Crimson Eyes

The day his daughter asked him for colored contacts was the day that Johnathan finally decided put his foot down.

Or, at least, it was the day he tried to. After all, teenage girls can be incredibly intimidating, especially when it happens to be your only daughter.

And especially when she happens to be a vampire.

“Is there any particular reason you want blue eyes all of a sudden?” The middle aged man cocked a graying eyebrow in suspicion as he pushed away his plate, suddenly finding the steak and mashed potatoes to be less than appetizing.

“I just do.” Vanessa snapped defensively. Her ivory hands nervously ran through her hair, silver locks becoming trapped between the crooks of her long, skinny fingers. Then, as abruptly as the conversation began, she stood from her chair and left, mumbling something under her breath about an algebra worksheet.

When he heard the heavy slam of the door to her bedroom, Johnathan let out the sigh of apprehension that had been swelling inside of his chest all evening. He was never good at these kind of things, and it was on days like this that he acutely notices Sharon’s empty seat.

It was not the first time that Johnathan's daughter had been startlingly…explosive. In fact, Johnathan traced this unusual behavior back to when Vanessa walked through the doorway of their apartment after her first day of high school. She had tried to slink back up to her bedroom without attracting the attention of her father. Unfortunately for her, however, nothing escaped those omniscient green eyes, especially when it came to his child. He turned around to ask her how her day was and immediately his gaze was drawn to his daughter's skin. Once a beautiful shade of alabaster that often reminded Johnathan of the marble columns of Rome, it was now scarlet and scorched.

"Honey, what on Earth happened!?" he demanded as he rushed over to his little girl with the aloe vera pump at the ready.

Vanessa struggled to squirm out of her father's burly arms. "Dad, Dad, stop it! I'm fine, I swear!"

Johnathan did not listen to her request and refused to quit until he was sure that every inch of her skin was covered in the cooling gel before barraging her with questions so rapidly that the young vampire barely had time to comprehend them, let alone respond.

"Did you gym teachers make you run outside? I told the principal about your condition, and he said everything would be fine! The school said they were welcoming of all, human or not. What a load of bulls—"

"It wasn't the coach! No one made me go outside; I went of my own accord."

"Vanessa, you know how dangerous it is for you to be out in direct sunlight! Why did you do something so stupid?"

She brought their argument to an end the by allowing those five, merciless words that every father loathed to hear fell from her lips mercilessly.

"You just don't understand, Dad!"

Though she truly believed that her middle aged, human father could never possibly fathom or empathize with the plights of his adolescent, vampire daughter, the fact was that Johnathan observant than he let on. He had noticed the receipt for the spray tan found behind the garbage can, as if someone had haphazardly thrown it without realizing that the wind had led it astray. And the hair dye tube that was hidden behind the mountains of his unfinished architectural sketches that she insisted was for a theatre class.

While he may not have understood how Vanessa was feeling and why, he knew one thing for sure.

His daughter wanted to change the way she looked.

 

 

Although Johnathan said that the colored contacts would be the final straw for him to finally delve deeper into the mysteries of Vanessa, the fact was that he was lacking a certain, vital element to go through with his plan.

A spine.

Johnathan knew it was pathetic, knew he was the adult in their relationship and therefore had the authority to kick down the door to his daughter's room, barge in with confident strides, and demand to know why Vanessa suddenly decided to reinvent herself.

But then he meets her crimson eyes and sees the glare.

That soul piercing gaze that petrifies his body with the power of all the serpents of Medusa's head combine until all he has the strength left to do is shudder pitifully in place. While it had been many years since he made the grave mistake of denying a certain five year old mint chocolate chip ice cream at three in the morning and had been on the receiving end of terrorizing glower, he still has not forgotten the unadulterated dread that his rampaging heart had pumped through his veins on the frigid, moonless night.

He still wakes up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder with cold sweat trailing down his back.

So rather than pretending to be some renegade he knew very well he was not, Johnathan instead decided to read a book on architectural trends in the late 1800s, and it was only a matter of minutes before the words of the page pulled him out of his conscious mind and into a marvelous memory. It was the time when had managed to put his timidity aside for a brief, brave moment to ask out the beautiful vampire sitting across the library, elegantly flipping through the pages of the exact same book that had lulled him into this slumber. The image gradually faded out into their first date, where they had spent the beautiful summer day inside in a dimmed room to shield her delicate skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Then the scene shifted to their marriage, him standing at the altar, admiring the way the black lace contrasted against her ivory skin. Then to their countless dinners, countless movie marathons, countless embraces. Then to childbirth, where he could still hear those horrific screams and could only squeeze her hand and watch as the life faded from her crimson eyes as she—

A whimper of pain broke him out of his nightmare.

