The Eye of the Giant
"This is your desk. All your paperwork is piled over here. Supplies are in the first and second drawers, and the third one is for whatever you'd like." The meerkat smiled. "If you have any questions, just press 'star twenty-five' on the phone, wait for the beep, then talk. That's my page."
Tarrone smiled back weakly, resisting the urge to grab his tail. He wasn't sure if that feeling was a result of his nervousness of the first day on the job or the intimidation he felt talking with the pretty female. Most likely both.
"Alright, good luck." She winked at him and then turned to leave. Tarrone watched her legs flex as she walked, admiring her stride, especially her tail with that cute brown tip, as if it was tempting him.
Work! He instantly thought, slipping out of his daydream, and immediately sat down at his desk. The mouse stared down at the paperwork in front of him silently, all his acquired knowledge suddenly fizzling away; the words on the forms in front of him resembled garbled calculus. He felt his nerves build up again, and his tail whipped back into his paws. He squeezed, constricting those blood vessels, numbing the tip—and it felt good.
He clenched his tail tighter to ease his tension as his eyes scanned the office. Various furs wandered around curiously, some dealing with their work, some chatting with others. He even noticed a "stereotypical" scene: two furs talking near the water cooler. Tarrone chuckled at that sight, his eyes dancing around aimlessly until they stopped short at the window.
His breath suddenly disappeared. All he could feel now was the tingle of blood, or lack thereof, within the tip of his fifth appendage. Sweat began to drip down along the inside of his armpits as his eyes widened, catching the absolute most amazing and frightening thing he or anyone ever saw.
He did a double take and it was gone.
The rodent wasn't sure if he saw what he thought he saw: a massive eyeball staring down through the window of the office. It sent chills up his spine, his paranoia getting the best of him, and he felt his fur bristle on his skin; if his tail was a neck, the head would have popped off.
He clenched his own eyes shut, as if trying to block it out, but he couldn't get that apparition out of his mind; even in the darkness, he could see that huge white region, with those pulsing red veins coursing through it, a large blue disc in the center, with a smaller black disc inside that. Two concentric circles, the smaller one dilating as it focused on every small creature working away....
"Tarrone!" The mouse jumped from his reverie; turning quickly, he saw a brown furred feline staring at him, grinning from ear to ear. "Looks like I got your attention."
Oh great. A feline. Just what I need. Tarrone's large ears drooped but he tried to smile, although his teeth and bones rattled with nervousness and fear. He was scared of cats for obvious reasons, even though that stereotype died out in the mid-eighties. Still, past incidents made his fear understandable. "Y-yes?"
The cat's smile was replaced by an even bigger one; apparently he was one to keep certain trends alive. "Fresh meat." He licked his lips right after, which made Tarrone nervous and confused on whether that was some sort of implicit threat or just to accentuate his comment. "I've been assigned to train you. So you be sure to shut up and listen to what I have to say. I have better things to do with my time."
Tarrone gulped, although he didn't mean to make his fear so obvious. "Yes... sir," he said reluctantly, squeezing his tail as he stood up and followed the cat.
They walked down the maze of cubicles, turning this way and that as the feline spoke in a gruff voice. "Name's Charlie, but you get to call me Mr. Sangrine." He spoke coolly with a hint of indignation that Tarrone could recognize. He walked quickly, and the mouse had to run a few steps just to keep up. "Now, you be sure not to fuck up on your first day, because I won't hesitate to discuss options about firing you. You'll be out on the streets looking for -cheese- before your first paycheck."
Tarrone shuttered, his anger replaced by an apprehension over what might happen if he acted on said anger. Again, his hands found comfort in the tight gripping of his tail; only this time Charlie noticed it.
"What the hell are you doing?" Charlie was between annoyance and amusement.
"Oh..." Charlie said, letting go of his tail gently. "I... just do that when I'm nervous. It's a habit."
Charlie laughed. "You like grabbing long, thick things, eh? What was your former job, interior decorator?"
Tarrone fumed. He hated, above all, people like that. He wasn't gay, but people that made those insane conclusions from little things ticked him off to no end. He gritted his teeth. And even if the accusation was just a joke, it was way too stupid to be funny. "Ha, ha." His laughter was pure sarcasm.
Charlie stopped in his tracks, and swiftly turned towards the mouse. "Don't fucking patronize me, queer. I don't need your shit. I read your file. I know everything about you."
Tarrone blinked. He didn't expect such a sudden turnaround like this. He squeaked in fear as the cat clenched his fist and began walking to him as if the mouse said the most insulting thing in the world. Puzzled and scared at the same time, he felt himself backing up into a corner, Charlie looming over him like a specter. His eyes were wide and he felt a lump in his throat.
