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16+ Language

Jenna's Black Eyes

by EllieMae


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Norman didn't understand what was wrong with his young daughter, Jenna. Originally, he assumed that the girl had been missing her mother. Perhaps she was mourning, like he was. Every night, their small home was plagued with screams. Horrific screams. Norman couldn’t believe that such frightening sounds could come from such a small body. But still, every night, at about 11pm, Jenna began to scream in her sleep. Rushing into the room to comfort her, Norman discovered that his daughter was still asleep, every single time. And she never awoke during the night. Every morning, at about 6:30, she would jump into his bed, with the same adorable face, ready to wake him up and watch cartoons while he prepared her breakfast. And every morning, Jenna never seemed to recall or have any desire to speak of the terrors the night seemed to consume her small body with.

The strangest thing was that Jenna's screaming always stopped at around 4am. A mix of whimpers, terrified screams, and a sound of desperate begging, made up of words that Norman could never understand. He wished he could say that Jenna screams were the reason for his own restlessness, but that would not be true. Ever since last February, Norman struggled to sleep. Losing Penny had defeated every last bit of emotional strength he had. Their marriage had already been struggling and every day he felt like he was losing a race against someone who was supposed to love him. He tried to love her, but aging, financial strain, and Penny’s constant accusations and mistrust led him down a deep hole of hatred towards his wife.

Norman despised taking Jenna to Sunny Acres. But still, they went at least once a month. The hospital smell filled his nose as they entered the front door. Such beautiful flowers in a place filled with so much death. Jenna seemed completely unbothered to be here. She is too young to understand. They passed the reception desk, giving a slight nod to the receptionist who knew them well. The pair made their way to end the elevator and went up to the 4th floor. He saw the ever so familiar words on the door leading to Penny's unit, Persistent Vegetative State Care.

“Mommy!” Yelled Jenna, running towards her mother's bed. She is too young to understand. She doesnt know pain. She doesn't know what this means. Penny didn't even get her own room. Curtains hung between the beds of fellow patients. Vegetables. If only my life was this easy. Jenna, completely unfazed by any fear, climbed into her mother's bed, sitting cross legged. Oh, she is so cute. So innocent. So beautiful. She looks like Penny. When Penny was happy, at least.

“Jenna, be gentle with Mommy.'' stated Norman, as the little girl began to play with her mother's hair. Norman took a seat on a chair beside the bed and pulled out his phone. I’m visiting my vegetable wife and I can't even look at her face. Pathetic. At least she is clean and taken care of here. At least the blood is gone-

“But daddy, mommy likes it when I play with her hair.”

“Sure honey, just be gentle.” replied Norman, briefly looking up from his blank phone screen. I look tired. I look older than I did in February. The black phone screen worked as a mirror. Norman stared at the black screen and felt a sudden desire to cry. I can't cry now. He pretended to check emails while Jenna sat with her mother, twisting her hair. Jenna was humming to herself, the familiar made up tunes of a 4 year old with nothing better to do, mumbling words that could not be understood by anyone else.

Words that I cannot understand. Words. What are these words? They sounded oddly familiar. Midnight screams pierced his memory. He had heard these mumbled words before. Last night. And every night since february. Since this happened. Since Penny became whatever she is now.

“Sweetie, where did you learn that song?” asked Norman, calmly. The little girl continued to sing, twisting her moms hair around her fingers. Jenna began to sing louder and an eerie feeling went down Norman's spine. Suddenly feeling frightened, he raised his voice slightly.

“Jenna, what does that song mean? Can you teach it to me, honey? Tell daddy what this song means, please.”

Jenna didn't reply. She seemed to be in her own world. In her own mind. Tugging lightly on her mothers hair and sectioning it into parts, almost as if she was braiding her mothers hair. Breathe. Don't lose your temper at a four year old. You are freaking yourself out. Taking a deep breath, Norman looked down at his black phone screen. This time, he didn't see his own reflection. All he saw was blackness. What the hell. He turned his phone screen, but it wouldn't turn on and it didn't reflect his own face. The entire thing is black. It's like i've gone blind. He felt his heart rate increase.

Suddenly, the most horrific feeling of terror washed over his entire body. He was being watched. He looked up, to see Jenna staring him right in the eye. Her normally cloudy blue eyes seemed to be almost completely black.

“Mommy is screaming all the time, daddy.”

Too stunned to speak, Norman felt paralyzed. How ironic is that, you coward. The blackness in Jenna's eyes felt mesmerizing in a way. The darkness felt like a light that was calling to him. Mommy likes to scream all the time. Oh God. Penny’s screams, back in February. All consuming, never ending. It's all my fault. It was all his fault. In the early morning of february 7th, around 4am, Penny had discovered his secret. He had brought another woman into their own bed, while she was away. Norman still texted her occasionally. He tried to break things off. I have a wife. I have a daughter. I can't be doing this with you. But she never let him go. Penny had seen his texts, early in the morning when she had gotten up to use the restroom, while he was asleep.

That was all she needed to leave. He was a light sleeper and heard the sound of the door closing when she left. Penny please. It was only a few times. I won't do it again, how am I supposed to live when you treat me like a brick wall, goddammit you won't even touch me. I swear to God penny please don't leave me-

“Daddy, mommy is still screaming.”

Please Penny. Don't go. But she left. She got 30 minutes down the highway before calling Norman and screaming at him on the phone. “How can you do this to me? To our family?” He had begged her to pull over. She was hysterical. He was sobbing. “I need to go somewhere to clear my head. I will be back next week for Jenna.Penny, we can work this out. I am so sorry, please, just come back and go to bed. We can talk about this in the-

“Mommy almost died.” said Jenna, staring him right in the eye. Penny almost died. She was hit by a truck. Talking to him. He heard her screams on the phone. They never ended. I didn't know where she was. I didn't know how to get her help. She screamed until she passed out, woke up and screamed again, passed out and became whatever she is now. Looking at Jenna, it seemed that this darkness had claimed all of the colors in her eyes. All he was looking at were two dark balls of blackness. Norman began to sob. It was too much. This is too much.

“Jenna, sweetie. Please. Mommy isn't screaming anymore. She isn't in pain. She is basically dead. The doctors told me she wouldn't be in pain and-”

The girl stared deeply into his soul.

“That's not true.” she whispered, so quietly that he could barely make out the words. Jenna sat there, staring him in the eyes. She turned back to Penny, her mother, her hands still fiddling with her hair. The girl began to twist her mothers hair, rougher and rougher. She began to tug the hair, and then yank it, all while staring directly into her fathers eyes.

“Stop it.” said Norman, terrified and firmly, “Jenna I swear to God if you don't stop that right now-”You’ll what? You monster. Beat your own daughter? Like the piece of shit you already are. You have never been able to control yourself. You cheated on your wife. You made her like this. This is all your fault.

Jenna yanked on her moms hair. Hard. Pennys head and upper body fell forward onto her lap. Jenna didn't stop. She pulled as hard as her four year old body could. And she began to scream, pulling harder and harder. Norman tried to stand, but he found that his body was paralyzed. Paralyzed. Just like your wife. Going blind, just like your wife. How does blackness look, huh? That's all she sees. This is all she feels. This is her entire life. He was a watching pair of eyes, unable to move his legs or arms. Jenna was screaming words that were not english. They sounded ancient. Mesmerizing. He found himself wanting to say them too.

“Mommy wants to die. It's time for mommy to die. It's time for mommy to die. No more. No more!” screamed Jenna, as she let out a demonic scream that pierced Norman's ears. Make it stop. Oh dear God please make this stop. Makeitstopplease-

She isn't in pain. The doctors told me she wouldn't be in pain. Really, they did, right? I think they said that. They must have said that. We just keep her here and hope that someday she somehow wakes up and- oh God, what if she has been in pain all this time. Screaming for it to end but unable to move. Oh God oh God oh God-

Jenna seemed so much more than a four year old. Whatever had come over her was so much greater than any child. She stood up, pushing her mothers limp, vegetative body onto the ground. All of the monitors that had once been securing Penny’s body ripped off of her. Machines started to beep repeatedly. Louder and louder. Where is the nurse? Why the hell is no one coming to help? Why is no one else hearing this? Pennys limp body, lying on the cold hospital floor seems so singular. Isolated. lonely. Nothing of the woman she once was.

