Mismatched

I have heterochromia.

My mom has it too, only hers is sectoral heterochromia. A part of her left eye is brown while most of it is blue. Mine’s complete. My right eye is brown, the left is blue. As a kid I’d get the most excited reaction out of the adults-

“His eyes are so beautiful!”

“Wow, they’re different colors!”

“How stunning!”

I’d like to say that my eyes are only one part of myself, that it’s just a slice of the pie that makes up me. But really, the only fascinating part of myself is the heterochromia. I’m average in grades. Height. Strength. IQ. Not much stunning charisma either- I tend to stick to myself.

But in the end, it’s my eyes that saved my life. And maybe the lives of a few others.

The killings started my sophomore year. A young couple going out to smooch in their car was found dead, mangled by some wild beast. Their faces had been eaten off, their tongues ripped out, and their eyes completely gone.

I didn’t know them, they went to the private school. All the same, the stories started up about the Gosbecks Knoll Beast.

My mom laughed when I told her about it. Apparently the ‘Beast’ was around in her highschool days too, two people turned up dead before it stopped. Conveniently, at the same time a bear was brought down in the area. She told me just not to go smooching any girls around there and I’d be fine.

Of course this is when I corrected her and said ‘boys’ but this really didn’t take her by surprise. Mom’s good like that.

However, this time, The Beast wasn’t content just to gnaw on the faces of horny teens on our Lover’s Lane.

When I’d gotten to school about a week after the first incident I knew something was wrong. Everyone was quiet, and a lot of people were crying. I found my friend Trent and asked him what was up. He criticized me for not checking my Facebook before he told me.

Douglas Stafford. Better known as Doug. Senior. Everyone loved him. He was a nice guy. Heck, even to lil ole wallflower me. I’d gotten lost my first day of freshman year and he pointed me in the right direction. Even offered to walk me there. I never talked to him again, but damn. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.

He’d turned up dead in his parent’s garage. His face gnawed on just like the pair from earlier.

The next day there was a school assembly where the principal even teared up a bit and told us that it was okay if we were upset and if necessary we could take an absence from class to talk to the school counselor. Doug’s girlfriend Cathy was in the front row bawling. They’d dated since their little freshman years, and it was pretty obvious they would’ve one day gotten a house with a white picket fence and a dog.

Cathy was the last casualty of the school year, a few months later she was found dead in the forest. The Beast hadn’t been the one to kill her though- she’d hung herself and apparently Beastie helped himself, at least according to the rumors.

During the summer everything went quiet, and soon the talks of dead teens faded into the background. I think Doug’s parents started up a fund for depressed youth. I spent ninety percent of the summer in my bedroom playing way too many video games.

I also came out on Facebook. I got a lot of approval. A lot of ‘you’re perfect the way you are’. And a lot of ‘dude it was OBVIOUS.’

However, Trent didn’t see it as most people did. He unfriended me almost immediately and when I got back to school he’d apparently been badmouthing me to our mutual friends, none of them wanted anything to do with me anymore.

It hurt. I won’t lie, it hurt a lot. But I chose to ignore it for the most part. So I lost all my close friends. Big deal. I could get new ones.

Yeah, no, not happening.

Like I said, my social skills suck. The only reason Trent and I were friends in the first place was because we were assigned to be project partners in the fourth grade. We got a B. And now whenever he talked to me every other sentence had the word ‘fag’ or ‘queer’ thrown in someplace. Shows how little I knew about my best friend right?

But this is when the murders REALLY picked up the pace.

The first victim of junior year was Camille Dunn. She’d missed her bus home and decided to walk. The next morning a dogwalker found her stretched out on the sidewalk. Eyes gone and face eaten off. The Beast was back.

Clearly there was some madman or wild animal on the loose and everyone put up their guard. But now I think this is when the Beast got really cocky. He realized he could get away with this shit.

The next victims were in their damn house. An elderly couple, John and Beatrice. They lived across the street from me. When I woke up the next morning to sirens, my heart sank. I thought Beatrice’s heart finally gave out on her.

Noooo, the Beast just decided to up his game by ripping out said heart. It was the same thing though- ate the faces and the eyes. It got into the house through the back window, judging by the bloody prints. Kids whispered about how supposedly the prints looked like a humans but clawed. Sightings of The Beast grew in number. A freak that had fangs and glowing eyes, his only desire being to hunt and kill.

Of course my mom immediately kicked in a curfew and kept the house secure. At night I’d hear her wake up and walk around, as if to make sure we were safe.

I believed in the Beast when she saw it too.

I woke up to hear her scream and I ran to the source. My mom was white as a ghost, her hand on her heart as she stared out the now empty window.

“It… it was there. I don’t know what it was, but- fuck, fuck, call the police, call the police right now!”

My mom doesn’t cuss. She’s a classy lady like that. I grabbed the junior baseball bat I used as a kid and called 911. Cops showed up surprisingly fast and mom told them what happened while her eyes still darted to the window on occasion.

She’d gone down because she couldn’t sleep and it was at the window. Its shape was vaguely humanoid but its eyes did in fact glow. That’s when she screamed. It must’ve not expected her to see it as it took off running. And sure enough, when I went into the backyard the next morning, its feet were indeed clawed. I didn’t bother collecting evidence as I’m sure everyone would’ve thought I faked it, but I knew the Beast was real.

