Marked. Part I: The missing Link

By: J.M.Sevilla




When I reach the front door I knock twice. I hear shuffling feet and then the door opens.

Our neighbor is massive, towering over my petite five-foot-three-inch frame by at least a foot, and even though he is fully clothed, it's undeniable he packs some serious muscle.

Everything is okay until I notice his eyes. They are an average color blue, nothing special, but what sends a tremor down my spine is the raw intensity of them. They are cold, withdrawn, and blanketed in something dark and sinister. Another tremor travels down when I notice the scars. How had I not noticed them right away? It looks like a three-clawed animal tried to scratch out his right eye. The first claw mark is on his temple, the second runs along the edge of his eye, and the third is placed close to the middle. All three start above the brow and end at the cheekbone, progressively growing in size. The smallest one is on his temple.

Maybe my brothers were right?

Gulp.

I realize he's studying me just as intently and I start to panic.

Shit. I need to say something and not stand here like an idiot, asking to be his next murder victim.

I nervously play with my hair. “Um, my mom wanted me to invite you over for dinner,” I rush the words, not daring to look at him because without a doubt I would have choked on the words from fright.

I feel his eyes on me, making me more nervous by the second, but I still can't bring myself to look directly at him again. He takes a step forward and my body stiffens in response. He rests his hands on the edges of the door frame, causing his arm muscles to bulge out, and my eyes widen at their monumental size. I notice he has a deep scar that runs up his right forearm, ending a few inches above his elbow. My mouth opens to ask him what happened, but when I finally meet his glare he's scowling at me and I cower back. My breath catches in my throat as he leans down so we are eye level, faces inches from each other. I'm frozen in fear from the intense way he is studying me.

A low growl rumbles in the back of his throat and it snaps us out of the trance we are in. At the same time we take a step back.

“I already ate.” The sudden sound of his gruff voice makes me jump and the door slams in my face.

My lungs start to inhale as much air as they can, trying to regain some of the oxygen they lost from barely breathing since the door opened. I have never met someone who has me frightened and captivated at the same time; those eyes will definitely haunt my dreams tonight.





8:38pm

I was so distracted with thoughts of our neighbor that the evening passed and I barely remember it. Everyone mistook my silence as despair and hardly bothered me with questions, assuming it would be “too hard to talk about.”

Once dinner and unwrapping of gifts are over, I retreat to the kitchen, hoping to avoid anyone getting the bright idea to talk to me about my mental state and how I'm coping.

“Are you trying to avoid everyone?” My mom asks, coming into the kitchen and handing me more dirty dishes to clean.

“Yup.”

“At least you have a good excuse this year.”

She starts busying herself putting away food and I go back to staring out the window at a certain house, rented by a man I'm letting consume too much of my thoughts. For someone I found so unnerving I can't seem to get him out of my head. His animal-like scar and his eyes that harbor such ferocity are all I can see, all I can think about.

“Hey, Lily?” My mom holds out two plates filled with food, “Can you bring this over to the neighbor?” I hate when parents tell you to do something but state it as a question like you have a choice.

“Can't Seth do it?” Just because I can't stop thinking about the man does not mean I have any desire to see him again. I've seen enough movies to know he's trouble, and definitely someone I should avoid.


“No, he's working on an assignment in his room.”

Oh please, he's using school work as an excuse to get out of helping to clean up. The only thing my brother takes seriously and puts any effort into is skateboarding.

“Mom, he really creeps me out. I don't want to go back.”

“You're just being silly.”

Maybe she's right, but I still don't want to go. “No thanks.”

“Lily,” she uses her warning tone to let me know her disappointment, “he's all alone on Christmas. The least we can do is make sure he has a warm cooked meal to eat. Where's your humanity?”

“Why don't you bring it to him then?” I cross my arms in defiance.

“Because I've been cooking all day and I think I deserve to rest my feet.”

Damn. She got me there.

“Fine,” I grumble, taking the food and heading out the door.

I expected the pounding heart from my slight fear, but the tiny flutter in my stomach surprises me as I knock on his door.

The door opens and he cocks his head to the side, looking confused to see me there, “Didn't scare you off the first time?” His voice doesn't have the same gruffness from before. This time it's warmly inviting.

My cheeks flush with embarrassment that my fear is so clearly evident to him, “My mom wanted you to have a plate.” I hold the food out and before he takes it he rubs his hand on top of his overgrown, dark-blond buzz cut as the surprise on his face goes up a notch, “and here's some pumpkin pie, too.”

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