Only the Eyes of Death May Behold the Everblack By Bryce Simmons
The globule of snarl-born spit that fell from his teeth struck her with an impactwhich physically reverberated through her body, more so than the light-pummeling she received prior, the beating down of her form in his drunken, sex-crazedaggression. She felt subdued by that drop, she submitted to it; its descent bore aweight far heavier than the body from which it fell. Despite the hand around herthroat, she inhaled deeply, as if the intake of air would prepare her body for the trauma to come, the unwanted entrance of a foreign specimen, an invasion of her bodily sovereignty by the brute atop her. Just as she had begun to slip into that nullity of thought, that mindless, instinctual distancing, the onslaught of roughness stopped.
He hastily arose from her and shuffled clumsily away as if some invisible force recalled him from his heinous act. He looked at her with an expression of almost unbearable shock, as if he bore witness to some horrible, profane atrocity, some exhibition of ineffable diabolism.
She didn’t know how to react, vexed by the divergent displays of action, the preamble of unprovoked assault and the subsequent recoiling of her attacker. After a while, when his face had taken on a new visage, the cause of his retreat dawned on her, filled her with a new torrent of emotions that churned and thrashed about her mind. It was the look that had just been in her eyes, the slow, receding fade into another world, another moment other than the one to which she was being subjected. Some kernel of humanity within him, a lingering flame of civility had seen that terrible recession, knew what it meant—how utterly horrid his actions must be to elicit such a reaction in her, and instantly broke his predatory conviction.
She returned to herself, fully cognizant, and the fear of what could have happened—what could still happen—collided with the relief at its momentary cessation, the ostensible defeat of the demon that dwelt within his heart. Entwined, coiled around those emotions was an unwelcome pity, for the new face of the man was a reflection of the one she had worn mere moments ago. That distanced, receding gaze into nothing, an ephemeral stare into oblivion that would only return to the eyes a luster of life when hours had passed and the threat of danger was naught but a deep-ingrained memory.
The absence of self, the cessation of it, shown back at her in the dual mirrors entrenched in his face, the autonomous acquiescence to nightmarish circumstances. But to what was he acquiescing? By what had he been subdued? Merely the horror at his own evil, the trauma in her eyes at his attempt to take from her all senses and suggestions of personal safety and comfort? It was only after she had regained a seedling of composure did she see beyond the mirrored gaze and catch sight of the unwitting motions of his cognitive ejection. As he sat there, wide-eyes staring into something not of this terrestrial domain, he raised to his throat a blade, withdrawn at some point during his assault or soon after. A new emotion besieged her, layered the tumultuous vortex, caused it to swell to a proportion that she feared would explode her skull and let pour out all the things she had ever been.
The humanitarian within her, the intrinsic impulse to prevent the loss of life before her, clashed with the rage at what he had attempted, what he would have done had the very same essence not also been buried within him, unearthed at the climax of his wickedness. She detested him for it, and detested him for bringing about a sense of pity for him just seconds after he overruled her right to self and sanctity. She abhorred the thought of helping this man, and the newly-birthed resentment, the deserved contempt, anchored her to the ground; kept her immobile as he dragged the blade across his neck and let loose the ichor of the demon, spilling out all that evil onto his clothes and the grass already damp with the evening’s rain.
She sat there, watching in a sort of amazement, the narrative of her life nearly brought to what she expected to be its end, only for a plot twist to add new pages, expanding the binding to allow for further happiness and hardship.
His body went limp and he fell back, setting her free from that deadlock of stares. He now looked upon the stars, to the astral mausoleum into which his spirit would be cast, fishing for a resting place only to find none, to find a hell of unending, absolute black.
She sat there for a while, envisioning how she could explain what had happened, to what extent she would express the sensation of his body on hers, with how much detail she would describe the blood as it fell oddly fast from his throat and how eerily quiet he had been during both the cut and gradual demise.
Contemplating these things, she realized she needn’t tell anyone. A crime had been committed, a victim spared, a punishment issued. Though violated, she had not been trespassed upon, had not been conquered, and thus her trauma was one of mere violence, of extreme discomfort, but already receding, growing as dim and dull as the flesh of the very man who had instilled such terror within her.
She stood, brushed herself off, and walked away, leaving the eyes of death to glare at the Everblack.
Bryce Simmons is 24 years old, and for the last few years he's been writing short stories within the genres of Gothic Horror, Weird Fiction, and Sci-fi. If you want to know more, we can help you contact him.