Five months had passed, and it was time to become a new person. It was a dark evening, the clouds foreshadowing the night to come. A horrible smell arose from the vents, something of a mix between rotting marrow and sewer gunk. A man, his brown bowler hat tipping to the right, was the only moving being at that time of night. Everyone else was either inside or unconscious.
The man, a lean shadow of sorts, seemed to blend in with the black tar of the streets. He wasn't trying to, for why should he? Still, the man was slick as oil, melting into the landscape.
I traipsed over to him, observing him up close. He had a tangled mustache, like a shrub, but it had a neat outline. Not that I cared, I just wanted to remember him.
The man turned a corner, started down an alley. My steps mirrored his, walking as a child would when playing "follow the leader". I decided I had waited long enough. It was a boring business, mine, one that required a lot of patience, and mine had worn out.
I grabbed his neck from behind, letting the cold of my fingers seep into his skin. The man's eyes widened in surprise, but then sank and he went limp. My once cold hand, now filled to the brim with the man's life force, was twitching. I pressed it to my chest, let his youth fill me up, and tapped the man again.
His body fell to the floor, dissolving. I didn't see, though, because I was already walking away. The cold night air blasted my face again, as it always did when I renewed my sense of touch. It felt good to be young again.
The streets around me seemed to meld into one long road, a road that I'd walked so many other times before. It was saddening, to think about the monotony of life. Thinking about your own, well, that made you downright broody.
Sunlight was flooding the city, filling my eyes with shame. I could never get it done before the sun rose. That meant I had to interact with the people around me, which anyone like me would be loathe to do.
"Mama, wake up! It's Christmas!" Ugh, not that time of year already. Sounds from the townhomes rang through the street, throwing themselves at my ears. The only holiday I'd ever want to be a part of would be a celebration of the death of all holidays. Of course, none of the cities I visited felt the same. It was a shame they didn't see things the right way.
The Sun was in my face now, covering my new body in light. I didn't like to see my new spirits' bodies, but I guess I had to if I wanted to live in them. The bowler hat, which was still tipping to the right, hung heavy on my head. I pushed it to the left, centering it on my abnormally large head.
A car drove by, a red Bentley. It sped like a comet, flying down the street. I sat down on a bench on the sidewalk. The arms of the bench were rusty and grimy, but I didn't mind. The body wasn't all mine yet.
Soon, as if by magic, cars flooded the streets. I came to an intersection, the cars flowing like a river in both directions. The Bentley was screeching back and forth, swerving and almost hitting at least ten cars.
I hailed a taxi, the wind brushing against my hand as it raised. The taxi wasn't yellow but a hint of blue. It was an odd sort of taxi, and I noticed immediately the lack of cushions on the seat. Still, I needed transportation, so it was the best option.
"Where ya goin'? It took me a moment to realize the cabbie was talking to me.
"Radnor," I whispered it as if it were a curse, but the cabbie didn't notice. He stepped on the worn gas pedal and rocketed us through the street. It wasn't like any cab I'd ever been in, the car doors popping out every now and then from the crazy swerves, but I had a place to be.
The cabbie finally reached the destination, coming to a screeching stop. I fell into the chair in front of me but regained my bearings. How could a single man drive so poorly? I looked him in the eye, remembering him because one day I'd be coming back for him.
"That'll be 4.50" I got out of the car without even paying, nor did I need to because there was no longer a cabbie in the car. Only a pile of ash.
The walls of my apartment closed in around me, suffocating me with their disgusting beige. I sipped on my coffee, letting it burn my insides and warm me up. I didn't feel any energy from drinking caffeine, no, but it did taste good.
Why did I have to kill that cabbie? He didn't need to die. I took his life like I was squashing a bug, like I didn't care who died and who didn't. I remembered his face, not one I cared about, no, but surely there were people who did. Surely some people out there miss their friend, relative.
I had no right to kill him. That was the only thought that came into my mind and spread like a wildfire. That'll be 4.50, the cab doors unlocking and the cabbie outstretching his arm, the man in the bowler hat falling into ash as he stood above, the red Bentley passing by him. Why did I do this with my life? Could you even call mine a life?
"Housekeeping." The man came into my room, his mop in hand, and his cologne already polluting the air.
"Get out, get out, get out!!" The time slowed, the cab doors, blue-tinged with a rim of dirt. The cabbie sitting upfront, his hand outstretched. My hand reaching out for a different, crueler purpose, my hand yet again flying towards another, the white of his jacket shriveling under my touch.
What have I become?