My life is pretty simple. I go to work, I come home, go to bed, then start the whole thing over again.
I have done this for years and years and years.
There’s a few issues with that though. I’m lonely. It’s impossible to find anyone like me, believe me I have tried. It’s also hard finding proper replacement parts.
I can usually tell when a part will start to rot. It’s not as functional and gets an unusual green tint. Luckily I can get away with just telling people I have the flu, humans in general are clueless. There was one particular case though that I hadn’t noticed a part was beginning to rot. It was my elbow. The green tint had turned into a nasty purple bruise like color. The functionality of an elbow is limited unless you move your arm around frequently. My profession at the time didn’t require much movement.
The man next to me in my cubicle had asked how I got such a gnarly bruise. We had developed a decent friendship at the time so it was difficult to find a reason. Maybe I fell off my ladder at home trying to fix the gutters? He didn’t believe me, we made enough money at that job to hire out the work. I had to wear long sleeve shirts for the next two weeks until I found an elbow that matched my current body style.
I tend to stick with the more tall, slightly muscular, lighter skin, dark hair, type of male body. That’s what I was originally born with. They didn’t have any ways of picture taking at the time so I roughly go off of memory. I do have a special box at home where I keep wallet sized portraits of the different styles I have chosen.
It is particularly hard finding a face. That always means an entire lifestyle change. And I need to do it quickly. I have to anticipate my skin beginning to rot, which could happen at anytime.
My victims always have a proper death date. That is always preset at their birth, but I have no way of knowing. This means that I could replace my hand or my left butt cheek or my knee and it could begin to rot the next day or the next year or like my trusty left hand. My left hand has been with me now for 15 years and has survived two whole lifestyle changes.
I tend not to get too close to anyone, I have never let myself love any woman in a romantic sense. There would be too much heartbreak on both my end and on hers. I came close once in my teen years however. Before I realized what kind of thing I was, that is before my first encounter with my own body parts failing me. She was beautiful, and very smart for just having a one room school house education. I will say that over the years I am proud of the freedoms society has given itself.
The girl was infatuated with me as well, there was talk from her parents about matrimony. I courted her as any other young man would do for the time period, I even stole a kiss when our chaperone was not looking. It all came to a halt the day my father told me about his lifestyle.
My mother died during childbirth, she was human and could not handle the force inside her. My father let me grow up as normal as possible and I never noticed his changes throughout the years. It was the eve of the big town festival when he came to me in my bedroom to tell me that we had to leave. That’s when I noticed his pale green face. I begged and begged to get to go to the festival dance with my girl, not understanding what he was trying to tell me.
“My face is going to fall off, Orville, we need to leave tonight.” I remember him telling me, clear as day. Father explained what kind of creature he was and who my mother was and their love story. He explained the agonizing pain he felt at her death and how he promised to never let me have the same fate. His change of face meant it was time for him to leave our town, and after much protest I realized that he was right. It was time to leave my hometown in search for father’s new face.
He taught me how to hunt and about human’s death dates and how he always tried to keep himself as young looking as possible. And for whatever reason, if we needed to take a human’s life before it’s natural death date it didn’t change the expectancy of the part we took. It wasn’t often that we needed to take a part that killed a person, just for the vital organs and things like face and heart. Father assured me that in his 257 years of existence he has not once had to take a heart. So far in my lifetime, I have not had to as well.
Father did not tell me however, if there was anyone like us. He was a little care free in his older years and not long after we were to successfully replace his face and establish ourselves in a new town on the other side of the country, he replaced a pinky toe from a man who was later diagnosed with tuberculosis. My father died from the disease as it spread quicker than we could replace his parts. I keep a vial of his ashes on a chain that I keep with me, as a reminder.
I have learned from then on to make sure my victim is healthy. In these more modern times, that is an easier task. The most difficult is finding a new identity. There was once instance that I took a mans face, which of course takes his life, and I assumed his identity, told his family I was moving away and never wanted to be bothered. It worked.
Some day it will be my time to leave this world like my father. I have come to find several places I would like to settle down in. But this world is so beautiful, and I am not ready to leave it yet. Maybe that’s why my father lived so long. I’ll never really get to know all the secrets that come with my curse. But at least I have lived a few really good lives.