The Reflection Named Cruelty

by Adam Steele

Preface

The story is about a woman with a power that determines the fates of those she sees in their eyes. What comes is only within her that answers what is true.


The Reflection Named Cruelty

Story:

Adam Steele

She looked into those eyes of her boyfriend, noticing something that wasn't there before.

"Did you get a colored contact, dear?" Angie asked when she put another wet plate into the strainer. She's been doing dishes for more than an hour now and her hands are starting to turn into prunes. Her hands have been hurting her more, wondering if the carpal tunnel tune is catching up with her when she pulled those lifting weights all those years ago.

She wondered something about Matt that is in his eyes when she saw the color of dark over blue with one being darker than ever before and the other being just normal which is weird to begin with.

"No. What is wrong with my eyes?" He wondered when he placed his hand over his one eye that is fine, going to the bathroom to look into the mirror when he looked at both of them for the longest time.

"I think they look alright."

She stopped cleaning with the soup spoon in her hand. The sun is going down in the west now, chiming the sounds of crickets in the thick grass in the distance.

"What do you see?" She asked, feeling something weird in the back of her throat.

"Two blue eyes, that's all."

She dropped the spoon into the empty wash basin next to the basin that is filled, wiping her hands over the soap water that has lost its frothed bubbles so long ago.

"Okay," that was all she could say when she heard the last word sounding higher than ever in her normal tone of voice. The sun is darkening out of the sky when Matt appeared in the kitchen again, opening the cabinet and scoping into the cupboard for some goodies that are no good for him at all.

"Did you get the weekly shopper's guide from the slot?" He asked when her mind drifted to something else from another time. She remembered a time before when she met her friend back in high school with the same thing that was happening with her eyes. That was before she decided to hang herself in the closet when another boy turned her down to go out on a date.

That was a very long time ago. She could remember the vigil for her best friend when she remembered the candle wax dripping into her hand. That was one of the few longest nights in her life before her father died in a horrible accident three years ago with the doctor coming out looking grim, not making eye contact when her heart sunk to the point that she could barely walk. She almost fell to the floor when someone held her up, not remembering who in the hell was next to her before the world went black and nothing followed, nothing in the blackness when she awoke somewhere that she had ever seen before.

"Yeah, it's on top of the speaker."

He closed the cabinet and went into the living room, grabbing the bundle of papers that are on top of the speaker when he sat down with a hearty grunt, opening the paper and rapping it like it is the bells of Notre Dame.

"Did you call your mother?" Matt spoke when she jumped; being lost in thought of the many times she had seen that affliction by other people.

"Yeah, she said that she'll be coming by near the end of the week." She pulled the plunger of the stopper that is in the bottom of the wash basin and let the soap water go through the holes that are in the stopper until the soap met the bottom of the sink where she placed the water on it. She cleaned up the mess in no time when she looked at the other dishes that are on the counter and then looked at the dish strainer that is full beyond belief.

She didn't think about doing any more for tonight when she wiped the water off of her hands on the towel, placing it next to the sink when she left the kitchen with her hand hitting the light switch and snuffing out the light fixture overhead of the entire kitchen.

When she went to the living room she looked at her boyfriend again, catching out the corner of his eyes of the black around the corneas when she didn't say any more about it. She wondered if she has to get her eyes checked.

"Mother didn't like the ornament that you placed in the middle of the yard though." Angie flipped her finger up to the wall that is facing the front property of the house when Matt had to remember for a spell. Then he smiled when that ornament flashed across his refreshment of remembrance.

"Oh the one with the farmer on the lawnmower getting up from the seat and mooning the road?"

"Yeah," Angie sighed.

"She said that it is toilet humor and she hates it."

"Well when it comes the day she can pay our four figure property tax is the day where I don't have the say of planting any damn thing on this property." Matt shot her a cold look.

Angie knew that Matt wasn't a hard case. He has a heart as good as gold but sometimes his hardness does shine through on some certain light. Matt was a lot worse when Angie first met him with all the alcohol that he consumed almost every single day. It was almost to the point that it was unbearable to her when she told herself to hold on, just hope that he will change because he is the one that she is looking for. He's not a bad person just a person in a lot of bad struggles in life. She held on, now being that she had the look that she had seen before when they did something horrible in the relapses of goodness in their lives. Then her mind opened up when she tried to push that aside in her mind with that intention feeling like she is pushing the largest boulder ever in her life that felt like a thousand pounds. She did not let that thought of absolution get the best of her. She did not want that ever to get the better of her.

