Spectacles

📅 Published on July 29, 2022

“Spectacles”

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 16 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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Edward MacAllister enjoyed reading.  He was avid about it.  He was a borderline bibliophile.  He read books, newspapers and magazines.  Ever since he was a child he read.  He could not remember a time when he could not read, nor could he remember who taught him to read.  It must have been his mother.  He knew he had learned to read proficiently well before other children his age, because when he started primary school – which some call elementary school – he was assisting the teacher as a classroom aid, helping other students to develop their literacy skills as well.  He was called Eddy at the time.  It seems people give young people hypocorisms or nicknames growing up, like Charles was called Chucky and Robert was called Bobby.  Most kids grow out of those childhood names and, by adulthood, revert back to their given name.  This was the case for Edward, who no longer wanted to be called Eddy.  He did have a childhood friend whom he had remained friends with into his adult life named Michael.  To this day, Edward still called him Mikey.

Edward and Mikey had just finished lunch together at a local café where they both had the Reuben sandwich, which consisted of pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on rye bread, and they each had an order of crispy fries.  They carried on their normal conversation, which included their likes of Major League Baseball, politics, and their best fishing holes.  Both men’s eyes were bigger than their stomachs; they could hardly move away from the table, they were so stuffed.  After every meal, they said they would no longer revel in such gourmandism, yet they most often would.  Now it was time to walk off the overstuffed lunch.

The town in which they resided was a bustling little place.  There were shops of all kinds: a butcher, baker, gun and ammo, hardware, grocer’s, cigar shop where you could buy nine good cigars for a quarter, barbers, doctor’s office, dry goods store, boot shop, an affordable hat shop and a whatnot shop which mainly sold baskets and some kitchenware – and this is where Edward spotted something a little different in the shop window.  He had been tempted to stop at the drugstore for some rheumatism ointment for his knee, but now this shop window had captured his interest.  He thought, ‘Now, this is something one might find in a general store or over at Cabanes Furfures Chapelries, or even the new Woolworths, but here at the basket shop?  It seems somewhat remarkable.’

He and Mikey entered the shop and consulted with the shop owner about what had caught Edward’s eye in the shop window.  The shop owner gladly retrieved the item, and Edward marveled at the craftsmanship.  He then tried them on.  They were comfortable, sat well on his nose and were the exact length for his ears.  Spectacles!

These spectacles were marvelous.  He was amazed at how they made everything clearer.  There was no doubt in his mind; at this price, they were a real steal, and weighing the benefits, he purchased them on the spot.

After visiting a few more shops, Edward picked up his medicine from the drug store and visited the haberdashery for three black buttons for a coat that he needed to mend.  Afterward, the men started home.  On the way, Edward explained to Mickey how these new eyepieces were a godsend.  Over the years, maybe through eye strain and a hint of asthenopia from reading long hours, or perhaps just from age, Edward had noticed he desperately needed more light to read, and sometimes small print seemed to blur.  He had originally attributed his slight loss of vision to tiredness rather than the genetic deterioration that often occurs as one gets older.  Mikey still had impeccable sight, so he had no use for glasses, though he did try them on at Edward’s request only to find the world blurry, and it sort of made him queasy.

Edward walked Mikey to his house.  Mikey was married with a small child, and it was about dinner time.  He had graciously invited Edward to join his family for dinner, but Edward declined.  He was still full from lunch and was anxious to get home and do some reading with his new spectacles.

Once home, Edward had found the walking had given him a bit of an appetite.  Instead of a big meal, he simply ate a raw carrot and brewed a pot of coffee for the evening.  He was anxious to settle in for the night and spend it reading one of his favorite authors, William Blake, the poet.  Sitting in his favorite armchair, he lit a couple of candles, knowing night would soon fall and he would need the artificial light if he were going to read.  He kept a hanging lantern over his chair as well, but was not yet required to light it at this time of day.

His reading this evening was ‘The Continental Prophecies,’ which was hardly light reading, but Edward loved to indulge in such controversies.  He always said, “I read everything and believe very little of it. One doesn’t have to agree with what he reads.  One must just enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction of having the ability to read.”

