My entrance confuses it.
My existence dumbfounds it.
Its cold black eyes follow my movements. I can feel its heart beat. I can hear the blood coursing through its veins. It knows I do not belong.
“Nice doggie.” I say as I reach down to pet its head. It growls slightly, showing a few teeth I tiptoe past it reaching up and taking what clothes I need from the line. It does not move. Somehow it knows. I take a pair of blue jeans, and a white shirt. The clothes are a little small, but they will have to do. Now where to find some shoes?
It’s funny, no matter how many times I have done this; my first instincts are always the same. Clothes, food, shelter, I suppose it’s only natural-survival. All creatures have survival instincts to some extent that is why I do this.
I step from between the buildings, glass and needles crunch beneath my feet. It’s starting to rain, it feels good. I wonder what time of year it is. I wonder what year it is. I catch a glimpse of my new face in the reflection of some store front window. My skin is dark, black like the obsidian night which spawned me. My head is bald and smooth; I rub my hand over it puzzled by my striking features. I’m around 6’4”/6’5”, muscular build with a much defined chest. The most striking feature however my lips are. Full and rose colored, they offset my eyes which are narrow and dark.
I’m snapped out of my reflection by children racing past me. They zoom by laughing in the night. I spin around slowly and gaze out at the city. It’s bustling, even at this hour. Neon lights illuminate the sidewalks. Men and women of all ages, busy themselves scurrying about in and out of buildings. Some puff nervously on cigarettes while others scream into tiny phones. The rain is light, but couples huddle under umbrellas as they dart across the busy streets, dodging cabs and big black vehicles that move like monsters. Signs advertising sex and live jazz flicker in the distance, I look around for something to eat.
I notice an all night drug store across the street. I make my way over stepping bare foot into the cold filthy road. One of the black behemoths slams on its brakes, it’s owner yells obscenities from the window, shaking his fist madly in the air. I give him a stern glance and he recoils like the dog he too knows he is.
I enter the store dripping water of my wet jeans. I find what I need. I remove several of the small cylinders from their casing and consume them. An elderly oriental woman yells at me in Cantonese from the end of the aisle.
“You can’t do that!” she screams “You pay now, you pay Now!”
I smile and nod, and continue to eat, the warm energy flowing through me. Slowly replacing all that the trip has taken from me. It is a small meal but a good one.
“You Pay now!!!” The old woman still chants shaking her fist at me. I turn to give her a glare that will incinerate her where she stands, when two younger men burst into the store front. They both brandish crude weapons; one pointing at the store clerk behind the counter (a small Asian man younger than the old woman but still elderly by the standards of your people), his thin white hair barely clinging to his head. The other notices me and the woman and aim squarely at us.
“No heroes-brotha!” He says. His tone is gruff and full of false bravo. He is young I can sense the nervousness and fear in him. I move towards him slowly.
“Nobody needs to die tonight-no heroes.” He repeated, and then fired his weapon. I caught the projectile, absorbing its energy, becoming stronger, quicker. His partner becomes scared, yelling for the man behind the counter to give him money. Another projectile flew from the gun aimed at me. I catch it in my other hand. The thief screamed and ran out the door. His partner stood still, trying desperately to finish the job. I move past the old woman with deft speed and grab is weapon hand.
I hear his bones break before I feel the blood run over my hand. I lift him into the air with one hand. I notice his boots are close to my size. I use my other hand to remove them. He screams in pain as he goes into shock. I toss his limp body to the floor, and then sit down to remove his feet from the boots
I paid the old woman with cash from the thief’s pockets, and made my way back out into the city. She was kind enough to give me a few more packs of batteries for helping clean up the blood. The rain was coming down pretty good now I need a place to stay. I had $50 left from the thieves pocket and found a room a few blocks away.
A fat sweaty man with hair covering his arms and chest yet not his head, gave me a key; room 23/key 23. I went in and removed my wet stolen shirt. I unscrewed the light from the lamp that sat on the small night stand beside my equally small bed. I looked around the room for a moment first. Eyed the scurrying roaches and cracked plaster. The sunken mattress atop the box spring that seemed stained with twenty years of blood, urine and other bodily fluids. Revolted I continued consuming the lights around the room. I removed them one by one and plopped them in my mouth. For fun I stuck my finger in the sockets and let my skin glow bright illuminating the room.
