>From a young age, my mother told me I had special eyes.
>They were different from other peoples because I could see things other's couldn't
>My reply would always be, "But Mama, I can't see anything at all."
>It wasn't until later in life that I realized "special eyes" was just a polite way of calling them "defective"
>I got picked on a lot in school, blind kids do tend to make easy targets
>Especially considering the only other one in our year happened to be retarded as well, tarring me with the same brush.
>While thankfully the teachers did give enough of a shit to prevent anything physical happening, and I had a few friends to carry me through.
>Not to mention the one time something physical did happen my mom raised absolute hell to the school board.
>Still didn't stop the bastards from screwing with me in a million little ways
>Snatching my cane was an old favorite, rearranging items on my desk was another, also trying to play on what they assumed my lack of knowledge about the sighted world would be.
>Like last year when they tried to convince me that our science teacher, Ms. Akiyama, had turned into a blue-skinned, horned monster.
>They must have like that one because next week they tried convincing me our math teacher, Mrs. Korova, had turned into a cow.
>What kind of idiot did they take me for?
>They kept with the monster angle for the whole rest of the year, monsters were coming into our world, students and teachers were turning into monsters, etc, etc.
>Bah, they should pitch that to Hollywood, maybe they'll believe it, but I won't.
>They really should make a movie because now they're resorting to clicking coconuts as I walk down the hall or rubbing satin together to simulate slithering
>Lotta work to play a prank on the blind kid.
>The only thing I hate is that they somehow her into it.
>Naomi and I had been friends since about second grade, when she moved here with her family.
>For almost my entire school career she's been there.
>offering a guiding hand when the jackasses take my cane
>Sitting with me at lunch
>Letting me listen to her play violin with the string band after school
>In return I served as a sympathetic ear for her when her own mocking became too much to handle.
>Being in high school, the idea of dating was even kicked around, though ultimately she decided not to, to "preserve our friendship"
>I still would have been her friend even if we were dating...
>But, ever since this "monster" prank began, she's been avoiding me.
>I hear her voice in the halls, and when I come to the auditorium after school I can hear the sound of her violin
>But when I call out to her, or try to get her attention, she runs away.
>Always with those damned clip clopping coconuts.
>She's been my friend for so long, why would she join in the mocking now?
>It was around lunchtime that those coconut sounds alerted me to some presence.
<"H-hey, its... its been a while."
"Is that what you call deliberately avoiding me for months on end?"
>I can hear the sound of skin on hair, Naomi always rubs the back of her head when she's nervous.
<"If I told you there was a good reason for this, would you believe me?"
>I try scrunching my face up into what I imagine is a look of incredulity
"Would have to be quite the reason to leave me alone for months. Granted the bullying has slacked off ever since this "monster" prank started, but still."
>I can hear her breath hitch when I mention the "monsters"
<"H-how do you think they're pranking you?"
"Back before winter break they told me that our teachers were turning into monsters, then they started telling me that students were too!"
>Again, the rubbing of skin on hair
<"Uh huh, how else?"
"I'll give them credit, they're committed to the bit. Always clicking coconuts or something next to my ear to try to give the impression of hooves."
"They said Stacy Johnson turned into a snake, I asked her about it and she let me feel one of her legs. As if that would prove anything. I'm blind, not stupid, I can tell snakeskin pants when I feel them."
>Nothing is said for a long time
>Eventually, I feel Naomi take my hand, like she's done a hundred or more times since we've known each other.
<"H-here, follow me, I want to show you something."
>I rise and begin following her to wherever it is she wants to take me.
"Naomi, have you gotten... taller?"
>Skin on hair again
<"Y-yes, I had a little bit of a growth spurt over the summer. I'm taller than you now, which is partly why I avoided you. Didn't want to embarrass you, you know?"
"That assumes I would have been able to tell in the first place."
<"Oh, of course. Still, just follow me."
>The clip clop on the concrete makes me suspect mischief, but I only hear my footsteps and...
