“It’s always amazed me you know just when to stop pouring,” I said, as Dr. Edelson finished doing so. He righted the china pot above the silver tray of the tea service, then began pouring the second cup.
“You know, my boy, I’ve had this same china set for over 35 years now. It should trouble me if I did not know when to stop pouring.” He set the pot down and we picked up our cups. He sat back in his easy chair and sipped the tea, resting his other hand upon the top of his cane which leaned against the side of the chair as he did so.
“Something has been bothering me, my boy. In fact, it’s been bothering me since the first time you came to visit me so long ago. I don’t know what you look like. And I know for you this is the simplest thing, to know a man’s appearance, but for me, you understand, it’s a much more complicated and shall we say… intimate thing.”
“I understand,” I said. “It’s okay Dr. Edelson. I trust you.”
I got up and came over to the professor’s chair. I bent over and he put his old, wrinkled hands upon my face and began to feel my cheeks. His hands explored the nuances of my visage, around my cheekbones, near the corners of my mouth – intrepid explores in unmapped territory.
“You’re so beautiful,” Dr. Edelson said, “but this is difficult. Would you mind?”
“Of course.” I kneeled. I felt his hands continue to explore my face, caressing my cheeks, my forehead, pinching the bridge of my nose and exploring the length of it. Then Dr. Edelson’s hands moved to my eyes and I felt his fingers not moving atop but pinched in a grip and pushing against their surface. I cried out and tried to stand but the old man held me in place by some untold reservoir of strength.
“Professor stop! Please!” I screamed, as the old man pierced my skull’s sockets with his fingers. He wriggled them around my eyes and pulled and twisted. I screamed and screamed as my eyes rotated and slipped beneath his grasp, until finally I heard a wet snap as he yanked them free of my skull. I moaned in agony and and fell forward. I felt blood gush down my cheeks and drip onto the floor.
Then there was a sound, a strange slurrrrp, like that of a man sucking a grape held between his lips into his mouth, followed by the same sound again. I heard The Professor rise from his chair, the leather shifting beneath him.
“You are beautiful,” he said. “So beautiful, now I can truly see.”
I felt him kneel down next to me and placed his hand upon my shoulder. With his other hand he grabbed my chin, smearing the blood running down my face. I sobbed.
And then I felt the old man reach for my teeth.