“What happened to you?!” She yelled, I would always have to expect it from Christa. She grabs my arm and jerks me around to take a good look at me. She even takes my chin and pulls it to her direction. “What happened?” Her voice shakes as she sees how covered in dirt I actually am.
“Nothing,” I say flatly and try to turn and walk, which was a huge mistake, because then, she gasps and her eyes grow when she sees what’s on my waist. She covers her mouth as she stares at the bloody mess.
“What . . . is that?!” She could barely whisper.
“It’s called blood.” I shrug, lifting my tank top, showing her the slice on my side, the massive amounts of blood already clot after minutes.
“Oh my God!” She yells, and sort of expected, her eyelids spasm and she shuts down and well, faints. She falls to the floor.
I’m actually tired of it. She doesn’t believe in impossibilities, differences, or me. Because that’s what I am. I’m different. I bleed, I get wounded, but the secret is, I just don’t die. I’m an outcast. But I’m fine with that. I think. I’m tired of being what they expect a girl to be.
You can’t expect normal from a girl like me because I’m not.
I step over Christa’s body to reach for the telephone. I call for Raph to pick me up. My foster parent doesn’t like him. Only because she hasn’t met him. I’ve been friends with Raph for as long as I can remember, or at least some time in high school.
He’s the only one that understands me, mainly because we’re the same. We’re both freaks. There, I said it. We are, we don’t know how we have it, but we’re born with it. We literally don’t die. I’m not Superman, I bleed, I can get stabbed, I can get hurt. But I don’t die, it’s like I resurrect. Odd right? That’s why I’m called a freak. All things have a reason. Except ours doesn’t seem to have one.
I lay my head on his lap as he drove, my shoes sticking out of my window. I look up at his chin as I lay across the car seat, sometimes even almost falling asleep. It was midday; we drove under the shade of the trees. Raph lives in a huge garage. Don’t worry, it’s clean.
This quiet broad-shouldered pale skinned freak of mine lives alone. Literally. We’re outcasts you see, but he had a good reason to be alone. His parents died, his aunt who took him in died, his grandparents died. There’s a lot of death. So for two years, he’s lived alone. He gets by by working in underground parties as the bartender, or . . . our side job.
There’s a lot of death around us freaks. And yes, I do label us that. What else do you call us? Vampires? No, we don’t drink blood. Neither are we afraid of sunlight. But it’s true, death surrounds us. For some reason his family just dies and mine . . . well, I’ve never met mine. Which is why I have a foster parent. Christa.
But we choose to not be afraid of it. We make use of it and get PAID for it. Raph has a theory that whatever we possess could be sucking the life force of people around us. Sounds crazy but it could be true. We haven’t died yet, not that we’ve been alive for hundreds of years, we age, but physical damage . . . Never works out permanently.
Raph and I have an odd job. And I’m thankful he’s with me. On my own, I couldn’t possibly sell myself for an assassination. I’m not good with people.
“What did she say?” By she, Raph was referring to Christa, my foster parent.
I sigh and close my eyes. “You know how people react.” I say, he nods gently, “Well, that’s how she reacted,” I say,
I and the smell of his old and rusty orange pick-up truck. Nothing made me feel more normal. Especially the rust on the truck. The rugged feel, I know, a freaky fetish. Another reason I’m a freak.
If we were normal, he would offer me a bandage for my large cut on my side, but it’s not bleeding anymore. Just hurts if I make sudden movements. My torso just looks like a painting of a rose that someone threw to the ground and repeatedly ran over with their SUVs’ tires. But I’m fine.
We get to his garage and he carries me like a bride into the hollow space. He just throws me on the old sofa, his bed substitute, and lets me sleep. He goes up to his terrace, an open area on the roof of the garage with railings. It’s actually his entertainment.
He would go up there with a bottle of beer and just stare out at the marvelous view of the city’s horizon beyond the thin forest at night. I know there could be better circumstances for him and me, but to me, I love it on that terrace. His place is more of a home than Christa’s will ever be.
I have to be honest though, popular girls would have a hard time being honest with themselves about this, but Raph is hotter than any of the boys at my school. He’s got that adorable but tough look, and he’s tall and brunette. And he’s strong, both inside and out.