>I don't hear Naomi's footsteps.
>I push my fears and suspicions down and continue to follow her
>Sometimes, I grip her hand tighter and I can hear her breathing become irregular.
>Almost like she's holding something in.
>Eventually, asphalt becomes grass.
>I hear the lowing of cows and the buzzing of cicadas.
>She's taken me to the farm near the school, the one the FFA kids volunteer at.
<"Good, no one's here."
<"J-just stay here, I need to get what I wanted to show you."
>I take a seat in the grass, careful to feel around so I don't sit in some cow pie.
>Eventually, the sound of hooves returns
<"W-well, here she is."
"Is that a horse?"
<"Yeah, I, uh, I saved up some money and my parents helped chip in to buy her for me."
"Can I touch her?"
>Another breath hitch
<"Y-you have to get her to trust you first, put your hand out."
>I do so, and in a moment I can hear the sounds of something sniffing at my hand, followed by a wet lick.
"I think she likes me."
<"More than you realize..."
"What was that?"
<"N-nothing, if you think she trusts you then come and pet her coat."
>I feel around and eventually find the horse's flank
>I move my hand forward, stroking the horse in slow and deliberate motions.
"Hey, do you think I could feel her mane?"
<"NO!, I mean, her mane got trimmed recently. If you want to feel horsehair, you could, ah, stroke her tail."
>I feel around down the length of the horse, finally arriving at the hindquarters.
>Gingerly, I begin stroking the horse's tail, alternating between over and underhanded strokes
<"You know, if you're done petting we still haven't ridden together yet."
"Oh, you'd let me ride?"
<"Not without me, of course. But yeah, I'd, I'd love to ride you, I mean, ride with you."
"Man, getting this horse has made you really weird, you know that?"
<"Just get on."
>Feeling around, I try hitching a leg up to get on the horse.
>Surprisingly, the horse obliges me by kneeling somewhat
>Naomi must have trained her well.
>As I center myself on the horse, I realize something
"Naomi, there's no saddle."
<"Of course there isn't, you can't tandem ride with a saddle, silly."
'Oh, fair enough."
<"If you're worried about falling off, just hold onto me."
>I don't even need to see to tell she's blushing
>Frankly, I think I am too, yet I slip my hands around her midsection all the same.
"Naomi, are you... not wearing a shirt?"
<"Ah, it's a hot day and I get sweaty riding, I have a sports bra on."
>There is a short, but awkward silence
<"Let's get going."
>The horse begins to move at a slow trot
<"We'll go for a short ride across the field and then come back, okay?"
>I give a nod, hopefully she saw it.
>In another moment, the horse moves into a canter.
>This close together I can hear her breathing.
>Heavy, she must be working hard to control the horse
>But also those odd hitches and inhales when I squeeze tighter for balance.
<"We're moving to a gallop, hold on tight."
>I can feel the increase in speed and do as she says, my chest flat against her back
>I think at one point she even makes the horse jump, which causes me to bury my head in her neck.
>Eventually, our wild ride comes to an end and I am left sitting there holding her.
<"We stopped moving, you're safe now."
>Slowly and unsteadily, I dismount.
>I take a few steps forward, but then collapse back, quickly catching myself on the front of the horse.
>I feel something wet against the nape of my neck.
"What in the..."
>Quickly finding my footing, I turn back towards the horse.
<"Are, are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, somethings weird with your horse though."
>I reach out again and find the wet part on the front.
"I think it's some kind of hole."
>I shove a few fingers in and I hear Naomi let out a soft whimper.
"God, I hope this isn't some wound and my fingers are covered in blood."
<"N-no, if it, ah, if it was then she would have let you, hrn, let you know."
"Are you okay?"
<"I'm fine, just tell me more about the hole."
>I explore a little bit more
"It's wet and fleshy and warm, not like a sticky wet either, so it's probably not blood."
<"Interesting, please, oh, please tell me more."
>Swiping my hands around the outside I feel something brush against my palm.
