The early morning waking hit him. He searched for his toothbrush among the rubble of toothpaste, eye drops and his razor,. Mark’s eye lids slowly raised as he reached for his toothbrush. A moment of blindness. Deep down he was dazed, confused by what he thought he had seen the night before. The simple task of brushing teeth was difficult as he tried to gather his thoughts and make sense of what had happened.
“Honeeeeyyy” Judy, his beautiful wife of 3 years, called . “Are you awake?” Mark was nervous and not sure whether he should respond, his fear telling. He wondered, what’s wrong with me. The bathroom opened. Mark jumped in fright. He regained his balance and noticed the natural serenity of Judy’s face. She smiled and proceeded to hug and kiss him. Mark was reluctant, and gave her a quick warm hug. Judy did not sense for a moment anything was wrong.
He walked down the steps to the kitchen, and opened the fridge. He searched for something that could consume his present misery. He was wheezy and nauseous. Do I really want to eat? He couldn’t make up his mind. Just then the sound of Judy coming down the steps stopped him mid track. Nervously he said “Honey, do you want an omelet?” Judy smiled – a surprise that her man wanted to cook so early in the morning for her. Truth was, he was in a panic, not sure how best to address the situation with normal conversation. He was still thinking about last night. “Aw hun, that would be lovely thanks!” Judy gushed with happiness. Mark breathed a sigh of relief. The distraction of cooking a supposedly continental style omelet for Judy gave him space. Still, he felt anxious.
He picked up the eggs, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. One egg drops down, splatter all over, a sign he was tense and awkward . He cleaned up. He looked around the kitchen, and the cutting knife caught his attention. He stared for a while…was it? What was he was really seeing? Blood! Snap out of it Mark. He reached for the wooden grip. The knife had the same cleanliness as yesterday. He had imagined the blood. He was afraid… But why ? He had the knife, he had control…but his peripheral vision kept seeing Judy’s smile. He worried as she watched him snap down with every cut on the vegetables.
For a brief moment Mark was amazed at out how well his omelets turned out – a sense of perfection in this environment of tension. This was the only perfection and he was grateful for at the moment. He started thinking of those scenes where one picks up a knife in a battle of rage. The sight of blood appeared again. Judy picked up the letter opener. He stumbled as he jumped with fright. That jump of fright again. “What’s wrong honey, you don’t seem yourself?” “ Oh just feeling a little under the weather angel” Mark said. “What are you doing with that? Judy laughed at his remark before answering with surprise, “opening letters?” Judy looked at Mark with concern. She had not seen Mark with such jumpiness and aloofness for a long time. Not since their first date when his initial shyness had attracted her. Mark’s frustration was building . “Angel, I need to get out for a while.” Judy looked at him wide eyed, “But you just said you are not feeling that well?”Judy was curious now. She wondered why Mark was saying this. Did he just want to be alone she wondered? Oh Man! He thought, I can’t be next to her right now.
He was confused and his tension built and continued. He threw himself on the couch and reached for the remote.
Suddenly Judy snapped “OK, let’s just talk, leave the TV Mark”. Mark wondered, whatever in this god damn world did she want to talk about? He was not much of a talker, and last night had made him even less so. His thoughts continued to whirl around it. Could it be? Could it be what he really saw?
“Oh come on angel, it’s been ages since I caught up with any of the sport”, he said in a loud tone. “Dammit Mark, we haven’t talked about planning for kids!”
What??! Now she wants to talk about the kids, at this very moment? This was hell for Mark. Kids were the last thing on his mind for now, let alone for a few years to come. “What is it with these women and this talk on kids” mumbled Mark. “What was that honey?” Judy asked “Oh I was saying kids huh” Mark laughed. “Yes, having kids honey. You know how important it is to me”. “I do my angel, but we need to think about us first, the money, the renovations, all of these things that will take a toll on us”. “Fine, suit yourself” Judy said in disappointment. Phew! Mark was relieved again. Judy left the room without another word.
Mark ran for his laptop. He typed furiously, searching for a missing clue. What was he searching for? He typed ‘funny eyes¸ red devil’. His brain was fuzzy. Could it really be what he had seen? He hoped Judy would take her sweet time doing whatever it was that preoccupied her. He didn’t want her finding out what he was up to. He found no real clues, just a host of mumbo-jumbo articles on various topics related to the occult and other sinister groups.
He walked up and down at a frantic pace in the study, trying to put 2 and 2 together. Was his imagination really just playing with him? Or was he watching too much of the horror stuff on cable lately? Mark occasionally delved into it when he was bored. It never troubled him that he engaged in this. But last night was something different. Something that he could have sworn made his heart skip a beat.
Judy came back down, all refreshed from a long dip in the tub. Mark was still scruffy. He looked and felt worn out. She touched his cheek. He shuddered inside. “Mark love, I think you should just stay in today, have some honey with green tea and sleep it off” Judy said. He starred at the ticking second hand on his antique clock. The moving hand moved slowly in what seemed an eternity, while he waited for that moment when Judy would pick up her car keys and drive off for her regular girlfriends outing. When are you leaving woman was what he wanted to shout out! “OK honey, I think you are right, I’ll sleep it off”. Judy smiled and gave Mark a quick hug, dropped a parting kiss on the top of his head, before turning to pick up her keys. He breathed more slowly now, hoping that being alone at home for the day would help him make sense of what was really going on.
As Judy turned to look back, she smiled the smile Mark knew so well. Judy looked up to the crystal clear blue sky with cotton cloud formations. There it was…the red gaze, the red circle in HER eye! Here she was, beautiful Judy, departing with the Devil’s Eye!
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