Two days later I got kidnapped by my so called ‘friend’.

I was walking home from school when Trent ran up behind me, acting all buddy buddy until he got close. Then I felt a switchblade press against my side. Trent was still smiling, but it was cold, dark.

“Start walking, you fucking queer.”

The biggest ‘well shit’ moment of my life.

I didn’t try to be the hero and get the knife, Trent was bigger than me and I didn’t have a prayer. We walked until we got to his car, where he pushed me into the backseat and he duct-taped my hands and feet together.

He drove us out of town to this abandoned old shed. Two other guys I didn’t know were waiting there, and I saw more knives. I was close to pissing myself while still being neck deep in denial. Surely this had to be a joke though. Just a prank to scare me.

Trent dragged me inside and slammed the door.

It was dark and I couldn’t see a thing. I got whacked in the stomach and the air whooshed out of my lungs.

“You fucking fag. How many times did you touch me when I slept over, huh?” I could hear the sneer in Trent’s voice.

I groaned as I was shoved to my knees. “Never, Trent. You’re not exactly my type,” I said as I struggled against the tape.

I got kicked across the face and I hit the floor. I felt one of my teeth come loose and blood start to pool in my gums.

Trent squatted down next to me. I could barely make out his silhouette in the cracks in the shed.

“Fucking liar. You’re a freak. And now you’re gonna be another victim of the Gosbecks Knoll Beast, old buddy.”

I felt the blade press right beneath my blue eye.

“Hope your mommy doesn’t miss your creepy ass eyes, faggot!”

I wanted to shut my eyes. Hoped that he’d drive the knife right into my brain so I didn’t have to feel it. Instead I felt my eyes stay wide open as the blade glinted, and I suddenly made out Trent and his three goonies…

Yeah. Three goonies. There were only two outside the shed.

Guess the Beast really doesn’t care for copycats.

I heard the scream before the tallest of the figures slammed the other two heads together. When standing straight up he almost reached the ceiling. Trent whipped around and the blade nicked below my eye.

“What the fuck-“

Another whack and Trent was on the ground. I heard him choking and realized I smelled blood.

The figure moved onto me and he hoisted me up to his level. I felt claws tear my shirt. I was certain I’d be dead.

Then I felt the monster pause.

“… Eyes?”

I passed out.

When I came to, it was now dark outside, and we were no longer in the shed. Now we were in a cabin, lit by a lantern.

And I saw the Beast in his entirety.

He looked vaguely human, wearing what looked like a loincloth, had pale skin and black stringy hair that hung down his back. His skin was occasionally broken up by patches of scales, and his fingers looked like a tiny blade stuck out of each. His spine was lined with thin bristles that would rise and fall with each breath.

Trent was hung up in the corner by a hook, awake and filled with terror. I could smell more blood. The Beast examined Trent’s face thoughtfully before his middle finger carved through his cheek.

I shut my eyes tight when I heard Trent scream.

The Beast made almost no sound at all, other than a soft hum as he worked on carving off Trent’s face. When I took a peek, I saw the gleaming white of Trent’s cheekbones.

My eyes shut again.

Finally when the screams went quiet, I heard footsteps approach. Felt his huge presence kneel over me. His hair smelled like pond weeds.

“… Open. Open your eyes.”

I did, although I’m not sure why.

His face was kinda human. Had a strong nose and gaunt features. But it was his eyes that caught me.

They glowed all right. But the left one was yellow, and the right eye was violet.

The Beast inhaled sharply before his hand reached up to my face. I flinched and tilted my head away but he only hushed me as he lightly caressed my cheek. His claws didn’t even break skin.

“… Eyes. They don’t… match.”

I swallowed. “N… neither do yours,” I pointed out.

The Beast grinned, his crooked teeth flecked with blood. “No. No they don’t,” He said, almost if he was trying not to laugh.

I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I reached up to touch his face too. His skin was oily, it almost reminded me of a fish. “They uh, look good though?” I offered. Play nice with the monster, maybe you can go home.

This comment struck him, he looked shocked. Then he pulled me into the most uncomfortable hug of my life.

“… Only one. Thought I was the only one,” He sobbed, I felt his greasy tears hit the top of my head.

Really not sure of how to handle this, I patted his back, careful to avoid the spines. God knew they were probably poisonous. Thankfully the Beast seemed to appreciate this.

I’m really not sure how I fell asleep with a giant stinky monster practically spooning me, but when I woke up, the police were there. According to them, someone called 911 from my phone and told them where to find me.

Trent’s body was found strung up in the other room with the other two guys. They’d been almost entirely butchered. It was a miracle I was alive, according to the police.

I attended Trent’s funeral. I don’t know why but I did. His sister apologized for all the bullshit he did to me. I saved her the knowledge of the fact he was going to murder me and make it look like the Beast did it.

When I got home late that night I found mussel shells on my windowsill. I took them inside and let them rest on my dresser.

Top of my dresser’s covered with little ‘gifts’ now, from snake skins to smooth rocks to glass beads. I haven’t seen him since that night but sometimes I catch a glimpse of those mismatched eyes, glowing from my backyard.  

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