Rolling over to the side of the bed while releasing a shaky breath and reminding himself that “It was all just a dream. A horrifically real dream.” he tried to tune out the hammering beat pulsating through his ears and instead tune them into the strange sound.

When he heard it again, he wasted no time getting up as his gigantic feet struck the floorboards, resonating with a clamorous thud. He all but sprinted to Vanessa's room and, without knocking, slammed the door open.

"Dad!?" Vanessa shrieked in shock, fumbling with something before hastily throwing it in her garbage bin. “What are you doing!? Do you realize what time it is; you should be—”

Johnathan ignored her scoldings and walked over to the trash, before unceremoniously turning it upside down, the contents scattering across the pale pink carpet.

He paid no mind to the tissues and the cans, the pizza crusts and failed tests, even though Vanessa swore she had been studying harder. Rather, his eyes focused on the long, gray nail filer.

He abruptly turned towards the teenager, who gave a startled squeak in surprise.

“Vanessa, let me see your fangs.”

“Dad, I’m really tired. I’m sorry for staying up this late, but right now—”

“Vanessa.”

The girl hesitated, doubt filling the same crimson eyes he saw but mere moments ago, before she opened her mouth.

He gasped.

“Oh, my darling Vanessa, why would you do this?”

Her two fangs, which used to protrude gloriously from her gums, were now chipped, with blood beginning to ooze from the cracks.

“Don’t worry. They heal really quickly. Last time it only took two days before they mended themselves.”

“Last time?” Johnathan stressed, cradling his head in his hands as he felt the beginnings of a migraine throb in his temples. “You’ve done this before, Vanessa!?”

“Only once or twice…maybe a bit more…” She trailed off, her gaze intently fixated on an old burger wrapper, her expression contorting into one of shame.

Johnathan let out a heavy sigh before plopping down onto her floral printed bedsheets, patting the space next to him. Vanessa cautiously sat down, unconsciously locking her jaw and keeping her shoulders stiff with tension, sneaking glances at her father’s expression as if she was gauging his anger.

All her stress evaporated as Jonathan's warms hand guided her head to his shoulder and stroked her hair, ignoring how it became stained with black streaks from old dye.

The sat there for seconds that seemed to expand into eternities before Jonathan's voice cracked the silence.

“Why would you do this, Vanessa?” His voice wavered as he tried holding back the tears welling in his eyes.

She gently closed her heavy eyelids, and her father noted how large the dark rings circling them have become. “I don’t think I belong here.”

“And where is here?”

“It’s hard to explain. I guess it’s just society in general.”

“And why do you believe that?”

“People think I’m weird, dad. At school, everyone stares at me like I’m some sort of freak. I can hear them whisper about how my hair makes me look like an old hag and how my skin makes me look like a ghoul and how my eyes make me look creepy as if I’m going to steal their soul and how my fangs make me look like I’m going to bite them and just how everything about me makes me look like I don’t belong.”

Vanessa inhales shakily, her chest heaving heavily as she tries to recover after spilling her guts.

“So I thought that if I could make myself look like them, they would treat me like them. So I dyed my hair, got a spray tan, put in blue contacts, and file down my fangs. And do you know what Dad?” She turned to face her father and for the first time, Johnathan wondered if this had started long before her first day of highschool.

“It worked. People started talking to me normally, as if I were just another classmate. They talked to me about homework, invited me to come to study groups and sports games, actually wanted to be my friend. It was the most amazing feeling in the entire world, but it also hurt me more than anything because it confirmed that I was just a monster.”

Johnathan inhaled before speaking, bracing himself before he revealed the cruel truth. “I’m going to say something kind of harsh, but those people you said started talking to you after you changed? It wasn’t you that they like; it was your appearance. If they liked you, they would have wanted to get to know the real you, fangs and all. Because, despite what you think, you can’t change who you are.”

Although she gave Johnathan a weak smile, he could still see something akin to sorrow flash from behind her crimson eyes.

“When I first laid eyes on Sharon,” He hesitated for a moment, observing the way his daughter’s eyebrows quirked upwards in surprise at the mention of her mother. “I didn’t think she was a monster. In fact, I couldn’t think all. Though your mother would argue that I didn’t have much up here,” He tapped a finger against his temples. “Like she had any room to talk. She hardly passed her ARE, and I made sure she never lived it down. Every time she tried to brag about something I would always say ‘Well, I wasn’t the one who hardly became an architect.’ The look on her face every time was priceless, but I soon came to eat my words. She decided that I would sleep much nicer in a dumpster than our bed. Even after I apologized, she said she wouldn’t let me sleep anywhere near her for another month, saying that I smelt like crap. But she eventually lowered her deal after she saw how miserable I was, trying to sleep without her. It still wasn’t in our bed though; there was absolutely no way I was getting close to her fancy schmancy sheets. She just pulled out the mattress and place her pillow beside mine. And that night was the best I’ve slept ever.”

Johnathan paused and cleared his throat, trying to mask the smile that had worked its way onto his face during his ramblings.

“The point I’m trying to make, Vanessa, is that whether it be a significant other or a best friend, you will meet someone who will find you absolutely amazing for simply being you. And I’m one of them. Because to me, you will always be my beautiful, teenage, vampire daughter.

“Now please promise me that you will never, ever, do something like this again.”

“I promise,” She paused before flashing her father the exact same smile Sharon used to.

“I love you, Dad.”

“I love you too, darling.”

Johnathan gave Vanessa a gigantic hug, and with it managed to squeeze out all of his daughter’s insecurities.

 

 

Although Vanessa no longer was ashamed to display her vampiric traits, that did not stop her heart from leaping into her throat as she entered her first period class room.

When she sat down at her desk, she could already hear them gossiping under their breaths, quiet enough so that the teacher could not hear but loud enough for the insults to echo in her ears.

“Just look at those eyes.”

“She’s so freaky.”

“She looks like she was ripped straight out of a horror film”

“What a freak.”

She made sure to keep her stare keenly fixated onto her desk, pretending that she found the graffiti more interesting than their conversations.

“Um, hi.”

She whipped her head up in shock to see a boy standing before her, fiddling with his baseball cap.

“Hi, Jeremy.”

His brown eyes widened. “You know my name?”

“Of course. We do have a lot of classes together, after all.”

“Right, that makes sense. I just didn’t think someone like you would remember me.”

She felt her shoulders stiffen as she braced herself for the impact of the insult. “Someone like me?”

“You know…you’re like…cool and stuff.”

“You think I’m…cool?” She was certain that her flush would be obvious on her pasty cheeks.

“Yeah. You’re always wearing all of these awesome band merch,” He gestured to her Liquid Lagoon hoodie, which depicted a sea monster reminiscent of the one in Loch Ness peering out from a swamp. “And you just have this vibe, you know? Like you eat epic for breakfast. So I was wondering if you would like to eat lunch with me and some of my friends. We’re ditching the frozen ‘chicken’ nuggets and going to get some tacos. You in?”

She could feel herself begin to grin. “Yeah, I’m in.”

Green

I am blue. Cool, calm, analytical. The abysmal depths of the deep. Lonely, but not necessarily alone. The fish gliding by my feet seem to taunt me as they circle around my toes. They know that I cannot see; they know that I can but feel the motion of them swimming along, passing me by. They know.

Chained to the bottomless ocean floor, all I can do is wait. For what, I am uncertain. I have yearned so long that I can no longer remember what time is. Yet this faith, the faith of the unknown, is all I have left. So I wait on.

When that hand reaches down, my eyes wince at the blinding light. Yellow. I can see now. Or perhaps my eyes have simply be closed all this time.

And as our fingers interlock, the only thing that I am able to make out is

Green.

Mr. Lawyer

The second the heel of his shoe came in contact with the concrete in a resounding click, all eyes flew to catch a glimpse of him.

The man had anticipated this. He stood out among the crowd like a gold coin would in a pile of drab, lackluster pennies. While the women around him wore faded, orange jumpsuits, he was adorned in a three piece suit that was the color of the stormy clouds hanging ominously in the sky. While their bare, grimy feet remained unsheltered to the harsh elements, his were encased in expensive dark leather. And while their faces exhibited a distrustful glower, his held a professional smile.

It was fortunate for the man that their had been cell bars between him and the females, or he might find himself in a morgue by the end of the day.

An elderly woman with a golden badge perched on her shoulder hobbled over to him.

