I stood on my front porch and stared into the endless chill of space. I saw Orion force his way through the pale oblivion cast across the eternal sky by a piercing full moon. Orion the immortal hunter, my forever friend, who like I suffer the curse of antiquity and youth. I waited in the still air, across the street the large blue house stood muted. I had to wait; I searched the windows for the signal. He normally lived, existed vainly, upstairs, a hermit a recluse of sorts but a dare devil in spirit. I waited and contemplated about the drawn back and truculent Mr. Kenny. I dared to call him a friend; he dared to accept me as I am. For he who dares wins and with the often ill-tempered Mr. Kenny, I refused to eat him. Well not, eat in the conventional sense. Drain is a more appropriate adjective. Being as I am, I shared various commonalties of personality with the surly neighbor; the least of this is that we both share an affinity for the night air. The light flashed twice from the upstairs lair. The signal thus sent I crossed the street and waited on the porch. I heard the lumbering of a pressed man stumble to the door slowly. He opened it.
“Welcome,” he grumbled and shuffled back, resting the greater of his bulk on a well-used cane. I made a note to myself, that the next time I took on a fancy to visit London I would just have to peruse a fine haberdashery for better cane, more suited to him.
“You have to invite me in,” I kindly reminded him.
“Come in you old bat,” he griped.
“Thank you,” I said and stepped across the threshold into the foyer. Directly ahead is the hallway into the kitchen, off to the left is the elegant stairway that leads upward to his devilish flat. He shuffled over to the right and slid open two ornate glass doors; I politely and quietly entered the living room. He as a matter of habit closed the doors after me. He sat in an over stuffed chair pushed against the wall, leaning back, he grasps an old lamp topped with a horizontal ring bulb.
“You don’t mind that I turn this on.” Mr. Kenny asked.
“No,” I shrugged.
“It came over on the Mayflower,” he said and activated it. He took from his shirt pocket one curious pack of cigarillos and lit one up. He offers me one, and I declined. “Haven’t seen you since in a couple of moons. For a moment I thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer staked.”
“Well she tried,” I grinned. “Instead I was able to sweet talk her into allowing me to stake her. Damn, did that girl scream when she got it!”
“Didn’t think your type became that involved,” Mr. Kenny blandly replied. He exhaled a grand plume of smoke that billowed toward the suspended ceiling.
“Momentary weakness,” I said nonchalantly. “Happens to the best of us.”
Mr. Kenny produced his ubiquitous remote control and took aim at his monolithic home entertainment system. With the pedagogic charm of an ancient sage, he turned the home icon into a raging inferno of noise. The flat plasma screen flashed to life and at this point, I am almost too embarrassed to say, I noted that Mr. Kenny is wearing his spectacles. Not that doing so is odd for anyone, but these were of the most disconcerting type. Small oval lenses in wire frames tightly against the bridge of his nose, dark rose in a tint. On a bright day, they would compliment the eyes. At night, they lend an air of sinister intent. “Four hundred channels of digitally enhanced socially acceptably crap,” Mr. Kenny muttered.
“What passes for entertainment,” I commented. “Still at least it is not a night cavorting with drunken sots at the County Jail.”
“Fair enough,” Mr. Kenny grumbled. “Care for a drink?”
“I accept,” I politely said. He with great deliberation rose from the chair and casually lumbered into the kitchen. I looked around the living room. Having a sense of things, I observed the idiosyncratic taste his home decor. On the wall is a velvet painting of dogs playing poker. Over the sealed off hearth, on the mantel naturally, are several pictures. The glow from the flat screen plasma home icon caused electric blues to dance on the walls. Mr. Kenny trudged carefully back into the living room with Scotch and two glasses.
“Three fingers as usual?” he asked me.
“As usual,” I replied. “Your generosity is becoming.”
“Becoming what?” he said and poured. “A bore?”
“Nonsense,” I replied. “It is just that in my unfortunate expanse of experience shows me that the finer graces have all but diminished.”
“Well then,” he said handing me the exceptionally clean tumbler of off colored spirits. “Have a stiff one.”
“To better nights,” I toasted.
“To dead friends,” he barked.
We both threw the liquor back rapidly. The Scotch was not bad, but not like in the old days though.
“So any suggestions?” Mr. Kenny said flipping through the four hundred channels of televised excrement.
“This evening no,” I replied. “I personally find my computer a bit more enlightening these days.”
“So what’s a man of your epoch find most fascinating of this age?” Mr. Kenny asked pour another drink. He offered me the bottle.
“The more things change,” I replied, realizing the accuracy and the uninspiring insipid nature of my retort, in consideration I began pouring myself another three fingers. “The more they have stayed the same.”
“Such as?” Mr. Kenny belched.
