Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dead Eyes

He woke in a cold sweat, shaking and unable to comprehend his surroundings for a minute or so, caught in that in-between existence where he wasn't sure if he was still in the nightmare or not. His bed. His room. Real life. He turned on the light and tv, hoping to forget the dream, the same one that visited him almost every night since the accident, slightly different from night to night but not enough so to keep him from waking in a state of chilling terror. If only he hadn't seen her eyes.

Turning on the fire under the tea kettle, he tried not to think about that day some three months earlier, driving to the lake with Tammy. Then it happened, as it always did when he tried hardest not to think of that event. The floodgates opened and it all played over in his mind, as his body went into an almost comatose motionlessness, gripped by fear. The nightmare just a few minutes earlier fueling his memory, and forcing him to consciously separate the horror of that dream from the equally terrifying accident.

He and Tammy had been married eight years, and even though it was just the two of them they hadn't spent a lot of time together the last couple of years. His construction company had grown better than he had anticipated, so he was gone from early in the morning until midnight some days. Tammy had been promoted about a year ago to a district sales manager position for the cookie company she worked for, and she traveled more than he liked her to. He couldn't complain much because with both their paychecks they had been able to tuck quite a bit away and they both sensed it was time to make solid plans for a family.The last few months things had settled down at his job giving him more time to be home, and on this - a rare day off for both - she had gotten up early and packed a picnic lunch and dragged him out of bed. It had been years since they'd been on a picnic at the lake, and he really had a good feeling about this day, although he put up his mandatory "I don't feel like going" speech. It had become their trademark act. He would complain about being forced to go somewhere and she would give him her "Don't pull that with me mister!"eyes and tell him to march his butt out the door. He could never keep a straight face as she lowered her eyes and pointed to the door. "Oh all right" he would huff and shuffle his feet as he made his way outside. She would always pinch his butt cheek or tickle him in his side when he got past her. Today she waited until he was to the sidewalk then jumped on his back. "Give a piggyback ride! Take me to the car piggy, and I'm driving!" He settled into the passenger's side and laid the seat back. "I'm gonna snooze, wake me when we get there", he remembered telling her, but he didn't sleep. He watched her as she drove, thinking how lucky he was to have her. She was very pretty, and shapely also, but the thing that had attracted him to her was her eyes. Bright, flashy blue eyes that showed an eternal youth and which captivated everyone she met.

He had always hated this road because of the large number of semis which traveled it. Logging trucks were the worst. He'd always get as far to the side of the road as he could when they passed him. On this winding road there had been several accidents where the logs had shifted and rolled into the path of oncoming cars. The cars always came out the loser in that matchup. Those thoughts were barely a shadow in the back of his mind on this day though, as he was enjoying the way the sun was shining through his wife's golden hair. He found out much later that it wasn't a logging truck but a flatbed hauling well drilling equipment. One of the cables securing the pipes snapped on that turn in the road and whipped through the air, slicing through his car from front to back. The only thing he knew was that the next split second would freeze itself in his memory forever. A whistling sound, a pop, and a line of red across his wife's chest, all simultaneously marking the event. Tammy's head turned toward him in that split second and he saw something in her eyes, a look he'd never seen in his wife's eyes. It was as if she was in another place at that instant, someplace not known or imagined by human minds...another world... another dimension. Then, something else took over. That look, in the millisecond before her upper torso slid to the steering wheel and the car crashed through the guardrail, did not come from his Tammy. It came from someone... no, something he didn't recognize. Something from a very dark, sinister place, and it looked straight into his soul - through his own wife's eyes. Many people say they forget everything about an accident they were in. He wished with every part of his being that he would have been one of those people, but he remembered every second of it. Sliding across the cornfield for an eternity, his wife's head and shoulders coming to rest in his lap, her eyes staring, now blank and dull. He was frozen in his seat, trying to comprehend what had just happened. It seemed like hours later when someone pried opened his door and reached in to help him out before recoiling in horror at the sight inside.

What happened after that was blurry and jumbled, and he was trying to remember her funeral when the tea kettle startled him back to reality. After he had sufficiently distracted his mind from his nightmare by watching the late movie he went back to bed, but a feeling from the dark recesses of his mind told him that someday, perhaps in one of his nightmares, he would find that dark thing that had used Tammy's eyes to see into him, or rather, it would find him.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Oh Tim,
What a way to start a Sunday morning! I thought this was extremely well-written and creepy beyond belief. Love the eyes stuff. So spooky - - just in time for Halloween!

8:42 AM  

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