Apoptosis

Reads: 72  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


A suicidal vampire living in contemporary Detroit muses over his existence. He has been bound to his home by choice and despair for nearly a decade. However, prompted to leave his home to attend a
concert by his friend Stephen, he meets a younger, beautiful vampire who inspires him.

Submitted: January 28, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 28, 2018

A A A

A A A


 

Elek awoke from his slumber. Sitting up, he stretched his long limbs. Gingerly he bent down and began fumbling for something underneath his bed. Dust greeted his fingers. After blindly grasping for a few more seconds, his hands reached their destination. Pulling the small case up and onto his lap, he stared blankly at it for a few seconds. The world seemed like it went utterly silent as if it too was pondering his next move. Flipping the case open, he reached into it, feeling the cool sensation of metal on his fingertips. Despite his own less than warm temperature, it gave him a chill. Shaky hands stroked the single bullet still sitting in the case. Silver. His fingers burned as they caressed it, but he didn't recoil. Instead, he grasped it between his impossibly long digits, and loaded the gun. Not nearly as hesitantly as he probably should've been, he pointed the gun at his heart, waiting for the impact. For a few minutes, he sat there like that, weighing his options. 

He'd lived in near solitude for almost a decade now. His dilapidated Victorian home in the slums of Detroit had been his only refuge. The city reminded him of himself, in a way. Old, decadent, but slowly rotting. His only daily company was his vast record and book collection. His flat was dusty, disheveled, and dark. Every window had been covered with a dark sheet or painted black, blocking out all sunlight. All of the rooms resembled a cave, or perhaps the more apropos descriptor would be dungeon. Despite that, his house offered a sort of charm that only a truly antique specimen could offer. The wallpaper, although peeling, was delightfully lively. As was the richness of his scuffed, but beautiful, hardwood floors. Original, of course. On his walls were a myriad of off-kilter portraits of himself or friends, some he painted, some he'd had commissioned. Of course, they were all long dead by now. Except for him, for now. His finger massaged the trigger, still not at the point of release quite yet.

Just at that moment, he heard a knock on the door from downstairs. He stumbled over himself as he removed the gun from his person, putting it back into its case. He hid it underneath a few papers that littered the space around his large canopy bed then, he slung his feet into his dark and worn slippers. Mumbling to himself, he looked in the mirror. He was tall, thin, and unimaginably pale. Nearly stark white. His face was young and so was his body, but his soul was far older than any would likely guess. His hair was dark, untidy, and hung to just below his chin. His eyes were equally as dark, pitch black pools. His features were sharp and attractive, with a prominent nose, and high cheek bones. Underneath his eyes were deep, dark circles of purple and blue. He looked as if he hadn't slept in years.

He sighed at himself, moving now to find jeans and a shirt to throw on, possibly a coat. Although undead, it was still possible to feel the chill of the December Detroit night air. He found appropriate clothing; A deeply worn black collared shirt, with holes in it from abuse, and black jeans, faded from wash. He reached for his coat that hung loosely on the coat rack in the corner of his living room. It was one of the few things he'd managed to keep from his childhood. It was an antique now, no doubt. It was black with gold embroidery along the seam. It was long, hitting him at the ankles. He shrugged it on, keeping his slippers on his feet. He descended his spiral staircase, passing his kitchen as he peered through the keyhole. Stephen. He unlatched the many locks, gingerly opening his door. The cool air greeted him, and his only contact with the human world.

"Ah, Stephen. I wasn't expecting you. Sorry for the wait."

Elek was Stephens employer, of sorts. Elek hadn't left his house in years and didn't want to risk anyone finding out about his-- condition. So he'd hired Stephen. He was a pretty agreeable fellow. A young vampire, by Elek's standards. He was born into this life sometime in the 1960's. He'd told him the entire story before, but he'd nodded off during and forgotten almost the whole thing completely. Stephen nodded, stepping inside, and Elek latched the locks back. Stephen had long muted, brown hair. It was parted in the middle and stringy. He wore tight jeans and band shirts from era's past, near constantly. Elek was actually lucky for Stephen's affinity for music as it was something they both shared.

"I've got the things you wanted. Sorry, it took me so long. The stuff you asked for this time was kind of hard to find."

