread or a drink. He was grateful for those small gifts. Food was hard to come by for a blind man.

    Sitting back against the wall and turning his face towards the sky, he felt the warmth engulf his face. He tried to imagine what the sun looked like. A few people had attempted to describe it to him, but that was difficult. A big bright yellow ball? What did that mean? What was yellow? Or a ball? He’d never seen yellow before. Once he had the privilege of holding a ball for a few seconds. It was smooth and circular, but it still didn’t represent a good description of the sun. He had a hard time picturing that in a huge blackness.

    He decided it was impossible for the seeing to describe the world to the blind. How could they when they didn’t understand? He had never seen anything before. A wild concept for most. His other senses had to make up for his loss of sight. His ears and sense of smell were keen. For the most part, that is how he maneuvered around the city when he wanted. Touch helped, but people usually laughed when they saw him groping around in broad daylight. So as a general rule for himself, he tried to only move during the evening when everyone was heading home or already asleep.

    The day lasted forever. When night finally came, Nicolas was able to lie down and sleep without people stepping on him. His dreams played a mock image of him running and laughing in the sun. He loved dreams; they were the only thing that gave him hope of sight. He always welcomed the fantasy.

    The next morning people kicked him awake and he had to sit up. The chatter going on around was a little more subdued than normal. A new subject had finally reached the city gossip. Nicolas listened intently, mainly because he didn’t have anything else to do. As he listened, his intensity and excitement grew. It was unlike anything he had ever heard. There was a man in the area that could perform miracles. Some people said he was coming to the city, while others argued against the possibility. Nicolas hoped greatly that his man was real and could actually heal him. From time to time, rumors of such men came and went, but no real man ever appeared. Nicolas didn’t give up; there was always a little hope that it was true.

    The rumors grew more excited as the day dragged on and Nicolas determined to wait at the gate for the man. The idea was absurd to those that watched him. No one offered to help him get there. He had to stumble along by himself. At first he stayed by the wall for support and guidance. Later he moved into the road as the crowds thinned. A few times he fell and people laughed and kicked him. The angry merchants spit on him in disgust and called him a cursed blind. He didn’t believe it and growled defiantly at those claiming such. He would make it to the gate and meet the man.

    On his journey he learned that the man had entered the city. Desperate, Nicolas struggled through the crowds as fast as he could. He had to meet the man before he left again. The minutes dragged on and still he wasn’t at the gate and the man could be anywhere by then. A harsh shove from behind knocked him to he ground. It didn’t hurt, but tears trickled down his face. He just wanted to see. Everyone else took it for granted. To him it was a gift – a precious gift that he didn’t have.

    A hand touched his shoulder. With the help of the stranger, he stood up. He quickly wiped the tears away.

    “Thank you.” He said quietly.

    The stranger still rested his hand on Nicolas’ shoulder. “Hello Nicolas. You’ve come a long way.”

    Nicolas was surprised at the use of his name. Almost no one knew him. He didn’t have any friends. “How do you know my name?”

    The man laughed gently, “I am the one you came to find. I’ve heard about you, the blind man.”

    Nicolas’ heart jumped. “You’re the one who can heal me?!”

    “Yes, and I will.”

    The man let go and Nicolas heard something that sounded like spitting. He readied himself to get wet, but nothing came. Someone scratched in the dirt and he felt the dust settle on his bare feet. A second later Nicolas could feel the man close to his face.

    Wet fingers touched his eyes and Nicolas’ first reaction was to pull away. The man grabbed him and held him still. “Just wait. I’m healing you.”

    The wet fingers touched his eyes again; something sticky and musty smelling clung to his eyes. The man worked until both eyes were completely covered. Nicolas didn’t understand how this would help him see, but he was no physician, so he waited patiently. Hoping it would work in the end.

    The man stepped back and said, “Now, you need to go wash your face in the river outside the city. Then you will be healed.”

    Shock hit Nicolas. “What? Wash in the river? I won’t be able to find it! And I might fall in or drown. I can’t see! How am I supposed to get there?”

    Nicolas heard the man chuckle, which annoyed him. “You will be able to find it,” said the man kindly. Nicolas felt a staff placed in his hand. “Go out the gate and head left. The river is not far from there. Use the staff to find your way. If all goes well and you will wash your face. You will be able to find your way back.”

    Nicolas started to protest, but the man interrupted him. “I’ll be here when you get back. Hurry! Don’t you want to see?”

    Since he didn’t disagree, Nicolas decided to do as the man said. It took him a second to gather his bearings, and then he was on his way. People were obviously around him, watching and listening. He could feel them and hear their whispers. They must have been there the whole time, but didn’t say anything and just watched. The man had a great affect on everyone. No one bothered him and he had little trouble getting out of the gate. Here was the problem: finding the river. He’d never been outside of the city. It was suicide for a blind man. There were wild animals, bandits, and harsh weather.

    Confused and frustrated, he followed the man’s directions and went left. It seemed absurd for him to wash in the river. He wondered if the man was just trying to get him killed. As he walked, he heard the people around him whispering that the man had put mud on his eyes. The news almost blew his temper over the top. It was insulting! Putting mud on a blind man’s eyes, and then telling him to wash it off in a river! Nicolas had thought this man was a physician or healer. Not a mad man. He had assumed the sticky stuff was an ointment, not mud. For a moment he almost turned back, but the idea of seeing kept him going. Even as crazy as the idea seemed, he didn’t want to give up. If he could actually get healed like this, he would do it. Besides, maybe it would be better to die in a river trying to get healed than to live blind.

    Before long he could hear the river rushing in front of him. Using his stick, he weaved in and out of the scattered trees to the rivers edge. The bank wasn’t steep at all, but rather merged with the river. Nicolas slowly walked down to the water and felt it nip at his toes. It was cool and refreshing from the heat. Uncertain, he waited for a moment. Was this really the moment he had been waiting for? Was sight sitting before him? Waiting for him to snatch it before it slipped away? A breeze hit his face and he once more imagined the sun glowing above him.

    This was the moment. Pushing his thoughts down and without a second thought, he leapt into the water and eagerly rubbed the crusty dirt out of his eyes. It hurt and burned. The mud was thick and didn’t want to come off. With more determination, he cleaned it all out. He came to the surface and the world met his eyes for the first time.

    The water was blue and rushing around him, shimmering beautifully in the sunlight. He looked at the sky and saw the sun, bright and yellow, shining down on him. Tears rushed down his face and he laughed as never before. He soaked it all in. The green trees and grass, brown dirt, the grey stone city, and anything else he could see.

    Nicolas looked at his own hands and arms. Catching a reflection of himself in the water, he quickly tried to find it again. His long hair was brown and he had deep brown eyes. He blinked and watched as the water disappeared and returned. He laughed again. It was amazing! Absolutely amazing! A bird flew out from a tree, and for the first time he saw one of the gorgeous creatures that he loved to listen to in the early mornings. No more dreaming. No more imagining. He could really see now!

    Catching him by surprise, he took notice of the people watching him from the shore. Their faces displayed their astonishment. No one had witnessed anything like it. Most of them knew Nicolas his whole life. He was always the blind man to them. No longer was it true – Nicolas was now a seeing man.

    He rushed out of the water and observed all the faces. He didn’t recognize anyone. That was of little surprise, he only knew what they sounded like. Someone said his name. He recognized it as his mother. She hadn’t come and seen him in almost two years when his father had died. She had been so bitter that he was blind and couldn’t take care of her. A short woman, slightly overweight, in dark brown garments walked towards him. Tears streamed down her face.

    “Nicolas,” she choked.

    He rushed forward and clung to her; all wrongs forgotten. She shook and cried in his arms. Unable to control his own emotions he joined her and cried his heart out. He could see and she came back to him. He didn’t know how long they stood there hugging and it didn’t really matter, but when they pulled apart, he remembered the man who had healed him. He was probably still waiting.

    Nicolas pulled his mother with him, and they walked through the astonished crowd back towards the city. It was much more difficult because everyone wanted to see Nicolas the blind man. Everyone was talking and pointing, hardly believing their eyes. Nicolas ignored them and focused on reaching the man. He had to thank him. How could he not? His life was completely changed forever!

    When he reached the city, everything was far different than how he remembered as a blind man. Nothing looked liked how he dreamed it would. They were only dreams, this was reality. He grinned, he could see.

    A man stood in a group of twelve men, and they all seemed to be waited for him. Nicolas hurried to the man who looked in charge. He had brown hair and deep eyes. A smile lit his kind face.

    Nicolas fell at the man’s feet. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He said over and over again. The man bent down and hugged him; then pulled him up. Wiping away Nicolas’ tears, the man said, “You’re welcome Nicolas. Go home and bless others as I have blessed you.”

    Nicolas nodded, “I will. Thank you…?”

    The man smiled, “Jesus.”

    Nicolas beamed, “Thank you, Jesus.”

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