Losing My Reflection: Myself and Lizzie B
Tom could hear them, almost so much as he could smell them; the sound pierced his ears, and burned his very soul, what little there was left. He took deep, concentrated breaths, each blink of his eyes lasting longer than the last. The sound repeated; a rhythmic motion, as clear as the own voice within his throbbing skull. His fingers tapped anxiously, inkeeping with the rhythem that surrounded him. He couldn't keep it up any longer, and he knew it.
Five years, seventy-two days, three hours, sixteen minutes. All about to go to waste.
Looking at the dingy clock that hung from the smoke-stained wall, Tom realised that it had been that long since he last fell to his primal urges, an urge which was unusually stronger tonight than normal. He was panicing, a few beads of sweat falling across his brow. They surrounded him, all of them, and the sound of their hearts beating plagued Tom to the point that he wished to simply tear his ears from his head, if only to make the noise stop. The constant beating of their hearts, the stentch of their warm blood, which he longed to taste with every natural fibre of his body; any will to resist it had long since vanished tonight, much to Toms horror. He needed to distract himself, to keep himself occupied to keep the thoughts away.
Tom sat at the table of the bar, a half empty glass of whiskey resting in one of his hands, and the other hanging loosly at his side. The drink might as well have been petrol to his lips this evening; he never did grow a taste for their food since he vowed off blood; it all tasted bland... empty. Unsatisfying. It just made it that much harder to resist.
He wasn't sure how he found himself at the bar this evening. One moment, he was marching around the confinding space of his apartment, almost pounding the walls and tearing his hair out, and the next he was here; it all seemed like a blur of events, that would end the way it always did; with blood and regrets. He could feel the all too familiar tingle of his lips, his mouth overwhelmingly dry, no matter how much he drank. He could feel his predatory instincts kicking in, and it would soon be time to find his prey.
When he first saw her, only one thought engulfed his mind; was she alone? He watched her from across the bar, the women whom he would eventually come to know as Charlotte, for many moments, completely unaware of the events that would spring forth from this moment onwards. His initial intention was clear; he needed to feed, and she looked like an easy enough target. Alone, in the middle of the city at night; it seemed pathetically simple to him in his current state of self-collapse. She had a disinct look about her, as though she was lost in her own thoughts, a look that Tom shared. In time, he would later try to think back to what it was that attracted him to her in the first place; she was beautiful, but he had seen beauty before. She was young, but so were the countless others he could have chose that night. She was easy prey, but to Tom, so was everyone. No, if Tom had to decide, he would say it was her eyes that drew him to her that night, but he was never quite sure why.
Moving his seat aside, Tom's eyes latched onto the girl, as he began to walk towards her, each step on the hard-wood floor echoing through his mind; every aspect of sense and reason he had left begged him to turn around and flee, terrified of what he intended to do. And yet, he continued onwards, the thirst guiding each step. The unsuspecting girl had no idea of the danger that now stalked towards her, which made a very deep, primal part of Toms mind smile.
It was time to feed.
The Bleeding Rose
It was the damn Chinese food. She'd ordered it three days ago in a moment of weakness; or rather, sappy movies and exhaustion. This city was the land of take out, and she had never been one to cook. She tried to buy in bulk, health food wraps void of carbs and sugar, lean cuisine with 240 calories that she could pop in the microwave whenever she needed to eat. Eggs might have been a good idea, but she didn't like eggs. The city water tasted like chlorinated urine, so there was always crystal light or tea bags to take away the chemical taste. It was worth it, when she went home with a guy and he ran his hands over her flat stomach in delight. But that night, with the sad movies and her tired body that wouldn't make it on her morning run the next day...she did it. She ordered the greasiest, deep fried excuse for chicken on the menu, along with a bucket of oily noodles. She ate it, she hated herself, and then she ate a little more before stuffing it into the back of the fridge.
After all, her looks were all she had left.
They weren't what she would have liked, but she could work with them. Dark auburn hair, a glossy brown unless the light set it on fire, a heart shaped face, full lips, clear skin, a tiny waist, but with a helping of hips and breasts that were proof of her late night Chinese food trouble. Her mother said it was fine, that she gained weight in a 'womanly' way. But Charlotte could look around the club and know that it was certainly not ok, not for her, not in this city where the young and the beautiful were so plentiful. So, she kept her curves slight and her Chinese food hidden in the back of the fridge. That was, until today. She was hoping to get into the real estate business, and she was paying her dues as a secretary to one of the top agents around. That morning she'd burnt his bagel, missed two important phone calls while she went to the bathroom, and had accidentally spilled tea all over a contract. He'd yelled at her for a solid hour about what an inconvenience it would be for those poor people, to drive all the way down and sign again. She had taken it without a tear, as she always did, but when she got home she could feel herself falling.
