Surrounded by inky black darkness, it strode forward with long purposeful steps. The mouthwatering qualities of it’s next meal could not be denied. Long ago it had reconciled it’s existence in this world with the purpose of it’s creation. Where there is light, there is darkness. Where there is good, there is evil. There has to be balance, one side of the scale cannot hold monopoly over the other. Even if that hadn’t been true, the hunger would have been more than enough to convince it otherwise. The empty hollow feeling had disappeared and been replaced with a deep, agonizing pain that could no longer be tolerated, and as it approached it’s destination it’s mouth curled into a smirk of satisfaction….it was time to feed.
Claire stood at the door fumbling in her purse trying to locate her keys. She swore under her breath and dumped her purse on the sidewalk in frustration. Feeling her way around in the darkness she finally felt the cold steel against her fingers and she sighed with relief. Hurriedly she stuffed the remainder of items back into her purse and stumbled through the darkness, feeling her way inside. Need to replace that damn bulb , she thought. One of these days I’m going to break my neck out there. Why in the world did I choose to move in here instead of selling and getting an apartment in the city? I could die and it would be weeks before anyone discovered my body.
Claire’s parents had died when she was young. She had been brought up by her Aunt and Uncle, living with them in the city until she turned eighteen. Two days after her birthday, she had arrived at the home her parents had bequeathed her, ready to start her new life. If only she had anticipated the loneliness she would endure she never would have chosen to move here. But, it was too late to turn back, her Aunt and Uncle were enjoying their time together and she wasn’t going to ruin it for them. They took care of me for so long, she thought. They deserve to spend their golden years without me to worry about. I love them too much to take that away.
Setting her things down in the entryway, Claire grabbed the remote and threw herself on to the couch. She was just beginning to enjoy her movie when she heard a soft knock at the door. The knock became increasingly insistent as Claire made her way to the door. That’s strange, she thought, no one ever visits me during the day let alone at night. Probably just someone lost needing directions.
She stood on her tiptoes, attempting to see the face of the person knocking, but all she saw was darkness. Another reason I need to replace that bulb, she thought. This could be an axe wielding maniac and I wouldn’t know until they were already inside. She giggled nervously pondering the scenario. Shaking off the thought she opened the door and was greeted by a teenage boy with an unruly mop of shaggy brown hair. He smiled warmly at her as she looked up at him.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I hope so.” the boy said, “My name is Silas Black. I was driving through looking for a place to stop for the night, and it seems I’ve run out of gas. Is there any way I could use your phone to call for assistance?”
Claire looked up at the boy standing in front of her and was overcome with a sense of dread. What is wrong with me, she thought. He just needs to use the phone. Why do I always expect the worst from everyone? It’s not like he’s asking for my soul. Claire shook off the feeling of foreboding and nodded at the boy. Opening the door wider, she stepped aside and waited for him to walk into her living room.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” asked Silas. “Manners dictate that I must wait for an invitation. It would be rude of me to assume that my entrance is welcome”.
His speech sounds so peculiar, thought Claire. He was very polite though, that she had to admit.
“Of course” said Claire, “where are my manners? Do come in please”.
Silas grinned and entered the home, shutting the door behind him. Claire pointed him in the direction of the phone hanging on the kitchen wall.
“I’ll be here on the couch if you need anything. Take your time, and don’t worry if it’s long distance. The phone company doesn’t charge extra for that anymore”.
Claire settled back down on the couch and watched Silas saunter into the kitchen. He’s handsome, she thought. But there’s something a little scary about him. I can’t quite put my finger on it…I’m probably just being silly. She blushed as Silas looked her way from the kitchen. She was embarrassed to have been caught staring at him. She turned her attention back towards the television as Silas hung up the phone and walked toward her.
“Unfortunately, I was unable to reach anyone. Would you mind if I stayed inside a bit? It’s so cold outside.”
” Of course you can”. Claire said. “You’d freeze out there, what with not being able to start your car and all. Make yourself at home for as long as you need. Do you need anything? Food? A drink perhaps?”
“No, Claire. That won’t be necessary.” Silas said.
Claire looked at Silas in confusion. He knew her name….but, how? She hadn’t told him. He hadn’t even asked for that matter. Suddenly the feeling of dread washed back over her and threatened to turn into fear. The look on Silas’ face had changed. It was no longer warm and his smile had disappeared. His eyes fixed on hers and held her gaze there. Claire was starting to feel a bit light-headed. She suddenly felt an urgency to turn on the lamp sitting on the table beside her. As she flipped the switch, she looked up at Silas and gasped when she saw his eyes clearly for the first time. They were coal black and empty looking. They showed no reflection of light and the longer they held Claire’s gaze, the more lightheaded she became. She attempted to protest as Silas’ reached down, cupping her chin in his hands but, it was useless. The words only came out in squeaks and she felt frozen in place, as if she was no longer in control of herself.
“I am hungry, Claire. But, my hunger is much different than the hunger you experience. My hunger can only be sated by consuming the very essence of humanity. You see, I am the keeper of balance. You’re too good Claire. Too nice. Too kind. Too understanding. You must be dealt with.”
Silas touched his lips to Claire’s and breathed in deeply. She was delicious…so sweet. The pain was replaced by a feeling of fullness as he let Claire’s body drop back to the couch with a soft thud.
“You shouldn’t have invited me in Claire. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice….too nice. People like you never learn. At least not until it’s too late.”
It opened the door and stepped outside. Smelling the air, it took long purposeful steps into the darkness. It’s next meal was close and it’s mouth-watering qualities could not be denied. It was time to feed.