With a cup of coffee on his side table, Edward put his spectacles on and began to read.  This was so amazing, the fact he was able to see so clearly without effort.  His eyes were alive again, though he had not known how dead they had become over time.  ‘If anything is a miracle in this life, these spectacles are from heaven,’ he thought, a swarm of thoughts flitting through his curious mind.  Nothing in his entire life had been so revolutionary, so grand, so advantageous as these spectacles.  If he had only known years ago what a difference they would have made, he would have had a pair in every room of his house.  Implemental, practical, ‘why didn’t everyone have a pair – or two or three?’ What he had paid for these spectacles was nothing compared to how salient he found them to be.

He read up to the point when the sun began its descent over the horizon, and he lit the lantern and made another cup of coffee.  Edward read for what seemed like hours, then sleep crept upon him and he could no longer retain what he was reading.  He knew when he became semi-conscious it was time to get ready for bed.

Edward fell right to sleep the moment his head hit the pillow.  He slept deeply without a single memorable dream until he suddenly awoke hearing an incessant rattling in his room.  Now fully awake, he could no longer hear the sound that had snapped him from his sleep.  He saw plainly it was still nighttime (and obviously it was far too early to get out of bed), yet the thought occurred to him that since he wasn’t sleepy anymore, he might as well do some more reading.  He had nothing better to do. He knew any attempt to force himself back to sleep would be futile.  He was not working this week so he could come and go as he pleased, eat when he wanted to, sleep when he wanted to, read when he wanted to; and reading was what he must do now.

Edward put on his glasses.  He loved those spectacles.  Everything looked much clearer to him, and he believed they might even improve his looks.  Not that he was an unattractive man, but he believed maybe with the spectacles he looked more distinguished, more presentable.  He certainly had more confidence.  He read for a couple of hours, then made himself a light breakfast.  Afterward, he felt like a walk.  He carried with him a book, ‘The Treatise of Human Nature’ by the philosopher and Historian David Hume.  He thought he would find a quiet place outdoors to do his reading.  The morning air was fresh and pleasant, as it should be on this late spring day.  Flowers were blooming, trees were budding; everything was turning green in nature as the sun was lifting itself up over the horizon.  No dew this morning, for which Edward was grateful.  This meant his favorite park bench would not be damp, and he would sit there reading until the park began to get busy.  He didn’t like big crowds.

As he sat on the bench, he became distracted.  Something drew his attention away from his book on human nature, and gravitated to a man walking a dog.  He looked like any other ordinary man, and the dog was a respectable breed, not a mutt.  The odd thing was, as the man and the dog drew closer, the image of the man metamorphized into something foul, entirely nondescript.  For a brief moment the man’s form was simply something diabolic.  The brevity of the change was so ghastly that instinctively Edward flinched, forcing a high pitch gasp from his throat, which did not actually expel from his mouth.  What he saw, or thought he had seen, was the man’s face and head shapeshifting in a quick furtive instant into a white skull, like a frightful tonsure on a crimsoned head.  As quickly as the transmutation had occurred, the man’s appearance changed back into human form again and he gave Edward a wrinkled-brow expression, snapping Edward from his hypnogogic state.  He had only been entranced with the man for a split second, yet this man had made eye contact, breaking the trance.  Though Edward instantly snapped out of the somnambulism fixation and looked away, he made a point to turn his eyes back toward the man after he had passed him.  Everything looked normal to him.  Removing his spectacles, Edward rubbed his eyes, believing without a doubt his eyes must be strained, and now since the sun was up, there must have been some optical illusion.  Though stricken with confusion, he returned the spectacles to his face.  He decided to stay put for the time being and rest before venturing on.  He was out of sorts after the illusionary event, not being able to rationalize what had just occurred.

Two women were approaching, coming through the park arm in arm.  He assumed either mother and daughter, sisters or best friends.  He admired their step and laughter, thinking they must have been sharing good news with one another.  Not able to hear them speaking, he strangely noticed he could read their lips from where he sat.  He had never had this ability before now, but he could make out their entire conversation.  Though they would have thought their conversing was anonymous to anyone around, Edward could make out every word.  They were laughing, but speaking about killing someone. Their tongues became fire in their mouths, and flames were dancing on their clothing and hair, but they did not burn.  They were consumed in a shining fire, yet were unaffected by the flames leaping all over them.  He closed his eyes, desisted every thought and shook conclusions from his head, then re-opened his eyes to see them walk past, oblivious to the fiery hell by which they had been surrounded by. Visibly shaken, unsure how he was able to invade the women’s privacy, he removed the glasses a second time and dug into his eyes with his knuckles in an attempt to clear anything causing such fallacious hallucinations.  The two women, like the man and the dog, strode past Edward in an ordinary manner, with no evidence of unexplainable mutations or evidence of fire.

