Behind Green Eyes
Lisa Marie Martin stepped out of her apartment building, glanced at her watch and decided she had enough time to walk to her doctor’s appointment. The wind smacked her face making her wrap her sweater tighter around her petite body. Changing her mind, she held up her hand and watched as the taxi sailed by her. Rubbing her hands together, she cut through Central Park.
“Hey, Red, you got anything for me?” someone asked from behind a maple tree.
Lisa turned in the direction of the voice and spotted Harry, a homeless man she befriended last summer.
“Hi, Harry. Wait one second.” She fumbled through her over-sized bag while walking towards him, and retrieved a small rectangular package. Holding it up for him to see, she handed him the Snickers bar.
Harry reached out his dirty hand, grabbed the candy and smiled up at her with a toothless grin. He peered at the chocolate’s label, scrunched his over-grown brow, and shook his head. “Hey, this ain’t no Baby Ruth.”
“Yes, I know, Harry. They were out of Baby Ruth,” Lisa shrugged and lifted both hands, palms up. She hunched her shoulders and stuck her hands back into her sweater pockets.
“It’s okay, Red, I like the Snickers too, don’t you fret. You go along now and go about your business.” He waved with his empty hand, and then took a bite of the candy bar. “Thanks, Red,” he mumbled.
“You’re welcome,” she said over her shoulder and walked toward the park’s exit. Turning down 70th Street, Lisa wondered why she called the old man Harry. She guessed he just looked like a Harry. After all, he never corrected her, nor had she ever corrected him when he called her Red.
Lisa turned onto Madison Avenue and climbed up the three steps of the old Brownstone that she used to frequent once a week. She rang the bell underneath the sign that read, Dr. Lawrence R. Atkins, Psychiatrist. Within seconds, the buzzer sounded and Lisa entered. She made her way up the one flight of stairs, opened the large mahogany door and stepped inside.
“Hello, dear, Dr. Atkins is waiting for you. He asked me to send you right in,” the doctor’s secretary, Anna Steeplebush said. The elderly, plump, woman had a jolly disposition that Lisa enjoyed. Her rosy cheeks and British accent reminded her of Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth. She opened the office door for Lisa with a broad, cheery smile.
“Thank you,” Lisa said and stepped through the threshold. The office exuded charm and elegance without seeming too garish. Two overstuffed, high-back wingchairs surrounded the doctor’s large mahogany desk. A fireplace on her left held an artificial log which glowed and flickered. The mantel adorned numerous photos of the doctor’s wife and children. The opposite wall was nothing but floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Directly behind the desk, Park Avenue was viewed through a sizable framed window. Lisa shut the door behind her and walked over to one of the chairs, placed her purse on the floor and sat down.
“Miss Martin, it’s so nice to see you.” Dr. Atkins entered the office from a second door nearest the fireplace. Lisa guessed it might be the washroom.
“How have you been?” He extended his hand and Lisa shook it. “It’s been some time since last we spoke.” He rubbed his chin, tilted his head. “May I say, last June?” Dr. Atkins slid into his chair behind his desk, folded his hands and leaned forward. “So, what brings you here today?” His eyes crinkled behind his glasses which were perched on the tip of his nose. If he had a long white beard, Lisa thought he’d look like Santa Clause.
“I’ve been all right, but feeling a little crazy lately.” Lisa bit her lower lip. “Actually, the reason why I’m here is because I’ve been having terrible nightmares, and recently I’ve been awake while having them. I’m not sure what’s happening to me. It’s like some sort of spell.”
“What do you mean by spell?” He pushed his glasses up with his thumb.
“I see things, awful things. I see blood and people I don’t know. Beautiful women and I see them….” Lisa took a deep breath, closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them. “I see women getting murdered. The worst part is I seem to be awake when this happens, and it is almost like I’m the one killing them. Does that even make sense? I see them like I am seeing you right now. I look into their eyes and I see their terror, their confusion.” Her voice quavered, and a tear ran down her cheek.
“Lisa, it’s okay. I know this seems scary to you, but you have to remember it’s not real.” Dr Atkins leaned forward, adjusted his glasses and continued. “What you’re describing sounds to me like what we call fugues. It’s a momentary memory loss. Like a temporary state of amnesia. A person, usually under considerable stress, or who has suffered a tragedy they can’t face, blocks things from their mind. The mind can lock the thought away, so the person can go on about their day-to-day routine. Unfortunately, something usually awakens that part of the brain and the memories come out in fragments. Lisa, are these visions recurring? What I mean is, does the same person get murdered in much the same way each time?”
Lisa shook her head. “No, I see different women in different places, though I think in the same area. I see them talking like they are talking to me, only I don’t hear their voices. It’s like a silent movie. Suddenly, I see them being stabbed and bleeding and then I wake up. It seems like I just had a nightmare, only I wasn’t asleep.”
“I know you write books. What type of books do you write?” He reached for a pipe which was cradled in a holder on his desk. He placed it in between his teeth and held it without lighting it.
“I write romance novels. I know what you’re thinking, that I may have dreamed this up. What I write is sweet, romantic, and sometimes pretty sappy. This came out of nowhere.” She chewed on the skin under her fingernail.
“When did this start occurring?” He put his pipe back down.
“Maybe about a month ago.”
“Did something happen around that time, something traumatic? Say, the death of someone close to you,” he asked.
“No, nothing, and I wasn’t abused as a child, I have no memories of anything out of the ordinary ever happening. God, I grew up with great parents, had good grades and, well, nothing weird has ever happened to me. I don’t even watch scary movies.” Her voice raised an octave.
“Okay, when these spells occur, are you in any danger?” He pulled off his glasses, inspected them for spots, wiped them with a tissue from his desk and replaced them on his nose.
“Only if I happen to be crossing a busy street at the time,” she said.
“I think you may try to be more aware of your surroundings. Don’t do anything that can get you in trouble if you have another spell. Maybe stay home and write. I need to know what it is that is causing this. I can prescribe you a mild sedative, which may keep your nerves at bay. In the meantime, I need to research this some more. I’d like to see you again very soon.”
“No drugs, please. I don’t think I’m ready for sedatives.” Lisa raised her hand.
“Very well. Is it possible to see you again on Monday?” he asked.