Shadow On The Eyes
Shadow On The Eyes
Author: Natashia_Lou
Since The Last Dream

“Chrissy, look at daddy baby, look at me. Just hold on, stay with me.”

I watched her cry over the sound of wind beating at us with the rain, she yelled for her mommy, and I felt helpless, “Mommy is tired, don’t look back, just look, look at daddy. Just hold on sweetheart, help is coming. Chrissy, Chrissy! Don’t close your eyes! Look at me! Chrissy!”

When her eyes wouldn’t open, I felt my scream of anguish and desperation, watching her and her mother not move, covered in blood. 

I wanted to die with them. I begged for death to take me, too, he had ripped away my purpose for living, but somehow, I would always wake up before he could. 

I sat up, wiping the cold, clammy sweat from my forehead. Once again, the same dream invaded my mind. It had been months since the last one. 

The alarm on my phone went off, and I checked the time. It was still early, only 6:45 am. Setting it back on the nightstand of the hotel room, I went to the bathroom. Using the cold water to wash away the remnants of my night sweat, I felt a lump form in my throat.

I yelled out, slamming my hands on the bathroom counter. I didn’t want to start living through the nightmares again. It was one of the reasons I put up with staying at shitty hotels for the past two years. I needed to escape my previous life.

It had been two years already, and I still kept reminding myself it was time to move on.

I stared into the bathroom mirror and could see the dark circles under my eyes, a direct result of my self-hatred. Barely eating and sleeping all day, I couldn’t even pick up a pen to start writing again.

The accident was my fault. Somewhere deep inside, a part of me refused to move on.

I heard my phone ring from the nightstand, making me break eye contact with the man I used to recognize.

I knew it could only be Eric, my publisher.

“How’s my best seller doing?” He would say every time I answered.

“Fuck off,” was what I wanted to say, but I would degrade myself to being cordial with him for the sake of his sanity.

I went back into the bedroom. The call wasn’t from Eric, which was shocking. It was an unknown number.


“Ah, Mr. Lake?”

The woman was too damn cheery for it being so friggen early.

“Yes, that’s me. Who is this?

“Hi, my name is Sara. Sorry for the early call. It’s almost 8 am here on the east coast, and when I called, I totally forgot you were out of state, but since I have you on the phone anyway, do you have a minute?”

I took a deep breath. The woman had a point, so why not?

“Fine, sure.”

I sat back down on the bed when my head started pounding from the lack of instant caffeine I needed when waking up.

“Great, here at Dirt and Shore reality, I want to thank you for contacting us about your real estate needs! We just had a new listing come up, and it matched your requirements! Isn’t that great?!” 

I didn’t respond, so she continued talking.

“You were looking for a 2-bedroom, secluded cabin or similar type home, and the one just listed is absolutely perfect! The only change from what you noted is there’s a small barn on the land, and as for the trees, you wanted the property ‘surrounded’? They surround 1/3 of the home, and the rest is farmland which I can promise you goes on for several acres, and most of that comes with the home.”

I still didn’t say anything when my mind drifted to thoughts of no more hotel stays.

After the accident, I used the insurance money and what I got from selling the house to stay at a few shitty hotels and buy an old pickup truck. I didn’t want my old life anywhere near me again, but I did keep a few photos and a suitcase full of clothes.

“Mr. Lake?”

“Yes, sorry, you were saying?”

The annoying cheeriness continued, being pushy without trying.

“I was asking when you would want to schedule the time to do a walk around. I am free all next week and the week after.”

I chuckled in my head, free? Lady, nothing’s free. Everything has a price.

“I’ll be there next week. What’s today, Friday? Tuesday should be fine.”

“Fantastic! Oh, and I must mention the nearest store is about 10 minutes from the property. The town of Sunnyfield is small, full of locals, and very quaint. It was a farming town in the early ’50s and ’60s. Now it’s more touristy because of the landmarks and such. Yea, so Tuesday, let’s do 10’oclock? I will email you the address! Take care now!”

Finally, the relief I felt from silence on the other end of the phone would be saddening to most people. Still, I was proud of myself for staying on the line with her for as long as I did.

Unfortunately, like clockwork, Eric’s number rang through once I hung up.

“Goodmorning, how’s my best seller doing?”

I grinned though I was annoyed. Nothing ever really changes, not even Eric.

“You do know my last book was over four years ago?”

His fake laugh echoed in my ears, “That’s great, and it’s only a matter of time before you will put out another one. How’s that going?”


I could tell he was quiet, unsure how to react to me.

“Oh, oh! Is that the name of the new book? Nothing? I love it!”

“No, I’m saying I have nothing, nothing written, nothing thought of, just nothing, Eric.”

Again, a moment of silence.

“Come on, Sam, don’t make me beg. You got to have something. What about your new start? A new start should start with a new book.”

I rolled my eyes. Easy for someone sitting on the outside looking in to say.

“Look, I have an appointment next week with the realtor. I’m moving again, somewhere permanent this time.”

“That’s great to hear! Where did you say the place was again?”

I was hesitant to tell him. Somehow, I knew it’d only fuel his need to keep pushing me.

“Sunnyfield, North Carolina.”

I told him anyway.

“That’s fantastic! You’ll be near the ocean, so you can relax and maybe scribble a few ideas. It’s perfect, Sam!”

Eric’s fundamental idea of perfect was watching his six-figure income climb higher from someone else’s hard work.

“Yeah, sure. Hey, I have a two-state drive ahead of me, and I still need to get packed, so, ” it wasn’t true. Of course, packing wasn’t the issue, but I wanted to end this conversation, “I’ll call you once I decide if I am staying there.”

“Sure, sure, take your time, man, no rush. Look, once you’re settled, I’ll take a flight out there and visit you. You can show me the sights.”

I chuckled, “Okay, sure.”

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