Author: Many Midnights PM
A young woman is plagued by terrible memories and only too late finds out what is behind them.Rated: Fiction K - English - Horror - Words: 1,461 - Published: 03-04-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2781923
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Her mother's eyes, how beautiful those warm, baby-blue windows to her gentle soul were. They were one of the things about her mother that she had loved the most. No matter what kind of trouble she was in she could always depend on those soft, loving eyes to convey the fact that she wasn't really in too much of a dilemma. She was Taryn McTonn, her mother's daughter and that bond would never be broken, regardless of what she had done.
The memory played itself out in her mind as it had done so many times before. In it she was only a young child, perhaps six or seven years old, standing on trial in the kitchen. Warm beams of sunshine filled the tiny but quaint room, illuminating every dust particle in it. Her mother stood before her, judge and jury rolled into one. The evidence of her crime lay across the floor in a neighboring room, plain for all to see. Shards of brightly colored glass were all that remained of her mother's beautiful dish set.
She had known perfectly well not to play near the collection, which her mother had prized above all her other worldly possessions. Her mother had made it crystal clear to her on many occasions not to ever touch the dishes, or even go near them. She had spent a sizeable amount of her time amassing them and reveled in showing them to anyone who entered the house. But as most young children do she gave in to temptation and let her curiosity get the better of her.
Outside the windows of the kitchen a clear, breezy day in 1960's Indiana beckoned to her with its promise of play. It made the requirement of the disciplinary actions she was receiving all the more difficult to endure.
Taryn recalled what had happened on that long gone summer morning very clearly. The memory had been the same every single time she relived it.
But not this time. This time there were a few differences in it. Her mother's eyes had changed slightly. The warm, baby-blues were gone, to be replaced with a color unlike anything she had ever seen before. In fact, she could hardly place them in any category of colors she could think of. The best label she could affix to them would be a mixture of dirty yellow and something akin to burnt orange, only darker. The color was undeniably malevolent, and the change altered her beloved mother's visage into a weird mockery of something not even remotely human. The new eyes were clearly hiding something dark, possibly even dangerous.
Her mother's actions had changed as well. The gentle, almost loving slap she had received on her wrist for her misdeed had become harsher, eventually even drawing blood.
Taryn knew perfectly well that isn't what had happened on that clear Indiana day all those years ago in her mother's kitchen, but it was how she remembered it.
And then came the memory that truly had her doubting her own sanity and her mother wasn't even in it.
It was a more recent one, perhaps ten or twelve years earlier. In it her best friend Josie, who was practically like a little sister to her, was introducing her to the newest craze in music…disco.
"It's sooo cool," Josie wailed as her head swung back and forth to the monotonous beat. "You can really dance to it."
Taryn smiled to herself as she recalled Josie's long, auburn hair flailing around her swinging head that warm afternoon in her old bedroom.
"It's sooo cool. You…can …really…kill…to…it." Josie's dirty yellow eyes looked into Taryn's. "The Bee Gees are so cute, and they can really sing too." The burnt orange glow in her eyes was beginning to overshadow the yellow, contrasting with her beautiful complexion.
The chill that swept down Taryn's spine snapped her back to the present. Josie had never said that. She was one of the sweetest, most fun-loving people she had ever known. She never would have said anything like that. And the eyes. They were the same unnatural shade as her mother's were.
Again, Taryn knew very well that's not what had really happened in her bedroom with Josie, but it was how she remembered it. And there were other memories also, some as recent as a weeks ago. Irrelevant, meaningless recollections that would periodically pop into her head.
There was the one when she opened her mailbox and discovered a birthday card sent to her house by mistake. Her neighbor, old lady Marmoun, was in her front yard trimming her hedges at the time. She glanced over at Taryn and waved. Her yellow-orange eyes meshed with her loud muumuu perfectly.
"Oh hi dear," Taryn recalled her saying. "Just cutting, cutting, cutting. Have to keep the shrubs in order you know." She swung the hedger up over her straggly hair, allowing the blades to gleam in the sunshine. "Have to cut…cut…cut."
That was not what had happened, Taryn was certain of that. But it was what she remembered as happening. She recalled what the weather was like that day, sunny with a hint of humidity in the air. She recalled what time of the day it was, approximately nine in the morning. And she recalled that Mrs. Marmoun's eyes were normal. She knew they were.
But the event in her mind said differently.
Was someone, or something, altering her memories? But how and more importantly why? She had always treasured those images of times gone, frequently turning to them for comfort or joy. But how could she fight her own thoughts?
Later that night she was preparing for bed when another random memory floated into her mind. This particular one was cause for great alarm for two reasons.
One: that the handsome young newscaster on her television screen was glaring at her with dirty yellow eyes that were tinged with a burnt-orange glow.
And two: that she had just shut off her television right before walking into her bathroom to brush her teeth. It couldn't have been more than five minutes earlier.
She spit out the toothpaste in her mouth and ran back to the T.V. set. Switching it back on she frantically waited for the handsome young newscaster to come on to the screen. When the weather part of the news was over the camera swung back to the two anchors. Much to her relief the young man's eyes were perfectly normal.
Was she losing her mind? Maybe, but the stubborn part of her personality refused to accept it. Her mother had always instilled in her the importance of believing in yourself. No doubt her mom would have felt bad for her if she were still alive. The thought that her only daughter was crazy probably would have killed her sooner that the cancer had.
Taryn switched the television set off and walked to her bed. The prospect of seeing a psychiatrist weighed heavily on her mind, but it might be the right thing to do. It just might be.
She flicked the lamp off and pulled the covers up to her chin. Shadows hung ominously in every corner of the room, threatening with their power over her imagination. Outside of the small window opposite her bed a pale full moon dangled in the crisp nighttime sky. She contemplated shutting the blinds but was fast approaching sleep. Perhaps a little light would be a good thing.
And then a sudden and unnerving thought interrupted her rest. She sat up in bed with a cold sweat on her body. How she had not thought of it before she didn't know, it was so obvious.
Each memory she had where certain aspects became, for lack of a better word, distorted, was more recent than the one before it. The memory in her mother's kitchen with the broken dishes was as far back as she could remember. The most recent one was the television newscast man, which was just a short while ago. Someone or something was using her memories as stepping stones to reach the present…to reach her.
The eyes, a sickly combination of dirty yellow and burnt orange, glared at Taryn from the closet. Slowly, the thing emerged from its dark hiding spot, all the while keeping a baleful and eager gaze on the young woman panicking on the bed. It had been a long and difficult journey for it and it desperately needed nourishment.
With lightening speed and deadly accuracy it fell upon her.