I didn’t have a word for the eyes when I was younger, though they’d been there always. At least, they were my very first memory - those swirling eyes, a word that I later learned to be prismatic, and soft, swirling hues that sometimes settled on one color when the shadow settled beside me. My first memory was those eyes spinning colors, and the shadow settling beside me - a soft hum spilled from its throat then, a low lullaby, since my mother had left me locked in my room to cry, while she went out to party with her friends.
Those eyes had been there then, though I wasn’t sure how old I’d been. I only knew that they’d watched over me, and at the time I hadn’t thought anything of it. I’d grown up with them, and I thought that it was something that everyone had. My mother hadn’t cared to hear about it, and I’d learned at a young age not to speak to her about anything remotely important.
So, for a long while, I’d simply kept the knowledge of the eyes to myself. As I’d grown up, I realized that no one else spoken of seeing swirling eyes in the darkness, attached to shadows taller than anything they’d seen… eyes that changed as I grew, that went from caring and comforting to wanting and needy - shadows that wouldn’t colace, but hovered right on the edge of my vision… shadows that I could almost see the form of, if I looked at them from the corner of my eye.
I began to wonder if the sight of the eye was simply my mind’s way of trying to make myself feel less lonely. I didn’t have many friends at school, because I couldn’t bring them home. My mother told me that I wasn’t allowed to associate with the lower class, even though we’d been living in a two bedroom apartment in the bad part of town. She’d always had dreams of something higher… and the birth of my younger brother had brought that about.
By then though, I was set in my ways - even though my little brother’s father had moved us to a mansion on the hill, I wasn’t good at associating with other people. I was playful, I played pranks, and I had a few friends… but I wasn’t really close to anyone.
It seemed like being close to people was just a way to make my mother angry, or to figure out that people didn’t really give a shit about me… so I stayed away.
The shadow was always there though, and sometimes, when I slept, I could almost see what he looked like - at least, I assumed that my mind was trying to make sense of the shadows… or maybe trying to make me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Whatever it was, I’d been dreaming about him for as long as I could put a proper face to him… and I’d known from a very young age that I found men attractive, because the face that went with the shadow was one of the most beautiful men that I’d ever seen in my life.
He came to me every night in my dreams, but lately, the atmosphere of the dreams had changed. He wasn’t simply there - he was there, and those prismatic eyes and wolfish smile told me that he was a predator, that he wanted me. He held his hand out to me, and a lake of fire and ice behind him whipped and whirled, and I knew that if I took his hand, he’d lead me into that oblivion…
But I took his hand, and it was sweet warmth, and I smiled as he led me into the flames.
I’d never thought anything of it, but I woke in the morning with the sensation of his digits still wrapped around mine, and those eyes burning deep into my soul.
This time, when I woke from the dream, it wasn’t morning. My room was still in a hush of darkness, and the blaring red numbers of my alarmclock told me it was only a minute past midnight. At first, I wasn’t sure of what had woken me - I usually slept solidly through the night, unless my mother came into the house with shouts and screams; then, I’d go to my little brother’s room and make sure that he was safe from her drunken anger. Lief was the most important thing to me - the only person in the world that I cared about, really. Whoever my father had been had left before I was born, and my mother made no mistake in letting me know that I meant nothing to her.
My step-father looked through me, as though I didn’t exist. I suppose that the kindest thing that he’d done for me was letting me stay in the house, though I knew that it wouldn’t last for much longer. I’d just turned eighteen as the clock struck midnight, and it was as though my body had woken me up in order to let me know that a clock was ticking now… and I didn’t have a home for much longer.
I’d heard my mother talking to Lief about it earlier - about the fact that I’d be leaving soon, going away to college, she’d said. I wasn’t sure if I could even get into college… I was smart, but I hadn’t applied for any type of assistance, and I knew that I wouldn’t get it because of my financial status… even though they didn’t understand that I had no access to any of the money that showed up on the financial records. I knew I was going to have to try to talk to someone, or I was going to have to go into a shelter.
I didn’t want to go into a shelter… and I didn’t want to face the heartbreak that Lief had held in his voice when he begged my mother to let me stay.
There wasn’t some meticulous clock hanging over my head and warning me of my imminent homelessness though - I had to blink the sleep away from my eyes to look around… and for just a moment, I thought that I was still dreaming. The man with the prismatic eyes was standing in the corner of my room, and the smile that was curled on his features was more possessive and looming than anything that I’d seen before.
“I was wondering when you’d wake up, Liam. It’s finally time.”