Pain is usually associated with something that hurts. (That's a 'well duh'moment.)
But when I woke up screaming, with my brain exploding and fireworks going off behind my eye, I wasn't sure if it was pain or if it was the world that was ending. What's more, I couldn't see.
Something was in my eye, the something that set the flashes of color of in my head. It hissed and popped and searing pain reached to my fingertips as that something twisted in my eye socket.
Nohbdy has tricked me!
I yelled again and swung my arm at whatever might stand before me. I came without anything and stumbled to my feet while taking hold of the pole in my eye.
My missing sheep-pen pole.
I tore it from my socket and threw it to the ground, my hand sticky with what felt like blood. I bellowed to the cave that surrounded me and called to the surrounding mountains.
Someone called from outside the cave, "What ails you, Polyphemus? Why do you cry sore in the night? You won't let us sleep! Surely no man is driving off you flock, no man has tricked you—ruined you?"
I roared in answer, more from pain than anger—but anger also was my aide. "Nohbdy, Nohbdy's tricked me, Nohbdy's ruined me!"
Their reply was, "Ah, well, if nobody has tricked you, we are no use in pain given by Zeus. Let it be your father, Poseidon Lord, to whom you pray."
His name! Surely 'Nohbdy' wasn't his name. He had said it to make a fool of me!
The Cyclops that had answered my call, I'm not sure who it was, for the rock walls muffled the voice, left then, leaving me to my pain.
I fell into a blind rage (literally speaking) and threw myself at the door. Finding it was the hard part. My hands soon found where the rock was rolled in the opening. Then I rolled it from the door.
Nohbdy will not fool me again.
Then I squatted in the doorway, my arms spread wide to catch him when he and the others tried to escape.
But they never tried. I was wheezing now, my breath coming in quick gasps and I knew I should try to sleep.
Maybe the pain will be gone tomorrow.
I knew this was a petty lie. So I refused to sleep. I stayed in the doorway in the same position for the rest of the night, hoping that somehow, Nohbdy would change his mind about leaving and try while I was there.
When finally I felt the sun on my back, I knew it had to be late morning. My head ached terribly as I stood and left the cave entrance for only a moment to fumble about for my shepherding staff. I found it and tapped the ground around me until I knew I was back in cavern.
The bleating was somehow more unbearable than ever before as I rounded the flock up with a whistle.
To make sure that Nohbdy and his friends slipped past me, I took a position in the doorway and felt the backs and sides of all the sheep that passed by, in case they were riding on them. I found it odd that the several of the rams passed by three at a time, side by side, but thought nothing of it.
The last ram to pass was the largest one—the favorite of mine that was always eager be the first. It seemed strange that he should lag behind the rest.
"Sweet cousin ram," I said, though I'd ever spoken to my sheep before, "why, now, are you so far behind the rest? Could it be that you are mourning for your master's eye?"
Anger built in my chest as I spoke to him of Nohbdy. "That carrion rogue and his accurst friends burnt it out when he conquered all my senses with wine. Nohbdy will not get out alive, I swear!"
The ram's head nudged me in the leg and I continued, knowing he must be listening. "Oh, were you smarter, and had a voice, I would ask you where he may be now, dodging all my fury!. Bashed by this hand and on this rock wall his brains will strew the floor."
I tapped the ram's back with my staff to let him continue on his way. I didn't bother taking them up and over the hill just yet. My head was pounding again and I couldn't bear to stand. I sat in the grass a ways from the cave after I had closed it's opening with the rock.
After sitting for some time, listening to the pathetic bleating of my flock, I stood and tapped along the ground until I came to the hill. I started up, whistling for the flock to follow, for I knew they would.
But they didn't and I turned back, not hearing them anymore.
Where have they gone? Surely they couldn't have wandered so far off while I wasn't paying attention, but trying to find my way to the hill.
I hurried back down the hill and got down on hands and knees to feel the ground for their hoof-prints. Instead, I found tethers and ropes.
What are these from?
After a minute or two of searching, I found the prints and followed then, fumbling along until I came to another hill that led down to the beach. But I knew I would not find them. I was blind and it would be worthless to search for them.
I had just stood and gone back to retrieve my stick when I heard, from behind me, a voice.
"O Cyclops! Would you feast on my companions? Puny, am I, in the Caveman's hands? How do you like the beating that we gave you, you damned cannibal? Eater of guests under your own roof! Zeus and the gods have paid you!"
It was Nohbdy, I knew. He had escaped, then! In my rage, I reached for something, anything, and found a hilltop. I tore it from it's base and hurled it after the voice, knowing it wouldn't find its mark—but hoping. Definitely hoping. But there was nothing but a splash in return.
There was nothing for sometime and I thought they had left, so I turned back again to get my staff. Before I could find it, Nohbdy's voice came again, this time from farther away.
"Cyclops, if ever a mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye, whose home is on Ithaca!"
I reeled in shock. This was as Telemus had foretold! To Odysseus, I roared, "A wizard lived here—Telemus, a son of Eurymus; great length of days he had in wizardry among the Cyclops. And these things he foretold for time to come. My great eye lost, and at Odysseus's hands."
I was sitting on the ground, somehow, my hands tearing grass from their roots in my anger. "I had always imagined some great giant force, would come here to get me. But you—small, pitiful, and twiggy—you put me down with wine and blinded me."
There was no reply and I thought maybe they had gone. For good measure, I continued. "Come back, Odysseus and I'll treat you well, praying the god of earthquake befriend you—his son I am. If he will, he may heal me of this black wound."
To my surprise, there was a reply. "If I could take your life, I would and take your time away, and hurl you down to hell! The god of earthquake could not heal you there!"
Again there was a magnificent pounding where my eye should be and somewhere in my mind I imagined it smoking as I stood and threw my arms into the air, my staff once again in my fist.
To the sky I let loose the roar that had been festering in my throat.
"O hear me, lord, if I am yours, and you are my father, grant that Odysseus never see his homeland of Ithaca. Should destiny intend that he shall see his roof again among his family, far be that day, and dark the years between. Let him lose all companions, friends or otherwise, and return under strange sail to bitter days at home."
In fury, I reached for something else to hurl at him. I found a rock this time, larger than the hilltop that I had thrown before. This I launched after them, not knowing whether it struck them or not.
There was a mighty splash as before, then silence. I knew then that they had been the ones to take my flock. But it didn't matter any longer. There was nothing I could do about it.
My father Poseidon Lord, if he wished it be, would give them trouble enough.
And it was then that the blind cat lost it's fly. (And, no, I'm not trying to be funny about it.)