Gail looked around, but no one seemed to have noticed anything was wrong. She looked over at his empty chair and realized then that he was gone.
Slowly, she rose from her table. “Leaving already?” Richard asked, as her chair slide back as she stood up.
“I’m not really that hungry today.” She picked up her plate and walked towards the compost bins. As she scraped the leftovers into the bin, she heard Owen’s voice whisper behind her: “There is a man outside standing at the end of the road. Whatever you do, do not let him know you can see. Leave now, and I’ll meet you at your house.” She whirled around to ask him one of the thousands of questions that raced through her mind, but he moved quickly and was already back at the table with Richard and Janet.
She licked her lips nervously, but was careful to take the same number of steps to the door, running her fingertips softly along the wall as she went. At the door, although her sight was back completely, she took hold of the rope as she always did and crept slowly back to her house.
Spray painted on the road were the same words as in the dinning room. Every garage door she passed bore the same message. She could feel drops of sweat forming on her forehead as her shoulders tingled with fear. She tried her best not to look around. Then she saw him. A man dressed in a suit stood at the end of the road, beyond the borders of her community watching her. She tried her best to keep her face blank and her eyes unfocused.
She could feel sweat gathering in the middle of her back running down her spin. She forced her feet to shuffle towards him. Breathe in, breathe out. One step in front of the other.
Her hand began to burn from holding the rope too tightly as it ran through her hand. Finally, she turned down her driveway. Just as she reached her front door, Owen seemed to materialize out of n where and was by her side.
“Do you mind if I come in for a cup of coffee?” he asked, a littler louder than usual.
“Sure,” she said, her voice shaking slightly. They stepped inside and Owen closed the door behind them. He looked directly into her eyes as he pulled her away from the front window.
“You can see!” she whispered.
“Yes, and I wasn’t the first to get my sight back, nor will you be the last.” He peered around the wall to sneak a peak through the front window.
“Who was that man?” Gail whispered.
“As far as I can tell, he’s part of the new government. If he learns you can see, you will be removed.”
“Removed?” she whispered. “To where?”
“To their facility,” he whispered. “You won’t come back. I’ve seen it before. Larsons, Tony, Linda.” He paused. “My father.”
She put her hand on his shoulder. “I’m so sorry,” she said, her mind reeling. So they hadn’t just disappeared. After a few moments she asked, “Are there others in the colony who can see?”
He shook his head. “They always catch on. People see the signs and trust them. So naturally when they see someone else who can see, they immediately go to them for answers. Then, they’re gone. You were the first person I was able to catch before they noticed. It helped that you were inside, sitting right at my table when your sight came back. But there are others in other colonies.”
“Who was that man? If it’s just him, maybe we could fight him.”
But Owen was already shaking his head. “There are others all around.”
“Who are they,” she asked, nibbling nervously at her nail.
He shrugged. “No one knows for sure, but most think they were the ones who caused The Great Blinding. Whatever they used to create it, it seems to be wearing off in some people.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Or they’re bringing people’s sight on purpose.”
“So what do we do?” she asked.
“Don’t worry,” he gave her a rueful smile. “I have a plan. You’re going to run away.”
“What?” she stared at him incredulous. “Are you crazy? And what about you?”
“I need to stay here in case anyone else get their sight back,”
“Where will I go?” she asked, her voice choking as she spoke.
“I told you, I have a plan.”
Hours later she was threading her way through the woods desperately hoping she was reading Owen’s map correctly. For the second time in her life, she felt the safety of her world crumbling around her. But she survived that last time. She would survive this too.