2:45 am. I can’t sleep. I woke up from a dream – not a nightmare, but unsettling too. I keep trying to recall my dream, but it is gone – lost in the corners of my mind. I just know that I was wrong about something. I did the worst one can do when unable to sleep; I took my phone and checked notifications. I was on Twitter and on a whim, I unfollowed a couple of accounts, the one of my former favourite band too – turns out they are a bunch of pretentious bellends. It took me almost 20 years to see it. I still appreciate their music; it was the soundtrack of my life, and yet… I really don’t like the people they became. Or is it me?
Am I drifting away from the person I used to be? I feel empty and overflowing. Sad and happy. Tired and wide awake.
How did that happen? When did everything change?
In a little more than 2 hours my alarm will go off, and I need to go to work. Early shift. I like that – if only it started later, lol.
Birds are beginning to chirp outside (the window is open); my husband is snoring next to me, and my mind is thinking too loud.
There is always a little spark of light in the darkness and there is always a small shadow in the light.
This thought is what’s keeps me powering on in the dark days.
Red. He can taste the colour. It’s the favourite shade of his favourite colour. Nothing can stop him from craving it. Men, women, children, even animals; they all have it and he wants it. Red. All he wants to taste is red. Feast on weak and limp bodies until every nuance of red has left them to take up residence in his veins. He sees a woman with a red coat and a red umbrella. In the grey neighbourhood on this grey day, she stands out. As if she is calling his name. And maybe that is what the rain is singing when it thumbs down on the ground. It wants him to see her. Red. It’s all he wants. He stops her to ask for the time. An easy smile plays around her lips and they quirk up. Around her eyes small lines are visible. She is beautiful. But his want doesn’t understand beauty. It doesn’t care about esthetics. He wishes that he could play with her. Like a cat plays with a mouse before the feast. He can’t. Tortured red doesn’t taste good. It’s the adrenaline that makes a good meal go to waste. He is a gourmet, he doesn’t want to spoil a delicious dinner.
He thanks her politely for the time and turns as if he wants to leave. But he doesn’t leave. With a seducing smile, he turns back around and he invites the woman for dinner. He knows she can’t resist his charms. No one can. She worries her lower lip before she accepts his offer with a bashful smile. She is perfect, he thinks, and she will be his.
He is perfect, she thinks, and he will be hers.
The shades of red on him are beautiful. She can taste them on her lips. He is handsome. Too bad he fell for her charms. As he fills her veins she feels sated for the night. She turns in an goes to find a peaceful sleep. Tomorrow, her hunt for different shades of her favourite colour will start again. Red. That’s all she has ever been craving. All she needs in her life is more red.
She runs through the night, heavy footsteps are following her. Eating up the space between her and her predator. Her lungs are burning and her legs are slowing down; her muscles are tired and shaking from the unusual exertion. Her breath puffs out between her lips in visible clouds. Panic is all she can feel. And cold. Icy cold that spreads inside her bones and infests her entire body. The footsteps behind her come closer. She keeps running. At least she tries to keep running. Panting. She is trying to fill her lungs with oxygen, but she doesn’t succeed. Her breathing is too shallow. It’s quiet in the dark. Lonely. She can only hear his steps. Her own steps. The blood in her ears. Please, please. Please! She whispers. She prays that someone will stop the demon behind her, but the cold in her heart lets her know that she will not be saved. Her soul is lost. Rotting. Decaying. Turning to dust. She will be forgotten. Erased from this earth. And no one will remember that she ever existed. She never left a trace. She rounds a corner, losing foot on the slippery pavement. She struggles to get her feet under her body again. In her back, she tries to crawl away from the creature that has been following her. Eyes wide, she finally sees him up close. He isn’t running anymore. Like the predator he is, he comes closer. And closer. One last attempt to get up and run away, but her body doesn’t belong to her anymore. It doesn’t follow her orders, and when he kneels in front of her, with his long cold fingers touching her throat she looks in his dark eyes for the first and the last time. Like obsidian. A dark abyss. Beautiful. Beguiling. Pleading. As if they were asking for forgiveness and permission, all at the same moment. But then he blinks and the gentleness she thinks she has seen a is gone. It made room for something cruel and soulless. The hand around her throat closes and the breathing air becomes less. And less. She tries to gulp in some air, but the hand on her throat prevents it. Her body spasms. “Please, don’t let me die like this” are her final thoughts before she feels a strange and uninvited sense of lust. Her eyes keep staring at him but her soul is on its way out of her body. The horror and confusion she felt will be forever painted on her face. In rivulets, blood runs down her throat from where his sharp claws had held on to her. The demon lets go of her empty vessel and pushes angry tears off his face with the back of his blood stained hand.
I have to do it. He bares his fangs and with gusto, he buries them where his claws have left a bloody wound on her throat.