“In my youth,” I said trying not to sound too old. “Things like this home icon weren’t even a pipe dream. The closest I can remember is a troupe of traveling minstrels that passed through my village once.” I am not one that has become accustomed to alcohol with respect to the expanse of time I have inhabited. The beverage I drank with Mr. Kenny slowly began to take effect upon my senses. Despite the wisdom of keeping one’s silence, the narcotic took its toll.
“By the way,” Mr. Kenny said. “How old are you exactly?”
“Sometimes I feel ancient,” I replied attempting to keep my wits about my head. “Other times I feel fortunate to have witnessed so much of human history.”
“Well-let me clarify,” Mr. Kenny said in a moment of lucidity. “What is the most intense experience you’ve had as a member of the undead?”
I thought before I answered. I am a prisoner in myself, an inescapable fortress of solitude that allows me to roam among the masses chained and convicted, but free none the less. Imprisoned in darkness of my soul forever sentenced by fate to the recesses of the night world, a sunless landscape of shadow blues and of pale whites that embrace the objects of mortals in a whispery vale a gossamer barrier. For me a comfort, a barrier between me and what I once was, for thousands of nights, hundreds of centuries, I have found a refuge in darkness. Like a babe in the womb of a loving mother I seek to stay forever hidden, but at the same time yearn to be free. The mothers’ womb, a cradle of loving darkness, a dank prison, and an asylum for the mind is the world for me. Condemned to limbo for eternity for no crime I know of. In moments of despair, I tell myself that I not only know the evil that lurks in the hearts of mortal men but I am that evil. That is not far from the truth if seen from the eyes of those creatures. Their eyes see so little though. From cradle to the grave they seem to flirt with a life, mindlessly crossing the sea of misery oblivious to the full joy of existence.
I once saw them as fools, an inferior lot of insubstantial mass. That changed a memory ago, and that memory haunts me with such a passion that I, a being blessed with eternal age and eternal youth call out in a silent scream for the freedom of death. The God Creator of all hears this prayer not; he ignores my pleas for the sweet comfort of oblivion but chooses to vex me with the memory of that night.
I shall tell you the tale for your amusement; after all we do know each other, quite well. As it is with my kind, as the sun sets beneath the western horizon I leave the blissful slumber of the dead (my only respite) and awake to another episode of existence. Yet, I must say at that time I did not know it is an existence I kept. I took for granted that as I am, that is all I am. As I said, I awoke from the sleep, as I always had, no, not always, there been a time long ago, almost forgotten, that I did not wake as this. Alas, we shall not go on for you know that part of me well with that tomb. Upon awaking, I took the cloak of darkness, the mantle of night upon my shoulder and leaped into the sky in search of nourishment. I flowed among the treetops searching for a wandering stranger, a feast upon which I will skillfully gather. The sweet taste of them, the marvelous hot that floods the pallet with sensation, just waiting for me.
With the repast of a gourmand, I drank of the first. The tanginess of youth flooded my veins with a kind security, much like a warm blanket on a winter’s night. My soul soothed for the night, I left his lifeless corpse on the court, his orange ball still spinning from when he dropped it. His eyes staring empty upward, the pallor of his skin a chalk white, and a pale blue in his lips, he looked as if he had a question. The poor lad, dead on a ball court, a question unspoken on his lips…or is it a scream? No matter, my pangs of hunger subsided. I then cloaked myself in darkness and like vapor flowed among the trees. The wind blew that autumn night, allowing the rustling leafs that stuttered and shook in my wake to join in with those that did so naturally. I perched in a white oak overlooking a parking lot that belonged to a convenience store.
Several cars came, and then left, quite amusing this twenty-first century. A store that sells a multitude of confectionary to those who know not what they want, I considered forming into my corporal self and partaking of this mystery. To taste the sweets once again, to sample what they called a ‘slushy’, one can not escape the modern world, for I have ears to hear, and I do hear those people talk. It is quite profane how they talk! Chattering this or spitting that, knowing they are using the wrong word but saying it anyhow! What blissful ignorance they possess, almost an innocence! Upon reflection, maybe that is what I sought there, to touch upon to taste that innocence just once for memory’s sake.
Then she came, not yet a woman, but definitely not a girl. I hunt by smell actually, and I could smell that peculiar scent that separates the female from the male, particularly those females captured by the biology of process in their moment. Unmistakably I could smell her. Before she could enter her car, another gaggle of girls plodded up and conversed with her, but I could separate her aroma from theirs with such ease! Never have I ever had this experience. What a stirring deep within! How a faint memory brings with it the furies of loss and a deep spiritual pain the surpassed all others, a lustful desire driven by instinct of animal want! The bouquet of femininity intoxicated me to stupor I tell you!
