I was only twenty years old the first time that I tried to kill myself. I had locked myself in my room while my mother and younger sisters cleaned up the mess from breakfast. I had merely picked at the food before I told her that I felt ill. I told her that I needed to be left alone so that I could get some proper rest. I was visiting my family after many months of disappearing from town with no contact, so who knows what kind of disease I could be carrying around inside of me. Medicine was more of a cross between holistic and witch doctor around this time, and for all I knew my curse was airborne. Truth be told, I felt little desire for food anymore. It made my stomach turn and left an unpleasant taste on the roof of my mouth.
I was left alone in the cold, damp, room that was once my own, but now felt so painfully foreign. The knife I had stolen while my mother looked the other way was gripped tightly in my shaking fist. A sturdy wooden spoon gripped in the other, I didn’t want any of them to hear my cries as I tore apart my own flesh and released blood from its cage. I bit down on the spoon; it’s rough finish threatening to leave splinters in the tip of my tongue and the inside of my lips. Slowly, I drove the knife into my chest. The pain was nearly unbearable and it sent shockwaves through my nerves. I took a deep breath and bit down a little harder on the spoon. I pushed through, forcing the blade through layers of flesh, muscle, and thick, cracking bone. My eyes rolled back at the pain. The warm, scarlet mess was bright, almost glowing, against my pale skin. It left my clothing stained beyond recognition and a sizable mark was branded onto the woodwork of the floor.
I spit the spoon out and fell to my knees. I ripped the blade out quickly, sighing heavily as more blood poured from the gruesome wound. My head spun in dizzying circles and I could feel my heart slowing with each beat. I could feel its fading pump first in the back of my eyes, and then slowly in my throat. I touched the wound with cautious fingers until my hands were warm with blood. Finally, giving into the shock of blood loss, pain, and suicide, I succumbed to the darkness that had blanketed itself around me. It gripped me tightly in its claws and cradled me like an injured child. Not a cursed man. When I awoke, the wound was sealed shut. Hardly a pink scar left evidence of my attempt. I touched my stained clothes and picked up the knife, still dripping with my own blood.
Maybe I had met the devil after all.
He wasn’t at all like I was told he would be. There wasn’t a tail protruding from the seat of his pants. He had no set of horns hidden beneath his blond hair. His skin wasn’t red and his feet weren’t cloven hooves. He fed me pints of booze and said his name was Lucifer. I remember laughing as he ordered me another drink. He told me that I was useful and that he wouldn’t allow death to stop by my doorstep, but I can’t quite remember why.
Nearly one hundred, twenty-five years later, and I still don’t know why the Prince Of Darkness gifted me with immortality. I’m not even quite sure what I am. Surely, I am not human. I would have died the night I drilled a knife into my chest if I was. I wasn’t a vampire for I had no desire for the copper taste of blood. I didn’t break and bend to howl at the sight of the full moon’s brilliant light. I had no painting from which I could look upon and be destroyed. The severity of my immortal curse didn’t hit me until I buried my youngest sister. She was seventy-three and I was twenty, going on eighty. I hadn’t aged a day since I met Lucifer, and I had attempted suicide five more times. Each morning, I awoke with no more than an annoying headache and stains of blood and vomit to scrub out of the floors.
I had given myself enough new names that I would often forget which one my father had given me more than a century ago. My real name is William, or is it Markus? My previous name isn’t that important. My current one won’t be of much importance either. I was going to try to kill myself again, because a man is not meant to live as long as I have. It would be quick this time. Not painfully drawn out as I carve bone from my chest with a dull kitchen knife. No, this time would be different. This time I had a gun. The taste of metal against my tongue made me roll my eyes with annoyance. I had done this before. The year was younger and I had a different name. Why was I even trying this? I knew what the outcome would be. Still, I pulled the trigger and allowed darkness to wrap itself around my organs.
In the morning, I awoke with no more than a headache and a mess of blood, brain matter, and bone fragments around the confines of the small city apartment to clean up. There was something different though. In the floorboards, next to where my body fell were words carved wickedly into the wood.
You belong to me.
My soul was not to be collected unless the devil himself was picking it up.