Tarrone shrieked like a schoolgirl as someone grabbed his shoulders from behind and screamed in his sensitive ears. He turned around in a panic and saw some female equine grinning at him, wiggling her fingers from over the top of one of the cubicle walls. "Gotcha!"
Suddenly, the whole office was in an uproar of laughter, and suddenly Tarrone realized he was the center of some practical joke. Charlie was chortling like an idiot among them. "God! That was so easy! You are such a pussy!" Everywhere he looked, the furs around him giggled and laughed like he was the victim of an elaborate punch line.
Tarrone felt his face get hot; embarrassment, fear, and anger all hit him at the same time. Now everyone knew what he really like—and when he grabbed his tail, his solitary comfort device, the room only laughed harder. His tail tip went completely numb with the pressure from his fingers.
Everything was a blur of horror. And even in the midst of the awkward situation, his vision managed to catch it staring through the window.
It was a huge massive orb glaring at the raucous inside the office like a god. Tarrone's mind couldn't comprehend what was going on between the horrific vision outside and inside. All the chaos around him was overwhelming his psyche, and he snapped. He couldn't take it anymore. The laughter, the fear, the anguish, the staring: it all compounded on top of him like plywood. It was like some sort of surreal nightmare, and he found himself thinking back to the days of his therapy sessions, that very sympathetic lioness Dr. Hunt easing his anxiety with her soothing words and charming demeanor.
But none of her words mattered now. She was a thing of the past, and his innate paranoia, which he managed to control and restrain for so long, exploded through his veins. In a flurry of impassionate tears he turned and sprinted away, zooming past his amused coworkers, running upstairs and through several hallways, everything a panicked blur until he found himself in a bathroom, hyperventilating.
The minutes in the bathroom seemed like hours to Tarrone as he sat on the toilet seat in one of the stalls, his mind reeling. For some reason, between the dilemma of his job and the terror of his vision, the massive eye became the center of his thoughts. His job situation was oddly familiar, paralleling his high school days almost exactly. This was something he had learned to get over with easily: drinking, computer games, more drinking, therapy, even more drinking. The cycle continues, he thought.
But the eye... this was an oddity he wasn't familiar with, and he wanted to ponder this. He forced himself to concentrate on that eye, a great mind occupier to distract him from the reality back in his office. He didn't want to go back to that. Even though the giant eye hosted a set of its own problems, none of them compared to the terror that his workplace now boasted.
Ironically, the giant eye happened to be his only source of comfort.
A few more moments in the bathroom stall helped to clear his head. He sat down on the edge of the toilet seat, rocking back and forth like a cradle, thinking about his situation. Like a hackneyed plot twist, he saw himself as the solitary visionary of something dangerous and powerful, but his penchant as a twitchy, fear-afflicted coward only destroyed his chances of talking to ANYONE about it. Years of living in fear left him a rodent afflicted with hypochondria of the phobia kind (he was deathly afraid of germs until he was fifteen), and by now, everyone knew it. No one would even listen to his problem, let alone believe him.
He wished, for the first time since then, he was back in therapy. What did Dr. Hunt say? Take it one step at a time. Fear itself is the only to fear. Everything is only as scary as you make it. He took a deep breath. Maybe it wasn't as scary as it seemed. If it was a figment of his imagination, then he could simply brush it off. If it was real, then it didn't seem to really do anything but watch him. Conspiracy theories were for the nerds.
Maybe it wanted him for something. He was the only one to see it; therefore maybe this was some sort of sign; some other power was trying to get in touch with him and him alone. Silly yes—but how else was he going to describe it? It was his responsibility. His logic, not his terror, was going to get him out of this.
Tarrone slowly stood up, exited the stall, and looked around. No one was there. He still clung to his tail, yet regained a new-found confidence, and padded over to the sink. He washed his paws and splashed some water on his face, the echo of hideous laughter reverberating in his ears. He looked at himself in the mirror, staring into his own green eyes. He counted backwards from ten, and then took another deep breath. He turned around to leave the restroom—and there it was again, right outside the bathroom window.
The eye was staring at him.
It didn't even blink. It just gave a cold, hard, blank stare that seemed to penetrate Tarrone's soul. He could see the light glimmer off it like some sort of anime character. Panic hit the mouse, but he managed to control it this time as he took careful, slow, methodical steps towards the window. He stared up at the eye as he moved in close, and squeaked out a not-too-confident "Hello?" It was barely above a whisper.
The eye focused on him. Hello there, Tarrone.
The mouse freaked. He looked around the bathroom in a sweaty panic. He heard a voice—but it couldn't have possible came from the giant outside the window. It sounded so sweet, so pure, like an angel's hymn. "Is someone in here?"
No, Tarrone, it is I, the one who is staring at you right now.