Edward considered what he had witnessed.  ‘Am I ill?’  He placed the back of his hand upon his forehead to feel for fever.  ‘No fever.  That is good, I think.’  He remained profoundly troubled, depressed and anxious.  He was a man of stalwart character, yet these two instances of the unexplained made him examine his sanity.  More people were approaching, most likely either on their way to work or possibly early morning shoppers hoping to beat the late sleepers to the shops for the better cuts of meat and the fresher breads.  For a third time, he placed the glasses back on his face, and the appearances of the approaching people began to alter.  Some changes were more graphic this time, like an inkblot Rorschach Test; they were hybrids of ghoulish, undead vanguard, ominous and sinister with sunken black eyes; a haunting phenomenon.  Their faces twisted in a hoary white.  He made note of how gruesome their eyes looked, drooped as if they were wax and their faces were burning.  As discursive and nondidactic his mind had become, he forced himself to remain within his wits.  His sobriety could not be questioned, but he was concerned that perhaps he was having a stroke.

Emptiness descended in a sympathetic plea over his heart.  He had heard of others having episodes of lunacy out of the blue, but he did not relate this to insanity.  He believed he was thinking properly but wouldn’t a man who had lost his mind believe himself to be acting normally?  This contradiction now plagued his mind, and his rationale was in question.  He processed what he had witnessed and externalized; these must be temporary phenomenological events, not directly associated with his own welfare and sustainability.  Necessitated by trembling misgivings he opted to leave the park.

Edward’s nerves were on edge, and with much effort he attempted to sum up these events by subcategorizing them in an extraneous mental folder of his mind.  He felt if these explicit visions continued, he would have to remain as inconspicuous as possible seeing that such things might have him dragged away to the looney bin.  ‘How had he lost his mind?’ was one question he asked himself. On the other hand, if he had not gone mad, could these events of dubious darkness be real?

Going straight home, he drank a large glass of water and forced some saltine crackers down his throat, hoping this combination would settle the sickening feeling swelling and knotting in his stomach.  He pondered with deliberate cause, and the only conclusion he had was, incredibly, there was something uniquely macabre about his new glasses.  He only started having these monstrously morbid episodes since he had purchased the glasses.  Could it potentially be the glasses were cursed?  “How ludicrous,” he answered himself.  He could not bear many more heinous sights.  This was all purely inferential.

A knock at his door startled him, snapping him from deep thought.  Holding the spectacles in his hands, he supposed there was only one way to find out if these eyeglasses had anything to do with these appalling scenes.  He placed them back on his face and he went to the door.  It was Mikey who had come to visit.

Mikey looked normal.  There was nothing chilling or ghastly about him.

Mikey could read from Edward’s countenance something was amiss.  “What’s up, my friend?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

Edward thought, ‘How ironic.’  He hesitated before answering, his mind playing out the scenarios of possible answers he could give Mikey.  One answer would be, “No, everything is fine.  Nothing going on here; just got back from a walk.” That would be the safe answer.  Or he could answer Mikey with, “These glasses are possessed by the devil, and when I put them on, I see blood, gore, evil of every kind.” But he did not want to raise suspicions about his mental health and well-being.  So, he answered Mikey, “I went for a walk, felt a little strange at the park and came back home to get some water.”

Concerned about his friend, Mikey encouraged Edward to sit, and he brought him another glass of water.  “We are not getting any younger, my friend.  It is easy to overdo it these days.  Summer is going to be a scorcher.  You don’t want to have a heat stroke out there.”

Edward chuckled and sipped the water, weary of what the glasses might reveal next.  The two sat for a spell, talking and planning what to do over the next few days.  They spoke about fishing, drinking, just doing those man things since neither needed to be at work for a week.  Worried and nervous that maybe it was not the glasses, since there had been no episodes since Mikey had arrived, he removed the glasses and placed them on his side table.  After a little while, Mikey mentioned he needed to mow his yard, and if Edward was up for it, maybe afterward the two of them could do something; play chess, head down to the pub for a game of pool, something other than nothing.  Edward said, “Perfect, sounds good to me.”  He placed the spectacles back on his face and watched his friend leave.  He kept watching Mikey as he walked, then it happened again.  At first, as Mikey strode away, he was stepping with a normal gait.  When the limp started, Edward noticed Mickey hunching over as if his spine suddenly curved unnaturally.  His arms lengthened in an apish manner, and it looked like drops of blood were shockingly dripping from his fingertips.  Edward screamed out, “Mikey!”

