You remember the first time she walked into your parlour. That’s wrong. She didn't walk; she strode in like she owned the place. Given how new to the job you were, she could have said she actually did own the place, and you would have believed her. There was an edge to her, an alertness that made her seem like she was on a whole other plane of existence, like she was privy to a secret you could only dream of knowing. She walked up to the counter and made a facial expression. You would call it a smile, but it resembled the gleaming edge of a knife too much to make the comparison. It reeked of danger. You swallowed harshly.
“I need eyes,” she said, in a surprisingly deep voice. You gaped for a few seconds, looking directly into the thick lashed eyes on her face. They were terrifying, like staring into a black hole, so vast and so dark you could feel yourself slipping away.
“We don’t sell eyes here, ma’am,” you said, like the idiot you were. She rolled her eyes, breaking the spell.
“Obviously not. I meant, I need tattoos of these eyes,” she said, slapping a piece of paper on the counter between the both of you. They were beautiful eyes, and they were perfectly suited to the style you had been cultivating, thin curved lines and intense detail work. You couldn't resist the challenge, and you certainly couldn't resist her intense gaze.
She wanted the eyes on the inside of her wrists, and you rose to the occasion. Wrist tattoos usually hurt like hell, but she didn't flinch the entire time, just stared at the wall ahead of her, stoic and terrifying.
It was far from the last time. As you got better, more honed, she would come with increasingly difficult designs. They were all eyes, but they varied in size, shape, even color, and the designs became more and more intricate. She wanted them all over her body, up her spine, on the small of her back, on her shoulder blades, on the backs of her hands, under her collarbones. Every time she came, she would offer that knife of a smile and a design, and you would eventually learn to smile back, and watch that knife soften into something slightly more fond, and infinitely sadder. She began to talk during her sessions, telling stories of her past, of a trickster who charmed her into letting her guard down, only to end up betraying her, of her best friend who she sacrificed everything for. You opened up as well, talking about your fear of snakes, and how when you were a child, you could always tell what the weather would be, or if people you knew would have good days or bad. You told her about how you used to have small visions, only to see them happen seconds after you spoke. You laughed about them to her, putting them down as children’s fantasy, but she would only stare at you, something approximating affection in her inkwell eyes. Near the end of her visits, her smiles became sadder, more reluctant, and she would draw out her visits as long as she possibly could. She started to wait longer between each visit, like she was trying to stave something off. You did your best not to take it personally.
On her last visit to your parlour, she came in slowly, coming closer to dragging her heels than she ever had. You were already smiling at her.
“It’s your hundredth eye today.” You said, in a celebratory voice. Her shoulders slumped, but you forged ahead anyways. “This one’s on the house. My treat.”
The final eye was far simpler than anything she had ever asked for, just two curved lines like sideways parentheses, and a single dot in the middle. She wanted it in the middle of her forehead. You complied without question like you always did. She didn't talk that last time, just stared at you with despairing eyes. You didn't speak either, just focused on your work, making sure it was perfect. Something felt different this time.
When you had finished, she grabbed you by the hand and pulled you towards her. You were face to face, and she was talking.
“You have to understand, I didn't choose this, it’s just how it has to be.” She was talking rapidly, words tripping and stumbling out of her mouth, and you were so confused. Her voice slowed, and she took a shuddering breath. “You gave me all these beautiful eyes, and I thank you for that. I owe you everything, but I need one more thing from you.” She seemed to steel herself against something, and then she leaned forwards and kissed your forehead. “Your sight.” Everything went hazy and blurry, and the last thing you ever saw was the sight of every single eye that you had lovingly pressed into her skin blinking at once.
She didn’t take everything from you that day. She may have taken your sight, but she gave you clarity. Those visions you used to have came back with a vengeance. You stopped your tattoo work - nobody wants a blind person with needles near them. Instead, you branched into fortune telling, and you made a killing. Tiresias's Fortunes, on the intersection of Delphi and Olympus, is well known throughout the city, and you never want for work. As for your mystery patron, your masterpiece personified, she sometimes drops around. She finally told you her name, Argus, and whenever she drops by, you smile widely. People tell you your smile is terrifying. They say it looks like a knife.