“Her Eyes” By Norma Burcker
I had not gotten a full night of sleep since it happened. Every night I searched for anything the police could have missed, some clue that my girlfriend of almost two years did not just skip town without a trace. A needle in a haystack it seemed. I searched until my restless body could no longer carry on. Last night was no different than any of the previous. Falling asleep was dreadful. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see were hers. I am almost certain that the exact moment I fell asleep was the moment my alarm clock started blaring.
I opened my eyes and there she was, staring back at me from the frame on my desk. I rolled out of bed and walked over to it. I threw the frame against the wall. The glass shattered erratically all over my floor. I sliced open my hand on one of the shards while picking up the photograph. I held it for a few moments. I stared into her intense crystal blue eyes once more. I took the photo for a school project. She hated it, but I loved it. Her gaze could envelop anyone around her. The sunlight gave her long blonde hair a radiant glow as it fell over her shoulders. Her face was neutral, but her eyes, they demanded your attention.
I tossed the bloodied photo into a desk drawer. I couldn’t stand to look at her anymore. I cleaned the blood from my hands. No need for stitches. I had to hurry because it was already eight o’clock and I promised my boss I was okay. I was okay. I sleepily staggered into the shower where I met my demise. The drain had captured a few strands of her hair from her shower the morning before she disappeared. Everything got dark and blurry. I called my boss.
“Dylan? Is everything all right?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m okay. I’m just not feeling well. I won’t be in today,” I replied.
I hung up the phone. I was not okay.
Beads of sweat began to gather across my forehead. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I needed to get out of the house. I got into my car and started driving. I did not know where I was going or what I was doing. My heartbeat was now echoing in my ears like a drum.
“Where are you?!” I screamed.
“You know exactly where she is,” he said.
I looked over to my passenger seat and there he was. He only appeared when I felt like I was losing control. I grasped the steering wheel tight. I wanted to be in control.
“No, not you again,” I said. “Leave me alone!”
“Find her,” he said.
“Tell me where she is! Please!”
“You know where she is!”
“No I don’t!”
“Keep driving, you’ll find her.”
In that moment, he was gone. I hated him. He was cocky, aggressive, and everything that I was not. I needed to find her and he was making it a game. How could someone be so cruel? I kept driving like he said, though I did not know why I was listening to him. The drive felt familiar, but I could not figure out why. Then, I came to a gravel road and knew exactly where I was. I stopped and when I looked over I saw him in my passenger seat again.
“My parents’ cabin?” I asked.
“Go on,” he taunted.
I turned down the gravel road that wound its way back to my parents’ cabin. It was about two miles away from the main road, but close to the lake. The old road was in desperate need of some repair. No one visited anymore. I could not figure out why she would be there. I guess he knew something I didn’t. Or maybe he was just playing games again. I pulled up to the cabin and exited my car slowly.
“Follow me,” he beamed.
I walked behind him as we made our way towards the cabin. With each step, I grew closer to finding her. My heart rate began to accelerate again. Something did not feel right. Everything felt like it was moving in slow motion. The wind, the birds, my feet. We entered the cabin and he led me to the basement door. I reluctantly followed him. The creak of the old steps permeated throughout the cabin. Something was wrong.
“What did you do to her?!” I trembled.
He laughed hysterically as he walked over to the chest freezer in the corner. He lifted the lid and there she was. Her lifeless body was cold, blue and bruised. I started to lose it.
“You killed her! Why would you kill her?” I shouted.
“That, my friend, is where you’re mistaken. You did it,” he laughed.
“No! That’s not possible,”
“Don’t you remember? She started packing her bags after she caught you talking to me. Said you were crazy. Then you, ya know…” He placed his hands to his own throat and made a gagging sound. He laughed hysterically as I stared blankly at the wall.
“No! I’m not crazy. I would never do that. Why would I kill her? Why? Tell me why?” I pleaded.
I awaited an answer from him, but it never came. I turned around and he was gone. His laugh echoed in my head as if he were at the end of a tunnel. I looked over to the freezer. Her neck was ringed red from strangulation. Even in death, she was beautiful. Her gaze pierced through my soul just as it always had. Her eyes were the guilt deep within me that I could never fathom. My eyes welled with tears as the events began to feel true. I walked over to her with trembling hands as I pressed her eyelids closed.
Her eyes would haunt me no more.