Mikey did not turn; he continued to walk away, dragging one foot behind him as if he were lame. Edward paused, not knowing what to do next.  Was there anything he could do?  His only choice was to remove the glasses.  When he did, Mickey once again walked away and appeared absolutely normal.

Edward stood at the crossroads of illogical personal disposition, debating on what he should do, or rather, could do.  He considered and reasoned all of the evidence at hand.  Part of him thought the novelty of the spectacles was too authentic not to use, but he lacked any power within himself to control what he saw and when he saw it.  The other part of him was so repulsed by the malignant images, defeated, he saw no other choice but to give them up.  There was no other interpretation or impression to derive from this.  His constitution was not strong enough to endure such horrific images and sights.  He believed what he was seeing was not only the veritable body that was manifesting the internal struggles of each person – some worse than others – but he saw their intentions too.  The spectacles revealed the sleeping and the awake.  This incalculable thought gave him more than just a perfunctory shiver down his spine; it brought the tumultuous human carnage to the surface in nocturnal revelation.  The debaucheries and vices which most people hid from their neighbors, Edward could see in clear view.  Secrets kept; the lies people told; the spectacles unveiled these to the wearer.  Their guilty consciences became illuminated.  The gruesomeness through the glasses was a reflection of how people were actually coping in their lives.  Most of the time, it appeared people were coping and the spectacles revealed nothing abnormal, or some small slight twist.  For others who appeared to be at a breaking point, the images were far more graphic.  There was a barbarity in some people; a murderous scene would materialize, highlighted with maculation of crimson blood splattered everywhere with the expiation of the crime yet unsolved, unconfessed, not yet convicted.  For these were the misdeeds yet to be carried out, the transgressions of their guilty consciences manifested in hidden terror and mysterious oppression within pertinent hearts without rest.  Some were dangerously soulless, acting out their evil intentions.  The spectacles were a doorway into supernatural malevolence.  Edward concluded the scariest thing was not actually the visible atrocities he was forced to view, but that the cursed spectacles held him enthralled.  This disturbed him the most.  On the other hand, when he had worn the glasses and observed himself in the mirror, he saw nothing disgusting nor disquieting.  He felt reasonably sure he was a good man without vendettas or hate, nor was he terribly troubled in his soul.

Unable to cope with these mirrors into one’s soul, he returned the glasses to the store that afternoon for a refund.  The store owner had no problem with the return and offered Edward a different pair. Edward explained that after he had worn the glasses for a while, he realized the lenses were too strong, and they hurt his eyes.  He opted not to trade the glasses in for a new pair, but rather he got his money back and made his way home again, free from the accursed spectacles.

Later on, Edward and Mikey opted to go to the pub to shoot a few games of pool for a bit.  Mikey usually won these games, but this night they split them two games apiece before both agreeing it was getting late and returning to their homes.  Upon entering his house, Edward lit a lantern and plopped down in his armchair with a book in hand.  That was when he heard a persistent rattling coming from the kitchen.  “What could that be?” he huffed as he made his way around the corner to the kitchen to investigate.  The rattling stopped as he entered the room.  He stood frozen, listening stringently for the noise to sound again.  A minute passed with only the normal breathing of the old wood of the house and the odd cracking as if the house was stretching.

He practically jumped out of his skin when he heard the rattling again.  It was a vigorous scratching noise and a whirring rattle.  The noise was coming from one of the kitchen drawers.  “Darn mice,” he said aloud as he reached for a pan.  He didn’t want to smash a mouse with a good pan, but it was the only rodent-killing tool at his immediate disposal.  The scratching continued as he crept ever so softly over to the drawer.  With ease he pulled the drawer open, and to his shock and dismay, there was no mouse or even a trace of a muroid rodent to be found.  But what he did locate were the very same spectacles he had returned for a refund earlier in the day.  “How is this possible?” he exclaimed, stupefied.  “Unbelievable,” he reacted, exasperated, his arms hung limp at his sides, and only his wide eyes moved slightly.

