It's astounding how quickly we became friends.

When we met you assumed that I must be new to the city. I didn't know anyone else and no one else knew me. After a flinching moment of shyness I smiled wide, grey eyes taking you in. Your hand was slick with nervousness as I shook it.

Did you realize then your fate? No. It would have to have been later.

We talked deep into the night, well after every other patron had scrambled out the door. We started off with the normal pleasantries: where we came from, what we do now, what we plan to do on the weekend. My answers were ill-formed and vague, the details mismatching and staticky. But my tone and the tinkling laughter of breaking glass between statements made you think that I was opening up. That I was bearing my soul to you.

I'm sorry to have misled you, but such is my nature.

You rattled off your hometown and were surprised to hear I knew of it. Not well, but better than most who live this far from it. You told me what college you went to and I named a person you vaguely remember. Your sister and mine have birthdays exactly a month apart, have brown hair, and live in Wichita now. At last call we both ask for the quadrupel , from the bottle not the tap.

How small a world, you thought, that our lives should be so nearly touching in so many ways without us meeting until now. But that's not it at all.

I meet your friends and we get along instantly. At the bars I drink copiously to their amusement, always giddy and never becoming belligerent. I talk with them about books they've been waiting years for another person to read, about films and albums no one else ever had the time to watch or listen to. We talk and laugh and cry for hours, plumbing the depths of our collective souls.

But once again there is trickery afoot. You assume a wound must precede a scar, but mine appear overnight. My past is a Rorschach of blobs given form only by the present.

And once again, I'm sorry.

At first it was just little things: persistent fatigue, cloudy days, a few bad nights. Everyone has their downswings. Everyone except me. I stay smiling; the laughing light at the center of our friend group. You try not to resent me for it, but I can tell you're starting to. This always happens.

When I'm not around, everyone you know is asking where I am. They laugh louder and longer when I'm there. There's an electric energy with my presence. Without me you sit around a table, staring at your phones and struggling to make conversation.

You see the light return to their eyes when I stroll an hour late. Suddenly they can't wait to talk. You try to join in but they talk over you to hear my opinion on the latest movie I hated. You recognize them as your opinions too. Ones you had told me just yesterday. Still somehow they're my opinions; no longer yours.

If I apologize again, will it help at all?

Things are getting harder for you now. You're lashing out at those around you, drinking to excess every night. You quit your job in a screaming matching with your boss. People are starting to worry. You can't remember things being this bad because, well... things are getting harder to remember at all.

Fuzzy, staticky, nondescript. You have a sister you think, but you can't remember her name. I remind you that she lives in Wichita along with my sister Heather and has the same color of hair and a birthday just a month apart. I go on to describe her house and car and wife and their new dog with its odd blotchy-black markings. You shudder as I describe her. The twisting in your guts tells you that I'm describing your sister as mine, but you can't remember her clearly enough to be certain.

Thanksgiving rolls around and your friends forget to invite you to their party. They beg me to attend and I graciously ask them for a plus one. You spend the entire time sitting in silence at the end of the table. No one speaks a word to you. I try to include you in the conversation, but everyone else stares through you, puzzled, and then returns to the previous topic.

I really am trying. I don't want to hurt you. But we can't help who we are.

And then you're barely out of bed most days. I bring you groceries and keep the basic necessities of life stocked in your apartment. The cynical will say that I'm just prolonging the life of my prey, but I really do care about you. I want you to get better, to be the one who escapes my pull; but it's looking grim as always. At the very least I can make the end easier.

You always ask me not to leave. You have no other friends in town. You think you're new here, but that doesn't feel quite right. When I'm not around, the world feels like a record skipping. Your reflection in the mirror is hazy, the most noticeable feature being your color-drained eyes. You aren't hungry, but you've never eaten a meal in your life.

And so I sing you your favorite song in your voice as you dissolve into silver wisps of mercury. Your body swirls into oblivion, beads of liquid life sinking into my skin. Another reflection put to rest. I'm sorry; as always. You were so kind, so talented, so interesting, so sweet. You wanted someone who could see all the best parts in you.

Unfortunately for you, I did. And I'm not a person.

I don't enjoy taking away your voice, your friends, your passions, your soul; quite the opposite. If I could take less and still exist, I would. I really do like being friends with humans; their rich tapestries of emotions, their capacity for love and kindness. I want those things too, but they are not natural to me. I have to take them. Don't worry though, I'll put them to good use.

I can already feel your memories starting to fuzz and lose form. I need to make a new friend.