People have never liked his eyes.
When he was younger and prone to forgetting his sunglasses, people would stare. Cashiers at grocery stores, at coffee shops, at movie rental places, and even at the one Chinese food takeout joint he went to on Tuesdays, would stammer and look away, or they would stare, gray-faced, with their mouths hanging open until he politely coughed and asked for the total.
The Man with the Terrible Eyes is an online serial novel starring a mostly-nameless man with inexplicably terrible eyes. He's employed in a nondescript but ominous office where his only duty is to occasionally stare at disloyal employees until they eventually break and give up their secrets. His life is nevertheless pretty dull, until the background weirdness of his life starts to overwhelm him, as he acquires a strange dog, a mysterious hole in the back yard, a couch full of bugs, and around-the-clock surveillance.
Who's behind all this strangeness? How awful is his awful boss? What's being stored in his office's basement? What's wrong with the man's eyes?
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The Man's parents beat him and abandoned him as a child. Until his future Supervisor found him and made them love him.
- Alt Text: Portions of the text are hyperlinks; hovering over it reveals often-ominous and cynical phrases about the events going on.
- Bad Boss: The Supervisor makes a show of caring for the Man, but he sees him as something he can experiment with, spy on, and eventually kill if he needs to.
- Bad Dreams: The Man has them nearly every night, though fortunately he doesn't remember them well once he wakes up. At least some of them are actually memories of being tortured by Iotech, even though they always erase his memories afterwards.
- Big, Friendly Dog: The Man's dog, named Dog, is a very big and very friendly dog, as long as you're not a shadow monster or someone trying to hurt his master.
- Black Blood: The shadow creatures bleed black blood that burns if it touches a person's skin.
- Casting a Shadow: The shadow monsters run on something called the Void that gives them powers over darkness. The Man has the same powers.
- Dangerous Workplace: Aside from all the torture going on at Iotech, there are also shadow monsters in the basement.
- Dark Is Not Evil:
- Despite his terrifying powers, the Man is a good guy.
- The ragged man eats bodies and his brothers are Eldritch Abominations, but he doesn't want to hurt anyone and only kills animals to stay alive. He even explains what's going on to the Man willingly.
- Deadly Gaze: Very few people like looking at the Man's eyes. Looking at them for too long tends to break them emotionally and mentally. If a person has a weak heart, there's even a risk of look at them causing a heart attack.
- Desk Jockey: The Man's job. He mostly sits at his desk and naps.
- The Drifter: The Man eventually becomes one after quitting his job and fleeing the city. He, Dog, and the beetles travel around the country to keep from being captured again by Iotech, and in the process encounter a wide variety of strange beings tormenting people.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Supervisor is very good at affecting a calm, warm persona even when he's about to conduct horrific experiments on the Man while he's awake and conscious. Over the course of the story, the Man gradually realizes that it's just an act, and that the Supervisor checking up on his health and saying that he thinks of him like a son has absolutely no bearing on what mind-bendingly awful things he'll do to him if given the chance.
- Fake Memories: The Man has gotten his memory rewritten so many times, he's not even sure what his name is anymore.
- Eldritch Abomination: The things in the office basement. The beetles. The dog. The Man with the Terrible Eyes.
- Eye Scream: After giving the Man an extra eye in the back of his neck, the Supervisor decides he wants to cut it out with a scalpel, all while the Man watches it happen.
- Heroic Dog: Dog is a very good dog, often rescuing the Man from shadow creatures and those who would harm him.
- Hive Mind: The beetles under the sofa.
- In Series Nick Name: People call the Man "the Iotech Eye".
- Good People, Bad Powers: The Man has the ability to drive those he stares at insane, but he genuinely has a excellent moral sense and tries not to hurt anyone
- Living Shadow: The things stored in the basement of the Man's office, and the things that keep attacking his home.
- Monster of the Week: After escaping from Iotech, the Man mostly encounters some kind of supernatural force once per chapter before moving on to someplace different.
- Mugging the Monster: A bunch of demonic kids try to pick on the Man. They don't realize how overmatched they are 'til he takes off his sunglasses, breaks out his electrical powers, and introduces them to his supernaturally large dog and swarm of hive-mind beetles.
- No Name Given:
- For most of the series, the Man doesn't know what his name is due to his memories being repeatedly erased by his Supervisor. He eventually learns that it's Alan Campbell.
- For most of the series, the Supervisor is simply referred to as such, with the Man himself not being sure of his name. His name is eventually revealed to be Simon Brandenburg.
- No Such Thing as H.R.: Memory rewrites, torture, human experimentation, gunfire, explosions, releasing monstrous shadow monsters from the cells in the basement. No one ever gets in trouble for all this. Probably helps that the Supervisor has done worse.
- Shock and Awe: Eventually, the Man acquires electrical powers.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: The Man eventually delivers one to Joanne when she tries to convince him that everything Iotech did to him was for his own good. He tells her to shut up, that knowing him as a kid doesn't give them the right to mess with his entire life, and that torturing him and then erasing the memories of it still means they tortured him.
- Stab the Scorpion: Early on in their relationship Dog growls and lunges at the Man after he walks home in the dark. The Man thinks he's about to get mauled, but Dog is actually after the shadow being that was standing right behind him that he hadn't known was there. This is what convinces the Man that Dog can be trusted.
- Surreal Horror
- Sword over Head: A variant with electrical powers rather than a physical weapon. After he's won their fight and has the Supervisor on the ground at his mercy, the Man stands over him and is torn between the desire to kill him after all he'd done to him and his disgust at the thought of murdering him in cold blood. He eventually decides to let him live.
- The Swarm: The army of beetles that live inside the Man's sofa.
- Third Eye: Late in the story, the Man discovers one on the back of his neck. It doesn't have the Deadly Gaze of his regular eyes, much to his Supervisor's disappointment.
- Van in Black: The surveillance vans that prowl around the Man's house, which are poorly disguised as work vans for obviously-fake businesses.
- Walking Techbane: Most technology doesn't work right around the Man: his TV and radio will only broadcast static, his watches explode after just a week, and as a child cooking appliances went...wrong when he touched them in an attempt to help cook.
- We Can Rule Together: After he gains the upper-hand in their fight, the Supervisor offers the Man the chance to be an equal partner with him in Iotech rather than a test subject if he stays. The Man wants nothing more to do with any of them at this point, and refuses.