Deep in the darkest depths of hell lay the light stealers. Content within an endless night, they wait and they watch as the human race goes about their lives.
You’ll know a light stealer when you see one, but something about them will tell you not to ask questions.
Perhaps it will be their cold stare, and the way that it burrows into your stomach, tying it into nervous knots. Perhaps it will be their long, slender hands that don’t seem quite right to you. You’ll wonder why they strike you as so unusual, but you’ll be too afraid to think about it more deeply. Perhaps it will be the crowds that follow them. The enslaved, masked minions, once human, just like you, but now, subordinate and subservient in a way that chills your bones.
They’ll look almost like a human, but something will be off, and if you’re lucky, you’ll never see the true, terrifying form that lies beneath the disguise.
You’ll know right away, but you won’t feel able to walk away, because they’ve already got you, and they’ll always have you. They’ve been watching you for weeks, maybe even months.
They’re part of the furniture, part of the scenery, just someone you see at work, or someone you met by chance on a bus. Your postie, your shopkeeper, your fiancé, your friend. They’re someone that you never quite suspected, but now can’t stop suspecting, and the worst part is, deep down, you’ll know that they’re going to get you.
Nobody knows where they came from, or why they want to toy with you. There is no rhyme or reason for who they choose, but they all want the same thing. Just a little morsel. Just a little taste. Just the little light inside of each human.
I believe that your people call it a soul.
Sometimes, they leave their victims alive, or, as alive as a human can be without the very thing that makes them human. Sometimes, they will steal their prize and then devour its former host, just because they can.
Sometimes, they’ll even let you think they’ve let you get away, but they’ll always be watching, waiting, working you into a fevered, frenzied sweat as you spend whatever time you have left asking yourself if you’re really safe.
You’ll never be safe, once they get their eyes on you. You’ll always know that, at the back of your mind, but you’ll wonder if it’s possible, all the same.
If your will is weak, and your desire is strong, the light stealer will have you in an instant, but even the strongest among us can fall prey to their powers, and they’ll find a way to break you, if they want you badly enough.
I once spoke to a man who thought he’d defeated a light stealer, somewhere up in Scotland. He came to me, actually, all abuzz with his stories about a cinema, midnight showings and the tempting torture of a light stealer he called Pumpkins.
His will was strong, so he said, and he fought the beast back, keeping hold of his soul and his place on the planet, but as he spoke, I could see the light slipping from his eyes, and behind his slumped shoulders, with a single finger to his lips, I saw Pumpkins, with a cold stare and the worst of intentions.
As I said, once you’re marked, you’re never free of their torment. You might live, but they’ll feast on your soul eventually.
Some of them like to keep up the charade, and torture their toys with their masks intact, but some can’t resist giving that extra little scare by tearing away their mock human flesh and revelling in their demonic form.
They might work for hire, turning humans to shells, stealing the light from their eyes until they are obedient and quiet, but most just do it for fun, or to feed on what’s inside you, and to feed the desperate need to capture all that you are.
You’ll know when you see one, but by then, it will be too late. It’s already too late, my friend, because you’ve already met one…
You have the most beautiful, bright eyes, you know, and I’m terribly peckish.