Excerpt from "A Boy with Pretty Eyes"

By Meg Smith


For ‘Turbo Tom’ McKittrick and His Freak Show Extravaganza


“There’s a lot of play with the muscles that hold the eyeball,” Ben said, in that knowing tone of voice that had long ago alienated him from most of his fifth-grade class. 


Here, during the class science demonstration projects, he wasn’t about to win them back. 


He had decided on this course of action, initially, because it seemed less likely to get him beat up than did showing his homeroom how an abacus works.


He reached into the front pocket of his jeans, which sagged on him.


He pulled out a butter knife.


Before the teacher could stop him, he wedged the knife’s spreader-end between his lower eyelid and one of the dark brown eyes -- which his grandmother had said would always be his only redeeming features. 


One of those two redeeming features was now a free-floating globe, balanced on the edge of the knife’s blunt edge.


It was only then that the teacher, Mrs. Bursten, broke from her stupefying horror, and leapt up from her desk to escort Ben to the nurse’s office. 


Inches off her chair, however, she froze once again, as if Ben’s disconced miracle of sight had shot a paralyzing beam through her.


She thumped back onto her chair, and gazed at him, her face shiny, her mouth open but petrified, and something between shock and ardor in her eyes.


Vaguely, she heard gasps, cries, perhaps the thud of someone fainting, and then, applause from the rows of spellbound students. 


Ben rather unceremoniously popped his eyeball back into his socket, as if pocketing a marble, and made a campy bow before returning to his seat. 


The display was disgusting, but effective. Ben had won the day.



A Boy with Pretty Eyes" is excerpted from The Plague Confessor: Short Stories by Meg Smith. Published by Emu Books. © 2020 by Margaret Smith. Used with permission of the author.


More about The Plague Confessor:

A deadly disease presents a woman with unexpected power over bodies and souls. 


Two school children find within themselves the ability to create -- and to destroy.


A war camp prisoner finds a way out -- but must take a path of even greater horrors. 


These and other journeys into darkness -- and light -- await in The Plague Confessor, Meg Smith's first collection of short fiction. 


"Meg Smith’s The Plague Confessor is a revelation...Reminiscent of early Ray Bradbury in the scope of their imaginative reach and possessed at times by a sense of dread worthy of Ramsey Campbell, the tales deliver." -- David Daniel, author, Coffin Dust and Infections & Innuendos 


The Plague Confessor is available at Amazon.


About the author:


Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, dancer and events producer living in Lowell, Mass. 


She is the author of five poetry books, and a new short fiction collection, The Plague Confessor.


Her poetry and short fiction have recently appeared in The Horror Zine, Dark Dossier, Sirens Call eZine, Raven Cage, Aphelion, Blood Moon Rising, and many other publications. 


She is a past  board member of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!, a festival dedicated to Lowell-born author Jack Kerouac, and produces the Edgar Allan Poe Show, honoring Poe's presence in Lowell. 


She welcomes visits at: