The River Calls Me, Monstrous Eyes From The Deep, Part 1
The air was chilly, making the man on the bridge stand out. His hair was dark and messy, even pulled back. Wearing black pants and a short-sleeved he looked out of place in the chill of the night air. I could feel him watching me as I drove, and I shivered in my warm car. When I looked in my rearview mirror he was gone.
Thursday afternoon he was there again, his black hair slicked back. As I drove closer I could see some green sticking out. He was still watching me, I could tell even from a distance. Goosebumps raised on my arm while somewhere deep in my brain told me not to look away. My rearview mirror held onto him for a few seconds. I blinked, and opening my eyes again I thought saw was a flash of dark hair flowing over the railing.
Driving by the next day I didn’t see him. Or the next day, or the day after that.
Almost a month later I saw him again, his hair just as long, as the ancient part of my brain still screamed danger.
How did he disappear so quickly? The river was freezing this time of year, and though it looked slow-moving, the surface of the river hid a strong current in its depths. Everyone in town knew to stay out of it until the summer months when the waterline receded. We’d been warned since childhood to stay out of the inky darkness.
I was watching him watching me. Slowing my car I looked out, curious about this stranger and why my body reacted so strongly. He had a long face, and he watched me, unblinking, as I drove. Pushing himself up from the railing he straightened, standing tall as my car crawled past him. He’d always been sitting or leaning, and I realized he was much taller than I’d initially thought.
Suddenly I wanted to talk to him. To ask him questions I couldn’t explain. It was only 5 pm, and I could pull over in the little cafe’s parking lot just down the road.
His eyes were holding secrets, secrets I wanted to learn as my car passed him. Looking in my rearview mirror I realized he was gone, and with him went any desire to meet him. I felt the aftereffects of adrenaline and realized I was shaky and sweating.
That night after dinner, while laying in the tub, I thought about his dark eyes, and my sudden, ill-advised desire to meet him. Even with the hot water surrounding me goosebumps rose on my skin. And I couldn’t avoid that bridge without adding an extra half hour on my commute
“Just don’t look at him,” I told myself as I lay there. “Right… just don’t look.” Would I even be able to avoid his gaze. He looked familiar and completely unfamiliar.
While starting my car the next morning I felt nervous and wondered if I would see him on the bridge today. I realized I was holding my breath as I turned into the street that would take me over the river.
As I started driving home after work I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The ache grew stronger the closer I got to the bridge. Pulling off, I parked at the corner store, the pain was more than I could handle while driving. Locking my doors after parking, I sat, taking deep breathes. The pain was lessening, and as it seeped away I felt more than a little ridiculous.
Peering through the cafe’s window I could see the barista. Feeling somewhat normal, I got out and walked in to get something to drink. It felt like someone was watching me. I looked around and shivered. The woman behind the counter was taking someone’s order, and no one inside was looking my way.
As I paid for my items, the feeling of being watched continued. When I looked out the window I realized why.
There, leaning against the bridge, was the same pale man, his dark hair pulled back. Suddenly the longing, the urge to talk to him, hit me full force even while my lizard brain was screaming at me to get away. I opened the door of my car without breaking eye contact, tossing my snack onto my seat before closing the door.
Standing there, his eyes were so captivating, that I had to go talk to him. I needed to understand what was happening, and suddenly I was there, right in front of him. So close I could smell him. He smelled as though his clothes hadn’t had a chance to dry for a couple days, with earthy undertones.
As I looked at him I could feel the knot in my stomach tighten, and I found myself remembering the fairy tales my mother had told me. Stories of dark creatures who couldn’t be trusted, of black horses taking their riders into the watery depths. I shivered.
“Who are you,” I asked, “And what do you want with me?”
He brought a hand to my face, his arm raising slowly giving me more than enough time to move away if I wanted, but for some reason, I stayed there. His hand was cool against my cheek as the river burbled in the background.
“Everything.” He said.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog this week! If you can’t wait until Friday for part 2 you can buy the audio here. And if you want to read some more about encounters with monsters check out my friend Ariel’s blog on what happens when you get too close to a demon.