Chapter 2: My Job Can Kill

I go by Odessa or Des now as nobody has even heard of Orlaith and I didn’t like having to explain to everyone where it came from because they had never heard of that before.

I now live in a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom 675ft condo right across the street from Central Park in Central Harlem, which is the North end of The Park and I love it. It isn’t that big which I also like, reminds me of my old life and I live alone with little possessions so I don’t need a lot of room. It presides on the 3rd floor and when you look outside the window you can see all of Central Park and coming here in September I got to see the trees have leafs with brilliant marigold, cherry and bumblebee crinkle to a dusty brown to fall to an end, frost over, and sprout back to life.

Even around all of the encompassing architecture I try to find the most nature to stay around, so I don’t loose my Irish roots looking over the tops of the trees in Central Park and having it hit me in the face when I walk outside gives me that satisfaction so I am able to live continue living in the city.  

Moving all of the time I have to find the best realtors that understand what I need or I just go through a big period of time without a residence, not like I’m hurting on money it’s just not the most pleasant thing in the world.

It really does suck having to change your entire life every several years though. Make a bunch of friends and a life for yourself, and then you start to feel a pull. It gets harder to keep the same face and body. Especially at night time, when you’re sleeping and your guard is down.

I found out the hard way that you had to switch to a different persona every 15 years you didn’t have a choice, or at least that’s what my ‘so called’ friends screams were telling me.

I try to stay as close to the way I looked as I can, so I don’t loose all of myself. But it was getting close to the 15 years and it was getting harder to keep up the look I had before, so I knew I had to change soon and there wasn’t a lot of redheads in the hospital.

How do I do it. Well I try to go to a hospital with someone around the age of 23 years old that is really sick and take on their look and then high tail it out of there. I’ve almost got caught before and then gotten better by wearing more clothing. It’s gotten easier as the years have gone by, now I can just wear sweats and a hoodie and nobody really notices.

Last time I was in Texas and the woman I changed into, the person I am now, looks nothing like me. She had olive skin and dark chestnut wavy hair that fell to her shoulders. She was quite pretty, but she just wasn’t me. The only thing we had in common was our age.

I have been 23 for centuries. Why 23 years old you ask? Well, that’s apparently when we stop aging and I have no freaking idea why.

So just think about this for a second, will you. A woman stuck at the age of 23 dealing with the dang ‘special visitor’ comes to visit; and this has been going on for 1,345 years. and you’d think I’d be great at keeping track of when she’s coming but I’m quite the opposite.

Yes, I have tried turning into a guy before, in a dire situation, but it only lasted a couple of hours before I got too creeped out and luckily found another woman’s body to change into.

I have been in this body for about 8 months but have only been living in Manhattan for the last 6 months.

I don’t like to keep mirrors around my condo as they just remind me of what I am. I like to pretend that I still am Orlaith, the red headed Irish 16 year old. I only let one mirror in the bathroom, a necessity for getting ready for work in the morning. 

I work in an art museum now as a Docent…Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either when I first saw the job posting. A Docent is the person that always has to have a smile plastered on their face no matter how crappy their day is going. The one that knows about all of the items in the museum. Docents are the ones that answer any questions visitors have about the items on display, and give tours around the museum.

I may make it sound like I don’t like it, and sometimes I may get frustrated – people can be monstrous – but for the most part I do like it.

I of course had to have my latte before going into the museum, ever sense I tried caramel cinnamon lattes I have been addicted to their mind blowing caramel and the  cinnamon explosion. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. The only problem is after all of these years trying to make one at home, my lattes still taste like burnt caramel and cinnamon… It’s horrendous!

So, I have made it my daily routine to go to the local, best coffee cafe, for my morning wake-me-up latte and bagel with strawberry cream during my work week. I have kind of fallen in love with this cafe in the 6 months sense I’ve been here.

Barices Coffee Shop, with it’s butter and oatmeal sponge painted walls. Egg shell speckled charcoal counter top with the antique style register, the crisp apple strutles and mouthwatering eclair pastries behind a see through plastic covering going along the counter and all of the machines steaming to life on the wall behind it all.

I walked over to the counter my cream loose split sleeve shirt, tucked into my black pin stripped pencil skirt and stiletto shoes, the barista automatically knowing who I am and my “usual” had the workers start working on my order, getting my Cinnamon Dolce Latte steaming. Topping it off with a heavy swirl of whipped cream and cinnamon dolce powder and my beauty was ready. 

Grabbing my half potato bagel, with strawberry cream cheese spread evenly across the top. Food really has gotten heavenly over the years!

A smile taking over my face, I slapped down correct change, grabbed my breakfast and sat down at my usual corner. In the corner was a square, wooden table with a metal pole underneath sprouting three pegs; unfortunately, one leg of the table was too short and made the whole table wobble, but I didn’t mind. It’s the only table in the shop meant for two and I’m only ever here by myself, for a brief moment, so why should I take up more room?