The mouse turned back around and stared up at the eye. He didn't even know he was moving in closer to it. Do not be alarmed. This is not a dream. You are the only one who can see and hear me. Think of this as telepathic communication.
Tarrone felt his tail fall back between his fingers. Again, he was clutching onto it with full anxiety. "W.... who are you?"
I am you guardian. Consider me your protective servant. I am here to calm your fears. You know longer have anything to worry about.
Tarrone chose his words carefully, lest he anger the beast whose eye reflected his own form like a freakish mirror. "I... I'm not sure if I understand. Protect me?"
Those that are truly fearful of the world around them need extra comfort. That is what I provide. I will watch over you.
The mouse felt his head spinning. "Protect me from what? How come I'm the only one that can talk to you? I don't understand."
You still are overwhelmed. Do not be, for I am at your command. There are people in this world that fear the chaos that it contains, so much so that they subconsciously summon a being such as myself to shelter them. I am yours until you feel more comfortable in the world you exist in.
"You're... mine to command?" The mouse wasn't sure if this was some elaborate joke or a really authentic delirium. "Command to do what?"
Anything that will help you cope with your reality, so the world doesn't seem so scary to you. Ask for something if you don't believe me.
Tarrone thought long and hard. If this "thing" wasn't real, asking for something would be useless. Therefore, it couldn't hurt. Besides, leaving something that big idle, or even saying 'you're crazy,' might not be such a good idea.
"Well... my car sucks. Insurance is good though. Can you make it go away without deriding me in charges or having them drop me?" It was an odd request, but in his confused state it was the only thing he could think of.
The eye's gaze softened. It backed from the window. Look for yourself.
With a sudden urge of boldness, the mouse stepped up towards the window, his muzzle flattening against the glass pane as he stared outside towards the street. He saw his old '91 Durrante parallel parked between two other cars, the green pain peeling off, and its back headlight smashed. He thought about the amount of money he put into it for brakes that never work and engine parts that always fail. He wondered how this 'fake' giant could even do this; shrink down and steal it?
But he wasn't even close.
A shadow loomed over his car suddenly, and he saw a giant fox's foot paw zoom into view. It rushed passed his window in a downward direction, blocking his vision of his car. He cringed and let out a gasp in horror as he watched those toes splay and spread as it slammed on top of his vehicle forcefully, hearing the muffled sound of crushed metal smashing into twisted carnage. The foot was perfectly large enough to smash his car and his car only: the other two cars surround his were perfectly fine.
Tarrone's heart began to thump powerfully in his chest. Not only did he see his "guardian" stomp his car, an event that he couldn't possibly comprehend, but he also knew that no one could have missed watching that. His mind was a confused torrent of chaos. What if a panic started? What if the giant said I commanded it? What if the government intervenes and blames me? What if I become the world's worse enemy? His paranoia was in full swing.
The mouse turned and high tailed it out the bathroom. He sprinted past his co-workers, his desk, his office, even the elevators, and practically jumped down the stairs towards the lobby. He couldn't believe he wouldn't have expected that massive creature to get rid of his car the only way it knew how. This was extremely bad on so many levels. He didn't want to be some potentially evil person with a dangerous creature at his whim. He just wanted to stop being afraid...
But what if all of this was false? He couldn't -really- have seen what thought he saw. One part of his brain was telling him that he finally lost his mind, and he should check into a mental institution right now. When you exit the building and see that your car is fine—keep running to the nearest asylum.
But as soon as he stepped out into the lobby and out into the street, everything changed.
His car was not some flattened mess—well, not because of the giant foot that crushed it. In fact, not a single sign of the foot was seen at all. A steel girder was in its place, ripped perfectly through the center of his car, as if a construction company accidentally... dropped it... on his... car....?
Tarrone looked upwards, and sure enough, a construction crew looked down helplessly from the roof of the building, apparently in some sort of shock that one of their workers accidentally dropped the girder from a crane. There seemed to be a lot of yelling up there, but Tarrone couldn't get his eyes off the swinging hook of the crane, amazed at the immense irony and coincidence of it all.
Tarrone slowly lowered his gaze back down at his destroyed car and couldn't believe it. As people outside gathered around his crushed vehicle, gasping and pointing at the large steel building piece that ripped through it, the words of the giant fox began to swirl in his head. No one can see or hear me. Your protective servant. Here to calm your fears. I will watch over you.
He saw the foot. Everyone else saw the girder.
Tarrone turned and walk slowly back into the building, his eyes conspicuously normal. He knew he should have been feeling fear. But he wasn't scared in the least. He could feel his blood pumping and his heart beating. He was in a state of quiet excitement, his soul wanting to laugh maniacally, as if this huge revelation in his life was the saving grace he sought after for so long; as plain as day it stood right in front of him.
For the first time in a while, Tarrone grinned. His tail slipped from his hands.