I Am The Night
(Tonic East sports bar, Manhattan(original below), Photos/Photo art by Joe)
That night, the darkness was disguised as light, and my kiss—was the kiss of death. While the blonde wanted my kisses, as much as I wanted to give them. She was caught in the “fantastic lie” of the light that shined brightest inside me…
It was a Friday night and my life was coming undone. My friends were back inside the sports bar, watching the Yanks play the Redsox. I was outside with a blonde in my arms, madder than a hatter. I had just walked out past my mortified lady friend. Worse. My head was filled with visions of past lives that seemed so real, it was as if I was presently living each life.
I was a pirate and my two-masted brigantine sat deep in the water at a South Street wharf, weighed down by plunder. I was also a Tammany man, eyeing the grunts mulling outside my Union Square office, some waiting to ask me for work, others to beg me for money. While in the Five Points neighborhood, I was a burly cop walking in a rutted path. But to top it off, I was a priest at the altar in a Lower West Side church, before my congregation in their Sunday best. Sunlight bled through stained glass windows, down into the dusty pews, and candles set along the walls drew ghastly images over the whitewashed interior and even over an imposing Jesus Crucifixion that hung at my back. I lingered over that spectacle. First to catch my eye was how my parishioners’ souls flickered colorfully though their breasts, while I was devoid of even a scintilla of light. Then I spotted a horned being snickering up on one of the rafters. It could have been the Devil himself. He was blood-red, his skin covered in deep black wrinkles. When our gazes met, he reached out with a lolling appendage that was phallic-like. I knew he meant to spear it through me–his conduit to those earthly souls.
(Five Points by George Catlin, 1827)
And then I opened my eyes to the blonde who had fallen under the same spell that had me, or so it seemed, as she had freely walked outside and took my hand. She was giddy but not laughing as she fell back in my arms. Her skin was waxen and the blue veins of her neck awed me like rivers of gold.
The sight of those veins made the life force in me quicken. My teeth pained in a curious manner and I remembered that in past lives, it was through them that I could feel the most exquisite pleasure. While I knew that to bite into the blonde’s flesh would be the most erotic measure possible. I opened my mouth and bore my teeth, saliva ran down my chin. I could just taste her juicy steak of a neck.
Someone screamed and I hissed, immediately roiled by the mortal interruption. Three men shot in our direction. One thrust out his hand and cried, “Vampire!”
I roughly pushed the blonde aside, knowing who and what I had suddenly become–though the full impact had yet to hit me. At that moment, being a vampire was like being a postman, truck driver, or butcher.
All my assailants had wooden spikes in their fisted hands, but they also had fear in their eyes. Fools! I snarled, and spit a wad of flem soundly against the pavement. I was agitated that I might not satiate my bloodlust. Then I remembered the familiar shock of impalement–it had happened many times before.
But not this time… I howled and swept one lunging man into the others, and easily jumped free of their path. I wanted to tear out their throats, yet I wanted the free flow of blood in my gullet more.
I sprinted east on 29th, to the nearby river. The tastes of past kills watered my palate. I wanted to take another woman, or maybe a young girl. No! I wanted to circle around, and see if I could recapture the blonde. I looked over my shoulder. I was too fast. No one followed. But I had to be smart. Others with inhuman speed would know of my presence by now. I had been rash. They would soon come after me, as they had before in my long experience being an undead thing. I didn’t know who they were, but they had the knowledge, if not the brute strength and speed, to kill me.
To kill me… an undead thing…
“I had done this before,” I told myself and dug my fingernails into my palm. I ran my tongue over sharp incisors. In the morning, I had been a lowly demolition man chasing rats. Now I am no longer a living thing. I am a soulless nothing that forever escapes the light. To become night… I am a vampire. I am the night.
To be continued…