Monday, 07 February 2011
The sound of footfalls pounding down the pavement, the rush of oxygen pounding in my ears, and the sirens wailing in the background set the pace for my hearts thudding dance inside my chest. Sprinting around the corner into the mouth of the alleyway I ran headfirst into a group of guys standing in a circle. The one I ran into reached out instinctively and gripped my arm to stop me from falling backwards. I caught a glance of his pale face and fierce eyes before he shuttled me aside and pulled from inside his trench coat an unnameable gun. At that moment the officer turned the corner I had just rounded and before I could scream the gun exploded.
A rush of wind whirled inside my head as I watched the officer collapse, his face molded in horror as his dark uniform darkened further around his chest. The man whom had shoved me aside into the brick wall turned to me. Sometime between watching him fire and the cop die he'd stowed the gun again. He reached out to me and I jittered away with my back against the wall; my jacket caught on the ridges and began to unravel the fabric. My arms were shaking and I dropped the CD's that were stowed under my jacket. They cracked upon the pavement and I jumped almost as if he'd fired his gun again.
"All that for petty thievery?" I heard a velvet voice speak. I looked full into his face for the first time and saw the sharp planes of intelligence, the defined features of a sculpture, and the fierce eyes of an animal. He stood almost six feet tall and smiled down upon me with a grin that seemed almost too wide for his face.
"You didn't have to kill him." I retorted sharply, my voice rising an octave on the last words. I could feel myself falling to pieces already; the statue crumbling in decay.
"But then you'd never have gotten away." He said ushering me away from the dead cop. My feet moved involuntarily as his hand guided from behind my back. His fellow six foot, trench coat wearing cronies dropped back- I assumed to take care of the evidence. He led me down the alleyway and through a steel door into a cavernous wear house. I told myself I was letting him lead me away because I was suddenly calm as could be, but I had a feeling that had to do with his hand resting lightly upon my lower back. He shut the door behind him and I heard the clicks of an automatic locking device.
He moved into the center of the room and stood inside the shafts of moonlight falling through the grime encrusted windows. I hung back inside the shadows as my jittery nerves returned. We stood in silence for a moment in which he never stopped grinning like an impish child; but there was something animalistic, something beastly behind those bizarrely clear eyes.
His cronies returned moving silently into the room from behind him. One walked up to him and handed him the CD's I'd hawked from the record store.
"I believe these are yours." He said holding them out to me. I got the feeling he could see me clearly despite the shadows.
"I don't want them anymore." I replied hastily.
He chuckled as he began to shuffle through them. "These are some very interesting bands: Breaking Benjamin, Alkaline Trio, Nine In Nails, all fine choices if I may say so." His gaze befell me again and I felt like a bug in an amber jar. He stepped forward until we were paces apart. He moved with grace not even a ballerina could achieve on her finest day. He held out my stolen CD's and with trembling hands I took them and shoved them inside my waistband.
"Your fear is needless, we have no intention of harming you."
"Then let me go." I whimpered.
He chuckled once again and lightly touched my elbow. I felt calm almost instantly. His eyes bore into mine like the serpent stares down it's prey, mesmerizing. And like the serpent he struck, quick and accurate, fangs piercing the tender flesh of my throat. I thought to scream but the warmth that was running from my neck betrayed that possibility. I felt his arms enfold me as the moon disappeared and darkness overtook me. . .
Written November 16th 2009 at 10:43 a.m. Edited February 7, 2011 11:31 p.m.
I awoke drenched in a fever that burned white hot; I screamed and thrashed. Hands came from nowhere to restrain me. I opened my eyes and all I saw was painted crimson, like the fever had taken over my vision. My eyeballs felt like they were boiling and my skin felt like it was melting. I was inside a volcano- what else could have happened to me? There was a voice faint and distant, telling me to be calm but I kept on screaming and thrashing against my restraints. I couldn't hear much over the violent spasming of my heart. It battered my ears like a hummingbird desiring to take flight but can't because it's chained to the ground.
Each inhale was sharp inside my lungs; rusty nails puncturing holes into me. I had never known so much pain in my life, it was indescribable. The worst of it was concentrating on my neck and working it's way towards my heart and lungs. I could literally feel it creeping through me, eyes locked on the target, like a hired killer bent on absolute anarchy. As quickly as consciousness had come back to me it was taken away from me. I never wanted to wake again. . .
When consciousness returned for the second time I was no longer consumed by fever. My body was weak, I could feel it aching in every bone, every muscle. My heart was no longer pounding inside my ears, it was feeble, barely voicing a whisper of life inside my chest. If this was dying I wished it would come quickly. My throat was sore and I was parched of thirst. I counted the beats of my heart, waiting for it to finally stutter and fail.
