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Black Eye Shadow

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Black Eye Shadow and Silver Crosses

by N. Immanuel Velez

And here it is. The judgment. The day had come.

She stood up with an ashen look on her face. Those around the room ascended as well.

Ticklish waves of fear shooting through her. The skin is restless. Her eyes are wide and unblinking.

“We, the jury, find the defendant…”

Nervous hands start to twitch. A heart falls to the bottom of an empty stomach.

“…Rachel Kimberly Krowe…”

Dry mouth. Saliva? Where did it go?

“…not guilty by reason of insanity.”

She let out a deep sigh as voices started to rise. The sound of gavel on wood muted the audience as the judge began to speak, “Ms. Krowe, I really, really- truly hope that one day you can be cured. It is possible. Until then you will spend the next thirty years in the Rockledge Institution for the Criminally Insane. Eligible for parole in ten.

She sinks it in. Hearing but not believing. This isn’t happening.

A few hours later Rachel boarded a bus, but not before they gave her back the items she had with her that dreadful night: a pair of shoes, socks, and a set of clothes, black eye shadow and earrings in the shape of silver crosses.

Rachel concentrated on the sign before the bus completely entered the walled property. Rockledge Institution for the Criminally Insane cir. 1961. Orderlies dressed in white took her off the bus, along with a few guards, toward the front gate. After an hour or so of going through the procedure of being processed into the institution, she was led to the west wing. They took her to a room where she was to change into the drab, standardized uniform of the establishment. She was to put her clothes and personal belongings in a plastic container. When she opened the door a daunting middle-aged woman was standing before her with a motionless stare.

“Hello, Rachel,” the stiff woman said. One eyebrow was slightly raised.

“Hello,” Rachel responded in a subdued manner.

“I am Emily Fenton, the head doctor of the west wing. Look at me when I talk to you.” The doctor forcefully lifted Rachel’s chin up. There was only slight resistance. “Do you know what that means? It means- don’t play with me. When we want you to take a pill- you take it. A needle- you let us. You are mine now. Adhere to this and you might be healed.

“Ah. I see that you’ve already disobeyed us,” Fenton said with a dismayed sigh. “Didn’t they tell you to put everything in the container?” She was staring at the earrings, which still hung on Rachel’s ears. “We wouldn’t want you to commit suicide,” she added with a sardonic smile.

Fenton reached for one of the earrings. Rachel slapped her hand away and darted backward with wild eyes. “You can’t take them! I’ll die!!!” she screamed as if death himself was closing in.

“Hold her!” Two orderlies grabbed each of her arms in a callous fashion. Dr. Fenton was able to dislodge one earring, amidst gnashing teeth, but had trouble with the other one. Rachel’s earlobe ripped slightly. An ear-shattering shriek elicited from her mouth. “You see, missy Rachel. You’re here because you are insane. You need to be here. If you’re not fine tomorrow it’ll be because of us, not the absence of these crosses.” Emily threw the crosses in the container, wiped the blood on her hands on Rachel’s face, and promptly turned around. “Take her to her cell. Do what you want with her. Oh, and take that damn eye shadow off her. She looks like a damn slut!” she bellowed as she exited the room, shoulders broad and menacing.

The orderlies practically dragged her down a dark, forbidding hallway with what looked like empty cells on either side. Some were actually occupied, but it was hard to tell. They threw her into the next to last cell on the left side; to her elated surprise the gate closed behind her with no one inside. “Don’t get too happy,” one of the orderlies said. “We’ve got something to do. We’ll be back later, or definitely tomorrow, to play with your pretty flesh. We love fresh meat.” The two men walked away, eying her with devilish smiles, until they vanished from her view.

Rachel quickly reached for her ear to soothe it, and leaned back on a cold, jagged wall. She looked about and saw mostly darkness as only a few staid lights tracked the hallway ceiling. She was jolted out of a nostalgic memory by a loud metal click that came from the cell next to her; the last cell.

“Who’s there?” came a raspy voice.

“I’m Rachel,” she answered. “Who are you?”

“I’m Faria. You sound hurt. I heard some sobbing.”

“They ripped my ear. How long have you been here?”

“You’re lucky. They ravaged me within minutes.”

