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A Pair of Emerald Eyes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Eyes. They are everywhere. They tell stories. They sing songs. They are windows to the soul. They follow you; they read you like a book. They charm you and enchant you. They make your heart melt and desire. They torture you.

It was a dark day, the day I met him. Never in my life did I believe I could find something so great, so beautiful, and so terrible, all in one being. He entered my world and then left it, like a tornado that passes through a small, unsuspecting town. He was painstakingly handsome and mysterious, and it haunted me, oh how it haunted me, and still does.

That afternoon was an afternoon I will never forget. The day had followed its normal course. The miserable cycle that began every morning when I woke had begun again and was dragging on particularly slow this day. However, as miserably boring as this day was, I couldn’t help but feel the slightest, most bizarre feeling of anticipation. Rain splattered the windows and thick, gray clouds covered the town like a heavy woolen blanket. I was sitting in a dreary classroom, identical to all the others, and gazing out at the barren, lonely landscape. All was gray.

At the front of the room the teacher dragged on in a dreary monotone that sucked any interest out of what he was saying. His voice was heavy and dull, lulling me into a deep trance. My brain had stopped taking in or processing information a while ago, and now I felt my eyelids growing heavy. My eyes glazed over and lost their focus. I lazily tried to keep them open, as unwilling as they were, but it was no use. My eyelids slowly shut, and I was gone. All around me I could still hear the muffled sounds of class, yet I didn’t process anything. I was isolated somewhere far away, not wishing in the slightest to return to the miserable world in which I lived. It wasn’t until I heard a commotion at the front of the room that I snapped back to reality. A ripple of whispers ran through the class as the door to the room slowly opened and the teacher introduced our new student.

As he entered my slowly and steadily beating heart, that forever felt like an anchor in my chest, skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. His eyes scanned the room and rested upon me. They charmed me, those emerald eyes; those brilliant, dangerous emerald eyes.

He was directed to sit next to me and as he took his seat I breathed his sweet scent in, wanting to never let it go. He turned to look at me. He peered into my soul with those enchanting eyes of his. Then, when he spoke it was like a slow and beautiful melody that would stick with me forever. I struggled to find my voice somewhere inside of me and when I found it he smiled his magic smile. I knew at that point that I was hooked. Little did I know all that was in store for me. It was like I was a box of fragile things and he was the small child who came along and shook up the box, breaking every single one.

As we talked our words intertwined so perfectly and our sentences were like the lyrics to a song. He was unbelievably charming and charismatic. We spoke without pausing or skipping a beat until finally the teacher told us to quiet down. After that he merely looked at me, flashed me a small grin, and then it was over. I didn’t dare steal the slightest glance at him for the rest of class, but the image of his twinkling emerald eyes was imprinted into my brain. They were like stars, they filled you with wonder, and they captivated you.

After class, walking through the hallways felt like some surreal dream. All I could think about was him, even as I was jostled about by my rowdy, ignorant peers. The only thing that broke me from my daze was his voice saying my name. I snapped back to reality. We talked for the longest time until finally we had to part to go to our separate classes. We promised to meet for lunch, however, since we both had the same lunch period and he didn’t know anybody else in the school yet. The prospect of seeing him again, of talking to him and spending a whole period together filled me up inside with a sweet, blissful kind of joy that I couldn’t contain. There was so much I still wanted to know about him. The minutes dragged on until finally the bell rang and I rushed out of class.

There he was, leaning against a row of lockers, with a small, paper lunch bag and a can of Snapple on the floor beside him. His long legs held him up in his dark jeans and he was tapping his converse-clad foot. His tan, strong arms were folded across his wide chest and his blonde, messy hair fell into his face. Then he looked up at me and shot me his boyish grin, his eyes freezing every inch of my body and making me tremble. I found the courage to give a small wave and he returned it. When I finally approached him I stared at his chest, for I wouldn’t dare look up into his eyes because I knew that if I did I wouldn’t be able to utter a single word. I concentrated on the fabric of his dark gray, long sleeved shirt and forced myself to say something.

