As I inspected the witch's cottage,
my gaze fell upon a curious looking
jar on a shelf.
It was full of eyes.
The witch noticed, or sensed,
and simply said,
"The eyes contain the soul."
For the rest of the day,
I sat on the creaking floor
and examined each eye.
They appeared to be glass,
but I knew that was likely a rouse.
So, with kitchen cleaning gloves
I fished the next eye out of
the Mason jar and lifted it up to my own.
It was about as large as the others,
but molten honey colored,
and the iris took up so much space,
while the pupil was very small.
I turned to the witch, the eye still in hand.
"What kind of eye is this?" I asked,
showing the eye to her.
She pried it out of my grasp and felt
all over it, her eyes closed.
"It belonged to an elephant." she said,
handing it back to me.
Upon seeing the look on my face, she clarified,
"It died of natural causes, and I never ask for them.
They find their way to me."
I considered this.
"What other kind of eyes do you have?"
The witch smiled, and led me into another room,
full of jars on shelves.
This time they were organized, labeled with
the name of the creature.
Mouth open in awe,
I looked around the room in wonder.
The eyes ranged from human,
to elephant, to squid.
There were so many different sizes
The labels told me the creature,
and some of them I had never heard of.
"Do they really hold the soul?"
The witch nodded.
"Each of these eyes belonged to a different living being,
who is now gone.
Their eyes, or souls, rather
find their way to me.
I keep them safe until the soul is ready
to be used in a vessel again."
"So, one day, all these will be gone?"
She nodded again.
"And a new set will take its place."
The witch patted the top of my head
with her weathered hand.
"Someday, you'll be the one to watch over
It'll be up to you
to keep them away from harm."
Carefully, I put the elephant's eye
in the jar and ******* the lid closed.
Now I wait for my turn
to keep the souls safe.