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15 October, 2012

Secondhand Sight by Rocky Leonard

In Secondhand Sight by Rocky Leonard, Dan Harper is just an ordinary guy, having an ordinary day…until he ruins his tie during lunch. When he visits a thrift store near his office for an inexpensive replacement, merely touching a secondhand tie triggers a flood of gruesome images only he can see. Are they hallucinations, or suppressed memories?

Dan desperately wants these visions to be nothing more than a product of his imagination, but soon enough, he discovers real crime scenes and murder victims. Dan can no longer ignore the unseen powers forcing him to confront the demons of his past. Dark forces prod him to seek the identity of the faceless murderer haunting his dreams.

Dan’s worst fear is the suspicion he’ll eventually confront the face of this brutal killer in last place he wants to look – the mirror.

An Excerpt from Secondhand Sight...

I steadied myself in front of a small mirror on the wall near the tie rack. My trembling hands went through the practiced motions of tying the tie, the same moves I had made first thing in the morning, four days a week.

I looked into the mirror and gasped. Blood splatters covered the glass, obscuring my reflection in the mirror. My hands felt warm and sticky. Reluctantly, I looked down and saw to my horror that they were covered in wet blood. It was all over me. My mind reeled. Bile rose in my throat. I looked around frantically for the source of the spreading crimson stains. Did I cut myself? I felt no pain. What in the hell happened? How? Did the workers break the glass after all? Yet when I glanced in its direction, the glass display case remained intact.

For several seconds, my mind babbled a brook of questions for which no answers came. My knees felt weak, on the verge of collapse. Time crept by. I marked its passage with my breathing, the only way I could tell time hadn’t stopped completely. I looked around for someone in the store to come help me. Words came to mind to cry for help, but they refused to pass my lips.

A couple of muted sounds that might pass for the bleating of a sheep rose in my throat, barely audible. No one in the store noticed me foundering in distress. I looked around helplessly, desperate to avoid looking into the mirror again. But I had to know. I forced my eyes to gaze at my own reflection once more.

To my surprise, my completely normal reflection looked back at me. There was no trace of blood anywhere. As quickly as it came, the sensation of tacky blood sticking to my hands
faded to nothing. My hands once again felt clean and dry. I steeled my courage and looked down to confirm they were free of blood. I looked back up at the mirror, incredulous. It was as if nothing had happened. The blood splattered all over the glass and my clothes had disappeared as inexplicably as it had materialized.
Was that a hallucination? What the hell just happened to me?

Chuck reappeared, carrying a large cardboard box stuffed with household knick-knacks he began arranging on a table. He looked over and noticed that I now wore a different tie. “Found something you like?”

I did my best to smile naturally, still speechless after the inexplicable experience. It was a relief to have Chuck close by, in case the gory visions returned. Maybe he could help me understand what had happened, if it happened again. I cleared my throat, nodded and grunted, finding it impossible to tell him about the episode.

Just act normal. Don’t let him see you sweat.

“Is something the matter? Are you okay?” Chuck asked. “You look a little pale.”

I made a more serious effort to clear my throat before I dared speak again. I decided against mentioning the strange vision. I didn’t want someone I just met to think I was a complete nut. I desperately wanted to get out of the musty old building, thinking it possible the fresh paint had stirred up toxic airborne bacteria. It might be eating my brain at that very moment.

I finally found my voice. “Yeah, I’ll be okay. I just feel a little funny—an upset stomach from lunch, I think. I need some fresh air, that’s all. This tie will do, for work at least. I’d better go.”

Chuck smiled and said, “We appreciate your business. You’ll always have the honor of being our first customer. I hope you feel better. Thanks, and come back soon. Remember, we plan to be open next week.”

I waved, not trusting myself to speak.

Back in the steel sanctuary of my car, I collected myself enough to suppress the images that had flashed before my eyes moments earlier. At first, I tried to deny the experience, hoping to banish the images from my mind for good.

For the first time in my life, I seriously wondered if this was what it felt like to lose my own mind.

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