The Ocularim

This has been re-blogged from my fiction site Way of the Weird

Howdy Dreamers.

With our recent tussle with a beastie from the Spaces Between, we’ve decided to start doing a little more research into the subject — wouldn’t want to be caught with our pants down again, now would we? You all ain’t heard from me since we started this whole, bloggin’ thing, so I’m gonna tell the story — I’m Jack.

Today, I’m gonna talk about the Ocularim. We only know about this thing because we was in Philly over the long weekend and we came across this little hole in the wall called, Reverend Jim’s Spiritual and Occult Shop — right off an alley near South Street. It was obvious from the minute we stepped ‘cross the threshold that this weren’t any normal store — Weirdness hung in the air, almost like a wet blanket out in a summer storm. We could almost see the crackle of energy, like lightning ripples across black waterlogged clouds, threatening to strike at your feet.

The shop was choked with every item one would ever need to start explorin’ their own Weirdness, everything from Angelic Charms to a mummified Zombie hand. We found it odd that everyone else who passed the store seemed to ignore it — but later we found that only Dreamers could see it, otherwise it appeared to be a boarded up building. Obviously Reverend Jim was a master of the Weird and I wish we coulda stayed longer.

Now Reverend Jim hisself was an interestin’ thing in the story, and that’s sayin’ a lot given the things he had packed in that tiny little shop.

“Greetin’s my friend,” The middle aged black man said sittin’ hunched behind a glass counter, filled with herbs, incense, pipes and a variety of hand-made jewelry and charms. “I ain’t had a customer in a few days. Good ta see a fellow, Dreamer.” He smiled toothily, genuinely.

I started to walk towards him, with a quick wave of the hand. “Afternoon, hoss,” I said. “Name’s Jack,” I took over because it was my idea to go in. Justin and the others were a bit spooked by the place. I reckon they had a reason, but I ain’t gonna let one bad experience put the fear in my chest.

“Imma stand up,” he said, gripping the counter, and smiling at me again. I was a bit confused as to why someone would announce they’s gonna stand up. But then he did, and it was all clear. Reverend Jim was, by me eyeballin’ him, just shy of seven foot tall. I don’t get spooked, but I’ll tell you this much, he’d put a hurtin’ on some one, if he were so obliged.

I stepped over unaffected, the others tellin’ me we oughta go, but I weren’t listening. I stepped right up to that giant and offered a hand. “You Reverend Jim,” I asked as he took my hand in his, lookin’ more like a baby’s hand against his.

“Sho nuff,” Jim replied. “I ain’t no Reverend, tho. I just like the way it sounds.” He winked at me then smiled that big ol’ smile once more. I’m not much for smilin’, ain’t got much to smile about I reckon. But somethin’ about Jim kinda forced me too.

“Quite a stash you got here,” I said, looking around.

“You lookin’ for something in particular?” Jim asked, steadying himself against the counter. He was an older gent, prolly in his late 60′s.

“Yeah,” I said, the others still whinin’ in the background about wantin’ to leave. “We jus’ recently had a run in with something from the Spaces Between — kinda got me wonderin’ iffn there’s other things we oughta be thinkin about?” I explained the story to Jim, who proceeded to grimace and frown at us for flirtin’ with things we ain’t supposed to, or don’ know any better. The Gtthak seemed to bother him.

“Well,” Jim took a few minutes to consider his words, “I ain’t never heard of what you jus’ described. But there’s so much floatin’ around in that realm, you’d hafta live a thousand lifetimes to even see just a few of them. There’s all kinds of things, good and bad. Sounds like you just ran into something best left alone in the Weird.” He offered a consoling smile, “Sorry about Mr. Giggles, tho.”

I shrugged, “They’s a million cats out there iffn I want another.” Not being a cat kinda man — ‘sides, the cat is Justin’s — I didn’t really care much about the cat bein’ gone. Plus, I gotta tell you, every time that cat got to hollerin’ about wantin’ to be fed or let out, I wanted to put my foot square up his tail.

“Sho nuff,” he replied. “But, I do have somethin’ i can show you. Somethin’ I’ve had a long time, but its not like your beastie. This’n is something special.”

He leaned down behind the counter, sliding a panel open somewhere. After a few grunts and a bit of a struggle, he set a glass jar on the counter, kinda like what you’d see in a horror movie with a brain swimmin’ around inside. But instead of a brain, there was a strange lookin’ eye floating lifelessly at the bottom of the jar. If it were an eye, it didn’t have no iris, jus’ the pupil — and it had a long optic nerve that was curled up behind it.

“This here is an Ocularim,” Jim proceeded to explain. “This is one useful little creature, an’ I wish it hadn’t died.”

“Whatsit do?” I asked. The others were just as curious, I could tell because they stopped their complainin’.

“This is a symbiotic life-form. When it ain’t floating around in the Weird of the Spaces Between, it searches for a host. It feeds on Weirdness, and they ain’t no stronger source of Weirdness in the Waking Dream, than in a Dreamer or Immortal.” He poked the jar, making the liquid and creature jiggle a bit.

“Why would anyone wanna put something that’s creepy in they eye,” I asked with a bit of a grimace.

“Because its gives you the ability to see,” Jim said motioning with his hands in a wide gesture. “It allows you to see the things you can’t normally see, which can be very useful. ‘Specially since things ain’t been goin’ so well. Sleeper’s losing their minds, killin’ up people at random. We are on the edge of twilight, my friend.”

“Yep,” I nodded in agreement. “Things ain’t been fun, but this ain’t my first rodeo.”

“An’ this here,” Jim motioned to the jar, “is prolly one of the most useful things you can come across. But I ain’t found another one since this one died. It was my dad’s and he tole me to take it outta him when he died. Unfortunately, we didn’t know it couldn’t be removed without bein’ killed.”

“How’s it get in your head in the first place?” I asked, already known the answer. I peered in at the strange eye, jus’ so I’d recognize it iffn I ever came across one.

“It’ll eat your other eye, then replace it,” Jim said unaffected by the grotesqueness of the statement. I mean, I’ve had my share of pain — been shot and stabbed and they weren’t fun. But the thought of something eatin’ my eye out sounded just a bit more than I’m willin’ to sacrifice.

“Well,” I responded. “That’s sounds terrifying and painful.”

“Gotta make sacrifices to understand things, son,” He replied as I knew he would. Seems the older one gets, and more experienced with their Weirdness, they tend to be mostly unaffected by anything they come across. We ain’t been awake very long, so we ain’t had a lot of experience with the craziness out there.

“I reckon you’re right,” I replied and quickly changed the subject.

We spoke for a spell about the Weirdness and other things we’ve already talked about over the course of the months, so I ain’t gonna recap it. ‘Sides, my time is up for today and Justin’ll prolly be pissed I took over today. But, it ain’t no nevermind to me what he thinks. He still ain’t come to grips with what’s goin’ on.

So if you see a creepy eye that looks like it wants to be your friend, you might jus’ wanna take it up on its offer. Can’t be any worse than that crazy stuff Justin let out into the world the other day. Well, the eyeball eatin’ is pretty terrible, but like Jim said, gotta make sacrifices and take risks to explore the universe.

We’ll be seein’ ya soon.

Jack

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Published by

Michael Hibbard

I am a writer of dark fantasy and southern gothic literature

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