Stephen said as he followed Elek back up the staircase. Elek's room was vast. He fit his bedroom and living room furniture inside it comfortably. Stephen sat on the couch, sinking in. He never minded that it always seemed to be dusty. He handed Elek the packages that he'd come in with. Elek fingered them excitedly before ripping them open. Inside were various records of differing time periods and genres. Elek carried them over to his record player which he had hooked up to several amps and put one on. Stephen closed his eyes, listening, as Elek joined him on the couch. The two vampire's sat in silence for a while, their ears enjoying the melodies that the records produced, content. When the record reached its end Stephen went back to business.

"Oh, yeah. And I brought, uh, some of that stuff for you."

Stephen said, eyeing Elek. Elek nodded slightly, his shaggy hair moving into his face a bit.

"Oh, thanks."

Stephen rummaged in his pockets before he produced a blood package, labeled, clearly medical. He passed it over to Elek who took no time in producing cups, draining the contents into two of them. Picking up his, Stephen clinked cups with Elek before they both drank the contents, again slipping into an elated silence. After they had both finished, Stephen broke the silence.

"So, not to bug you or anything, but you do know it's Christmas right?"

Elek looked over at Stephen. No, he actually hadn't realized it was Christmas. He didn't' even know what day it was. He'd been pondering his own suicide for what felt like days so time had escaped him. Elek cleared his throat.

"No, I didn't realize."

He didn't press the subject further, but Stephen did, shifting uncomfortably.

"I, uh, have a gig tonight. It would mean a lot to me if you just showed up for a few minutes. I know you don't really like the whole outside thing, but it might be good for you. I mean it's goddamn Christmas, Elek."

Elek froze slightly, mulling over his friend's words. Did it really matter? At the end of tonight, he planned on erasing his existence from this earth. The least he could do was attend his friend's concert, for the last and only time. He mustered up his courage. It had been a long time since he'd interacted with the human world.

"Sure, Stephen. I'll go."

Stephen looked more than a tad bit shocked, but recovered, completely elated.

"Oh, really? Man, that means so much to me you have no idea! No idea!"

Elek forced a smile.

"I've got this friend, this girl friend I met. She's pretty cool. She'll be there. I know you're not one for interaction, but she's like us. A vampire, I mean. And I think she's closer to your age."

Elek's ears perked up at this detail. A vampire? Close to his age? That was a female? He felt more inclined to go now. It had been a long time since he'd met someone who could be his contemporary. Hell, it had honestly been a long time since he'd met anyone at all. Elek could usually be found fiddling with his guitar, listening to records, writing poetry, or reading Kafka or Nietzsche. He wasn't a people person.

"That sounds fine."

Stephen nodded, giving Elek a series of "cool, cool"'s. Elek gulped and looked down at his state of being. He didn't really own any other clothing. It all was more or less in the same condition as his current attire. When you didn't have anything to dress up for in a decade it really didn't matter how torn and ragged your clothes were. He hoped the place they were going was dark enough to mask how badly he stuck out. Stephen didn't seem too concerned.

"You're fine. Everyone will honestly think you're dressed like that on purpose. It's all the rage with the kids, these days."

He commented, attempting to will a little more blood out of his cup, to no avail. Elek merely nodded. He stood up, grabbing his own cup and gesturing for the one in Stephens' hands.

"I've got some more in the freezer downstairs. I'll get it for us."

Stephen nodded, watching Elek disappear from his view. He stood up, suddenly feeling restless, and began to appraise the many portraits Elek had on his walls. All of them were friends who had more than likely passed. He marveled at how old they were, moving over to get a better look at one. He cursed as he slipped on Elek's many scattered papers and fell backward onto something hard. He pulled it from underneath him. It was a case. A case that would hold a gun.

He opened it up, noticing the empty space where the bullet should be. Just one single bullet. He fingered the gun, checking the inside, and then his finger touched the bullet inside. It stung. Silver. The realization hit Stephen like a ton of bricks, just as Elek could be heard moving back up the stairs. Stephen quickly put the gun back where he found it and moved over to the record player, putting another one on.

Elek handed Stephen the cup now full with blood again. Once again the silence as they drank. Stephen glanced at Elek from behind his cup.

"I'm really glad you're going. You know, you're not just my employer. You're my friend."

"Yeah, Stephen."

Elek sipped his cup, not looking at him as he spoke.

*****

Later that night Elek found himself shoved into a crowded dive bar. It was dark, dingy, and filled with smoke. No one even gave Elek a second glance when he entered, much to his relief. He and Stephen found a table near the back with a clear view and ordered drinks. Stephen offered Elek a cigarette, he took it, lighting it for them both.

"I told her to look for you. I said he'll be the one with the sad look on his face and the crazy hair."