When I spoke there was an amused grin on his face. I looked at him skeptically and made to open my locker. He was, however, conveniently blocking it. I tried to nudge him aside but he simply caught my wrists and didn’t let go. As he clutched them, my body froze up and I wondered how on earth I would be able to ever move or breathe again. An odd chill traveled up my spine and my eyes settled on his handsome face. I dared myself to look into his eyes and found him looking into mine. I self-consciously could feel him reading me like a book and his emerald eyes burned a deep hole into me. Slowly a grin spread across his face. His grip loosened and I tried yet again to move him aside, this time much more successfully. I heard him laugh and I rolled my eyes as I got my lunch.

Time flew by when I was with him. It was as if the dreary world I lived in every day did not exist anymore, it simply faded away like a forgotten dream. My classmates had become shadows on the walls, dark shapes of matter simply taking up space, bleak and lifeless as they shuffled down the bare, gray hallways. But my world, my desolate little world had been filled with color. Vibrant joyous color flooded the box that I lived in, taking up every gray, ugly bit of space it could, eating away the dreariness until the walls of that box broke down and suddenly I was alive again, as if awaken from a long sleep. The sky was the softest, most serene shade of blue, filled with clouds like enormous pillows, and it swept over the beautiful world. The grass, which was once merely an ugly blanket over the earth, was now rich with deep green color and abundant with life. The sun, a bright cheerful orb, peeked out from behind the clouds, smiling down on the world, and illuminating the tall trees whose branches stretched up like fingertips, eager to reach the vast sky. Flowers of every color imaginable swayed in the calming breezes, colors that I had never even noticed before. There were rich ruby reds, brilliant and bold blues and purples, gentle rosy pinks, bright fiery oranges, and the sweetest, softest of yellows.

I had entered a new world, a new life, and I was never going back to what life used to be. We ate lunch together every day, me and him, and walked home after school, usually stopping by the park that was so green and full of life. We had become the best of friends, and I told him everything. He now held my deepest secrets, except for one, and that was my deepest secret of all; I was in love. I felt like I had never felt before, every moment with him changed me a little more. I longed for him, to be held by his strong arms, and to look into his emerald eyes forever. There was nothing else in this world that I could have desired more.

The weeks passed and time seemed to simply vanish, yet I still kept my love a secret. I was terrified of showing him how I felt, for fear of losing him. But I did not know how much longer I could stand being this close but being so far away. Then came that fateful day, that terrible, fateful day; the day that changed my life.

Days like this one always start out like all the others, painfully ordinary. I walked to school in a light, cold, rain, that grew steadily stronger and by the time I arrived at school, my hair was drenched and raindrops were trickling down my face. I walked into class, shivering and tying my hair in a long braid. My entire body was trembling and my jaw quivered from the cold. I sat down at my usual place, waiting for him to arrive and take his seat next to me, but he didn’t show. I sat through half the class, incredibly uncomfortable and wanting nothing more that to have him beside me, his mere presence warming me up.

Finally the door creaked open quietly and my heart leapt. I heard the faint squeak of a wet sneaker and saw a soft, tan hand pushing the door open. There he was, standing at the front of the class room, ice cold rain dripping from his shaggy blonde hair and down his smooth chiseled face. Although his expression was calm, there was a look of worry embedded in his emerald eyes. I had never seen him look fearful before, but it was obvious that he was afraid of something, something had happened to make him look so terrified, so helpless. However, I couldn’t tell if anyone else in the class noticed what I did, because they were all too busy staring at something else; something that sent an uncomfortable chill down my spine and I felt myself cringe at the very sight of it. There was a long, jagged, gruesome gash running from the top of his defined cheekbone to just before the quivering corner of his mouth. The gash glowed a violent, blood red where whatever had cut him pierced his flesh, a bold streak of scarlet across his perfect face. His chest was heaving and as he apologized to the teacher, handed her a late pass, and took his seat next to me, I longed to know what had shaken such a tender soul, leaving this trembling mess next to me.

