It comes without warning. It starts as dots in the far corners of my vision. That’s my cue to get somewhere quiet; somewhere I can be alone. Sometimes it takes hours for it to come. I sit in the dark and wait. I hope that the blackness of the room will keep me from seeing it but I know the truth. Nothing can hide my eyes from what I’m about to see.
I am lucky this time. It’s Friday night and I’m home alone when the dots suddenly appear. A wave of dizziness soon follows and I know it won’t be long before I see everything. My breath quickens as I run into the bathroom and fall to the floor. I reach up to the light switch and flip it. The small room goes black and I breathe a sigh of relief. It won’t be long now.
Within a few minutes, my vision begins to clear in spite of the darkness. It should be impossible to see anything, and yet, I can slowly begin to make out the objects of the tiny bathroom. They are all bathed in a red hue. I stand, moving slowly to the mirror and gaze at my reflection. My eyes appear on fire. They glow with a red so bright that I must turn away. I back up against the wall and wait for it to come. The room slowly begins to disappear as a new one takes its place.
I take it all in but there is nothing extraordinary about the room. The veil of red over my eyes prevents me from distinguishing any unique colors. It is a bedroom. No, a hotel room. In front of me is a large bed that is centered on the main wall. I look behind me and find I’m leaning up against a dresser. A flat screen television hangs above my head. I stand slowly and wait for the dizziness to come. It is a small wave but I still hold on to the dresser for support. After it passes, I turn in a circle and take in the entirety of the room.
There is nothing out of the ordinary. I have seen rooms completely trashed, blood everywhere. Sometimes there are people. Sometimes the room appears empty, like this one. I’m always shown the rooms for a reason, though. What is so special about this one?
I feel the headache coming already. The red veil over my eyes strains my senses. I walk over to the bedside table and pick up the brochure. Marshall House. Savannah, Georgia. I wish it was always that easy. Seeing nothing of consequence in the main room, I move to the bathroom. A wave of nausea hits so suddenly that I fall to my knees. I need to move fast. It won’t be long before the veil is lifted. I need to see everything before it’s gone.
I crawl toward the bathroom door. It is cracked but I can see the light is on by the different hues of red coming through the slit. I push it open slowly with the palm of my hand and sit back on my heels. I breathe deeply in and hold it before letting it out with an audible whoosh.
The curtain has been ripped down to better display the woman. Her arms are stretched out to mold her body into a grotesque version of the letter ‘T’. Her hands are roped to the shower rod. I’m surprised it can hold her weight. A rope around her neck keeps her head up while her eyes bore into me. I hold the woman’s stare until a wave of nausea drops me to all fours once again.
Time is running out. I crawl closer to the woman. The wounds on her body I tried to avoid loom large in front of my eyes. She is cut open from neck to navel. A wave of my own nausea threatens to devour me but I push it down. I reach out to the bathroom sink and pull myself to my feet. I step closer to the body and lean in toward the wound. Though grotesque, it is clean and precise. Someone knows what he is doing. I turn around in the bathroom but see nothing that will help when the dots appear on the edges again.
It’s happening. It won’t be long now. With one last glance at the woman, I flee the bathroom as my vision clouds. I race to the door, desperately trying to stay on my feet before it pulls me from the room. I fall before the door and reach up for the handle as the red begins to fade. As the door slowly opens, I look for the number but see only black.
I come to in my tiny bathroom and gaze up at the popcorn ceiling. The pounding in my head threatens to begin but I fear there is no time to waste.
The woman needs to be saved. She wasn’t as red as death. She is still alive for the moment and she’s important. The vision calls out to me and I shudder against the cold tile of the bathroom floor. I pull myself up and gaze into my reflection. The eyes that glowed so bright have now returned to their deep blue.
With a heavy sigh, I leave the bathroom and grab the bag that always waits by the foot of my bed. It will take me two hours to get to Savannah. I just pray I’m not too late.
I’ve been lucky so far. I’ve saved every one that’s been asked of me. I’m not sure I want to know what happens if I fail.
I didn’t ask for this gig. It was thrust upon me by forces unseen. But it’s my duty. I know it in my gut.
I am their visionary. I am their savior.
I am the Guardian.
I wrote this piece for Tipsy Lit a while back but thought it was high time to share with my yeah write buds!
62 thoughts on “Seeing Red”
Awesome work, as always!
I was hooked from the first sentence – I thought good grief what an excellent way of describing an oncoming migraine attack…and then I read further. I think the short, snappy sentences give an intensity to the piece and bring out the urgency.
A great piece of short fiction, well done, I look forward to reading more.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that 🙂
You are so talented.I look forward to all your stories. A very good read again.
Wow! Thank you so much for that 🙂
Wow. Well done!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
This seems like a fun project you could take a bunch of different directions if you ever come back to it.
Thanks! My mind is firing on all cylinders after writing this one. I’m excited 🙂
So… when can we expect the next segment?
And, how’s your NaNo project coming along?
Haha – I’m not sure 🙂 I promised to expand on a lot of these, didn’t I? Whoops!
NaNo is coming along. I have approximately 20 chapters to go and I’ll be DONE!
Keep plugging away at it!
I haven’t touched mine in months. The spark for that story is gone. I should start something new just to keep in the habit of writing, but haven’t hit upon an idea that has enchanted me enough to expand on it.
That happened with mine for a bit and then all of a sudden it came back. I think NaNo just burned me out a little bit.
I’m not sure NaNo burned me out. I wasn’t all that happy with my story in the beginning, and then I changed a few things up and really started liking it, but realized that the voice of my characters changed from the start so I’d need to go back and fix that… and, that basically mean rewriting the whole thing. I’m never motivated to do that…
Crap, I hit reply before I could ask how yours was coming along? How rude of me!
These things happen.
Thank you! 🙂
You have a lovely and focused writing style. I like it a lot.
Wow! This is fantastic! I want to know what happens next!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Nice. I’d like to see this one expanded.
Thanks! Me too 🙂
You have such a knack for sensory detail–the image of the popcorn ceiling. You really bring in all the senses! Well done.
Thank you!! 🙂
Great descriptive power here
Excellent! I agree, this one could be seriously expanded.
This is fantastic! The descriptions are so visceral. I also really like how it reads faster as time is running out, with the shorter sentences that seem to coordinate with her shorter breaths.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Awesome! A great way to answer the prompt. She’s a psychic unlike any I’ve heard of before. I like the originality. Every piece of it is fascinating. I found myself reading faster and faster. Wonderful story!
Wow! Thank you so much! That means a lot coming from such an amazing storyteller as yourself 🙂
Oooh, I’m intrigued! I hope you continue with this one – I want to know what happens next. 🙂
Thank you so much! I definitely plan in expanding 🙂
Wow…just WOW! That was amazing!
Thank you so much!!
Wow ~ I couldn’t stop reading, even when it was gruesomelly detailed. Excellent.
INCREDIBLY POWERFUL. GREAT, GREAT JOB! THIS COULD DEFINITELY EVOLVE INTO SOMETHING MORE. WAy to knock it out of the park!
Wow! Thank you so much! 🙂
Catching up on the weekend here. This is fantastic! I agree with what so many others have pointed out about the short sentences, the attention to sensory detail. I do hope you’ll share it if you take it further.
Thank you so much!
Very nicely done. What I’ve read of your work is perfectly diverse. You follow a pattern, which stays true to your style, but you don’t get stuck in one type of story. Plus, I’m a sucker for good fiction writing. Keep it up!
Wow! Thank you so much 🙂
Okay, creepy, but in a totally redeeming way! Loved it!
Haha! Thanks Natalie! 🙂
Wow, that piece is amazing. The details in your description and your pacing of the story was incredible. I too hope to see this story expanded, I can see a lot of promise in this story world.
Wow! Thank you so much!
Wow. This is super intense. At first, I thought it was non-fiction and you were describing a migraine. 🙂
So creepy, but so good. Love all the details and descriptions.
Haha – Thanks Suzanne!
A tangible desperation tinged with futility. Wow.
At first I thought, “I didn’t know Arden suffered from migraines.”
Glad I was wrong. Great story.
Haha – Thanks!!
I read the first part of this thinking omg, what happened? Does she get wicked migraines. And then I remembered the story… which I totally loved and happily read it again until the end. Duh Jen!
Haha! I’ve gotten the migraines comment a lot 🙂 Lucky for me, this turned into fiction!
lol, and a good one at that.