Elek took a drag, blowing out smoke, and then glancing over.

"Gee, thanks. I sound like a real swell guy."

Stephen chuckled slightly, before patting Elek on the back. Elek winced.

"You didn't say it wasn't true, though."

Stephen gave one last pat on his back before disappearing behind the stage. Just as he left the opening band began to play. It was loud, but he didn't find it to be unpleasant. They had a sort of whining rock sound that he found attractive. He fingered his drink, finally taking a swig. It was strong. He hadn't drank alcohol in almost twenty years, he realized. Just as he was starting to feel slightly inebriated he spotted a small, blonde girl looking through the crowds. She was pale, thin and short in stature. He could make out her face from where he was standing. She had a youthful look to her and big, doe eyes. She suddenly turned to face Elek and waved. Elek flushed. Was he really that painfully sad and disheveled looking?

"You must be Elek, then? I'm Rene."

She pulled off her gloves, sticking them in her jacket pockets, and offered her hand out. Elek eyed it and shook it gently. She smiled.

"Nice to meet you, Rene."

He said simply, sipping his drink more fervently. She noticed, smiling a bit more.

"He said you don't get out very much."

She had to yell this time, to make her voice heard over the bands. Elek cleared his throat. He wasn't used to speaking, let alone yelling. He did his best.

"Yes, that's correct. In fact, this is the first time in about a decade."

Her face gave away her shock. Elek felt self-conscious. He changed the subject.

"Stephen told me you were my contemporary? Is that right?"

She leaned forward to hear him as he spoke, getting dangerously close to him. He felt his stomach flutter as he felt her breath against his cheek.

"I'm not sure. I was made in the late 1920's."

Elek frowned a bit. That wasn't really close. He himself was born in the early 1800's. But, she was the oldest vampire he'd had the pleasure to converse with in a good long time. Just as he opened his mouth to respond Stephens band came on, and Rene's attention refocused. She cheered and hollered along with the mortal crowd.

Elek simply sipped his third drink which was getting dangerously empty, watching intently. He signaled a bartender for another, feeling his head spin. The night hadn't panned out like he'd thought. Instead of becoming dust here he was drunk, standing next to a pretty girl, watching his only friend play in a rock band. After Stephen had finished she turned to Elek, excitedly.

"Oh wow, isn't Stephen so talented?"

Elek merely nodded, not trusting his words. He'd had a few more drinks during the course of the set and was feeling a tad more vulnerable. He was saved as Stephen approached them, all smiles.

"Well, what did you guys think?"

He asked, a smug look on his face. Elek didn't respond, but Rene gushed for the both of them. After a few minutes of idle talk, Elek cleared his throat.

"I suppose I should be getting home then."

He said, putting his hands in his pockets. Stephen frowned suddenly, looking at him then at Rene. His smile returned then, draping his arm around Elek's neck.

"You know what, you should invite Rene over. She's into some of the same stuff as you. I bet she'd appreciate your collection."

Elek mentally cringed. He thought about the state of his home and pursed his lips. He hadn't cleaned. His home was a wreck. He hadn't invited anyone over beside Stephen in well- forever. He fidgeted uncomfortably realizing he was purposefully put in a position where his only answer was yes. Rene responded excitedly.

"Oh, yes, I'd love to. Would I be imposing too much?"

With the lights turned on now her begging doe eyes were a brilliantly bright blue. He couldn't say no.

"Well, I suppose, but only for a little while."

Rene and Stephen seemed satisfied with that answer, and they all followed him back to his home.

****

Elek unlocked his door, feeling his stomach flip as he thought about the state of his room. Stephen, Elek, and Rene trudged up the stairs. Rene smiled.

"Oh wow, Elek. Your home has so much character."

Elek blew an internal sigh of relief. He didn't want her to think badly of him, for whatever reason. He hadn't experienced these emotions in so long they were overwhelming him. He pulled at a few lamps he had around, fully illuminating the room for the first time in a long time. He had a stage set up on one side, with his amps and record player. It was complete with a mic etc. It was for the times where he and Stephen had played together, drunk off blood or wine. However, that hadn't happened in a good while since he'd been so down. Rene began to marvel at all of his paintings.

Stephen had slipped out, coming back with more blood from in Elek's freezer. Elek eyed him raising an eyebrow. Apparently, Stephen had no problems helping himself to other people's things. He produced a third cup, pouring them equally and handing them out. He held up his cup.

"To new friends!"

He said, touching his glass with each of them. Nervously, Elek drank his, feeling the familiar sensation of life flow through his body. They were all silent again as they felt it. Then Stephen set his glass down.

"Whelp, I'm off folks. Thanks for coming to the show, by the way. It was a lot of fun."

He said to them both. Elek nodded at him in agreement. So did Rene.

"But don't leave on my account, Rene. I know Elek isn't much company but he's actually rather interesting when you get him to talk."

Elek frowned, feeling a small blush reach his cheeks. Rene laughed and Stephen left, leaving them alone. Rene turned her attention back to Elek.

"So, you're a fan of music then?"

Elek nodded, feeling calmer at the subject of their conversation. It was one he could elaborate on for a while.

"Yeah. I collect records from different periods. I really love music. That's what I actually did, before I, you know, died."

Rene nodded, encouraging him. He continued.

"I, uh, played violin in Hungary, where I'm from."

She smiled.

"I thought you were. With your name and your looks, and all. Can you guess where I'm from?"

Elek smiled at her.

"France?"

He countered, taking another sip of his cup. She beamed.

"Correct! But I suppose that's obvious too. I've tried working out my accent, but it's no good. It seems no matter how hard I try it's just something that I'll never be able to change. You have one too, you know. An accent, that is."

Elek blushed again. He was unaware his own accent was so pronounced.

"So what kind of music do you like? Know any bands I should listen to?"

At this Elek seemed to come alive. He stood, suddenly, walking over to the record player.

"Actually, I do. Would you like to hear them?"

She nodded, picking up her cup again, sipping. She'd slipped her heels off, curling her feet up and into the couch. She closed her eyes as he played music for her. He played his favorites from the haul that Stephen had given him earlier in the night. He played Underground Youth's "I Need You" then KVB "Always Then" and finally The Soft Moon's "Far."

She listened to them all silently appraising, her eyes closed. Her fingers tapped her pale smooth legs. Elek sat next to her, feeling his stomach tighten as he noticed how long and dark her eyelashes were. He marveled at the whiteness of her skin, the perfection of it; her rosy cheeks and lips that resembled dolls. Her small, petite frame. He drew his eyes away as the music came to an end.

"Such sad music."

She commented finally, looking at Elek. He gulped, unsure of how to respond.

"I suppose."

There was silence again until she spoke up.

"You said you play the violin?"

She leaned closer, it seemed the blood was going to her head. He could smell her perfume. It was sweet and airy. He thought it fit her perfectly.

"Yeah, I do."

She leaned even closer, her eyes pleading.

"Would you play for me? Please? I'd love to hear."

Elek couldn't refuse her.

He thought for a moment.

"Would you like to see my favorite spot in all of Detroit?"

******

The night was pitch black now when they approached their destination. Rene marveled at it, looking at Elek in approval. He had his violin case strung over his chest. He looked down at her tiny, dainty form as he pried a door open. Once inside, he fumbled to find the light switch. When he finally did find it, it illuminated their surroundings, producing a gasp from Rene. Elek felt satisfaction. She turned to him.

"Where are we?"

"We're at Fox Theater. I used to come here sometimes, to play."

He gestured towards the violin. The theater reminded him of the old days. Where he'd play in front of crowds exactly like this one. The theater was luxurious and oozed of days past glory. With its marvelous red curtains and gold laced walls and ceiling, he felt at home. He loved it here.

Rene seemed to as well. He made another gestured for her to sit, and she complied. He noticed her tiny bare feet. Was she not cold? He supposed not. She was so naturally warm, after all.

He smiled, climbing up onto the stage. He slowly and methodically unfastened his violin, gingerly resting it underneath his chin, raising the bow up.

"This is a piece from a time when I was playing. In places much like this, in fact. It's Paganini's Cantabile e Valtz."

He began to play. He forgot how much he enjoyed it. As the music flowed from his fingertips he was caught within it. The world died away, the lights died away, Rene died away, and so did he himself. All that was left was the symphony of notes he produced as he went. After a few minutes, the piece ended, and he was brought back to reality with hearty claps coming from the crowd.

For an instance, he forgot where he was. For that single moment, he could almost hear the roar, see his friends faces in the crowd watching and cheering for him as they had done all those years before. Instead, he blinked a few times, seeing Rene's sweet smile back at him. He flushed, setting the violin down, and sitting on the edge of the stage. His feet hanging over, facing her.

"Wow, that was simply marvelous. You know, you're not nearly as sad looking when you play the violin. The music was beautifully happy. I mean, you looked happy"

Elek swallowed hard at her comment, not knowing what to make of it. He had been happy. The happiest he'd been in a long time, actually. He frowned, responding in honest.