“Are you Michelle Anderson’s attorney?”
The man did not even bother verbally responding to her inquiry. Instead, he simply flashed the tiny emblem pinned to his collar. The guard, noting the set of scales etched into the metal, unlocked the fortified door into the interrogation room. As the man entered, he swore her heard the woman mumbling under her raspy breath, though he could only catch the words “audacity” and “whippersnapper”.

As he entered the room composed of four stony slabs of concrete, he heard a perpetual, mechanical ticking. Glancing up at the wall, he noticed that the analog clock on the wall displayed the time 6:30 PM. Normally, when the hands of the clock were in this position, he would be setting the table, greedily awaiting his wife’s cooking.

It was a shame he had to be here when he could be at home with her, but it would be over soon enough.

The man then turned to the woman sitting at the table, eyes flickering to the shiny cuffs on her wrists, connecting her to the table.

Pasty skin framed by wrinkles and furious brown eyes circled by dark rings, she held the atmosphere of a caged predator who was itching for the chance to dig her claws into fresh meat. The way she analyzed his every move with a distasteful glower plastered on her face made him think that he was her next prey.

Though the man did not tremble at this thought, nor did his masterful mask falter. He slid with ease into the chair, noting the way the table wobbled on the shortest leg as he placed his briefcase on the unsteady surface.

“Hello, Mrs. Anderson. Your father had contacted me and requested for me to represent you in court.” He began, his cheery voice not missing a beat as he opened his briefcase and fiddled with its contents. “Now, what were your charges again? Second-degree murder?

“Voluntary manslaughter.”

The man gave an apologetic smile. “Thats right; it slipped my memory. I apologize for my blunder.”

The woman ignored his polite attempts to converse. “Just get me out of this mess.”

He pulled out a ream of pristine, white paper with her name printed at the top in bolded, black letters.

“Of course, of course, Mrs. Anderson, but I do need to know the circumstances around the crime. I have skimmed through the case files, but,” The lawyer leaned in, resting his chin on his palm.

“I would rather hear the details from you.”

“Well, that sucks for you, Mr. Lawyer,” Michelle sneered, as if she could not think of something more horrendous or slanderous than calling someone an attorney. “Because I just can’t seem to remember.”

The man appeared outwardly unfazed by the prisoner’s ill-mannered comment.

“Well then, I’ll just have to jog your memory, will I not?”

His eyes began skimming through the case files.

“At 6:00 A. M. on a Sunday, a thirty-five year old woman was killed in her apartment building. From the autopsy report, the forensic scientists at the precinct determined that it was blunt trauma from the back of the head that ended her life. I believe the woman name was Katherine? Katrina?”

“Katerina.”

“Oh, yes. I remember now. Katerina Goodman. I believe in the report it stated that she was recently married?”

The woman rolled her eyes. “Why should I care?”

The man’s demeanor faltered slightly. “Well it always sad when something like‒”

Michelle glared at him.

“Look here Mr. Lawyer. You are supposed to be worrying about me, defending me, not some dead tramp. Got it?

The lawyer’s smile returned, but it seemed almost forced now.

“Yes, of course. I apologize, Mrs. Anderson.”

Michelle scoffed. “How many more question do you got?”

“Just one more, Mrs. Anderson.”

She let out a weary sigh. “Just get on with it.”

“Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”

Michelle facial expression did not change. “I don’t feel like telling you that.”

“Mrs. Anderson, I know this must be difficult for you, but I need for you to tell me the truth. No matter how you respond, I give you my most sincere word that I will be with you in court. So I will repeat my question: Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”

Now, Michelle Anderson has never been a particularly trusting person. She did not trust her father, her mother, her sister. No one. But there was something in the way the lawyer spoke that compelled her to spill everything to him.

But she didn’t. Or at least, not all the gritty details.

“Yes.”

At that’s where everying thing changed.

The warmth in the man’s face went cold and the friendliness went hostile.

“That’s all I needed to hear.”

Opening his briefcase, the lawyer pulled out a small, black device.

It was a recorder.

Michelle felt the rage burning up in her as he hit a button, turning off the machine.

“You were recording this?”

The man did bother responding as he slipped the recorder back into his case and swiftly made for the door.

“Wait, wait! What are you doing?”

The man did not even bother turning around. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to present this to the police.”

“But you promised. You promised that you would defend me! You promised that you would get me a ‘not guilty’ verdict!”

“I remember no such thing. I said that I would stand by you in court. And I will. On the witness stand.”

