Notes: If you've ever seen the Petarded episode of Family Guy, you'll know exactly where this one came from.



Red. The walls in her apartment were a wine red, offset with beige furniture.

Kate Flewelling stared at the sliding glass door that led to her tiny patio, half-expecting a bat to fly into it. It was nicely clear, not that anyone outside of her family would see it.

Ever.

Especially not anyone she was dating, since she'd made a promise to only date blind people from now on.

The voice on the phone sounded a little nervous, but it represented everything that Kate hoped for.

"So this is the first time we're gonna meet. I'm downright curious."

Kate winced. "M-me too."

The voice sounded like it smiled. "Can you come pick me up at 6?"

"S-s-s-sure," Kate said. Stupid, stupid stutter. "Ssssssure I can. Where do you want to go, Samantha?" Use her name. Names were good. They showed that you were paying attention and that you were interested.

"Anywhere you want to take me."

Kate caught her breath and couldn't say anything. How could she, with an opening like that?

Then a laugh came from the phone. "God, did I really just sound like that? Anywhere you want to take me. Now that's a fucking invitation a rapist would kill for."

Kate forced out a chuckle.

"Anywhere you want to go is fine, though," Samantha said. "Seriously, though. I think by now I can trust your taste."

"Right. Um, do you like Chinese?"

"Sure, if you don't mind reading the menu to me."

"I can do that," Kate said. She couldn't help smiling. Samantha couldn't see. Maybe this was going to work, because Samantha couldn't see her.

Samantha read off her address, and Kate wrote it down. She could get directions from Google.

There was an awkward pause, and then Samantha hurriedly bid her goodnight and hung up.

Kate stared at the cell phone in her hand. It was a Motorola phone. Nice. Sleek. Expensive.

And then the screen went dark since the call had disconnected, reflecting her face.

God. How fucked up was she?

"I am only dating blind women because blind women can't see my face," she said to the empty apartment. She'd looked up dating blind people and found a statistic that said a vast majority didn't like to touch other people's faces, and that was just fine with Kate.

"I must be retarded," she said aloud, then collapsed onto the couch. The furry pillow at her side lifted its head before nudging her arm.

"Hey Piggles," she murmured, scratching the dog's head.

The giant schnauzer pushed his head further into her hand and snuffled.

"Crazy, huh?" she said to him, pulling his head into her lap. "I'm a real loon. Dating blind girls because they won't freak when they see me." As usual, her hand drifted up to her face, to touch and stroke where her left eye should be.

Should be.

Instead of an eye that was the mirror image of her left, her fingers skimmed over bumpy skin of various texture. The closest she'd ever come to feeling it was scar tissue, but better than that was the cooled runoff wax of a taper candle. Or possibly incorrectly applied latex. There had been a little eye under it when she was born. Tiny, undoubtedly useless, and probably ugly.

It was still there somewhere, buried beneath the tissue and certainly entirely useless by now.

Her other eye, nestled in the curve of a faint port-wine birthmark, was entirely normal. Brown, but most people never got that far. Their gaze usually stopped on the missing eye, then the birthmark, then the almost invisible pucker in her lip that marked where the harelip had been, and then a very small number of people looked past all of it into her brown eye.

Hazel, really. But no one had told her what color her eye was since her father had died.

Piggles probably knew what color her eye was, but then again Piggles didn't give a damn and couldn't tell her anyway.

He licked her hand and whined.

"Fine, fine." Kate got up from the couch and padded over the thick carpet into the kitchen.

The yellow tile was cold underneath her bare feet as she pulled out the Kibbles and poured two cups into Piggles' bowl. He chuffed happily and the sound of shifting dog food filled the air as he crunched his way towards the bottom.

"Good boy," Kate said. She petted him briefly before putting the Kibbles back.

Within two minutes the food was gone, and then both schnauzer and woman were ensconced back on the couch.

#

When Kate dreamed, she dreamed in a color scheme much like that from a fantasy film. Dark colors or shades of grey and brown interspersed with the occasional bright one. Some vivid color that made what they colored so much more important.

Sometimes she imagined a woman much like herself, with chin-length dark hair but two eyes. Two eyes, both of which could see out of a face with no marks upon it.

That face would top a body exactly like what she had now. Tattooed, pierced perfection. Or at least as perfect as she could get with more and darker port-wine stains that bloomed on her body like broad, irregular flowers. She didn't mind those so much as she did the stain on her face. These birthmarks she could work into tattoos or hide under clothing. The stain on her face was unhideable, at least if she wanted to see while her hair covered her missing eye.

Sometimes she imagined that she could look like the actress Clea DuVall, if she'd had half a chance to look like everyone else. She had the same hair, same broad jaw ending in a narrow chin, and the same quirk of the eyebrow.

Her other eyebrow just wasn't there.

Tonight she dreamed of a beautiful woman.

Her silhouette was the deepest black against a starry sky, and her arm lifted to point at Kate. Look at me, she seemed to murmur. Look at me and tell me what I am.

"You are Goddess," Kate said.

The deity opened her eyes, and contained in the sockets of her face were green starfields.

The space between the stars was darkest black, and the Goddess's eyelashes were blue around those starfields.

Individual stars began to glow brightly, and other to dim.

But what does it mean? Whispered the voiceless Goddess.

Kate lifted up one arm and laid her hand along the curve of the Goddess's waist and pulled her close.

"It means nothing," Kate said serenely.

And then the Goddess screamed loud and long, and Kate woke up.