Her clothes came off, but she didn't have enough energy to put more on. What was wrong with her? What had she done? She should have been married, she should have had kids, she should have had a real job, she shouldn't need attention from strangers. She wasn't that girl, the one who craved a compliment, who needed to find her self worth in others. So, why was she acting like her? Why was she living like her? Her hair was curly, wavy, young. When she looked in the mirror she hated it, she pulled out a straight iron, she put it away because there was no way she was going to waste time on her hair. That was when she'd gone to the fridge and found that heavenly, greasy food hidden behind the bananas that were going bad. The first few bites were so good she nearly moaned, and then the hate started to sink in. She was going to be that fat, thirty year old woman with a dead end job and a cat. A cat...that didn't sound so bad. The apartment was lonely, and...and no. Never. She could never buy a cat.
Her brain was jumbled, and her head felt as though it might be too heavy for her neck. As usual, there was no clarity in the silence of the apartment. Without noise, alcohol, and a mass full of dancing strangers, she just couldn't think. That was how she'd pulled on a pair of tight, black skinny jeans. That was when she'd tortured her feet with those sky high black pumps, and pulled on a flowy orange tank top and swayed at her hips when she walked. There was no re applying of make up, no hour long hair fixing, no repacking her purse into a cute little clutch. The clutch was already waiting, proof that she did this far too often. A short cab ride led to one of her favorite bars, after she decided that tonight was not a night for neon lights and dancing. Quiet chatter and a few bachelorette parties would make enough noise for now.
Charlotte slid into a seat at the bar, nothing that the bartender that approached did not know her. Some people liked to be known, to be considered a regular. Charlotte preferred strangers. She gave him a smile, just a small one, and a "Hi." soft enough that he had to lean in to hear more. He grinned, and she noticed that his beard was crooked. He was young, it was probably his first one. "Hey. What can I get for you?" The words were what they always were. "Surprise me?" It was a game of sorts. First impressions were directly related to what people thought you would drink. When she looked tired, it was patron on the rocks. When she looked wild, it was tequila. Tonight she must have looked weak, because he gave her some peachy little concoction that tasted like sugar and didn't quite burn. Small talk was made, and eventually he wandered away to make more drinks, leaving her at peace. Charlotte scanned the bar, noticing two men were staring at her. They were both Indian, with heavy accents and expensive suits. Luckily, they looked nervous, a sign that they wouldn't be coming over any time soon.
Despite what most might have thought, Charlotte didn't go out to get picked up by random strangers. Yes, sometimes it was nice not to sleep alone. Yes, sometimes she left without more than a few words. Yes, someday she would probably be killed and left in an ally...but it always seemed worth it. In the beginning, while they were still at the bar, it always seemed like a good idea. But tonight, like most nights, she had just come to think. The glass was cool in her hands, condensation slipping down the side, soaking her napkin. It was unusually cool tonight, the air even colder than the breeze outside. Either they hadn't shut off the air conditioning from earlier, or they didn't want the suits to suffer. But what about her, and her bare arms?
Charlotte took another drink, holding it on her tongue for a moment. Most girls went out in groups. Only alcoholics, or sluts, or maniacs went out alone. Was she any of them, or all three? It was only ever one drink, unless someone felt like buying her more. Even then, she was rarely drunk. A slut? Well, that depends on the definition. A maniac? The word brought back a memory, her fiance's sister finding her in the room where she'd gotten ready. She was supposed to walk down the aisle, she was supposed to marry Ed. Instead, she had taken the knife from the table covered in cheese and grapes, and cut open her dress. It wasn't her fault, it really wasn't, she just couldn't breathe. Her most judgmental bridesmaids bouquet dropped to the ground when she saw Charlotte on her knees, dress torn open, chest heaving, fingers scraping against the diamonds in her hair. "You maniac!"
But maybe that was just for a moment, maybe she was sane now? But then, why was she at a bar again?
