A niche lens grinder goes on a journey born of macabre curiosity.
I used to make lenses for animals. Any animal at all, from the gargantuan blue whale to the smallest flea. Any animal that could be short or long sighted was a potential recipient. Besides, I couldn't really afford to be picky about my clientele, since most people don't seem to care about the diminished advantages of their short sighted cousins. They'll buy their pets hats and clothes, treat them like their children, let them eat at the table, but they won't give a hoot as to whether their dog can appreciate the "Life is Ruff" t-shirt they're wearing.
I was lucky to get a customer a month; my income was barely enough to pay for my one room apartment. Most of them were zoo owners, who hoped that bespectacled gorillas, snakes and lions (I also made prescription goggles for the sharks and manatees) would draw in the punters, but I also got a small number of eccentrics who bought monocles and lorgnettes and pince-nez for their flamingos and iguanas and chimpanzees. This was fine, since it left me sufficient time to perfect my craft, and fashion lenses of popular sizes in advance.
But one day I received a visit from a customer that appeared neither to be an extravagantly rich eccentric nor a smartly dressed zoo manager. He was slightly older than me, maybe twenty five, and wore a blue and red poka dot jumper with jeans, and combed over brown hair. The gentleman was thoroughly average, except for the gleaming diamond teeth jutting out of his ever-grinning mouth. With cut-glass diction, he made a request that would soon end my career as a lens grinder. He moved into the light of my dusty workroom, above the small shop that looked antiquated and out of place on the high street.
"Good morning. Is this Optical Kingdom?"
"That's what the sign above the shop says."
"Wonderful. Then I would like you to make a contact lens for me."
"Interesting. What animal is it for?"
"The... animal, doesn't have a name."
"Okay. How big do you want the lens to be?"
"The exact measurements are quite precise, do you have a pen..."
I stood up in shock and disbelief. The size of lens he asked for was too large. Too large for any animal on this Earth. I scolded the gentleman for wasting my time, and ordered him to leave, before I called the authorities. He left, and blood gushed through my ears, warming my entire body. I cleaned the lenses of my glasses, nervously.
That evening, as I locked up for the weekend, I couldn't help but feel that someone, something, was watching me, from far away.