Like an Apple on the Tree

The ashen man stalked through another shadow.

Time to move on. The agony in his mind was reaching a crescendo, and his stride faltered under the whiplash of mental doubt.

Not alive. Not alive. A mockery. A lie. Unreal. False. Pathetic. Hopeless. Dead.

The ashen man stalked hurriedly towards his next victim.

He didn't intend to kill them, not in the beginning. In the beginning, when he laid his eyes on their flushed skin, and fragile bodies, he saw all he was not.

And subsequently helped them to rejoice in it.

Every gasp was a lifeline, every cry a miracle.

He wondered at their vibrancy, their spirit, just as they wondered at his pale skin and liquid eyes.

Two sides of the same coin, both longing for the other, both wanting the other. But he would never do that. Never. Why—and how—could he ever subject a fragile and beautiful human to this immortal half life?

Yet he longed, oh how he longed, for theirs! To breathe, to beat, to be.

No. That too could never happen.

The man jolted to a stop by a tavern window, his long flaxen locks whipping around his face, obscuring the sight he had been searching for.

A cinnamon skinned, slight figure stood on the other side of the glass. It turned, and a woman's face was revealed: lips too small for her face, petulant nose, sooty lashes caked in mascara and eyes the colour of burnt umber.

It was all the man could do not to smash the glass right there and then.

The woman—or girl, she looked no older than twenty—caught sight of his face, and froze.

She could see the hunger, he was sure. She would feel the need radiating from him...

She was lost.

Next victim. Check.