The woman felt her body tremble in a mixture of fury and fear. “You’re a liar, Mr. Lawyer. A terrible, filthy liar!”

This time, when the man responded, he whipped around to face her.

“I would rather be branded a liar rather than a defender of a cold-blooded killer.”

Michelle recoiled. There was no love in his eyes; only pure hatred.

The following words passed through her lips without her mind’s consent.

“I trusted you, Mr. Lawyer, so why? Why would you do this?”

The man’s professional smile returned, but, rather than comforting her, it sent chills down Michelle’s spine.

“Mr. Lawyer? Oh, how rude of me! I never introduced myself, did I?”

He extended his hand spitefully, as if taunting her and her restrictions. She had not noticed it before, but there was a gold band resting on his left ring finger.

“My name is Randy Goodman. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Man of the Wind

My first kiss was with a man of the wind
Swain swaying with my soul in a sweet sensation of serenity
My ears caressed by the warmth of his breath
The heart’s emotions overriding the mind’s rationality
And his lips of air sweep against mine
With the force of hurricanes spiraling in the sky

Above me clouds speckled the sky
Below me was the wind
And in between fluttered this love of mine
Yet it was a deceptive illusion, this serenity
Because I loved with my heart’s emotions rather than my mind’s rationality
And my ears could not perceive the words under his breath

Hitched in my throat rested my breath
Frantically searching for his eyes amidst the misty sky
The thunder striking my senses, scattering rationality
Where had he gone to, this man of the wind,
And could we not seek together for serenity?
This love, was it only mine?

Our hearts had intertwined, that how he stole mine
Fabricating fantasies in a single breath
His temper created tempest rather than serenity
And I, as fools often do in love, could not see beyond the serenity
Unable to see beyond the misty veil of delusions, I was swept into the sky
The hole where my heart could not deny the passage of bitter winds
“Yet are you not to shoulder partial blame?” inquires rationality

Because Love is not just blinded infatuation; it requires rationality
He lead me down a misguided path, but I walked there with these feet of mine
Intoxicated by the illusion of independence, I forget that he is the wind
He is the breeze beneath my wings; my movement is dictated by his breath
And, at his impulsive inclination I could be dropped from the sky
The sweet scent of slaughter becoming my serenity

Love is a balance of shambles and serenity
A puzzle in which you try and fit emotions into rationality
Highs that can send you skyrocketing into the sky
Contrasting lows damning this fragility of mine
And it last until death do you part when you release of your final breath
This is love; steel trying to conform to the whims of the wind

The tension building between us, it can never truly be mine
It can only be shared like two lungs share a breath
This is why he vanished, this man of the wind

Raining

Plip, plop; the sky must be crying
Lip trembling in an attempt to stay bright
Whip up those clouds to be radiant and airy
Slip and you ruin everyone else’s delight

Rain pouring from the blacken firmament above
“Restrain your selfish sorrows,” chants the sky
Pain never goes unnoticed by the mother below her
Terrain mutters to the heavens, “Sometimes it’s okay to cry.”

Remorseful Determination

Youth is but the invisible hand of a desperate lover
Desperately attempting to grasp our hand in intertwine our fingers together
Bitterly smiling as the ghost of their hand wisps through yours
Distant eyes gazing into a world where this love could be true
Persisting against the ever flowing river of time, they reach for your hand
Affirming the wretched reality by vainly reaching out again and again
Corporeal Romeo and his ethereal Juliet
Torn seams ripping the fabric of reality
Which cloaked their bared back from the frigid bite of winter
Watching from a distance, prowling closer in the cover of shadows
The blade of crescent moons glinting ominously under the stars
Exchanging the misty hand of Time with his own skeletal one
Directing him elsewhere down the winding staircases that lead to his domain
Efficiently, despite the slight twinge of remorse echoing in his hollow chest
For perplexing Mortality had no heart, yet it had a mind
And Time’s trembling knees fell to the ground, unable to move


Hello! I just wanted to mention something about this poem. Although this may seem like a free verse poem, it is in fact a structured poem.  If you take the first letter in the first line, the second letter in the second line, the third letter in the third line, and so on, it will spell out a secret line. When counting, do not include anything other than the letters, i.e. spaces and apostrophes. Thank you so much for reading my writing. It really means everything to me, more than I can put into words, and I’m a writer. If you have any comments or critiques, please do not hesitate to leave them!