"Yeah, my mother can be a real pest from time to time." She placed her feet upon the patted foot rest and rolled her head back on the padding that is so comfortable to her neck.

She tried to fight back the coincidences that are drowning her when she kept her eyes on the ceiling. She did not want to fight this, not now and not ever. Why is she seeing his eyes like that, one dark and the other green? What is happening to her for her to see something like that?

When she looked at the ceiling, trying to make sense of it all, she sees the shadow moved across the wall that is behind her when Matt went into the kitchen to grab his first beer for the evening.

"Do I have to pick her up at the airport?" Matt says; sounding like his voice is coming from a cracker tin when she asked to repeat what he says.

"Do I have to pick her up at the airport?" Matt repeated, opening the fridge to pick out a beer from the bottom of the fridge, closing the door when Angie tried to remember what her mother said to her.

"I think she is taking one of those Uber self-driving taxis from Columbus."

"Oh, I still think those are unsafe. I wouldn't consider of ever being comfortable in a two-thousand pound machine with only me in the passenger seat with my eyelids half closed." Matt shuddered at the thought when he continued to look into the shopper's guide, looking at the blenders that are in the middle of the supercenter shopper that is stuffed in the middle of the paper bundle with many models being on sale.

"You don't think so?" Angie scrunched her toes that are in her socks with two of her toes cracking at the pressure of her action.

"Honey, if people can hack into these new cars then the whole world is going in the wrong direction." Matt looked at her before finishing off the last pages of the paper, dropping onto the table that is in front of him. He sipped some beer from his can and placed it on one of the coasters that are placed all over the table for other people to use.

His eyes still have that one blackness to it, like the shade of a doll's eyes that are dark when Angie looked at it for a quick moment before looking at the blackness of the television with it being off most of the night.

It's only just a phase, that's all it is. It's only a phase that I have seen a few times before. That is before the people that she had seen it through are the people that are not alive anymore.

"Let's see what is on the boob-tube." That is one of the one witticisms that most people said over forty years ago when color T.V. was the entire craze.

She turned it on and caught the tail-end of Desperate Housewives of Oklahoma when she flipped through the channels and got nothing but a few horror movies and some Gift Shop Infomercials before sighing and turning off the television again.

She didn't look at Matt before getting up, feeling that her knee is feeling a little weak when she doubled over and caught the arm of her chair that is a little close in her reach.

"Are you okay, dear?" Matt got up from his spot when she tried not to look into his eyes anymore. The feel of those eyes are giving her the chills. It's like looking into a ghost with those eyes darting back at her.

"Yeah, I just have to get a glass of water. That's all." She walked to the kitchen when she went to turn on the light again, going to cabinet where all the glasses are held upon the shelf. It took her a long time to open it when she felt like doubling over again. It was not her knees this time but her heart when she almost felt like crying.

This can't be the truth of what I'm seeing. It's just a coincidence, that's all. The coincidence of something that I have seen before in the belief that is not real. This is not real, this can't be!

The crickets can still be heard from the open window that is next to her through the screen.

By morning, she awoke before Matt when she crawled out of bed, getting ready for her many morning rituals of going to work as a bank teller for eight hours. She went to the bathroom to do her lady business before flushing the toilet and going to the living room that cooler than the last night she had left it. Then she remembered the window that was open in the kitchen when she went to that to close it, knowing that the temperatures got close to the lower sixties when she could faintly see her breath coming out of her mouth.

She traced her steps to the counter and plugged in the coffee maker, already knowing that the coffee ground and water is in it when she turned on the pot and waited for the coffee maker to percolate. By the time it started, she went back into the living room, turning on the light before sitting down in her seat with her eyes wandering on the corner of the wall.

What did she remember about those eyes? What can she remember the first time of seeing those eyes, she wondered? She remembered when she was five years old when she first saw the eyes that she is seeing on Matt now. The eyes that she first saw on are the eyes of her grandfather when she sat there at the big people's table, eating Thanksgiving Dinner when she was talking to a couple of her nephews about the simple things that are only sincere to little children before realizing that they are not so important at all later in life.

When they got in the middle of it, like in the meaty center of their conversation that is, she saw her grandfather at the head of the table, eating some cherries that were on his plate. The way he was eating them is like some pig eating slop in a trough. The look of it is almost repulsive when she looked at his hand moreover than him.

