I awoke with a start, a chill unpleasantly running down my spine. Though normally a deep sleeper, I felt lurched wide awake. The uncomfortable feeling that I was being watched overwhelmed me, making my skin crawl delightfully. I tried to shake the feeling that I'd I'd gotten so many times. Accustomed as I was to the feeling, this was new, and infinitely stronger than ever. My face to the wall, I opened my eyes. On the off-white, flat surface shimmered the reflection of soft silver moonlight, beautiful and haunting.
Like a still pond, it lay untouched, clean, and calm. The dim whiteness comforted me. My eyes began drifting close, the intensity of the odd feeling fading. Then, suddenly, as my eyes were almost completely bound together with the kiss of sleep, out of nowhere, a shadow appeared in the square of moonlight, a silhouette of darkness in the dim light. Wide awake again, the feeling eerie jolted back, numbing my body in a stiff paralysis. After the initial shock had passed, ever so slowly, I turned my head to look at the window on the opposite side of the room. Pressed up against the glass window were two of the biggest, brownest eyes I'd ever seen. The sheer massiveness of the pupils nearly crowded out the brown of the irises, but somehow in the darkness, I could distinctly make out the color. Frozen, we stared at each other in a petrified trance. Near recognition dawned on my mind like a soft summer sunrise. Those eyes. Those eyes. Those eyes. Then they were gone. It flashed upon me why they were so familiar. They were the eyes.
I remember when I had seen them before. I must have been only six or seven years old. It had been a night rather like this one, cold, clear, and so very silent. It'd rained all week and finally ended abruptly. The sweet smell of rain and dirt lingered in the air. The brisk, humitity gave clarity of mind. The moon shined so brightly that everything outside my tiny window was visible, a sharp contrast of blue light and black, with no grey shadows in between. It'd been the first time I'd awoken feeling watched. The same eyes had been there, glistening, staring, unblinking. Face, cloaked in darkness, only large eyes watching me, following my movements. I'd lost track of time, lying in my bed, watching the eyes watch me. They never moved, never blinked, just watched, and I watched back. Then, as quickly as they had come, they were gone. According to the dingy clock on my same old dresser, it'd only been a minute or two, but the vivid image of those eyes in the darkness had never left my mind. I'd convinced myself over the years that I'd dreamed it, I'd never found any foot prints outside.
Oddly enough, I didn't feel afraid, I felt relieved at their reappearence. I wasn't crazy, though maybe that would've been the better of the two options. Nevertheless, I soon drifted back to sleep, face still facing the window, in hopes that the eyes would return. My mind was empty that night, and for the first time in 10 years, I slept without dreams of those eyes.
The next morning I awoke feeling very tired and bruised, as if I'd run fifteen miles during the night. Weariness and all, I dragged myself out of bed. Why was the floor so icey cold? Grumbling to myself, I opened the cracked wooden misery of a dresser in which I had disorderly stuffed my clothes. Sweater, sweatpants, and thick socks firmly thrown on, I stumbled out my door and down the solid stairs, gripping the handling for support in the black darkness. The sun was not quite risen, but I could feel that I was up later than usual. Still, none of the other girls seemed to be awake, nor any of the mistresses. The house slept on, and I was glad. Silently, down I flew to the front door, pulling on my holed boots in a frenzy, book back slung over one shoulder, and then ever so silently opening the heavy door and closing it behind me. The wind blew softly, playing with my tangled hair and whipping it into my eyes. I like the way the wind makes my normally boring, brunette hair come alive and violent like the snake dreads of Medusa.
I laughed at the sting, rejoicing in the cool morning air, the smell of yesterday's rain still clinging to the muddy earth. Out the small, dirt excuse of a backyard to the brick wall. The ivy crawled over it, covering most of the red with a deep, dark green. This was my favorite thing about the entire home, the dusty green stars that are the ivy leaves draped like a thick blanket over the crumbling red brick wall. It smelled of dust and life mingled together in what can only be described as the scent of age. When I grow old, I hope to smell like that.
Blindly, I felt in the blackness through the still droplet covered leaves and running my fingers across the damp brick, mapping out the familiar terraine that I knew so well. Ah, the hole was reached at last. From there, so routinely, I took a firm grasp of the hold, and clambered up the wall, straddling it at the top, before slipping over the other side and falling with a soft thump on the dead leaves below. The pleasant squelch of decay pleased me immensely. I love rain.
Without a glance behind, I slip into the woods, the ash, maple, birch, yellow poplar, and basswood trees envoloping me, welcoming me into their beckoning, outstreched arms.