The reason I have no sleep is because I got paid for a little outing last night, which is why I was grounded and had a guardian faint. I was paid by a drunkard in this underground club, where Raph works, to kill this other drunkard that was hanging by a strip club.
I tricked the guy, but knowing I was acting suspicious, he stabs my side with the broken bottle he was holding. I’ve got rules. No one touches me in any sort of way. I’ve got respect for my body, even if my side is looking horrid and I probably look like a zombie. You know what I mean. I am not a girl to be taken advantage of.
Another thing is, I can fight. Yeah, sounds . . . tacky, or like a movie you might have seen, but I can. Being a freak does that to you.
“Care to share to that?” I ask as I climb up the stairs to the “terrace”. The cold air stings but I love it.
Raph’s lying down on the cement, the bottle of beer on his chest and his legs hanging on the edge. “Got enough for a few more gulps.” He raised it to show me and gave it a little shake. The liquid inside sparkled in a way that called me to it.
He offered his arm as a pillow and so I lay closely down next to him. He hands me the bottle and I take a swig, a clumsy one. Beer drips from my cheeks. I don’t bother to wipe it off as I hand the bottle back to him.
“We need cash,” He takes a whole mouthful of beer. It takes him some time to swallow. “Badly,”
I look at him and then at the dark sky above me. To be completely honest, we don’t earn a lot. No matter how many people we get paid to kill, the money we pool together isn’t permanent enough. You’d think it would be, but it’s not. I don’t work for an upper echelon gang or something like that, but if there was one, I wouldn’t say I’d be opposed to it.
“I’ll go tonight.” I say, and I expected him to object, I had only done my last job last night, and see what it got me.
“You just finished last night.” He looks at me and my wounded side with this expression of bewilderment. Totally expected it. He props himself up on one arm, forcing me to sit up too.
“I’m well rested!” I shrug, it’s a pathetic sell but I’ll try anything just to get out there.
Raph raises his eyebrow at me. “Three hours of sleep isn’t gonna cut it.” He says,
I sigh and snatch the bottle from him, chugging down a lot but enough for Raph to have his last swig. “Just give me more of this and I’ll be drunk enough to be sober.” I wiggle the bottle.
“That’s funny,” He says, being sarcastic of course, grabbing the bottle from me and getting up. He walks to the terrace and sits on the railings, drinking a small sip of the stuff.
I sigh loudly, “Well, could you do it?” I ask as I stand up. I rest my elbows on the terrace railings right next to him. I know exactly what he’s staring at.
On the horizon, above the line of the trees is the sparkling Black River Bridge. The legendary bridge of the city, legendary because it’s been there for so long and reinforced when the city was officially called what it was today; Bridgeport.
It’s a huge city with tons of people and it’s possible to get lost in it if you were a new person moving to this place, although, I think there’s another side of the city, like a separate half.
I can’t say I hate it, that sparkling black bridge has been there most of my childhood. It holds the good and bad memories. It’s like a thing that triggers my past thoughts. Good or bad, I can’t help but appreciate it.
I wait for his reply. He sighs and his back is hunched, the bottle in between his knees. “Yeah,” He nods, “I bet I can.”
“Then if you can, I can.” I pointed to my chest in stubbornness. “I mean, if a guy with a bullet wound in his shoulder can go out there and get shot at again, so can I.”
“Let’s hope we have takers tonight.” He says to me. And that worried me, it is a Saturday night, it’s pretty slow on Saturdays and I don’t really understand the logic in that.
I mean, how many people could have work on Saturday? Shouldn’t it be that people would have a lot more time to have people killed on Saturday? Well, whatever. Maybe we can score next Tuesday. I’m just lucky that the club does acknowledge our service.
But then we do have to split the money we own with them because they provide us with a place to sell our services. Where else could we? Imagine an ad in the paper of two people who can be hired to kill with a number to contact them with at the bottom.
Well, ten out of ten chances, we’d get arrested.
I look down at myself. I looked ridiculous. like I’d rolled around in dirt, plus the blackish blood that’s dried on the side of my top. “Does your shower still work?” I ask him, I am in desperate need of a bath.
“Sort of,” He tells me, “Well, not really.”
“Well, is there anywhere else we can wash up?” I ask, he looks horrible too, all that dried blood on his shoulder. We both look fucked up. Like this, we would never get any takers.
He shakes the bottle a little then looks down at me from his side. “There is one place.”