“They’re animals. I won’t let them.”

“I said the same thing. I’ve been here a while. So what did you do to end up here- in hell?” Faria asked.

Rachel hesitated before answering. “My sister was possessed by a demon.”

“Oh, you really do belong here,” Faria snickered.

“Go to hell,” Rachel responded.

“I’m sorry. Look at me. Haven’t talked to anyone in years and already I offend you. It happens. Continue.”

Rachel emitted a soft sigh. “She was filled with some unholy entity- I know it. I’m not crazy. She was my sister! Don’t you think I could tell it wasn’t her behind those eyes? She - it – tried to attack me, kill me. I raced to my room to put on a pair of silver cross earrings and black eye shadow. When the demon saw them, it freaked out in what I can only describe as absolute fear. I still remember her frozen face. My sister was chasing me with a blade. The demon caused her to fall on it. I was accused of her murder- my own sister! I never agreed to the plea bargain and insisted it was self defense, that she was possessed.”

“You probably should have left that out.”

“Shut up.”

“Sorry. I have this- problem, see? Anyway, what’s the deal with these earrings and eye shadow? Are they magic?” Faria asked. Rachel could feel her smiling silently.

“Apparently. One day I was walking down this street in the city. I wasn’t even supposed to be there. The street I normally took home was closed due to a fallen electrical wire. There was a little hidden occultist store, which piqued my interest, so I entered. The owner, a woman named Madam Lorgan, tried to help me find a book on spells. I was looking for one in particular- a spell that could lift my sadness and set me free.”

“Oh, are you sad, my beloved?” Faria asked. A faint cackle could be heard.

“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Anyway, Madam Lorgan didn’t have a spell like that, but before I left she gave me the earrings and eye shadow. She told me to wear them for protection, as if she knew what would happen to my sister. Since I’m a Goth, I took them; they looked nice. I remembered them when my sister attacked me.

“What did you do to get in here?”

“So she was a psychic. Oh, God, I’m so tired. Whatever are you going to do tonight? Since you’re obviously not wearing the crosses,” Faria surveyed.

“Don’t remind me,” Rachel warned. “I’ve been dreading that since they took them. When I was incarcerated, waiting for my trial, the demon never came. But my cellmate was a Christian; she constantly read a bible. You’re not a Christian, are you?”


“Then I’m doomed.”

“Not exactly,” Faria said. “What if I said you could get your earrings back?”

“What?!” exclaimed Rachel. “You’re insane.”

“Of course I am. But that doesn’t prevent me from having the key to open both of our gates.”

“Go to hell.”

“I had to copulate with one of the guards. Those guys aren’t rapists like the orderlies. It was actually much easier than I thought, swiping the key. I had to rock his world. Not my proudest moment. I found it harder to memorize which key it was, exactly, that opened these doors. I guess it’s cheaper to have one key open all the cells in this hall. There are many halls here.”

“Where do you keep the key?”

“There’s a small crack here in the wall. This is an old place. The hole helps my sanity since it lets in the light during the day. I can keep a sense of time. Plus, every so often I let myself out and walk up and down the hallway. It’s invigorating, as you can imagine. Damn, I’m so tired.”

“You’re serious?”

“You’ll have to wait until it gets dark, after most everyone goes home. Only Fenton and one or two guards wander the halls. Well, Fenton usually just stays at her station at the end of this hall, the other side of the bolted doors. You’ll have to get her to open them- push on them or something. The orderlies are on call. I don’t know where they stay at night, but it doesn’t seem to be around this area. There are moving cameras, so just wait until you’re not in their view. Use the key as a crude weapon to threaten Fenton with. Force her to take you to the room where the inmates’ personal belongings are kept. Incapacitate her, I’m sure you’ll have fun doing that, and return. You’ll never get your parole, but it’s better than dying tonight- don’t you think?”

“Show me the key,” Rachel demanded.

Rummaging noises came from the adjacent cell until Rachel saw a female hand protrude from the side- it held a metal object. Rachel grabbed the key and saw that everything Faria said was true.

They waited hours for the sun to set. Faria dozed off a few times. Rachel discovered that she was in for ritualistic murder.

The time had come. “Are you ready?” Faria asked. “There’s a moving camera in the corner above the doors at the entrance. It follows the length of the hall, and it’s hard to see until you get close up, so crawl slowly along the side of the hall. Do it slow because if the camera does spot you it’s possible she won’t see you due to the darkness. Sudden movements would jeopardize you. By the time it would be obvious for her to notice you, you will be able to see the camera clearly and so be able to dodge it. Get underneath it and stay flat against the door. When you get her to open the door, bash forward the second you see it open a centimeter; luckily it opens inward from her side. You better hope a guard isn’t with her. Don’t be afraid. Think of what may happen if you don’t do this.”

“Okay. I am afraid, but there’s nothing more terrifying than what I’ve already seen. Can you come with me?”

“Hah. I’m way too tired, and I don’t feel like getting a beating or jeopardizing my parole. You’re on your own, loony toons.” Rachel wanted to deck her.

After a few moments of hesitation, and silent prayers to no one in particular, Rachel used the key to unlock the door. She slid across the floor, where metal bars met with it, on her stomach, dawdling like a dying slug. Eventually she was able to see the camera and saw that it moved from top to bottom. The second it reached the top she scurried just underneath it and kept her breasts up against the locked doors. She pressed harder against the door to see if it would budge slightly; it held fast. She thought for a second before trying to manipulate the metal contraption that locked the door. It juggled ever so faintly, enough to gather the attention of a nearby witness- exactly what she wanted. She did this a few times before hearing a soft commotion on the other side. Her eyes widened in anticipation and fear. She held the key steady. The lock turned. The door in front of her started to open. She barreled through like a woman possessed, throwing Fenton to the ground. Without even thinking, Rachel pounced on her like a dog with rabies and started to slash her face with the key before clamping her mouth shut with her hand- instinct.

“Take me to the room where my earrings are- now!” she whispered to Fenton. “You’ve already labeled me insane so don’t think I won’t shove this key down your throat with all the strength of hell. Hurry the hell up, we’ve already made a raucous.” Emily was horrified and completely in shock. She stayed petrified until Rachel poked her in the eye with the key. She motioned to get up. Rachel let her while holding her hair forcefully and keeping a sharp, jutted edge of the key to her throat.

Fenton timidly walked toward (hunched over a little) a hallway, and was about to turn the corner, before Rachel tugged her hair back and looked herself. No guards. Fenton guided her down the hall toward a room on the left where she opened it cautiously, albeit making a cracking sound. Rachel shoved her in immediately and closed the door behind them.

After Fenton had identified the correct canister, still in such a daze as if she woke up one morning in Japan, a loud shout came from the hallway, “Hey, you there!!” Rachel froze. “How the hell did he see us!” she cried.

Confusion. A tense feeling shoots through her body. Fenton looks about ready to scream bloody hell. The guard comes closer. Fenton screams. Rachel pulls her hair back with her left hand and thrusts the key into her mouth with her right. Over and over again. The shouts are stifled. Hatred. Revenge. Pain. The key rips into a delicate eye. It explodes. Blood and puss everywhere. Rachel drops her like a wasted kill and sees the doorknob turn. She ducks. A man walks through and is accosted before what he sees can even register. Blow upon blow rains on his face. Shouts don’t exist for long. Blood everywhere. Rachel’s insanity lessens as she tastes blood on her lips. She smiles.

After her murderous rage, Rachel quickly opened the canister and retrieved her crosses and eye shadow. She returned to her cell in the same clandestine fashion as she carefully tried to avoid the second guard; she did not see him.

Rachel quickly put her earrings back on and drowned herself in black eye shadow. She let Faria know that she was victorious, but heard nothing. She must really be tired. Rachel stationed herself in the corner and waited for the unthinkable.

Following a few moments of dozing off herself, a terror shot through her that could only come from one place. She stood up and saw a shadow in the shape of a man just outside her cell. Within seconds the shadow was gone and a soft voice came from the other corner of the cell, shrouded in almost complete darkness. She thought she saw a deeper darkness within, and then two small greenish lights emerged as floating eyes.

Panic consumes her. The frightful feeling is familiar. She starts to get a hold of herself before she realizes that the crosses and eye shadow don’t seem to have any effect this time. A deeper dread materializes. Absolute terror abounds her.

The voice, soothing, says, “I see and feel that you are rather surprised.” The voice is male and deep, guttural at times. “Your confusion amuses me. You’ve been misinformed. Those items don’t repel me- I am bound to them. When I was in your sister, I purposefully shied away from them. You’ve been duped. I caused her to fall on that knife so that you would be arrested for murder. You were meant to be here. You see- I am a demon of chance. Having you being found not guilty by reason of insanity was obvious. But having you specifically sent to this prison, placed in this wing, placed in this room, not having Fenton see you crawling on your belly, having the other guard safely on another floor- that is my doing. You see, those things were governed by chance, and that is my domain. You’ve been a pawn all this time.”

Her incredulous fear was swiftly replaced with insane curiosity. “What? But…why? Why was I supposed to be here? Why would Madam Lorgan lie to me about these items?”

“Does all that really matter? Would it matter to you, now, if I said Madam Lorgan needed you to be here? It is unimportant, really. What does matter is the present. What is important is what you want- the end of your sadness, an opening to freedom. I can give you that.”

Her head turned to the side the way a dog does when he’s confused. “You-you can?”

“Yes. Of course. All you need do is say yes. Do you want freedom?”

She looked down, then up at the hypnotic eyes. She makes a choice. “Yes.”

“Do you?”


Something innate makes her walk toward the dark corner. The eyes loom larger. The closer she gets the better she feels. All the stolid lights marking the hallway fizzle out as she melts into the shadows.

The next day two men walk rapidly down one of the halls of Rockledge. “Does this sort of stuff happen very often?” asked one man to the other.

“No,” he answered. “This case is unique, though, as I’ll tell you. I’ve been the warden here for over twenty years and no one has escaped under my watch. Officially, it happened twice before I came along, but that’s off the record, detective.”

“Got it.”

“Anyway, it seems as though the two inmates, Faria and Rachel, were in cahoots. Rachel was the decoy; she had no intention of escaping anyway since she planned on committing suicide. She lured doctor Fenton and the guard away from the front of the hall, the last barrier to the maximum-security side, and savagely murdered them with the key that opened their cells. Meanwhile, Faria escaped unabated. With Fenton and the guard occupied, it was fairly easy.

“We’ve just learned that Faria had stolen the key earlier from one of the guards. Earlier this morning he admitted to losing it, but didn’t say anything when it happened on pain of losing his job. He had a duplicate so nobody figured it out.”

“You fired him this morning, right?” asked the detective.

“Immediately. Now, here’s the strange stuff. Faria’s escape route was a garbage chute, which leads from this floor to a dump on the outside. Every evening it’s locked by one of our nurses, but it just so happened that yesterday evening she received an emergency phone call just when she was about to lock it. It turned out to be a prank. This caused her to forget to lock it. One in a million.”

“Was the nurse and Faria in cahoots?”

“There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that. Not even to say that they’ve ever spoken. It doesn’t end there. The small hole in the outside wall that Faria slipped through was put there recently by a trucker who smashed into it. It was supposed to be fixed yesterday, but for some weird reason, the workers never showed up. Again, one in a million.”


The two men reached the hall and stood before Faria and Rachel’s cells. Faria’s was empty and Rachel’s was full of blood.

“So, how did Rachel commit suicide? Rachel’s the one who did it, right?” asked the detective.

“Yes, she’s the one. She used two large metal earrings in the shape of crosses. Of course, she wasn’t supposed to have those items, but it seems as if that’s what she went to get when she killed Fenton and the guard. They found them in the room where those items were kept. Rachel was found with her neck slit, both crosses in either hand, and completely submerged in black eye shadow.”

“Well, at least now her tortured mind is finally free,” the detective said with empathy. “Okay, then,” he continued, “all I have to do now is find Faria.”

“That’s right.”

“Does she have any relatives in the area? We’ve got to hit the obvious first.”

“There is someone in the city. A seer or witch of some kind that apparently talks to, and makes deals with, demons.” They both laughed at this. “The woman is Faria’s mother, and people on the street call her Madam Lorgan.”

Copyright N. Immanuel Velez 2006

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