With effort, he closed the drawer again and started to leave the kitchen when the scratching could be heard again coming from the same drawer.  He ran to the drawer, now utterly perplexed and aggravated.  No longer was he hesitant.  He dropped the glasses to the floor and stomped them with both feet.  He cleaned up the broken pieces.  The lens was smashed, and the ears to the spectacles were bent beyond fixing.  He swiftly tossed them into the trash bin and made an exit towards his living room, when he was stopped cold in his tracks by the sound of scratching.  Slowly he twisted around, looking over his shoulder to see the kitchen drawer already opened.  “This can’t be,” he whispered as if someone might overhear.  Disbelieving what he was seeing and hearing, he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as the horror intensified.  His condition was deteriorating as the hackles pricked his neck.  How could an inanimate object be so accursed as to return perpetually?  Stiffly moving, in a state of near-total paralysis, he managed to cross the kitchen to the drawer again to face his antagonist.  His thinking was temerariously disordered as his neck and forehead baked with a swelling heat, but he was compelled to investigate.  A catalog of moments came to his mind in the form of a myriad of memories.  Memories of loved ones and family.  He contemplated, ‘these are the type of things one thinks about in their final moments of life.’  With an ethereal gaze, palms clammy with nervous perspiration, he peered down into the open drawer.  ‘Logical reluctance was not the same as cowardice,’ he thought to himself.

There they were without a scratch, just like new; his spectacles.  He acquiesced and withdrew the spectacles from their resting place, never feeling more diaphanous than in this very moment.  As he stared at them, he grew waxen and incuriously rigid in the most unconventional awkwardness.  His hands began an uncontrollable shaking, as if the mask of pall had been draped over his terrified face. Were these spectacles something dredged from some antiquated hell?  Edward threw them back in the drawer and backed away defensively, not wanting to become immured in such witchery.  His desperate but ineffectual resistance seemed futile.  With dubious misgivings, he approached the drawer yet another time and cast a stationary stare down at the spectacles which lay there in plain sight.  He knew he only had one choice.  Touched by a connotation of being completely denuded, gradation growing, he admitted, he had no free will.  What were the implications if he were to ignore the spectacles; and learn to live with the scratching?  He dared not find out.  He placed the eyewear on his face, and instantly all of his apprehension and dread suddenly wore away, vanishing without the residue of dread.  He was in its terrible grasp.  Admittedly, he could see so much better with these spectacles.  He would have to rationalize wearing them out.  It would not be easy, but he could not be tormented any longer.  The need for vigilant circumspection had ended.  He surrendered to the enchantment, never feeling more wholesome.

Night fell, and Edward read volumes with the spectacles on, and slept like a baby with the spectacles beside him on his nightstand.  In the morning he arose, washed his face, put on his spectacles, got dressed, had a coffee and out the door he went, towards a little café where he and Mikey would meet up for breakfast every Wednesday.  Mikey was already seated, but had not even had a cup of coffee yet.

“Good night?” Mikey inquired.

“Very interesting night; got a lot of reading accomplished,” Edward answered.

“Are you ordering the usual?” Mikey knew Edward always ordered bacon and eggs on whole wheat toast.

“No, I think I will try something different.  Maybe the pancakes.  Blueberry pancakes,” Edward answered, looking up to see Mikey’s face a distorted bloody mess, his flesh split in two as if he had been struck by an axe.  A little taken aback, but knowing the glasses produced these strange effects, Edward continued talking as if he saw everything the same way everyone else did.  When the waitress came to the table, he ignored her zombie appearance and her blacked out eyes.  He ordered the blueberry pancakes knowing he was forever haunted.  This was something Edward did not believe he could ever get used to, seeing the dead, the mutilated, some people walking with broken wings as if they were fallen angels.  He eventually surmised with terrifying revelation that with these glasses he could see people’s inner demons; those things of torment people must bear alone.  He saw the suffering, the pain, the injustice of their situation and current predicament.  It was not anything one could actually prepare for, but he endured it.  Edward thought, in some ways, he was blessed because he could see evil for what it was.  He had a better understanding and recognized the suffering that some people, unfortunately, lived with, more intimately than before, without a single soul to take the weight from them.  These spectacles made him a nicer person, a person who went out of their way to help those in need.

Edward died at age 62 with Mikey by his side.  Edward’s short illness was very sudden, but he managed to get his affairs in order and say proper goodbyes to his friends and family.  He passed quietly and painlessly in his sleep, wearing the spectacles until the end.

Mikey died the next day.  He had experienced a massive heart attack.  He was found wearing Edward’s spectacles.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Dale Thompson


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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