Everything in the room seemed to dull out in silence when this act is being conformed. The elderly hands folding into the dish is grotesque, almost inhuman when all that considered is her and him in this long moment from across the table. When he looked up it was almost inhuman entirely. And the shade of his eyes is something worse than any Grimm Tale that she can remember when she can see the dark shade in his irises, the doll's eyes that are around his corneas when she dropped from her chair in horror, wondering where this is coming from?

Is it a dream? Is it some figment of reality that she cannot fathom in her developing mind?

She got up from her chair and left the territory of the dining area when her mother grabbed her by the wrist.

"No, mommy;" Angie pleaded with her mother when her mother asked her what is wrong?

"I have to go to the bathroom before I throw up." She started to wretch when her mother guided her to the bathroom that is only a couple feet away from the general commotion that is going on in the room.

By the time her mother closed the door behind all of it is when Angie went to the toilet, trying to rile up something from the bottom of her throat but only getting a couple of spits that are in the back of her throat.

"I have to tell you something mommy." Angie spoke in her words of toddler-isms.

"What is it, moon-pie?" She's been calling her moon-pie for as long as she can remember. That was the last thing that she had ever said to her before she died was the words, moon-pie.

"I see grand-papa's eyes and they are not okay mommy. I have to tell you that grand-papa's eyes are all oogie-looking."

"Just get yourself cleaned up. This is so unladylike of you." Her mother approached her limit of patience when Angie spit into the toilet a little more, getting up from the mat that is at the foot of the toilet with the words: drop your load and look left in bold blackness stitched on it.

"What is that mommy?" Angie pointed at the mat that is in front of the porcelain throne.

"Never mind, child. Get back in there before grandma is going to get sore with her cooking." Angie's mother looked all around her mouth with her fingers underneath her chin before swatting her lightly on the behind after opening the door.

When she went back into the dining area of the people that are still conversing, no one noticed that Angie and her were gone which is a good sign on her mother's behalf. Angie at times was looking at her grandfather when she noticed the dark circles that are underneath his eyes as his eyes purged darker still, going towards the point where the eyes are almost demonic when Angie didn't look at him anymore.

She would say something but they wouldn't believe him. Just two weeks shy of seeing that, her grandfather died of a massive heart attack. They held a reception for her late grandfather when she forgot about seeing that all those years ago. This is the time when all came back to her while she continued to look at the wall with all of this coming back to her in just a couple of seconds before the coffee maker continued to make coffee with the sound of it making steam in the other room, getting to the point that the filling pot is getting light when she could smell the wet, hot grounds from the living room.

She got up from her seat, still thinking about the other times when she saw the eyes of her Aunt Shelia when they got to the point that they look like doll's eyes to her before she too died of a brain aneurism. They held a reception in her honor when Angie was 13 years old, looking at the long casket that is in the mourning area with her body all spruced up with the make-up plastered every inch of her face to make it look like she is sleeping instead of dead. Angie started to hinge on the possibility that this is all too coincidental with the intention of seeing this in each and every person before they die of causes that range anywhere from A to Z. She wondered what in the hell is happening to her when she wondered where this certain power is coming from?

Even though that powers are real like beasts under the bed and skeletons hiding in the closet. Angie didn't believe in those kinds of supernatural occurrences when she thought of being caught in a Twilight Zone episode that is too farfetched to be called real circumstance.

When the sun came up in the sky she thought in silence with the coffee cup on the table across from her, thinking of the many occurrences that are jumbling up in her mind. She didn't want to look into the eyes of Matt when she made an excuse to leave the house early, getting her materials together when she dropped the coffee cup in the sink, leaving the door unlocked when she left her home to work for eight hours with her mind wandering most of the time.

While she was at work, she looked at the eyes of everyone around her when she saw nothing out of the ordinary. She kept her priorities in her own teller cubicle when she went to work organizing faxes, talking to other women about certain subjects that are meddlesome to what is really bothering her. She was surprised when she looked at the clock and saw that it is already 2:00 in the afternoon, getting up from her chair to go to Lucy Quarles's Office that is busy putting something together in her Microsoft Excel Sheets.

Angie knocked on the door with the back of her hand when Lucy told her to come in, looking at the screen like she is possessed with it when Angie looked around the shade of her room.

"What did you spray in here?"

"Walnut and Apple wood scent. It's one of the scents made by Glade." Lucy droned a little, looking at the screen before straining her eyes at the calculations that are there.

"I'm probably missing something - I don't know what in the hell it is." She spoke to herself before setting back in the chair, looking at the desk with all of her little tid-bit crap that is across it with it being little more uncluttered than most.

