He’d heard the well used adage that they were the windows to the soul, but Gavin Daye didn’t expect to be dragged deep inside to see the painful birth and torture of such a concept.
They were enjoying a drink in Swanker’s Fritter; a new gastro-pub in the town centre. It used to be a Blockbuster, before the idea had evaporated into the myths of stock exchanges long gone.
It was a blind date.
She had emailed him via his sister’s best mate’s BFF, three years after his divorce from Amy and every other money grabber out there.
She’d sounded different. Cautious but open. Wise yet free of mind. He liked her responses to his emails. But what could he honestly gain from carefully chosen words on a screen.
He, himself, of course, had taken extra care with each of his responses, so why not the other way around?
They’d met outside the pub with smiles and handshakes, before hopping inside and taking a table by a window overlooking Sheep Street.
‘It’s nice here, isn’t it?’ Gavin began, feeling the open fire tickle his chilly cheeks and breathing in the inviting aroma of a variety of stomach awakening meals being attacked all around.
‘Is this your first time here?’ She asked, taking off her fleece jacket and hooking it over the back of her chair.
‘Yes,’ her replied, trying not to notice her fine figure as she sat down. ‘You?’
‘Oh, I’ve been once her twice with clients. Food’s good.’
It went on like that for a while: that first date trepidation. The trying to be yourself, by being a somewhat reserved sculpture of the real.
It was always difficult if he was attracted to the first date. And he WAS attracted to Amy. Blind dates just weren’t supposed to be so easy. They were meant to be awkward and stilted: feeble and dithery.
By the time his steak and ale pie with oysters and her celeriac risotto with goat’s cheese had arrived, though, he felt like he’d known her for years.
She was well read, she liked the same music and she was funny in a delicate, charming way. Even her blue eyes, which was a colour he rarely went for, seemed to draw him in.
I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS GIRL! he text his friend, Simmy, when she had glided off to the lady’s. SHE’S STUNNING!
She arrived back as Simmy’s response for more details came through with a faint buzz in his pocket.
The subject matter moved onto the worst past dates.
Gavin recalled the time he met a girl who became abusively drunk the more the night went on and started a fight with a passing man for no reason. Yet, the next day, asked when they would be going out again.
Though, as he told the story, he felt himself being pulled into Amy’s eyes. Deep, deep into her warm eyes. They were like mermaid song to a sailor.
The sounds of the pub faded to mumbles. The clatter of cutlery on crockery was reduced to dull tapping. The world around became a low buzz in the back of his skull as he entered through her deep blue orbs until the softest whisper could be heard telling him,
‘You’re mine now.’
Gavin Daye began to panic. Though it did him no good. As he was soon to discover that it hadn’t done the other lost souls trapped inside Amy any good either.
He heard their moans and sobs before he saw their sorry silhouettes.
‘Who are you,’ Gavin asked, though feared the replies.
‘We are the lost,’ they cried.
‘How did you get here?’
‘The same way you did. We trusted. Oh, how we trusted. The mistress is cruel.’
‘But, she seems…so…’
‘Her beauty is the trap that captures our stupid, stupid souls,’ the silhouettes moaned in unison.
‘How do I get out? I need to get out.’
‘There’s no escape once you’re here. Your pain starts and never ends here.’
‘Where is here? Where are we?’
‘We know not. Come join us. You will in the end, you know. She will make sure of it.’
Panic filled Gavin’s spirit like a shot
of speed. His eyes darted left and right for any kind of escape, but all he saw was shadows. He felt his lungs were ready to pop and his heart was about to explode.
‘You need to calm yourself,’ the voices told him. ‘What you regard as your heart is not the same as it once was. Your panicking will do you no good here.’
‘I need to get out!’ Gavin screamed, before bolting in a direction he hoped was the correct one for escape.
‘You can’t!’ The moaning voices called to his back.
They have to be wrong, Gavin’s fearful voice fretted inside his mind. There has to be way out.
He ran and ran through thick, oppressive fog, fear for his mind and situation growing.
He stopped, frozen to the spot as a malevolent, piercing cackle erupted all around him, as if it was coming from many amplifiers.
‘Make yourself comfortable, my dear,’ a voice that sounded like Amy with all goodness syringed from its speaker’s soul. ‘You will find no way out of my mind. The carcass you have left will rot with no reason to paltry medicine and your soul will feed me until I require another. At that moment you will be part of the joyless choir and they a part of you. Enjoy.’