“Do it daddy.” said Jenna, peering at him with a face that seemed to have aged many years.

“End her pain.”

She wants me to kill my wife. Oh hell. She wants me to kill Penny. My Penny. No. I can't do this. I really can't. Someone, anyone else, please. I am a coward. And suddenly he could move again. All of the mesmerizing power inside of Jenna's eyes called out to him. Forcing him to fall onto his knees. No, please I don't want to kill her. Please! His hands reached around Pennys neck. Her warm neck. Her pulse racing, faster and faster. Penny’s once blue eyes were now solid black coals. She already smelled like death.

The nurses found him, strangling his own wife. By the time they got him off of her, it was too late. She had no pulse, no breathing. She was nothing except for dead. Still warm, but soon to be cold. Her face was red, but soon to be pale and lifeless. A terrified four year old, with tears streaming down her face, was found hiding behind the bed. The local newspaper even did an article on the event, a traumatized, delusional man kills his own nearly brain dead wife. But Norman was smiling, even after he was arrested and sentenced to jail time. Finally, she is set free. Finally. No more pain.

Years later, a 19 year old woman named Jenna, agreed to be questioned about her mothers death. “I’m just so glad that my mom isn't in pain anymore.” And that was all she would say about that day. As she left, humming an unknown tune, Jenna turned back and smiled, her big black eyes lighting up the room.


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EllieMae says...



Thank you so much for reading my story and stopping by :D

Feel free to review however you like!! Personally, I would love to hear your interpretation of the ending of this story. Is Norman delusional or did the events actually happen? Also, if you are more technical, feedback on my sentence formatting and how I "quote" in my story would be great. Any feedback or comments mean the world to me!

-Ellie




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Fri May 24, 2024 7:24 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review your new short story using my Familiar method today! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

Oh wow, this was an incredible feat of horror! The staging with Norman and Penny's strained relationship; the sense of adversity, strained love, and fear from Norman, whereas Penny is -understandably- furious and vengeful, was brilliant. And Penny using her daughter as a vessel to reach out and end her own suffering was absolutely chilling! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Not much to put here! You nailed everything core part of this story; the bleak and sterile setting, the buildup with Jenna's nightly screaming, Norman's grim internal monologue, and the tone of each character. There were only a couple of things that I thought I would recommend in good faith, free to take or leave ~

The little girl continued to sing, twisting her moms hair around her fingers.


Jenna yanked on her moms hair. Hard. Pennys head and upper body fell forward onto her lap.


Both "mom's" in these sentences, and "Penny's" in the second one, are missing an apostrophe. But of course, this is an extremely minor thing. I do the same thing all the time lol.

That is all! Great writing job!

Why The Grin Widened...

Usually I jot down highlights as I read, but this time I got so wrapped up in the story that I forgot, heh. You certainly gave me a lot to sift through, but here's what stood out!

First of all, in general, I like your descriptions for the hospital. How there are strong sensory notes, and the layout is made clear and easy to follow. Normally I would harp on about visual details, but in this case, I really like that there were no big bulks of details to detract from the pacing or Norman's rich internal monologue.

Such beautiful flowers in a place filled with so much death.


Ah, I love this line! Very eerie!

Vegetables. If only my life was this easy.


...Whelp, isn't he in for a surprise? Heh, but seriously, this line was great for foreshadowing and a way to possibly throw your readers off-guard.

“Stop it.” said Norman, terrified and firmly, “Jenna I swear to God if you don't stop that right now-”


”You’ll what? You monster. Beat your own daughter? Like the piece of shit you already are. You have never been able to control yourself. You cheated on your wife. You made her like this. This is all your fault.