"What do you need Angie?" Lucy spoke with certain grace in the sound of her voice.

"I need to talk to you about the Heather Kasey issue."

Heather Kasey was the woman that was caught extorting from the bank for $3,500 in some scheme that involved with her getting robbed when she was doing a deposit for one Francine Drachen, who is a little old lady that lives in the middle of the woods. The cops were called but her story didn't follow through with the lies that she was coercing. She was busted in a little under an hour when the cops arrested her in the interrogation room downtown, being booked on extortion and grand larceny. Her sentence is scheduled eight days from now.

"Heather Kasey was one of those women that had couple cards less in the deck." Lucy concluded, putting her hands on the table when she looked at the clock that is past Angie's shoulder when she looked back at Angie with the next question that is coming out of her mouth. Angie didn't say anything when Lucy sat back in her chair again.

"Heather had some problems concerning with her credit card debt when she was out of a job after 2008. She couldn't work for almost a year when I heard from someone that she racked up her credit card bill to almost $100,000. She can't get a loan from the bank, she can't get a mortgage set-up, and she can't even buy credit to get a brand new car. So in her best interest was to rip off this branch that everyone works so hard to be here for."

"Did she say anything to anyone about her situation?"

"She never even hinted it. She mostly kept to herself the following two months before she tried to pull it off."

Angie talked to Heather many times before and she was always happy. What kind of person would ever consider of stealing for a person that is so much happy in her life. She could have set up a go-fund page of her problems which would have been more honest then stealing it. Now she is in jail and her sentence is going to hinge to the point of almost prison time.

"Heather always been good to us - has she?" Angie asked Lucy which hesitated for just three seconds before replying with a "Yes."

"Some people cannot be help though. Most people try but they don't ask for it or they are too pride struck of asking it in the first place." Lucy brushed something off the top of her desk when she asked something that was on her mind.

"Did you get any sleep last night? You have some dark underneath those pearly greens."

Angie lied in bed most of the night when she finally got up in the early morning hours. She's been up almost every single night when she first saw the blackness of nothing in Matt's eyes, coaxing her to ask him to go to the doctors for a check-up. She felt that rise of horror in the back of her throat, willing to scream it out when she tried to think that it is not true, none of this is true and someday that is going away.

She wondered if she is going crazy. She also wondered of getting her head checked when she thought of that the second Lucy said something about the blackness that is under her eyes.

"No, I was just working on something late. I forgot about doing it but I got it done before I got here." Angie lied about it. She kept fidgeting with her fingers went she stopped and placed them in her lap.

"Okay, do you need help with the deposit slips or do you have all of that?" Lucy looked at the screen that went to the screensaver by now when Angie shook her head.

"Okay, if you have any more question about something that is bothering you then be feel free to ask."

Angie left Lucy's office when she noticed that the minute hand has sped up two numbers from the point where it was before. She went back to her cubicle with the place being a little slow, looking at the computer screen when she noticed that she had to set up a CD for the McClanton's before five o'clock. It is going to be a long day when those two hours and fifteen minutes went by with her biological senses feeling like five hours since she left Lucy's office at 2:10, getting to work on that CD when she felt the need to have a nap before she fell asleep on the teller counter in retrospect.

When she went home she noticed that Matt was not there, picking up her cell and dialing his number when she got him on the third ring.

"Honey," she stammered a little with tears coming from her eyes ever so lightly.

"Where are you now?"

"I'm at store picking up some bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches." Matt stopped talking on the other end of the line.

"Is everything alright?" Matt spoke on the line.

No honey, Angie felt the need of biting back the tears.

I have a feeling that you are going to leave me soon.

"I just wanted to call and tell you that I love you." Angie tried not to stammer at her own words when she felt like dropping to her knees, breaking down in the middle of the living room when she wondered and wondered still. Is this going to happen, can I stop what is coming?

"I love you too. Can I get you anything from town?" Matt spoke with his words being care-free.

"Some Pinot Wine, you know that one with the little heron on it."

"Okay, I'll see you in a little while." Matt spoke like nothing is going to happen; nothing is going to happen still.

"Okay, I'll see you when you get here." Angie held the phone for the longest time when the phone went dead in her ear. She kept the phone planted upon her ear when she cried.