I had never given any thought to heaven and hell, never really cared enough to consider it, and even now it didn't matter. Whatever was coming was out of my control. I embraced it willingly enough. Inhaling slowly I felt my heart inflate with breath and deflate for the last time as I exhaled. Then I inhaled once again but there was nothing alive inside my chest, no response from my lungs. That was absurd. My eyes opened to the crisp, defined image of a wear house ceiling. I could see individual flakes of rust upon the rafters. That was new. I sat up, still breathing, receiving nothing from my chest. My hands gleamed ghostly pale in the moonlight. This couldn't be real. Then his voice wafted out of the darkness, answering my thought.
"Oh, but it is real." He said chuckling. My head swiveled in his direction. He moved into the swatch of moonlight pouring down around me and his skin burned iridescent. The smile plastered upon his lips was surreal, unnatural.
"Can you read my thoughts?"
"No, but that's everyone's first thought when they wake up after the transformation." He replied laughing, taking a seat next to me on the steel bench I'd been lying upon.
"What have I transformed into?" I asked, staring into his eyes. They no longer seemed as mesmerizing as they had earlier, but there was still something ferociously devious in them.
"Isn't it obvious?" He asked, flashing his surreal grin yet again.
"I'm afraid if I say it I'll wake up in my bed at home or something." I replied, turning my head away. Had I still been human the blush would've been noticeable upon my cheek, but there was no blood flowing through my veins anymore; my lack of a beating heart was a dead giveaway of that.
He chuckled, "You've become a vampire. There, now someone's said it; do you believe it?"
I raised my head to find his gaze locked intently upon my face.
"I'm afraid to believe it." My fingers scratched at my throat unconsciously, as if that would satisfy the growing thirst. He laughed loudly at this, the echoes bouncing back to us off the steel walls.
"It's time for your first meal." He said standing again and gesturing to the door on the other side of the room. Now that I looked around I realized there was very little differentiation between the dark and the light. My eyes adjusted themselves fluidly, I could see with clarity that had previously been inconceivable. I could see everything without trouble. The hinges on the left of the door coated in rust, the scratches around the doorknob that looked like someone had tried to claw their way through. I could see dust motes floating through the air like miniscule planets. Despite all these minute details the bigger picture was even more astounding- I could hear things I'd never heard before, though it was the absence of certain things that surprised me more.
I couldn't hear a single heartbeat or lung inflating- there was nothing so human. Just voids forming a circle around me, voids I sensed rather than saw. Empty holes where hearts once used to beat and the emptiest of them all sat beside me. I looked into his hauntingly charming face and wondered how I could know so much and yet so little. He moves toward the door. Scooting off the edge of the bench I followed him out and into the dark night with brand new eyes. . .
Standing outside the wear house door I inhaled on habit alone and the scent that filled my head was as bright red as the fever that had coursed through me during my transformation. I began to salivate and the itching thirst intensified inside my throat. My body lurched forward and his hands locked around my arms, just above the elbow. His voice whispered inside my ear like velvet lace, as chilling as the night air.
"Don't give in to the thirst, control it. You are the master of your desires. You must be if you want to survive."
I heard his words but my body lurched forward once more and this time he moved with me, down the alleyway and into the open street. We moved cautiously, as much as he would allow, lurching forward with calculated (on his part) steps like two people doing an awkward dance. When I wanted to charge forward he restrained, but when I took cautious, deliberate steps he moved in stride. I gave no thought to how bizarre we must look, all that I knew was the scent that filled my head like a fragrant wine.
Written November 16th 2009 at 4:25 p.m. Edited February 7th 2011 at 11:48 p.m,
Under the flourescent glow of city lights I stalked out my prey. We walked together for a while, then without really noticing it I realized he'd let me go on my own. It was like learning to ride a bike- he held on to me for a while but when he felt I was ready he let me go on my own. Quietly I crept down the street to where she stood on the corner- I was master of my desires, controller of my thirst (or so I thought). I could feel her blood pulsing through her veins as if it was my blood still thriving beneath my cold flesh- how I wanted it to be mine! I crept up behind her and she never knew a thing until my fangs were ripping wide the flesh of her neck. She tried to scream but my fangs dug out her jugular, silencing all her efforts at rescue.
I drank greedily but the more I swallowed the greater the thirst intensified. Just as her heart was about to cease beating I felt a strong hand on the back of my neck, pulling me away. With one hand he pried me loose from my prey; a bloody mess, I let her corpse fall to the pavement as my tongue cleared my lips of whatever blood was left. I wanted more.
"I said practice control, does that look like control to you?" He mocked, pointing to my victim. For the first time it dawned on me what I'd done. I felt like screaming, but the thirst in my throat protested. If I could never satiate my thirst I could never stop killing. I stared at him in horror.
"What have you done to me?"
His smile vanished. He grabbed my jaw, locking our eyes. "We're all vampires at the end of the day. We all take that which doesn't belong to us, all because we thirst for something that isn't our own."
I thought of the police officer. "I never wanted him to die."
"Then you shouldn't have stolen those CD's." He replied coldly, his eyes boring into mine.
"You killed the officer, not me."
"And you're the one who ran into the one who killed the officer, it's just as much your fault as it is my own."
"Yes." He replied defiantly, his grip upon my jaw tightening.
"Now clean up your mess. Show some respect for the dead." He said releasing me from his grip and disappearing around the corner.
I knelt next to the poor woman who'd done nothing to me and turned her over on her back. I held her corpse in my arms as I stared into her young face. She could have just as easily been myself barely an hour ago. I wanted to cry and found myself incapable. There was only one thing left to do: clean up the mess.
The next day there was an obituary in the paper for a young woman in her mid-twenties. She was engaged to be married when she was viciously murdered and thrown into a trashbin to decompose. The article said she'd found out just that day she was pregnant and on her way home to tell her fiance when her life was taken.
He was right, we are all vampires at the end of the day.
* * *
I returned to the wear house just as the sun began to rise. I knocked, waiting for the metallic click of the locks sliding back and entered when the door opened. The door shut behind me as I walked into the center of the room where he was standing with his arms locked behind his back, facing the windows.
"Who are you?" I blurted out.
Slowly he turned on the balls of his feet to face me.
There was silence as the sun flashed off the glass windows, permeating the thick coating of grime, highlighting the side of Luke's face in dazzling light. It threw his white blond hair, sculpted features and clear eyes into sharp relief.
"And who are you?" He asked.
"I'm surprised you want to know." I said with a snort of disbelief.
His jaw tensed but he said nothing, merely waited for an appropriate answer.
The grin I'd already become accustomed to flashed across his lips. "Isn't that sweet; Luke and Lora."
"Yeah, real cute." I said nonplussed. "Why me?"
Written November 16th 2009 at 8:47 p.m. Edited February 7, 2011 11:52 p.m.
"Why anyone?" He retorted sarcastically, "Because that's how things unfold. Question it all you want, you won't find yourself a satisfying answer."
Silence as I contemplated this. "And now I'm just supposed to live with this?"
"Unless you can find a way to commit suicide, yes." He returned coldly.
"We can't die?"
"We can't even be harmed, not by man's instruments nor our own."
"What do you mean?"
Luke sighed. "I mean that you're stuck this way, now and forever. There's no going back. This is why we band together."
"And what if I want nothing to do with you?"
"Then by all means, leave the premises and make a life for yourself. Good luck." He turned away from me, towards the windows once more. Standing in the shortening shadows I felt a sense of loneliness swallow me at the sight of his back. If what he said was true I had nowhere else to go. Here I had a chance of being someone when for so long I'd been no one, just another nameless, faceless drop in the ocean.
Written November 17th 2009 at 11:21 a.m. Edited February 7th 2011 11:54 p.m.
After a moment he turned back around and found me still standing there. That impish grin began to toy with the corners of his mouth.
"Not going to leave are you?"
I glowered, "No, I'm not going to leave. I've got nowhere else to go."
"And that's why it had to be you."
I was startled. "You knew I would run into you last night?"
"No, I saw an opportunity and I took advantage of it."
"Opportunity for what?"
His grin widened as he took a step forward. "You said it yourself, you have nowhere else to go. The perfect recipe for a New York vampire."
"Is that how you pick people for your little clan? You think that just because someone doesn't have anything else going for themselves they'll want to stay and be your little pets?"
He was smiling now. "Tell me, would you return this gift even if you could?"
I thought about that. Would I trade immortality, true immortality, for my human life again; for a life as a no one, a life of dead end streets and hopeless dreams?
He answered his own question. "No, you wouldn't. That's why I chose you."
"And how did you know I wouldn't?"
He shrugged. "You can tell what kind of a person someone is by their actions. I knew you were looking for a way out. You just didn't know which way was the way out."
Unconsciously my fingers scratched at the sleeve of my shirt on the underside of my arm.
Written November 17th 2009 at 4:38 p.m. Edited February 7th at 11:57 p.m.
I'm considering carrying this on, we'll see. I was watching Being Human tonight and Aiden's struggle with Rebecca got me thinking about this again. My ego is suffering and I need something to soothe it's wimpering.