These both relate to my point about the tone of the characters; you do such a great job at showing how Norman is coming off as furious, making him seem even more antagonistic in the moment, but is actually terrified. And likewise, you can get a feel for Penny's rage; how she can finally release it on Norman, and get revenge for all the pain she's suffered because of his betrayal.

“End her pain.”


After Penny's been thrown around, and we hear her pain, just hearing "Jenna" say this was just such a chilling moment (O.O)

As Norman is forced to attack Penny, and is arrested accordingly, you can't help wondering if he deserves it, which is something I do really enjoy with a lot of horror stories. Penny was technically just caught in an accident with an unrelated party, but Norman drove her to flee for the way he betrayed her, and it's easy to see that there was no other way Norman would've ended her pain. The lack of a clear "good guy" or "bad guy," and the many complex layers that led here, are truly fascinating ~

As she left, humming an unknown tune, Jenna turned back and smiled, her big black eyes lighting up the room.


Ah, what a great and creepy cliffhanger!

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, that was an awesome short story, nicely done! :D

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EllieMae says...


This review is incredibly helpful, thank you!



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Fri May 24, 2024 2:51 pm
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



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Wow! This was a great and spinechilling read! Let me give some of my formal thoughts...

Hello there! ~ Writing Commentary

Jenna began to scream in her sleep. Rushing into the room to comfort her, Norman discovered that his daughter was still asleep, every single time. And she never awoke during the night. Every morning, at about 6:30, she would jump into his bed, with the same adorable face


Ho ho! This is a nice hook to the short story, and it got me instantly invested. What could be going on with Jenna? This is a great precursor that leads into the bigger events that happen during this story. The contrast between Jenna’s screaming and her “adorable face” was a good way to lean into the unsettling nature of this tragic tale…

She is too young to understand. She doesnt know pain. She doesn't know what this means. Penny didn't even get her own room. Curtains hung between the beds of fellow patients. Vegetables. If only my life was this easy.


I really like the way you wrote this part, as well! It feels like there is a sort of pattern between real life events and Norman’s views of things. It does a good job of showing just how pessimistic he’s become after what happened to Penny. It also sets up the way that Norman’s inner dialogue is shown throughout the rest of the story!

Pennys head and upper body fell forward onto her lap. Jenna didn't stop.


Okay, this particular part of this scene is probably the most unsettling to me. Something about her mother being turned into a “doll” that Jenna is now projecting both her and Norman’s hatred onto is stomach-churning…

Brief Critique! ~ Writing Commentary

All he saw was blackness. What the hell. He turned his phone screen,


A quick little critique, should the sentence “What the hell.” Actually be “What the hell?” I’m unsure if you mean this to be Normal saying it frustratedly in his head, or if it’s supposed to be a question.

Love Will Tear us Apart Again ~ Story Commentary


Wow…This is probably one of my favorite short stories I’ve read on here so far! Thank you for the engaging (and spooky) tale!

I leave story commentary for my own take and thoughts on the story, so here it is!

I may not have thrown my thoughts about most of the end parts in my writing commentary segment, only because it was all so GREAT! I saw you said that you were inspired by Stephen King for this story, and I can certainly see it! This has some of King’s influence written all over it.

The story felt like a gradual unraveling of events. I personally think that Norman may be delusional with his guilt, so it could even be said that this is a gradual unraveling of his own psyche. The reveal that it could indirectly be considered his fault for Penny’s current state is a gnarly twist! This reasoning is why I think that there is no “actual” supernatural events here. Just Norman’s delusional mind.

Our Blackened Pupils ~ Closer

Thank you for the great read!




EllieMae says...


Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I really love your interpretation and comments.

Also commenting on one thing you said. Throughout the story, everything that Norman was thinking internally was written in italics, switching between a narrator and him. %u201CWhat the Hell%u201D was in italics in that part so it was an internal thought :D

Thank you so much!!!




The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future.
— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness