The Resting Place
I heard them from quite a distance away; visitors. It is a rare event for anyone to come to me, since I am so far away from civilization, and I needed to make the most of it. It had been years since I had been able it feed myself or my children properly as the beasts of the forest had grown wise to our hunts. We needed to feed, and this group seemed the perfect opportunity. I told the children to hide as the group approached, and so they did, going into my attic or crawlspaces to wait for me to call them back.
The group of travelers, five men and two women, were northerners. I could tell they too were hungry and desperate because they ignored the shabby appearance of my porch with its peeling paint, splintered furniture, and whining hinges and asked to enter. I gave a creaky reply, it was all I could do in my weakness, and with a shrug they entered. Then they saw me, a broken being. I was no longer able to move or interact in any meaningful way, so I lay still and watched them. They hesitated as they looked about at the decrepit surroundings. They commented on the rotted wallpaper and splintered floorboards that I had not the energy to repair. I groaned back at them for their rudeness, which perturbed them enough to stop, though they continued to explore.
After finding that I had locked most of the doors and there were no obvious keys, the travelers made themselves comfortable in my kitchen for a time, discussing if they were going to stay with me for the night. They did not ask me of course, and their rudeness was getting on my nerves. Still, I wish I had could have warned them to leave before sunset. Staying for a few hours would sustain me and leave them mostly unharmed, but a whole night is almost always fatal and, to their misfortune, I need time to digest.
I was less sorry for them when they broke down my doors looking for things to steal. I made as much noise as I could to try and stop them, but being in the state I was I couldn't even grab their attention. I am thankful they did not find the small door to the attic hidden behind my bed. If they had they would have also found my children, and I can not bear to think of what would have happened if they did.
A few hours after the visitors arrived, night had fallen when I could feel a faint trickle of life pouring into my soul. I made the smallest of flexes to test if I could once again move about. There was not enough yet, but I thought I could wake them before they all wasted away in my bedrooms. Even if they were uncouth, I dislike killing. So I sat still in the night, watching the moon rise to its perch in the sky, and waited for enough energy to wake them. Time was running short, and their only saving grace was that with such a large party feeding my soul at once I could gather energy at a faster pace than if there were only two or three of them.
It was just after midnight when I felt the surge of power run through me. It is always strange to me how long the effect takes for it to become potent. My mother had not yet perfected the process before she was killed, but it was enough. As soon as I realized I was able, I began to make an awful racket, attempting to wake everyone in the house. The group of ruffians awoke in horror at the racket, but when they noticed what had happened to their bodies they began to lament. Their hair had gone stark white and their skin had become translucent and thin showing the veins just underneath. The effects of a soul draining are so curious on the mortal form, but I digress. They fled as soon as they were able to, leaving me to sit in silence.
The energy they had given me would allow me to feed my children and we could leave this place at last. It was enough to last us a little over three years. I repaired the doors that the travelers had broken, and we picked up to start the journey south. I had to make haste since the group would no doubt spread rumors about me if they made it back to a town or village. Just before I stood to leave, I realized that with such a surplus of energy I could have another child, and so I started to weave their body and mind while I lifted my heaving form and made my way toward Cirris, my homeland.