"Hey, there's some weird little nub on top."
>I give it a flick with my index finger and I feel the horse stumble a bit, now intrigued, I set to work rubbing the flesh nub with my thumb
>The horse is having trouble keeping it's footing, just what is this thing.
"Hey, if I rub it, it makes the horse act funny, this thing is pretty fu-"
>I'm cut off as the horse rears back and sends me to the ground
>Now flat on my back I can hear the horse approaching me
>I can feel it's weight on my knees as it kneels down
>I almost expect the horse's head to come close to mine at any minute, but instead I feel something different.
>Arms move to pin my own
>Hot breath on my ear
>How is this possible if she's on the horse?
"Naomi? What's, what's going on?"
>She says nothing, just continues her heavy breathing in my ear.
>The next moment, she pulls me into a passionate kiss
>Until eventually, she says the most ominous thing
<"Please don't hate me for this."
>In an instant, my pants are down.
>Am I about to be raped?
>And by the horse, my best friend, or both.
>Almost involuntarily, I begin shivering.
>A few seconds later, I feel arms wrap around me and hear Naomi's voice once more
<"Please don't be scared, one of us needs to be the brave one."
>She pushes her body against mine, and for the first time I feel her...
>I had no idea they were so big.
>I guess this was her plan, since in a moment I am rock hard
>In a swift motion, it is entirely engulfed. Meeting some resistance but quickly pushing through.
>Naomi squeezes me tighter as this occurs
>We've, we've taken each other's virginity.
>What follows is not exactly the most pleasurable, nor does it last long for either of us, but it does leave some imprint on my psyche.
>Somehow, in my minds eye
>Afterwards, I hear the horse collapse to the ground, and feel Naomi tumble off with it.
"What, what just happened?"
>She says nothing, but I feel her grasp my hand and guide it up to her face.
>She lets it linger a moment caressing her cheek before moving it up to her head
>And the horse like ears that sprout from the side of her head.
>It wasn't an elaborate prank.
>Just to make sure, I give one ear a firm tug
>Her head jerks back
<"Ow, why did you do that?"
"So all this time, the horse was actually?"
<"A few months after Ms. Akiyama turned into an Oni. All the girls in the school had it happen to them eventually."
"Is that why you avoided me?"
<"I didn't want to scare you. Your world is scary enough as it is."
>I grasp her hand a bit tighter, the words I am about to say are corny and I know it, yet I mumble them out all the same
"It's a lot scarier without you by my side."
>No words are said but I have the feeling Naomi is crying.
>I've heard her cry before, but this is different.
>tears of joy.
>It takes a few moments to dress and reorient ourselves, but eventually we set to walking home.
<"Hey, you realize you have to marry me now, right?"
<"I just gave you the most precious thing a girl can give someone, so the least you can do is promise not to see any girls other than me."
"Naomi, how can I see any other girls if I can't even see you?"
>It takes a few seconds but eventually she gets it
<"That wasn't what I meant, a-and I'm sorry, that was a poor choice of words."
"Ha, don't worry, I know what you meant, and don't worry I wasn't planning on ditching you."
"After all, why would I want to abandon my oldest friend, especially now that she can trample me into paste?"
<"I WOULD NEVER DO THAT! B-but thank you."
>As we walk hand in hand, a final thought occurs to me
"Is my mom, like you now?"
<"I think she's a dragon, not surprising since she was always so protective of you."
"That's pretty cool, and say, Naomi?"
"If you're a centaur, why am I walking right now?"
<"W-what do you mean?"
"Why are you making the poor blind guy walk, give me a ride!"
<"That's supposed to be a special thing! I'm sorry but it just is!"
"Making your poor blind future husband walk, how could you?"
>As we horsed (ha!) around in what I imagine is the afternoon sun, I can almost see her face.
>My friend, the ugly duckling who only I saw for the swan she truly was.
>Maybe Mom was right, maybe these eyes are special in their own way.