Dark Eyes

Dark Eyes

A Story by SJ Rhea
"

Just a coming of age short story that gets a little creepy.

"

Lucas stepped out of his house to a waning sun disappearing over the horizon.  The darkness creeping forward across the globe doused the light from the planet.  The cycle of light and darkness continued oblivious to the young man now standing on the porch of a small mountain town house.  Even if the powers above were aware the sun would still go down for fear of the coming night and the deeds that would take place.

            Lucas sighed already weary as the sun waned, the last few golden orange rays fought against the dark.  He was so tired, drained with the knowledge of what was to come tonight.  No one else knew or ever would.

            Lucas stepped off the porch and headed towards the woods already dark with night.  The small path was illuminated by a single streetlamp shining at the entrance. Beyond the light lay only damp darkness.  Lucas turned at the entrance of the path to stare out over the small town and at his house still bright.  The lights of the streets and the cars making their way down the streets seemed distant.  Even from the mountain side where he stood he could make out people moving around the streets, couples embracing and finding corners of the city to kiss and enjoy the bliss of love, small kids playing in the playground and their ever watchful parents smiling.

            He could still go back.

            Lucas turned and walked with purpose into the woods along the small path.  Darkness overtook him and even the moon and stars blinking through the canopy offered little light to this small mountain path.  He had little trouble moving through the undergrowth.  The path was well worn and even though the darkness was all but complete navigating gave him no trouble.

            “You're out late boy.”

            Lucas gave a start.  The old man leaning against the tree came out of the darkness of the bough.  He was a bent, winkled man with a cane.  His hood and cloak covered his face and most of his features.  His eyes are what captured Lucas’s attention.  They were a deep pool of blue surrounded by spotless white.  Even in the darkness they shone out.  Lucas couldn’t remove his gaze from those eyes and they drilled through him, exposing him to the world.

            He could still turn around.

            “I didn’t expect you so soon.”  Lucas found his voice but was surprised to find it so weak.

            “I come when you least expect.  And surely you know it, as did your father.”  The man’s grin sent a shudder down Lucas’s spine.

            “I would like to think that my father has never taken this journey.  I have come and now I think I will go.”

            The man just grinned again as both him and Lucas continued up the side of the mountain through the woods.

            “So you have come and that means that you have a request of me.” The man moved over the rocks on the path as if they weren’t even there.

            Lucas didn’t say anything.  They both knew why he was here.  It was inevitable.  Lucas was a young man and perhaps might have been saved at one point.  No one could Lucas stop from coming to the man.  The had something that only he could give.  The sweet bitter poison of the expanding world around him.

            Lucas could still turn around.

            “I think perhaps I know what you seek.”  The man grinned as he stopped beside a twisted old pine.  The man’s eyes shone in the darkness, and coldness swept through Lucas.  Those eyes would haunt his dreams.

            Without a word the old man reached up and picked a small red apple from the tree he was standing other.  The apple glistened among the black around them and the old man’s gnarled hand was white against the pure red.  He extended it to Lucas and grinned that dreaded smile.

            “Take and eat, and you will become what you want to be.  Something that only I and no one else can offer.”

            Lucas could still walk away.

            He reached out his shaking hand and took the red apple.  The old man leaned back against the tree cradling his cane.  Watching Lucas with those stark blue eyes.

            Lucas felt woozy as he lifted the delicious looking apple to his lips.  His teeth bit into the flesh of the apple.  Chewing slowly he gazed up at the old man who was no longer smiling or had any expression at all.  But those blue eyes never left Lucas’s mouth. 

            The apple was sweet, delicious, and perfect in every way.  It was candy to his lips and he sighed as he swallowed the bite.  It slithered down his throat and the coldness of it shocked Lucas.  The old man finally grinned again and disappeared into the night, his dark blue eyes never fading from Lucas’s mind.

            Lucas opened his eyes and stared wildly around him, then down at the rotting worm ridden apple with a single bite in it.  A worm slithered from the apple on to Lucas’s hand and he threw down the cursed thing.  The slimy aftertaste of rot covered his mouth.  He tried and tried to spit the taste out but it wouldn’t go away.  Staring down at the apple on the ground, Lucas watched as it burst into a pile of worms, slithering away from the core.  He jumped back and sprinted back down the way he had came.

            Terrified Lucas sprinted back into the light and out of the forest heading towards town.  The moon shone overhead never seeming to move from its spot. The light was all Lucas cared about.

            He stopped as he reached main street and stood panting beneath a streetlamp.  Lucas could make out different figures merrily making their way along the street.  Catching his breath he shook his head trying to clear the images of the rotten apple and the old man’s eyes.  Perhaps he had never been there, maybe he had turned around in time and had never taken a bite from the apple.  Yet he couldn’t get the taste out of his mouth.

            Old Mrs. Edna, his fifth grade teacher, was walking slowly down the sidewalk enjoying the night air.  She smiled upon seeing him and waved.

            He lifted his hand about to return the wave when he gazed into her eyes and instead of the light green he was expecting, he saw only black.  Her eyes were hollow and empty.  Those black eyes were an abyss that sucked the light out of the air.  He put down his hand and backed away from her, not being able to take his eyes from those pits of death.

            He tried to rub his eyes and clear them but it made no different.  Her eyes still shone death.  He turned and ran.

            There was no going back now.

            He turned a sharp corner and almost collided with the grocery store owner Mr. Mattocks.

            “Whoah son be careful where you are running this late at night.”  Lucas’s eyes shot up into Mr. Mattocks only to be greeted by those black abysmal eyes.  Lucas couldn’t tear his eyes away as he backed up quickly.

            “Are you alright Lucas?” Mr. Mattocks face read concern, his eyes showed death.

            Lucas sprinted around him making his way down the street.  He ran past a couple whose eyes fed each other’s blackness.  He ran past Miss Higgins, the young and attractive secretary of Mr. Kiloway, who was leaning in close and whispering into her ear.  Their black eyes followed Lucas only for an instant before returning to their dark conversation.  A car full of teenagers went past singing to loud music, their words were as black as their eyes.

            Everywhere Lucas turned he couldn’t get away.  Every man, every woman, and even the children at the park had the sickly black voids where bright colorful eyes should have been.  Lucas ran past them all heading to the one place he knew would be save from those ever-present eyes.

            The church was closed but the priest always kept the sanctuary open for late night prayer.  Lucas dashed in and closed the large wooden ornate doors behind him.  He was breathing heavily but whether from the running or the fear he didn’t know.  The creeping dread of those black eyes watching him didn’t leave as he walked slowly forward and kneeled before the alter.  It was only a moment before the shuffling feet of the priest could be heard from behind him.

            “My son, are you alright?”  The priests calming voice rang from behind him like the small tone of a bell.

            “I am now father.” Lucas stood up and turned around to the black void eyes of the priest.  Lucas froze solid as his place of safety shattered around him.  Those cursed eyes followed him even here.  He let out a hollow scream and dashed around the priest knocking him over.  Lucas ran to the bathroom of the sanctuary, threw the lock of the door, and stood panting trying desperately to clear his thoughts.  He vaguely heard the priest rapping on the door.

            No more would he see those black eyes.

            Taking a small pocketknife from his pocket and a small nail file from the counter he stared up into the mirror, no longer shocked that the voids of his eyes stared back at him. He lifted both knife and file into the air and jammed them through the mirror and into his own eyes.  Letting the darkness envelope all his senses.

            

© 2010 SJ Rhea


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Added on January 30, 2010
Last Updated on January 30, 2010

Author

SJ Rhea
SJ Rhea

Billings, MT



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