Then he did something I couldn’t bear to watch, something that shocked me and made my heart ache. He put his face in his hands, breathing deeply and shaking. The teacher had resumed class but I wasn’t paying attention any longer. He reached out a gentle hand and held mine, looking more hopeless than ever. His touch gave me a frightening chill and I looked at him, not knowing what to do, not wanting to let go of his soft, shaking hand. He held my hand like that for the last ten minutes of class, his other hand covering his face.

After the bell rang he dragged me out into the hallway. He needed to go to the nurse, I told him, that cut on his face was far too gruesome and was painful to look at. There was silence after I spoke, he still hadn’t said one word to me since he had arrived in class. He simply looked at me, with those dazzling eyes of his and I felt weak and sick. What had caused those eyes to look so troubled? Behind the glassy sheen of emerald there was something stirring, churning within him. I longed to know what he was thinking, to make him feel better. He had always looked so strong and brave; I was sure I’d always be the once to need him to make me feel better. But now he needed me; he was desperate and those eyes were crying for some sort of help, I was sure of it.

But how could I help him if he wouldn’t speak? I needed his strong, beautiful voice to reassure me, but he remained mute. His silence and his gaze crushed me, like a weight on my chest, and I couldn’t bear it any longer. Not knowing where it came from, or why I sounded so harsh, I snapped at him suddenly and loudly, to please say something and to let me know what had happened. His eyes widened in silent shock and finally, with a deep breath and tender gaze he spoke with a weak, unsteady voice.

“Come with me,” he said softly and his haunted voice sent a fierce shiver up and down my spine. He took my small hand in his and dragged me down the crowded halls and out the door. As we rushed across the lawn, icy rain splattering us, I felt myself pull back, stop and, blinking heavy drops out of my eyes, look up at him. I demanded to know where he was taking me but he merely looked at me and told me to follow him. I reluctantly obeyed, hoping that it would be somewhere warm and dry. We hurried along the street, not even bothering to swerve past any puddles. I clutched his hand, its remaining warmth the only comfort I had left, and we pushed on. As we walked however, I couldn’t help but notice a dark, hooded figure on the other side of the road, standing still as a statue, despite the icy rain drenching him, staring right at me with cold, empty eyes. His dark eyebrows furrowed and his gaze turned into a sharp, piercing glare. A horrifying shudder came over me and my breath caught in my throat. I gripped his arm in fright and he gave me a concerned look. I gestured to the figure on the other side of the road and his expression turned into a mixture of anger and worry. He gave a warning look to the figure, as if they had a sort of tacit understanding and bizarre connection. As we pressed on I looked behind me, but the figure had vanished.

We rushed down side streets, farther and farther away from the center of our bleak town, into a very unfamiliar part of it, passing small, gray houses that became increasingly farther apart. The land was bare and lonely and the tall trees became darker and thicker. They stretched towards the sky like long, bony fingers. The rain was relentless, getting stronger and fiercer. There were no more cars on the road, which had now become a muddy path leading into a dark wood. If there was one thing that scared me, that gave me a chill to the bone and made me want to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction, it was a wood like this. But our speed was only becoming faster and we plunged headfirst into a dark abyss, a daunting sea of trees. My grip on his hand tightened even more and I drew in closer to him. The pathway was becoming narrow and winding, until it was barely visible, and I couldn’t shake that nasty feeling that we were being watched. My mind and body were screaming, telling me to get out of there and never look back, but my feet pressed forward and I held onto him, wondering when and where we would stop.

After a while my eyes adjusted to the crushing darkness and I could see a large object up ahead; a cabin. It was old and the wood was worn and moss covered. The windows were cracked and grimy and the small door was hanging on only one hinge with a dirt-covered and rusty knob. The roof was covered with branches and leaves and I couldn’t help but feel like it held something dark and ominous. I shuddered as we approached and finally came to a stop outside the door. He gave me a hard look, almost as if it was a warning, and I clutched onto him even tighter than before. My stomach felt like a hollow pit and my fingers were numb and weak. My head was spinning and I felt as if I would fall into blackness any second and wake from this horrible dream; but it never happened. I was in a daze as his soft, trembling fingers reached towards the knob and grasped it. The air rushed out of my lungs and I struggled to breathe as the door creaked and slowly opened on its one hinge.