"It's just, living as long as I have, most things have lost their value. I don't understand the human world anymore, all my friends are gone, except for Stephen. But even he can't understand me. We can't talk and reminisce together about the things that made my childhood. I suppose I was happy when I played because it brought me closer to it."

He hadn't meant to share as much as he had. The blood mixed with the alcohol had loosened his tongue. He flushed at his own vulnerability and avoided her eyes. She seemed to think, then responded.

"Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old."

Elek snapped his head up, a small smile reaching his lips.

"Kafka."

He asserted.

She smiled small, nodding before becoming serious.

"I'm not so different. Sometimes I long for the past. I, too, don't really understand the times anymore. But, I never cease in finding the beauty in it, even if I don't get it. The music, the lights, the romance of it all, the human experience. Or well, the closest I'll get to one. Just like he said, if you have the ability to see what's around you, it won't grow old and boring."

Elek drank in her words before eyeing her.

"How did you become like this?"

Rene pursed her lips and her face became serious.

"It's not a happy story."

Elek leaned in, giving a reassuring look.

"I don't care. I really want to know. To know you, that is."

Rene sighed, clearly conflicted, looking away and clearing her throat.

"I was born in 1908. By the late 1920's I was a pretty well-established actress. I had a lot going for me, you know. I had the look, the talent. I could sing, dance, and act. The trifecta. One night I was walking back from rehearsals, alone. I got lost. It was a new city, new stage. I turned down one wrong alley and—"

Her face was pained. Elek's fist tightened.

"—and well, these men. They found me, and well, they did, terrible things. They left me there, afterward, beaten me within an inch of my life. I guess at some point some well-meaning stranger spared me because the next thing I remembered I was like this. But sometimes I wish he hadn't, saved me, that is. This life, I didn't ask for it."

She had her face turned, a single tear dropping from her innocent, lovely eyes. Elek stood up suddenly, he outstretched his hand. Beckoning her.

"Dance with me?"

He asked.

She stared for a minute, wiping the tear from her eye. She stood, on her tiny bare feet, her blue dress floating as he lifted her up by her hands and gingerly set her on the stage. They danced to no music, under the spotlights of the old theater. Her head resting on his cold, dead heart. After a while, they stopped as if the music had, and Elek gathered his violin.

Dawn was approaching.

*****

On their walk back to Elek's apartment, her small hand had found his. Each equally as cold as the other but somehow warming them both. When they reached his door, she reached up, her hands grabbing his unkempt hair and she placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

"Thank you, Elek. For tonight."

She said, her eyes boring holes into his. He felt his nonexistent heartbeat skip.

"Thank you, too. It was a pleasure to be in your company, Rene."

He said, holding her still. She backed away turning to leave, then turned back around to face him.

She grabbed his hands again, warmth seeping into his very soul.

"Merry Christmas, Elek. I hope I see you again. Sincerely."

And before he could give her a response, she disappeared from sight.

Elek remained glued to his doorstep for several moments after she had been lost from his view. Finally, he unlocked his apartment door, trudged up the stairs. He gingerly bent down, fumbling underneath his bed, dust greeting his fingers. After blindly grasping for a few seconds, his hands reached their destination once again. He picked up the now loaded gun, feeling its weight. He pressed it against his heart, finger on the trigger.

But, he couldn't pull it.

Exasperated, he threw the gun aside angrily. He screamed as it went off from the force, sitting abruptly up in bed. His only silver bullet had planted itself into one of his self-portraits, knocking it off the wall. Breathing heavily from the fright, he gave an irritated groan. He laid back against his bed.

He couldn't do it now. Not just because of his only silver bullet being gone, but because of this night. This one night. It had changed everything. Everything he had planned.

He reflected on Rene and her words. Something had changed in him, now. He could suddenly see the color, see the beauty in the world. Sighing, he closed his eyes.

He couldn't end things now.

He got up and retrieved his gun, giving it one last hard look before  opening his window, tossing it out onto the snow. He stared at it for a moment, content with his decision. Returning back to his bed, he plopped down with a creak.

His eyes began to flutter as the sun began its ever continuing rotation. Ushering in, for him, the ever eternal dance of night and day.

"Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk."

He quoted, closing his eyes, as the sunlight began to peak over the horizon. 

Starting over again.

*Apoptosis: The death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development.*

 


© Copyright 2018 sp00kygrrl. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply