A quest for youth takes a gruesome turn.
|I watched the procession of tourists from the cruise ship trickle into the hotel lobby. A thoroughly decrepit group, as usual. Dessicated old men with bony limbs and pear-shaped women in whom no hormonal flame still flickered. Lately, that's all we got. A really unappetizing selection.
In the good old days, the cruise ships would arrive full of college kids on break. Dozens of young, firm bodies streaming down the gangway, smelling of coconut and baby oil. So yummy, so filling, so full of life…
A particularly active hurricane season that scoured the island’s beaches of their white sand and damaged the hotel, followed by two years of rebuilding, took a toll on the tourist economy. But the final straw was the discovery of an endangered species of starfish on the island’s largest and most popular beach. The environmentalists and the marine biologists were all over the place for an entire season with their yellow tape lines and their ridiculous ban on jet skis - basically ruining vacations and incomes right and left. Eventually, the bigger cruise lines took us off their itinerary. The seniors cruise is about all we have left. And I am starving.
I need them back. I need their essence. I need young blood full of the elements of youth, a perfect recipe for biogenesis with lots of growth hormone and rich, red blood cells that burst in your mouth like ripe raspberries.
I can’t survive like this, you see. I can feel the arthritis creeping into my joints. I see the lines forming around my mouth and eyes as my skin ages. I am drying up inside. I have to get out of here. That’s why I did it.
I assure you, I would never have killed if it weren’t a matter of survival. It really was his own fault. Stewards aren’t supposed to come into the hotel casino or fraternize with the passengers off the ship. In a way, he deserved it. Gaston was running a scam on the old ladies, flattering them, flirting with them, even making love to them and then taking their money for a wide variety of imaginary relatives and pets who suffered from alarming medical conditions requiring expensive surgeries or medications not covered by insurance. I was disgusted by his lack of character. I might borrow a little blood here and there, but these humans very quickly make more to replace what I take. They may feel a bit weak for a day or so, suffer a headache and have a vague memory of a nightmare in which they are bitten by a vampire, but that’s it. Gaston stole so much more from the most vulnerable of them.
Physically, Gaston was an excellent choice for a new body. Once I morphed into his form, I noticed how much younger and stronger I felt with the infusion of his youthful essence and the nice bonus of a well-defined six-pack. I am really going to miss my sun-bleached blonde locks though, this mousy brown hair of Gaston’s doesn’t have the same flair. I suppose I can dye it, but it won’t be the same.
It wasn’t hard getting rid of Gaston’s body. Once emptied of its life force, it weighed very little. I just packed him in a trunk and loaded him into the cargo hold. The trunk can be lost at sea later on. As a member of the crew, I can roam the ship without anyone questioning me. I quite like the uniform too, so white and crisp.
In the morning, when the ship pulls out of port, we’ll be headed back to Tampa to return these ancient mariners to their real lives. When we get to Florida, I will quit this job - that is, Gaston will quit his job on this cruise ship - and look for something on another line. There are loads of cruise lines running out of Tampa. I just need to find one with a younger appeal - a party ship, maybe a booze cruise. Vacationers make the perfect blood donors, you see. They are having too much fun to overthink things, and they are usually hung over.
I just love sailing.
Word Count: 695