Deadly Eyes by Lori McDonald
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Lori McDonald

The man who came had eyes of death,
intense and blue and cold,
hands like weapons at his side,
posture taut, controlled.

A dozen years I’d worked in crime,
served or ordered scum.
But never saw I eyes like his,
that pierced and struck me dumb.

Eyes I just could not describe,
these eyes that smiled at me
and held me down and strung me up
and wouldn’t set me free.

A shark’s dead eyes were cold like his,
but these eyes couldn’t die.
Immortal life did hide in them,
though how I knew not why.

A wolf had eyes as gray as his,
when running in the hunt,
but this man, he came alone
along the ocean front.

A thousand predators was he.
A snake, a lion, bird.
A thousand killers in those eyes,
along with human hurt.

What held me so I stared at him
and couldn’t look away?
What force caused me to stop right there
and let him have his say?

Was grief I saw deep in those eyes
that wouldn’t let him go.
A pain I found hurt me to see,
torment to me he’d show.

There was no place for me to hide,
not from his steely gaze.
He had me from that first instant
I saw his vision blaze.

"Who are you?" I asked of him,
this stranger on the street,
but found my words froze in me
with his words said to greet.

Rage and pain and cold black hate,
a need that wouldn’t end.
Innocence shattered, dead,
a will that wouldn’t bend.

"Don’t worry, father, I’ve come back,"
I could not trust this man.
"I won’t let you die this time."
These words were said deadpan.

I saw my son before my eyes,
a barely eight year child,
who did not bear insanity
like this man’s soul defiled.

"I’ve come for you," he said again.
"I’ve come through death and time.
"For you and mom I did come back
"To stop a horrid crime."

"You’re not my son!" I did yell then.
"You must be insane!
"Nobody can travel time
"to salvage any pain!"

His smile, it was so sad and small,
his eyes gave not a bit
as he held a chair for me
and asked for me to sit.

"I was born in mother’s bed,
"at four drank turpentine.
"I had a little red striped frog
"I brought home as mine.

"You hid from me just what you did,
"You told so many lies.
"You kept me oh-so-innocent
"until the day you died.

"Ten years I trained to avenge you,
"up from death did crawl.
"I kill the group which did kill you,
"but I can’t kill them all.

"I have no peace in my life.
"Oh, father, I’m in hell.
"I can’t forget the way you died,
"that I alone got well.

"I miss my mom, believe me… god…
"and I dearly miss you too.
"I sold my life to pay them back,
"took on a body new."

He looked away from me and sighed,
and then he did turn back.
"I’d burn the world to save you both.
"My spirit is so black…

"Today you wait upon this beach
"for a contact to arrive
"and take you somewhere you’ll be safe.
"This is where you’ll die.

"The people you do want to leave
"don’t take betrayal well.
"A killer will be sent to here
"to send you both to hell.

"Last time, you and mom were killed
"and I was left for dead.
"Your contact found me in the sand,
"my body soaked in red.

"He trained me as a soldier,
"he taught me how to kill.
"There was no you, so he took me
"and made me serve his will.

"A decade I forgot this,
"forgot just what you did.
"Perfect parents died on me,
"Your mistakes always hid.

"I could not hide forever.
"Oh, father, how could you?"
"How could you work with men
"Who do what these men do?"

This stranger couldn’t be my son,
yet I felt I must explain
why I lived the life I did
and why I leave again.

"The money drew me in at first,
"it’s power cast its call.
"I’d have anything I’d want
"and care not for my fall.

"Then my wife, she bore my son
"to carry on my name.
"And I saw if I’m corrupt,
"he’ll turn out the same."

The man looked down as I spoke,
his face so very white.
"I wish you hadn’t died for me.
"I loathe my own hindsight."

"I’m not dead!" I screamed at him.
"My wife and son are safe!
"No assassins come for us.
"Our plans, they’re all failsafe!"

"Then tell me, father, how it is,
"that I know of them.
"How is it I know you run,
"escaping your problems?"

Frightened then, I turned my back,
quickly walked away,
hurried from this crazy man,
hiding my dismay.

"Meet your contact," he told me,
said it to my back.
"This time I will be on guard
"to save you from attack."

I kept on walking down the beach,
would not look at him.
I could not believe what he said,
that things could be so grim.

Down the beach I saw my son,
playing in the sand,
watching crabs sideways crawl,
an ice cream in his hand.

He barely spared for me a glance,
before to his play returned.
A healthy normal little boy,
and in no way concerned.

I felt a surge of love for him,
my son, my life, my heir.
The product of my deepest love
and all my strongest prayers.

I bent to pat his small, capped head,
pulled close to embrace.
Like a boy he did squirm loose,
not wanting this disgrace.

"I love you, son," I told the boy.
He flopped down in the sand,
scrubbing at his filthy face,
looking so unmanned.

"Love you too," he mumbled, soft,
insulted at the need.
I smiled at my little boy,
who’d cured me of my greed.

Time was running out, I saw.
Our contact should arrive,
and then this nightmare would be passed
and we would all survive.

I left my son to join my wife,
and at a table sat.
I told her nothing of the man
Or of our bizarre chat.

We talked instead of what we’d do,
once we all were free
and how I would testify
and the sights we’d see.

A mocking laugh did sound to us,
laughing in delight
and in shock I did look up
to see that he’d been right.

A woman in a mask stood there,
holding a black gun,
grinning as she aimed at us,
sitting in the sun.

My own weapon hit my hand,
but in shock did wait,
expecting to be rescued by
the stranger from our fate.

I saw him racing up the beach,
fast and lethal came.
A killer stronger than this girl
who at our hearts did aim.

At that point he passed our son.
His eyes went wide in shock.
He stumbled to his knees in pain
and couldn’t even walk.

Our saviour was tied to our son.
A paradox indeed.
They both couldn’t be at once,
To that he must accede.

I saw him reaching out to us,
screaming silent pain,
before he vanished from the beach,
shuddering in shame.

Only a small boy knelt there,
blind to what just passed,
playing in the sand and sea,
his wonder unsurpassed.

I knew then that my son would live,
though I grieved for us.
And for the horrid life he’d lead
in endless grief, unless…

I lifted then my only gun,
and at my son did aim.
I meant to spare him pain myself
or any kind of blame.

A bullet slammed into my chest,
the next did take my wife.
I was too slow, I realized,
to take or spare a life.

I slumped forward in my chair,
still clutching that gun,
hearing screams from my son
as he left his fun.

The world faded very fast,
I grieved that I would die,
and my child would be alone
to grow that stranger’s eyes.


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