I found the boy at the forest’s edge. Surely, his mother told him not to wander near Firelight Forest.
But boys will be boys.
Humans trust nothing more than a child, even when they are children themselves. They seek companionship.
So, I skipped through the woods and happened to cross paths with this boy. He asked where I came from. I told him the truth.
An important thing, the truth. You never want to steal a child away by lying to them.
I asked to play catch and offered to show him where I lived. It would be fun.
Once we ran through the veil I struck.
We used to steal children away for seasons, years. Sucking them dry took time. We had to extract everything they cared for. The fun, their laughter and kindness, too.
I found a different way.
Licking blood from my fingers, I relished his youth.
When done, I shoved a lump of ice in his hollow chest and sent him on his way.
The boy staggered through the forest, wisps of ice trailing him, his shoes leaving frosted footprints in his wake.
That would subside before he returned home.
But his cold heart would remain.
Kai Delmas loves creating worlds and magic systems and is a slush reader for Apex Magazine. He is a winner of the monthly Apex Microfiction Contest and his fiction can be read in Martian Magazine, Tree And Stone, several Shacklebound anthologies, and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @KaiDelmas.