At first I saw nothing inside except for blackness. Then I saw large, indistinct, dark shapes. He stepped forward and I followed him, although every inch of my body was telling me not to. At the time I trusted him with all my heart, even more than I loved him. How foolish I was.

The floor inside was nothing but damp earth. I could feel my feet sinking into it with every step I took. It smelled musty and wet inside and the ice cold air sucked any inch of warmth from my body. I knew if it wasn’t so dark I would see my unsteady breath float up in front of me. The room was piled high with boxes. There was a large black cabinet in the corner and I shuddered to think what could even possibly be in there.

Slowly and shaking his fingers loosened their grip on mine. Silently he was telling me to let go. My small, trembling hands released his and my unsteady arms retreated into my body. My throat began to close and I could feel the hot, inevitable tears start to form in my eyes. But I refused to cry, not in front of him. It was time for me to be strong; I surely believed I was safe with him.

He looked steadier now, no longer afraid of whatever had hurt him. He was stronger than I had ever seen him, as if the very cabin filled him with some sort of power. He breathed slowly in and out and I watched his broad chest rise and fall. He took a step towards me. I should have run.

His emerald eyes poured strength into me. I trusted them more than I trusted myself. He stepped closer with each heavy breath and I was frozen in a trance.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered softly and took my hand. His lips met mine for only a brief magical second and I though the world would simply stop. However, he slowly pulled away, a shimmer in his enchanting eyes. It was then that I noticed the dark figures outside every window.

For a moment I was sure my heart had actually stopped. I tore away from him, not sure where to go or where to hide. I was hopelessly trapped and I never felt fear quite like this. It chilled me to the very bone, even more than the biting cold air in the cabin did. I was shaking more than ever and now heavy tears began to pour out of my eyes. I retreated to the corner, blocking my peripheral vision with my hands, my only escape from this nightmare. Then, out of nowhere, a fist pounded on the window closest to me and I let out a blood-curdling shriek. It continued at every window, surrounding me. I heard muffled yells from outside; deep, menacing, male voices. At the windows closest to me I heard a violent scream that vaguely sounded like “do it.”

I shrieked with all my might, demanding he tell me who he was. It was then that he rolled up each of his sleeves to reveal a bizarre symbol branded into each of his forearms; a symbol that horribly resembled an abstract skull.

I felt dizzy and sick and horrified. There was no way out. I was trapped with someone I was sure I no longer knew. He took a step towards me, his hideously branded arms outstretched. I cried at him to stay away and he faltered in his step. Those haunting emerald eyes burned a hole in my heart. Then it happened. He opened his palm wide and forcefully turned it towards the wall. A small and steadily growing fire appeared where his hand had faced. The fire grew rapidly now, eating whatever it could, like a vicious monster. How had it happened? All I knew was that I needed to get out. Then he thrust both of his strong arms outward, palms still facing out. I watched in horror as every window shattered and shards of glass flew at the figures outside. The fire was raging now and I was covered in ash and smoke. It filled my lungs and burned my eyes. If I didn’t burn to death, I would surely suffocate.

Then he thrust his arms downward, clenching his fists and the earth rumbled and shook beneath me. I was thrown off my feet onto the grimy floor below me. With one last violent movement, the walls of the cabin blasted away, and everything went dark.

I was dead, I had to be. An explosion of that force had to have killed me. Or maybe I imagined it all. But that couldn’t be. It all felt so real. My body ached all over; it throbbed in fact, with searing burning pain. My eyes remained shut though. Then, very gently, somebody was shaking me. A clear, male voice was telling me to wake up.

My eyes slowly opened and I realized I was on a plane as it was touching the ground. The light from the window made my weary eyes burn, but as they adjusted I noticed a scenery like I had never known before. Wherever I was, I was miles, maybe continents away from where I lived. I heard my name, clear and distinct, and I turned to face the speaker. My vision became clear and I saw nothing but a pair of dazzling, haunting, emerald eyes.





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