I let my energy flow and ebb across the floor, and extend to the walls. Changing the dirty smoke-stained plaster into fresh white paint. The sticky lime green carpet evaporates revealing a dark brown wooden floor. I wax and shine it without as much as a flick of my wrist. Arms hung tightly to my sides I spin about enlarging the space adding personal touches of mine. A neighbor coughs in a room next to mine as I transform my tiny twin bed into a beautiful queen size with satin sheets and a flowing white canopy. The entire room is a glow in my phosphorescent energy.
I kept my eyes closed feeling what I was doing, more than seeing it. How many times had I done this? How many worlds over the eons? I distracted myself with questions when I should focus on when my guest would be in. In my mind I could see her already. The fire bird, wings spread as wide as heaven itself. She was gorgeous and majestic-one of a kind. She was my prize, she was my bride. Yet because of an ancient lie we were doomed to repeat this dance throughout time and space. Prophecy-I loathe it.
I complete my redecoration and sit down on the windows edge to watch the rain outside wash the city clean. That is when I first heard her voice. A voice like an angel on fire, emotion, pure, alive-raw rose from the streets. It was my love-I knew it. The sweet sirens song was wafting out from some bar room marked with a neon ace flashing the words live jazz underneath it. A muscle-bound gorilla in a suit stood at the entrance checking identification and giving menacing looks to anyone whom he deemed unworthy of patronage. I eye him carefully, and down another handful of batteries.
I was feeling energized now that I had eaten. Not quite up to full power, but enough to materialize some proper attire. I chose a white suit with a black turtle neck sweater. Something I had seen on one of the people of this time. It seemed fitting. I then stood and leapt out of the window. Making sure to land in an alley where I wouldn’t be seen. I made my way into the club where my estranged lovers’ voice emanated. I stood mesmerized at first sight of her visage. She was more beautiful than I could ever recall. Of course I feel this way each time. Yet there was something about the form she had taken this time. Her skin was smooth and milky white. Pale beyond life, or maybe it just appeared so starkly white against her long ebony hair. Hair so deep and black it appeared slightly blue under the stage lights. She gripped the microphone with passion. It’s the same passion which haunts my every existence. Her hands were thin and one could almost make out the bones. She had painted her finger nails blood-red. She has always been such a stickler for tradition.
I wondered if she would recognize me this time. How long had it been? How long had she been here in this form? So looked lithe and cat-like, almost oozing out of her red satin dress. It barely covered her creamy thighs and ample bosom.My eyes traced her every line and contour. How long has it been I thought? 700? 7000? It seemed like a millennia. I longed for her touch; I could feel my body sweating. I took a seat at the bar.
“Scotch on the rocks.” I muttered to the chubby bartender. He looked at me but not my eyes. I turned and pretended to cough, slipping a battery into my mouth (my last one). I swallowed and at nearly the same time produced two crisp bills of currency from my jacket pocket. I threw them on the bar and waved for him to keep the change. I hadn’t bothered to even look at the amount I produced. I turned my attention back to her.
She was staring right at me now, but it felt as if she was staring through me. Her face seemed puzzled, perhaps she didn’t remember me this time. I knew she could feel me though. I mouthed here true name careful not to let the sound escape my lips. She turned her head slowly closing her eyes to sing again. After her final song she stood and bowed to the crowd. She made some motion for the band to do the same, and then exited the stage.
The last time we saw each other we were different, time was different. My body was thought and tan, I wore an obsidian mask of a crowned jackal prince. My eyes cold and blue, adorned with jewels of a false empire. She wore a golden crown, beneath which she wore a mask of an exotic bird that no longer exist on this world. Her eyes were grey and distant. Her skin was as red as the desert sand, barely covered by the white linen which was the fashion of the time.
I still remember her last touch, like fire it was. It sent ecstasy throughout my entire body. I have held on to that memory for all these centuries. As we’ve danced through the cosmos, barely missing each other from world to world. Back to this distant orb where our punishment began. Somewhere our son laughs with my father. I finish my drink and order another.