The heat leaves her body as one last breath, one last puff of air, is pushed past her lips. He stills his hunger. His thirst. And he feels the energy of the young woman setting in his veins. He sighs satisfied, but he wants more. He needs more. It is the nature of things. He lets go of the limp, pale body and gets up. He looks at her. Desperate. He is desperate for a companion, a mate. But who could ever love what he is? Who he is? She was his first for this night. A good start. Growling, he pulls his fangs in again. A tortured sigh escapes his lips again as he turns to leave. One last look at his prey and the peaceful way she looks. All dead people have this look. If he could only feel some serenity. If his tormented soul could only find peace. His hands turn to fists in his pockets as he pushes weak and romantic thoughts aside. This is his life. His hunt continues. It has to. It will never stop. Because if it does, he will cease to exist. And the tiny fragments of the souls of the people he has had the privilege to empty would be gone too. He can’t let that happen. They all are part of him now. Some of them is in his bloodstream and nurturing his body. Squaring his shoulders, he walks into the dark moonless night. He was a man of honour and principles. At least he has been before he turned into this… The taker of the last breath.
I put tulips under all the pillows, and then I set fire to the house. I watched from a safe distance and listened to the wails of the approaching sirens. I was convinced that the house was haunted and the only way to get rid of the evil spirits was to burn it down. I sound crazy, and maybe I am, but what’s done is done. The flames ate at the house, and the clear blue sky turned to a dusty gray. It was hot, and I jumped back when the first windowpanes exploded. A crowd had gathered to look at the spectacle. My neighbor looked on in shock. I heard the voice of his ex-wife and saw her with the kid on her arm. She looked more annoyed and less alarmed. I didn’t like her. I should have burned her too. Evil witch. I turned to go, but my neighbor held me back. “I am so glad you made it out of there alive,” he pulled me into a hug. I froze on the spot. Why did he care about my well-being? No one cared about crazy old me. I didn’t move, and I didn’t return the hug. I pushed him away and made my way through the gawking crowd. I passed the firefighters who were laughing and joking. It was just another day at work for them. One of them was showing his cell-phone around. “I cheated on my spouse. And it wasn’t the first time.” He laughed out loud, and his colleagues clapped his shoulder as if they admired him for deceiving his spouse. For the second time in a short time, I froze. I knew I had to kill him too. He was a sinner. There is no place for sinners in this world. I moved closer to the firefighter. His scent reminded me of the smell of the T-shirt from a B-52’s concert I had bought in the 80s. A strange association, perhaps only made because their song “Rock Lobster” was blaring from the stereo. Rude. These firefighters were rude. I remembered the time Leslie called me a leech. It was time to spring into action and get closer to the firefighter. “I was in that house,” I announced, feigning breathlessness. I saw his eyes blaze. He clearly loved to be a hero. “Let’s get you to a paramedic then,” he had his arm around my shoulders, and I took the opportunity to play the weak victim. I melted against him, and he straightened his shoulders to catch me. “I feel so weak in your arms,” I breathed against his neck. I felt his breathing change, and I smiled to myself when I dropped my arm to brush it against his hard bulge. He was an easy one. In no time I would have him where I wanted him to be. “Take me away from here, please. Take me somewhere private.” He just nodded and snapped his fingers in the direction of another firefighter. “I’ma gonna take this fellow somewhere safe. Got it? Cover for me.” The other man’s smile spoke louder than words as the hero escorted me off the premises of the burning house. I stirred him to a hotel down the block. I insisted on checking us in, and he agreed without putting up a fight. The room was tiny. A typical cheap hotel room. It was perfect to finish this hero’s life. Above the bed hung a picture with a man wearing a plate on his head. It was odd, but the vivid colors made it something special. For a long time, I looked at it. The man pushed his body against mine, and I let him. He kissed my neck, and I let him. We undressed clumsily. He was in a bigger haste than I was. I ordered him to lay down on the bed, and he did. This was going to be so easy. He was beautiful to look at. I straddled him and kissed his lips. It was the last kiss he would ever taste. The kiss of death. The only one this sinner deserved. He struggled a lot. But I was stronger than he was. I was stronger and possessed by the voice in my head. I needed to end his life. And I did.
After I got dressed again, I picked a tulip out of the floral arrangement on the small table and placed it on his lifeless body. I stepped out on the street. The smell of fire clouded the road. I took a deep breath and exhaled with a satisfied sigh before I turned to walk down the pavement; never looking back to where I was coming from.
I was never afraid of the dark.
But then you stepped into my life.
Now I am scared shitless that the light you are will fade.
I never carried a lot of light.
But you are there now.
And I am scared that the dark will come back to claim me.
I knew darkness.
I am scared of the unknown.
The night hides your pain.
The dark is your guide.
One day you will become the man you strive to be.
Until then, you are a creature of the night, living under the stars and walking with the moon.