I’ve never been a good person.
I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time but for most of my high school years, my own personal insecurities made me act out and punish others in attempt to feel better about myself. Mama always told me something would happen to alter the course of my life and subdue my poor attitude forever if I didn’t grow self-aware soon enough, but based on my lucky streak of always getting what I wanted for 16 straight years, I didn’t believe her.
I was a bully in school, and I did not just operate alone. I often recruited other students to work with me when i wanted to ridicule someone. And then I’d use a different set of people to help me torment the ones I worked with. I hate to say it but these were mostly appearance-based taunts. Some of them came from a pretty racist standpoint as well.
A majority of these would end without consequences. I’d be chided by a teacher or a passing student at worst. A few of the student cliques ostracised me for being a horrible person. But nothing really threw me off, so the bullying persisted and eventually got out of hand.
One day, after school, I chose to pick on a small, Form 1 Chinese boy who had made no mistake other than walking into the bathroom where my friend Roland and I stood talking by the sink. He strolled past without acknowledging us and this angered me.
“What, you can’t see me with those slanted eyes?” I jeered, pulling on my own eyes to narrow them. Roland burst out in laughter and did the same. To our shock and disdain, the boy just walked right past us, unaffected, right into his cubicle.
I’m not sure if it was embarrassment or rage, but when he came out, I just couldn’t let it go.
“Hey!” I shouted. I didn’t even know his name. He looked at me, with the same unbothered expression on his face. I grabbed him and shoved him back inside the cubicle, asking Roland to pass me a bottle of glue from my backpack. That was where he drew the line and asked if I was insane.
I knew it was an unsound thing to do, but I needed it. I wanted to hear the boy scream in sheer fear of me. I pinned him against the wall with the entire weight of my body and pried his right eye open, aiming the glue bottle’s nozzle at it. Roland walked out of the bathroom saying he couldn’t bare to witness it but would stand watch, and I, without a second thought, squeezed a large helping of glue directly into the boy’s eye while he shrieked and begged me to stop.
I did the same to his left eye, laughing at the sight of his helplessness.
“Are your eyes shut or open? I really can’t tell ’cause you look the same either way,” I sneered at him before swiftly walking out, not turning back.
I never got caught. At the back of my mind I expected the boy to rat me out but what’s done was done and I figured I could just fabricate some sort of excuse for it, if it ever came up. Instead, I found out that the boy had silently suffered corneal abrasions in both eyes which severely disrupted his vision. While the damage was not permanent, the effects were pretty extreme due to the irritants in the glue as well. Healing would take up to a full year.
I don’t know what he told his parents nor the student who found him in that state, but no one besides Roland ever knew it was my work. That didn’t stop the guilt, though.
Over the next two weeks, I dreamt about the boy, every night. I barely even remembered his face because he had been so insignificant to me at the time, but in my dreams, his features showed up clearly.
It was the same dream every time- him first standing facing me with his eyes shut, completely silent and maybe even asleep; then suddenly they’d spring open, revealing only pure white. He had no pupils.
“I see you…” he’d whisper to me. Then I’d wake up.
Over time, the phrase went beyond my subconscious and began manifesting in my waking life as well. I could be quietly reading a book on the couch and suddenly hear “I see you…” as if it were being whispered directly into my ears.
At one point, I even thought that perhaps the boy or some kind of spiritual figure was comforting me by affirming that he could still see me, meaning that his eyesight wasn’t so adversely impacted as a result of my aggression.
It wasn’t until I woke up in the ICU after a car accident with my right eye hanging out of its socket that I realised what he had actually meant.
* All illustrations are edited versions of free stock images available on the public domain.
* Malaysian Mystery Memoirs is a series of fictional horror tales by JUICE, for entertainment purposes only. Any similarities to actual persons or situations are purely coincidental.