Their touch is deadly and does not discriminate.
A group of people were born with an inexplicable condition: as each year passes, their touch can become quite deadly.
One year ago I was still living the life of a teenager, which included occasional arguments with my parents, hanging out with my friends, spending time with my girlfriend, finding a way to ditch classes, you know, fun and normal stuff. However, that part of my past seemed like a distant memory, something surreal my mind liked to wander off to for enjoyment. Then I thought of my mother, whom I left tired and drained, laying daintily on the bed and of my father who had trained the gun we kept for security, at me. My mother was weak because of my curse and I was strong due to her vitality and life force. Despite her weakened state, she had managed to grab a hold of my father’s arm and begged him not to pull the trigger. She said that I was her only son and she loved me for who I was, with flaws and everything. She said it was not my fault, and then fell to the floor since she was perched precariously over the side of the bed.
The moment my father dropped the gun to help my mother up; I bolted out of the house, not daring to look behind me or take anything with me. I had only one companion, and it was my curse. I hadn’t looked back ever since, except today, since it was the anniversary of the day I left home.
I walked silently under the orange trees flanking the beautiful property of the school for disabled children where I occasionally tutored. Despite the small size of the town, it provided for the less fortunate and crippled. I was welcomed in this group and I was careful not to take any life force from anyone. I had a little cottage off the side of the school, just big enough to store a bed and a desk. I had come across this place five months ago looking like the haggard teenager I was. Luckily, I was taken in by the nice Christian family that ran the school and offered my services as a tutor. I never did well in school, but they seemed satisfied with my work so far. Most importantly, they valued me more for bringing joy and fresh ideas into the classroom.
The sun hung low over the horizon, casting my long shadow into the classroom. There I saw her, Isabella, as beautiful as the moon would ever be. She lived in the city but often volunteered her free time to help out. She was kind with everybody, always had a smile on her beautiful face. Sometimes her smiled made my day.
“Liam, how nice to see you! You’ve come to help me clean up?”
I snapped out of my trance and returned her wide smile. “Sure, the faster we are done the more time I get to spend with you strolling around the park.”
Isabella laughed melodiously. How I wished I could record her laugh and store it in my memories forever, in case I was feeling depressed and needed to access her joy.
“You’re so weird Liam, but I like that about you, sets you apart from everybody else.”
I felt complete next to her; my heart ached less when I was with her. But I knew the latter could never happen. I wanted to know her better, but at the same time, I knew that the more time I spent with her the more difficult it would be to forget her. So instead of torturing myself with wishful thinking of things and situations that might never come to reality, I focused on cleaning the tables and storing away the art materials.
When we were done, we went for a drink of water. Isabella was visibly sweating, who wouldn’t be, being late spring and summer venturing to peek its sunrays.
“I really don’t get you Liam, how can you not be sweating if you’re always wearing sweaters, pants, and gloves.”
“I told you, I feel self-conscious of my skin condition. I don’t want people to see me and shy away like they used to do where I used to live. That’s why I escaped.”
“I promise Liam, it doesn’t look as bad as you make it sound. Come on, I haven’t seen your skin, may I take a look?”
“No,” I replied seriously, hoping that she would drop the subject.
“Fine then,” she shrugged.
I felt something tug at my heart. Maybe it was the fact that Isabella disregarded me so easily. I really wanted her to know more about me, but I was told, especially by the advertisement going around, that my touch was deadly. My dear mother was proof of that.
“Okay, when do we start our little stroll, or were you just bluffing? I’ll be extremely disappointed in you then.”
I couldn’t contain my laughter and I thanked her for that because it had been over a year that I hadn’t had a genuine laugh. “After you mademoiselle.”
We walked around the park in silence for several minutes. Small stars dotted the night sky and the sweet spring air started to pick up. I so wanted to take her hand but I didn’t dare. I wanted her to feel me and I wanted to feel her, but the consequences would be disastrous. We walked in silence for a while more, silence wasn’t uncomfortable between us, and it was, strangely enough, our comfort zone.
I hadn’t noticed when she had steered us toward the part of the park where the trees were closer together. I was just happy to follow her and that she let me be close to her but still maintaining my distance. She suddenly stopped.
“Look up.” She whispered.
I did. We were standing underneath a maple tree and what I saw took my breath away. It was the full moon shining brightly in the sky. The moonlight accentuated every gap the branches and the leaves made, filtering light through those gaps. It seemed like the moonlight was showering us with its light.
“This is the reason why I always came here before becoming a volunteer. You don’t have this interaction with nature in the city. I was attached to this place and after becoming a volunteer more so. But now, I have another reason to always come back here…”
She turned to look at me, her eyes full of intention and beauty and love.
I wanted to take her into my arms, to promise her the whole world.
She stepped closer and I didn’t step away. She tiptoed and leaned her head toward mine.
I couldn’t stop her; my heart had rendered me immobile.
Her soft lips pressed against mine.
My arms snaked around her small waist and her arms locked on my neck. I kissed her, not holding anything back. That’s when I felt it, the rush of energy, which was not mine, into my own body, rejuvenating it. And worst of all, I craved for more. I opened my eyes and saw that Isabella’s bright blue eyes had become dull and her skin paler. Her eyes were staring at me, fright written on her face. I let her go before I took everything from her, the life force that had first attracted me to her.
She collapsed to the ground, unable to move, she just stared. I saw tears running down her face. I dropped to my knees before her, with tears of my own.
“I’m so sorry,” I repeated over and over again. “I’m so sorry.” I carried her to the closest clinic and explained that she had low blood pressure. The nurses believed my story, since they trusted me, and took her in. The moment Isabella was out of sight, I took off.
My victims didn’t die, but I never stayed long enough to find out what happened to them. The police usually never gives me that chance.