01 Feb I Can See People’s Auras, and So, I Can See Evil People
I couldn’t always see auras, but something happened to me when I was eight. I was at the park with my mother, slinging my way across the monkey bars as fast as I could, when I slipped. My head hit the ground first, and then the world went dark.
When I came to my mother was cradling my head and stroking my hair gently. My mouth tasted of pennies and my head throbbed painfully.
“Allie, sweetie? Are you okay?” she asked.
I only groaned in response, from the piercing pain that felt to be stabbing me somewhere deep inside my head. I rubbed my eyes and looked up at my mom, and that’s when I saw it: her aura and its wonderful mix of colors floating all around her.
The pain went away, but the sight stayed. I could see everyone for who they were now, their naked personalities on full display for me. Usually, I was enamored with the complexity that people showed. So many colors. . . some good and some bad, some seemingly contradicting with others, and I guess that’s just the duality of man. Everyone one has good, everyone has some bad.
But then there was the man who had stepped onto the subway train one night.
There was nothing complex about him, God no.
I had been sitting alone in an empty carriage until he stepped on. My job as an apprentice chef has me working late, and by the time we finish last seating and then the cleaning of the kitchen, I’m usually only on my way home in the very early hours of the morning. And I wouldn’t take the subway train if I could help it, but my pay sucks and I have enough trouble paying rent, forget about a car or even enough scratch to take a cab home every night.
I noticed the man’s aura instantly; it was a hard one to miss. The sight of it was enough to chill the marrow in my bones.
I had only seen one like it before, on the television, when the cops were perp-walking a serial killer into a courtroom.
There was a lot of red, and red meant aggressiveness. And though everyone does have their aggressive side (even I have my red streaks), this man’s aura was almost entirely red, only save for the thin lines of purple that ran through his aura like veins. That purple made it worse — that purple meant rot, instability, something deeply and dangerously wrong with his mind. And there was no good, no green in this man. Not even the faintest shred of it.
The subway had bench seats running along the carriage’s sides. He sat far away from me at first, down on the far end of the carriage to my left. His scrappy aesthetic fit well with the stained floors and graffiti marred window of the subway. His jet-black hair was matted on his sweaty forehead, his long stubbly beard patchy, and his clothes rugged and dirty.
The subway doors closed, and the train got moving again. The guy picked up a newspaper on the seat beside him and started flipping through, though I had a feeling he wasn’t really paying attention to the words the paper.
Then the subway light flickered and went out. A moment of darkness. When it came back on, I was sure the man had slid over a few seats in the dark. He was definitely sitting closer to me now. I glanced his way, a quick peek out the corner of my eye. That evil aura gave me a shiver.
I looked right, through the gangway connections and down the line of carriages. They rocked and snaked their way around the track. On the straight sections, when all the carriages line up perfectly, I could see the train was empty. My stomach fluttered.
I was alone with him, and even when we got to the next stop I probably wouldn’t find much help there either. Most people steer clear of the subway at night these days, and I would too if not for necessity. Crime was getting worse in my city, and police shortages were becoming noticeable. The cops used to patrol the subway stations like hawks. Lately they were nowhere to be seen.
My friend had been mugged three months back. He had been beaten unconscious, his watch, wallet and phone stolen. He was still in bad shape, not physically but mentally. Yellow — anxiety — was creeping all over his aura, lining the edges, tapering through the center and eating away at the other colors. He was afraid to leave his apartment now. I was determined not to let myself fall victim to the same fate, and it was about this time I started to wonder if the pepper spray I carried around in my handbag was a good enough defense.
The subway’s brakes whined and the train lurched. It rolled up to another empty platform. The doors hissed open. Neither of us moved. There was a moment of strained silence. I swallowed hard, saliva crackling down my throat. I briefly considered making a run for it, but before I could commit to the action, the doors shut and the train continued. I picked up my handbag from the seat next to me and put it in my lap, hugging it close with both arms.
The lights flickered and once again went out, the carriage sinking into darkness. I could feel the man’s presence in the dark, an unnerving feeling pressing on my skin like a blight in the air. I shivered again.
I often marveled at the complexity displayed in people’s auras, but in a way I was equally amazed — perhaps morbidly so — at the simplicity of this man’s aura. The pure wickedness, the rot, the hate. How could one be so vile? How many people had he hurt before? How many would he go on to hurt if he could?
The lights came back on. He had moved over in the dark again and was sitting much closer now.
I looked his way. He was staring, his dark eyes burning right through me. My heart froze, an iciness in my chest that took my breath.
The man smirked, showing his crooked and yellowing teeth. It was then his aura started to morph. I had never seen anything like it, or anything so terrifying in someone’s aura before. . . When he bared those mangled teeth in his vicious grin, his aura darkened. The red turned to a deep shade of maroon, and the purple veins became black as death.
I let out a shuddering breath. This was no man, this was a monster.
When I couldn’t bare the sight of his aura anymore, I looked forward, at myself in the window opposite that turned reflective with the bright fluorescent glare. Many yellow dots skittered through my aura, much like the nerves did in my gut. And my red streaks were glowing brightly.
The light went out. Darkness. There was a ruffling sound, a soft thump as the man’s newspaper hit the ground. Heavy footsteps thudded over the floor.
I slipped a hand into my purse, found what I was looking for. I spotted his shadow in the dark, moving closer toward me.
I stood, steadying myself against the rocking carriage. The lights flickered in several short bursts. The scene played out like a slideshow: the man, his wicked glare and his nasty smirk, all drawing closer with each brief stab of light. Then uninterrupted darkness returned as the flickering stopped.
His shadow loomed large before me, close enough to feel his putrid breath on my face.
Then a bright flash of light and a deafening bang.
The lights flickered back on.
A thin wisp of smoke rose from the barrel of my gun. I could hear nothing but a high-pitch whine, and the muffled, frenzied thump of my pulse.
A bloody gurgle escaped the man’s throat. He coughed up a thick globule of blood, coating his chin. Beads of blood ran down his neck. He looked down at his wound incredulously, prodding at it as if to confirm it was real. His shirt soaked through with an ever-growing circle of red. The hole in his chest pumped out dark, thick blood in erratic and weakening throbs.
The train’s brakes screeched, sounding fuzzy and far away, and the train lurched. I groped for a pole to keep my balance. The man fell flat on his face with a heavy thud. The blood pooled under his body, seeping outward.
There was one final lurch as the trained stopped. I stared at the man on the ground, then at the gun in my hand. My fingers where numb, and my hand was shaking. Waves of nausea threatened to bring up the contents of my stomach. My knees gave out and I collapsed back into the seat, eyes wide and mouth agape in shock; everything felt surreal, like nothing more than a terrible dream. . . If only it was. . . And I watched the man’s aura and its wicked colors fade away into nothing.