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Night Vision

June 30, 2024 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , ,

The night the eyes appeared in the window for the fourth time was the night Casie moved to the guest room, leaving Benjamin to sleep alone in the master.

He laughed at her the next morning. “You were dreaming. There’s nothing out there but a few deer, maybe a raccoon.”

She stirred sugar into her coffee and frowned. “They were glowing—the eyes.” She shivered at the memory, now running on a loop through her brain. “Our bedroom needs blinds or drapes—something to give us privacy.”

The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out on a dramatic hillside of wildflowers, studded with hemlock and pine, a captivating view during the daylight hours. But at night, the blackness beyond the glass made her uneasy. 

“The eyes were … glowing?” He chuckled. “Some dream, sweets.” He drained his mug and shoved back from the table. “See you tonight.”

She noted that he’d ignored her request. 

They both loved the light, airy feel of the house. The wood floors, the kitchen with its cute eating nook, the guest room tucked into the second story—every aspect said this was a place they would be happy in.

And they had been, over the last seven months since moving in. 

Until the eyes.

Casie slept lightly on a good night, and tossed and turned on a bad one. Benjamin barely stirred on his side of the bed, even during fierce thunderstorms that had her wide-eyed until the last rumble receded.

A month ago, as summer burst onto the hillside behind the house, Casie saw the eyes for the first time. Benjamin had been out of town and she was reading in bed. She sensed that someone was watching her, but the darkness beyond the windows showed nothing; the shine from the bedside lamp masked any details. Switching off the light, she waited for her vision to adjust. 

There, about four feet off the ground, a pair of golden eyes glowed.

With a yelp of fear, Casie fled the room. She spent the next three nights that Benjamin was away lying on the living room couch, the drapes drawn, willing herself to sleep. During the day, she struggled to sit for more than a few minutes at her laptop. She had an article to write, but couldn’t concentrate, jiggling her foot, pacing through the house, stopping to study the yard from the master bedroom’s windows. The hillside beyond was benign, peaceful, lush and green.

When her partner returned, Casie weighed how to tell him what had happened but ultimately opted to say nothing. She began to discount what she’d seen. Had there been something staring at her? Their property was far from any neighbor—that was one of its appeals. An animal—even a bear—posed no threat as long as it stayed on the other side of the glass.

Benjamin was back home for a week before she next spotted the eyes. They had made love in the dark, then turned away from each other to sleep, he facing away from her—and the windows. 

She muffled a gasp at the golden eyes, this time positioned higher up, maybe five or six feet from the ground. 

“Sweets, what’s wrong?” he mumbled, already drifting into dreamland. 

The eyes held their position and slowly blinked. Casie pulled a pillow over her head and closed her eyes. It’s outsideoutside, outside. She repeated the mantra silently to herself. 

The third night she saw them, she woke Benjamin.

“Something’s out there,” she whispered.

“Where?” He propped himself up in bed. 

The eyes, which had appeared only a few feet off the ground, faded away.

“Never mind,” she said. 

Sleep would be futile that night, but she took comfort in Benjamin’s soft snoring beside her.


Over a dinner of chicken salad, Casie listened to Benjamin recount his day. When it was her turn, she sighed. Her stomach felt as tightly coiled as an overwound watch, with her jiggling left foot the ticking second hand.

“I got nothing done today.” She stabbed a chunk of chicken with her fork. “It’s the weird eyes—I am so freaked out I can’t sit still.”

He shook his head. “This is how you get me to do what you want about those damn windows, isn’t it?”

 “I’m not making it up.” 

He carried his plate to the sink. “Here’s what I’ll do. When we’re ready for bed, I’ll go out, scout around with a flashlight, make sure we’re safe.” The way he said safe carried a whiff of belittlement.

True to his promise, Benjamin made a show of traipsing through the grasses and wildflowers that grew near the house, while Casie watched from the bedroom. He swept a high-power flashlight across the area, then stepped back inside the room through the glass door. 

“Not a spooky thing out there, sweets.” 

“Whatever,” she said, resigned that he would never believe her.

At his suggestion, they traded sides in the bed that night; he would sleep closer to the windows.

Perhaps it was that switch, or the effect of her emotional exhaustion, but she fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.

When she woke later, her phone said it was nearly two-thirty. In the dimness of the bedroom, she grasped two things: Benjamin was not in bed, and the glass door to the outdoors hung open. 

“Benjamin?” she called, but softly, now aware of yet a third thing: The glowing eyes were in the room with her.

The following anthologies contain some of Dianna’s short stories:

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