I don’t know why it started. I just woke up one morning and my eyes were burning. The whites of my seeing organs were the site of an intense horrible searing, an unrelenting fire that stung and scalded and stabbed. It was as if in the night someone had pried back my eyelids and poured paint thinner mixed with battery acid beneath them. When I blinked it was like a sandpaper scraping – no, much worse than that – like the jagged teeth of a rusty old saw scraping away the white fibrous flesh set in my skull.

Nothing helped. The doctors were baffled by my strange affliction with no apparent cause: no foreign object, no inflammation, no infection – my eyes were, under all examinations, completely normal. They still assaulted me with a barrage of treatments: eye drops, salves, creams, painkillers of ever increasing power and with more extreme side effects; nothing changed, the horrible burning fire still permeated the whites of my eyes.

I wanted to claw them out with my fingers. I’d rather be blind for a thousand years than experience another millisecond of this searing agony. All the hellfire of damnation in Inferno must have been but a bee sting compared to what I was experiencing each moment.

In a thunderstorm of burning pain I rose from my hospital bed and staggered out into the antiseptic corridor, its existence a blur through the streams of tears pouring down my cheeks. I heard noise coming from one of the closed doors – an operating room. I kicked it open and was faced with a doctor and team of nurses looking up from their work in surprise.

“Hey! What are you doing? You can’t be in here!” I saw the blurry green blob of the surgeon turn from the operating table with scalpel in hand.

Mindlessly I reached out into the haze and plucked the bloody instrument from him. I threw my head back and stared at the ceiling and the hot tears streaming from my burning eyes ran down my temples. I held it high above me. My hand shook.

“Wait! Stop! What are you doing? Don’t…”

The nurse screamed as I plunged the bloody blade deep into my eye socket and twisted.

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