She was overcome by the feeling that someone was staring at her, really staring. He would no doubt see it in her body, a slight stiffening as the urge to look interrupted a deep thought. Her head shifted as she gave in, eyes landing on him. Her eyes, not as wide as some, but wide in comparison to many, a light blue in strong contrast to her dark hair. They looked almost silvery against her pale skin, roaming over him without hesitation. Not in a suggestive way, but as though she were trying very hard to form an opinion. He was handsome, but then, many were. And yet, she'd felled compelled to look up. She felt compelled to hold his gaze as he walked over without hesitation. Of course, she'd only caught him a few steps away, but it seemed like a life time. Charlotte wondered if he had a pick up line, or a question to start a conversation. But she didn't wait to hear it. No, as soon as he was beside her, she was the one to speak.
"I'm Charlotte." It was so casual, as though they'd been in the middle of conversation. No inviting smile, no playful smirk. Just a simple fact, stated as though he'd asked. Charlotte didn't know what he was, or what he would become to her. More than that, she didn't know what he would do to her. Maybe if that Chinese food hadn't been there, she would have had the peace of mind to stay in. Maybe she would have lived and died, maybe she would have slept through the night. But it was, and she hadn't, and her time was coming to an end without giving her the slightest hint of a warning.
There was a girl, once. Tom thought about her from time to time, but with each day it became more difficult to remember. He vaguely recalled her equisite fair-hair, which stopped halfway down her back in soft curles. Her lips were scarlet red, complemented by her delicately pale complexion. If he listened careful, he could almost here her gentle Irish tone ringing in his ears; she had captivated him, both in body and mind. Her father was a Duke, as respected as he was feared by those living in his land. Tom often visited the girl, whom was none the wiser of his true being as a Vampire. Tom was in love, which for someone whom had lived centuries, came rarely. When she eventually found out what he was, of the darkness that resided within him, she accepted him for what he was, a feat so incredible that he swore off blood for her very love.
That is, until his teeth sunk into her petite neck, and the blood began to flow all over the chamber floor. He didn't know why he did it; one moment, he was as in love with this girl as he thought possible, and the next, he tore her throat from her body and left her thriving body limp on the ground, her blood coating the floor as though it was ceaseless. The image that stuck with him wasn't that of her dead form; no, it was her eyes as he took her life away. She wasn't angry, or even terrified. She was disappointed, in both him for breaking the promise he made to her, and herself for thinking she could help the beast that lay within him. For days he lay next to her, unable to move or think a single coherent thought. The blood settled around him, as her simply remained on the stained floor, his body shaking and waiting for a punishment that never came. When he was eventually found, next to the lifeless corpse of the once beautiful girl, by the chamber maids, he proceeded to tear them apart too, in an endless frenzy of blood and murder that he fueled through the sheer hatered he held for himself.
That was over two hundred years ago, and the self hatred he inflicted upon himself was the only feeling that remained from that poor girl. He knew that the time would come when would no longer remember her eyes, or the scent of her hair against the wind. It was the little memories like that that kept him sane, that kept him trying to rid himself of this terrible afflication that plagued him endlessly. And everytime he fell off the wagon, and succumbed to his baser need, he remembered a little less, those memories replaced with the dying faces of his victims, and the taste of their blood on his lips.
Tom ran his hand through his black, short scraggily hair, his palm resting over the rough stubble of his defined jaw. The entire conversation with this girl, Charlotte, felt so casual, it was as though he had no intention of bleeding her body dry of all the precious blood that flowed inches from him. He had told her his name, and the two simply talked, something Tom genuinely did rarely. The almost crippling sound of the heartbeats surrounding him began to disperse, the scent of blood diminishing; he simply talked and listened, a luxury he hadn't enjoyed in far too long; a few shots of the foul whiskey didn't harm the conversation, either. She was... different. She didn't belong here, he could sense atleast that; he Bar scene had become a hunting ground for Tom for the last half a century; it provided an easy, lonely, and forgetful clientele that Tom had become quite accustomed to when he needed easy prey. And yet, she didn't seem to fit in with this generalization. It was curious, and kept him interested.
Finishing the few remains of Whiskey from his glass, he placed the glass on the table, brushing off his jacket as he moved to his feet. Looking down on the girl, he spoke briefly.
"This place gets kinda rough this time of night." He spoke, holding his hand out towards the girl. "Are you coming?" Little did she know, that the second her petite hand took his, her fate would be sealed.