She knew it was going to be the last time that she was going to talk to him in feeling when twenty minutes after the call Matt got into a car accident when one of his outer tie-rod on the passenger side broke, sending him into the embankment on the side of the road when his 2009 Ford F-150 collided with a tree that was planted there by one Henry Ross in 1921 when that very same road was all dirt at the time when Model-T's and lumber trucks harnessed the roads.

The driver's side of the truck collided with the base of the tree when Matt was killed instantly, crushing his body towards the point that it was almost unrecognizable. The first-responders on the scene say that there was nothing left of the truck when they looked at the wrecked hulk that is entangled in the brush, wondering where all that blood was coming from in the metal wreckage of the vehicle that is not a vehicle anymore.

Angie got the call last when they ran the license plate number on the back of the wreck, getting the address and the number through the international database that was on file when Angie heard the landline ring in the depth of the kitchen that is so dark. It took her a long time to get to the phone when she felt like crying once again.

***

"And that was it. That is my curse." She said to the person next to her.

"What do you think about me? Do you see anything like that in my eyes, Agnes?" The person in a white lab coat spoke to her like a hurt dove when Angie looked at her face before looking down at the paper sandals of her feet.

"No, I don't see anything like that anymore."

She was lying. Her power is getting to the point of getting the best of her. She started to see the lines upon the plain of her brain now when she looked at Dr. Luna Cavanagh, knowing when and where she is going to die when she tried to fight it back mentally.

"And you believe that these sights are a delusion?" Dr. Luna Cavanagh wrote something on her electronic tablet that is in her hand. She eyed carefully as Angie tried to think of something that is careful and not towards the point of utter lunacy.

"I believe that I was in the course of taking something that I found in a lower drawer of my bathroom cabinet. This was before I had that breakdown at work with Lucy."

"What kind of pills were you taking?"

"I was taking something that is supposed to help my anxiety after Matt was killed three months ago."

"And you didn't know what you were taking."

Angie shrugged with the hospital gown being lifted from the base of her shoulders.

"I didn't give a shit at the time."

"Do you have any other visions that we need to discuss for today?" Dr. Luna Cavanaugh wrote some more in her electronic tablet.

"No, none; I think the anti-depressants are working. Thank you." Angie got up from the chair that is bolted to the floor.

She went to the window that is barred and chain linked, looking out the window to the intersection that is more than three hundred yards from the mental institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. She smiled when she thought of feeling the air on her face again.

"I still feel like I'm mourning doctor. I feel some calmness while I'm crying inside for Matt. It wasn't anyone's fault for what had happened. I don't want to hurt anyone; I'm not a violent person."

"You're not violent. Your actions don't qualify for you being locked up in a room with padded walls. In the best course I don't really think that you are crazy towards the point that you cannot function." Dr. Luna imposed what she really thought about her.

"If you improve then you will be on the outside in two months."

Angie smiled before going back, sitting down in the seat with her eyes looking up at the ceiling.

"I like to get out and tell Lucy how sorry I am. I did scare the hell out of her though."

Dr. Luna didn't say anything when she read up on some background of the bank branch that Angie was working from before she went down crazy alley. Two weeks ago someone went into that friendly bank and killed all the people working there, execution style in the back of the head. The scum took over $900 dollars from the score with the cops still trying to find the sick bastard that took the lives of eight people for just $900.

Luna didn't want to say that to Angie, not yet anyway. But the force of that wound would probably set her off again. That could be something that Luna can do to see if she has actually healed from her odd behavior that sent her to this loony bin.

"Okay, feel free to go and talk to Lisa down the hall if you like. I have to make my rounds to a couple of others before we have our group therapy session tonight."

"Okay and thank you doctor." Angie spoke like a person that played this on too many times before. All the faces that she has seen now are all covered in the eyes of dolls when she can see when they are going to die. This scared her to the point that she can't get the voices out of her mind now. She can't even sleep at night anymore when she see Dr. Luna, trying to point her out on her obsessive drug abuse that she kept so private in her personal life.

This is what is going to kill her. This is the truth of what Angie knows.

Dr. Luna looked at her and smiled, leaving the room of her own to walk down the halls of the loony farm in Terre Haute. She didn't look back when she can smell the sour stench of piss underneath the disinfectant that they put down almost every day in this nut hatch. It almost smelled like the sour stench of death when she worked at a hospital before reassigning her doctrine to psychology. Death - she seen its face before and it is the face that she had seen more than once. It's nothing but Death that kept her from sleeping when she took more sleeping agents to get her to sleep so she had no more dreams to keep her company in the darkness.

Death; there is so much of it in the world.

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