His eyes were shut, his lids and eyebrows squinting with such force that his entire face was contorted.
He knew he should not look directly at it. He had been warned that the sun would burn his eyes and maybe even his brain.
He could not afford to lose his sight; it was his livelihood, his everything. He was never very good at talking to people, and holding down a regular job was difficult for him.
But the one place he could communicate with people was through art. He made paintings that everyone loved. And he was good at it because he saw things, with his eyes, that nobody else saw.
He needed his eyes. He shouldn’t look at the sun, no matter how interesting it might seem.
Today was different, though. Today there was an eclipse, and the sun wouldn’t be as bright because it would be hiding behind the moon.
His face relaxed a bit. He was outside, and he could feel the air getting cooler as the sun disappeared. He wanted to see what an eclipse really looked like, and not just through a pinhole camera.
Maybe he could just peek.
He nodded to himself, knowing that he wouldn’t look at it very long — just a second, really. Enough for him to capture in his mind and paint tomorrow.
He opened his eyes wide and focused on the beautiful, dangerous, burning orb in the sky.
And it burned him.
Right through his retina and into his brain.
I gave Eric Storch this prompt: Welcome to the grey zone.