After eating my bagel and drinking my drink I threw away my white cup and brown used up napkins. I can’t ever seem to go without getting the delicious strawberry spread all over my face, once I’m cleaned up I head out to work.

Once I get to the museum I started my daily, and slightly monotonous, routine. Go into the back and scan my ID so I get payed for the hours, check the schedule to see if I have any tours and if I do, at what time they are scheduled and then back to the floor. I then spend the rest of the 8 hours of my job answering all of the questions the visitors want to know. I went through vigorous training to get as good at my job as I am; I have been at this job for 5 months now and haven’t been stumped yet.

It was during a lull in work when it happened. A girl about my age, came over to me asking where the bathroom is. So, it being my job, I lead her around the corner to the well known ladies sign, it was when I went to walk away that my monster side took over.

Without even knowing it, I found myself waiting by the steel, stalls, the royal blue finish chipping with age, stalking my pray. Feeling the cold tiles under my foot I noticed I had my black right stiletto heel off raised in the air. The worst of it was the thoughts going through my head – ‘It’s a Wednesday, trash day nobody would find the body’.

My heart was hammering in my throat, I was sweating bullets, and it took all of the control I had to put down my hand, take off my other heel and run like hell out of the bathroom. 

My feet pounded against the carpeted floors, and I seemed to lose all control of my body. The next thing I knew, I was going through the doors to the employee break room.

Finally feeling safe from myself, I grabbed one of the museums complementary waters and collapsed into the nearest chair. Trying to subside the panic attack that was taking over my entire body I put my head as far in between my legs as it could go and sat there until my heart was no longer choking me.

This was not the first time something like that had happened and it wont be the last, but killing someone again is not an option for me, it was too horrible the last time! 

It was about 50 years ago, around twilight hour, and the sky was sleeting down rain and hail. I was driving home from my 10 hour shift and didn’t see the four lights until it was too late.

I have no idea if I would’ve died, but when I came to I was on the side of the road, in a ditch. My head was smashed against the steering wheel, my leg was twisted at an unnatural angle and there was a strange sensation on my face, like a spider was creeping down my face. I reached up to get it off of my face, only to feel a slimy substance. I brought my hand down and saw my fingers coated in blood.

Shoving that out of my mind, I looked at the door and knew I couldn’t pry it open, so I dragged myself out of the broken window. I snapped my leg back into position, a shriek escaping my lips, but all I could think of was getting to the other driver.

When I finally hobbled over to the telephone pole the other car crashed into, I could see the situation wasn’t good.

The white Pontiac GTO was consumed by the pole, I could see strawberry blond hair sticking out of the broken window, stained with blood. She had a gash on her left temple but it had already stopped bleeding. Not a good sign. Her neck was in an impossible position. She was already gone.

That wasn’t the worst thing that happened that night: I decided to be God (I guess you could say) and save the family from heartbreak, so I drug her body far into the tree line and by stupid luck had a shovel in the trunk of my car. Drenched and freezing, I pounded that shovel into the sludge until the hole was deep enough and placed her body in.

I bowed my head in reverence, whispered an apology and shifted myself into her bloodied body before burying her and marking her grave with a rock. I then got into her car and waited for someone to find me.

The story I made up was a miserable tragedy about a storm and a collision, it being the other party’s fault, after which they took off. All of her loved ones believed it because… why wouldn’t they? It basically was the truth. Well I felt (still feel) horrible about it, and when the doctor was checking my head about 2 hours later all of her memories started pouring into my memories. I knew every detail about this woman and I knew the last thing she saw before she died – my headlights coming right at her.

The guilt almost swallowed me whole and I didn’t save her family from anything, she or I had to die at the latest 15 years later. It was 6 years and I decided to die. I was getting too attached. Laying in that oak coffin wouldn’t have been so bad, it was very comfortable which was a waste, but I couldn’t breath the whole time which was a whole new kind of torture.

Luckily, Gormman came to the funeral and got me out before I was actually buried. I decided they should’ve just mourned her when she died the first time. I did go back, they still hadn’t fixed the telephone pole, and found the rock I had used as her headstone, dug up her body, and put it in her casket. They should mourn her body not an empty casket. But in all honesty I know I could never do the right thing: I killed her that night, took her life, never atoned for it, I can never be forgiven for that.

I never want to have an experience like that again, but the changeling side of me has other ideas and has been making me blackout lately. I have to fight the urge daily and it gets stronger with each passing day.

I’m afraid one of these days it’s going to win.

So when my friends from work asked me to go out with them to a bar, I debated with myself for a while. I wanted a drink so bad, I really did. The blackout today had knocked me for a loop but I knew I couldn’t have any alcohol, except for maybe a drink of wine but even that was risky. Alcohol makes my sensible side go out the window. Unless I want to go full changeling I have to stay sober.

Dancing, however, I don’t have to stay away from and if you go to the right bar I’ve found, over the years, it can be an amazing pastime. Just the release I need after the close encounter I had today.

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