What is she? I remember questioning myself, to be this flower, this jewel? The sweet fragrance, a light taste, a faint whiff as a flower freshened by the morning dew grabbed my soulless being and kindled a flame of desire that is almost spiritual. It made me feel empty, and in a thousand yesterdays past, I realized the cavernous volume of existing, the line the separates living from alive. It is a profound feeling of insignificance, of smallness to awake to that gulf after years of comfort in ignoring, in denying that endless void!
She got in her car, oblivious to my spying, and drove off. I hung in the treetop, my unincorporated being nestled among the leaf and twig silently hungered for more. As I said, I hunt by smell; so following this joy was not a problem. Her basic make up made it easy for me to intercept and over take the vehicle. I floated above her as she left the car and walked up the stairs to her front door. How it could be this young lass, this faint princess could enchant me so? Instead of, as I normally do, retire to my abode and take up my waking moments with intellectual pursuits, I seeped into her home. Her parents sleeping in a narcotic slumber did not rise to greet her. The parents she had! In my youth of long ago a daughter of this beauty would stir a fathers heart with grief should she stay out this late at night! For shame on them for being so neglectful in their parenting! I followed her, moving about the ceiling silently, a shadow of darkness in a corner. She went into her bed chamber, I at one time would have been modest, proper, but that time passed for me in a foggy memory. I followed her and watched in dark corner of the ceiling, innocently her nakedness unfolds.
What fire stirred with in me! Emptiness filled my being at the sight of her, the perfume of her! For a brief moment in time, I forgot all that I am and wanted to be more than I was. Sweet dreams are made of the years, some want to use you for their pleasure, other nightmarish dreams, worse than the first, want the dreamer to be abused. The dream that filled my mind is both but neither. She crawled beneath the covers and without so much as an acknowledgment of my presence fell into a sleep. I flowed from the ceiling as a vapor and pressed myself against her body. Being no more solid than air she felt only the slightest touch if that. I overcame her physical body and touched all of it. The pleasures of flesh, memories that faded burst through in my mind with a raging torrent of force. A pressure built up within me that I flooded into a corner and became physical again.
Shrouded in the shadows I watched this angelic face sleep, an angel if I ever saw one. Oh, what a spell she put on me with no effort! I cautiously stepped over to her and whispered to her ever so softly. I said in the quietest of voice as a lover would and whispered in her ear, walk with me; hold me, just for a brief moment in frozen time. Kiss me as if we were lovers. Touch me as a lover would, in a gentle embrace about my shoulders, whisper to me the small talk lovers make. Just once, just for me.
She began to stir from her slumber; I realized the terror she would feel if she should see me! The hideous face I have, she would smell me, the dust of antiquity! I quickly left that enclosure and flew into the empty depths of my home. Being quite disturbed I walked outside onto the porch, the moon obscured by deep dark storm clouds. It began to rain and that rain fell upon my head. I cried for the loss she reminded me. That incomplete feeling of a life not shared. The tears of my sorrows disappeared in the drops of rain mingling with oblivion.
For years now I make it a point to check in on her, my angel. If I could only touch her once I would gladly loose all that I have all that I am. Never once being able to feel the sweet embrace of her I torture myself with the dream. I haunt myself with the longing for that passion. Why I do not know, but I will say as long as I can grasp the dream of having her, I feel not as alone as I once was. Damn the God Creator for not allowing me the simple pleasure of the flesh he has freely given to them! Damn him for making me! Truly, I am the damned, imprisoned in my own mind, chained and bound as a circus animal! Alone with myself to walk the earth in eternal youth and eternal age! Damn all to hell!
At this point, I regained my senses somewhat and imbibed again of the liquor. A long pause passed between Mr. Kenny and me. When I felt that silence becoming more of a habit than a poetic justice, I broke it.
“Well I suppose that should answer your query,” I said.
“That indeed,” Mr. Kenny said. “Is an understatement.”
“Well forgive me,” I said rising to my feet. “I hadn’t intended to be such a bore over a personal matter.”
“Off to dine?” Mr. Kenny asked his face now flush. I can only assume he is intoxicated.
“Yes,” I replied. “And naturally to pay a visit upon my cherished.”
“Well good-bye my dusty friend,” he slurred.
“Till again we meet. Never mind the door I’ll find my way out.” I became a being of vaporous frenzy and seeped between the cracks and into the night, I went to hunt, to dine, to participate in the endless cycle.
Mr. Kenny picked up the bottle and poured himself another. “Ever time I drink this,” he muttered with mild self-contempt. “I see things.”
Todos los derechos pertenecen a su autor. Ha sido publicado en e-Stories.org a solicitud de Scott Wahrenberger.
Publicado en e-Stories.org el 07.02.2009.