It landed on the damp soil with a splash, not being given the chance of life. Light poured from the opening in the air, welcoming it. A pinpoint of darkness marred the brightness, taking its attention.

The point grew, blocking the light from its sight as a voice, soothing and kind, calmed it, offering it life after all, giving it purpose. Shadows pulsed from the dark crevices of the tunnel, melding together, forming its vessel.

The woman who’d discarded it like trash thrashed herself with an object, the sound appealed to it, and it mimicked what it heard, crackling, slashing, popping in unison. Stopping her movements, she stared back in horror, but it didn’t understand her response. It was her child, she should be loving and nurturing, not repulsed and terrified.

She left it alone, but it didn’t mind, there were plenty of things rustling in the foliage to feast upon. The opening remained in the air, and allowed it to enter. Whispering voices gave it knowledge, and ideas of its own.

As the morning light came into the air, it sensed her presence, and called out with sounds it had heard in the woods in the dark of night after she’d left it to fend for itself. Finally, she came, returning to the spot of its birth. The fear it had seen in her hours before had returned to her face.

To be near her in the night, it had followed but had no way of entrance. It had peered into windows, pressed its ear against walls without finding her.

There had been an older woman who’d heard its calls, and had peeked through the window where he’d climbed. She staggered back finding its face in the night, making no sound, eyes wide, like its mother’s stare had been, falling onto a slab, and covering her head.

Dissatisfied at not finding its mother, it returned to the light hanging in the air near the water and waited.

A man came, drawing its mother’s attention, and both rushed through the woods, leaving it alone again. Its mother never returned, though it called to her with the sounds it had learned.

Children played in the woods near the creek and around the pond, and it watched them, leery at first on whom they were and if they meant it harm, but soon enough it came from the shadows to join them.

They screamed seeing it, and ran, and it chased them, making the sounds it had learned, and it felt itself become stronger with each shriek of terror. The tunnels opened to it as it ran, and it would cross ahead of the frightened children to jump out of the trees, causing them to turn on their heels and go the way they’d come.

It enjoyed the interaction, and learned that it could join with one of the runners, usually a straggler that wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the pack of others hooting and hollering as they darted through the woods, their faces turning back finding it closer, and when it was done with its fun, it would tear away from the one, stealing thoughts and memories from them, leaving them different from when they had entered its realm.

It had never seen what it looked like until the first time it had joined with one of the runners, then the thoughts showed it great, round eyes like the Moon in bright amber, and a smile like a sliver of the same orb.

It found stories about how it lurked in the shadows of the trees and devoured children, causing it to chortle with delight. Then came the child hiding in the trees as a beast of a boy lumbered along the path, angered and pained from the exertion. She was a dainty thing in a yellow dress, clutching a doll to her chest.

Her silence in the moment the boy came closer amused the creature, but its interest locked on him. He had the same eyes as it, and it was curious about him. The bestial force of the boy drew it closer. It saw itself in the boy, barely wondering how it was possible.

He didn’t notice the creature pounce as he spun, searching for the girl. Howls of rage emitted from him that shook the girl, pushing her from the hiding place that wasn’t secure now that it was inside the boy.

The boy chased the girl through the trees, but didn’t gain any distance on her as she was lithe and sleek, never glancing behind to see where it was. Huffing air as he ran, he broke from the trees to find her turn at the front of the house.

It slowed as it closed the distance, peering in the bushes, and around the house. It hadn’t been this far from its home in a long time. The door to the house was open, and it went with the boy up the steps, to the front door and inside.

The boy peered around the first floor, glancing in rooms then fixing his gaze to the top of the stairs. It had only seen inside the house the night it had been born, which had only been through windows opening to dark rooms, except the one on the top when it had climbed the side of the house to find the woman peering back at him.

It had only been in the woods and the tunnels, never had it stepped inside a house or other building. Everything was strange, especially not seeing the sky. Keeping the boy’s pace slow as they climbed, it took in as many details as possible.

When they’d reached the top of the strange incline, they looked around, wondering where the girl had hidden. The anger still possessed the boy, and it was pleased with the sensation, twitching like electricity. It made it sounds come through the boy’s mouth, as they approached a rectangular opening in the wall.

Peering inside, they found nothing of importance, and moved away. It wanted to know the texture of the wall as they crept along, and drew up the boy’s hand with its own, trailing its claws on the surface, giggling with delight at the new wonder.

They stopped at the far wall, listening, but hearing nothing. Leaning down, they peered through a tiny hole. Movement caught its attention, but didn’t know if it were the girl or the shadow of a bird flicking into flight.

It induced the boy to back away, and to find a suitable hiding place for the game they were playing; at the right time, they would have a chance to attack their prey.

The boy opened the wall, and went inside. Neither made a sound as they entered. The delightful aroma of lilac filled the air, but it couldn’t find the bushes with the blooming flowers inside the enclosure.

They waited, watching the spot the boy had opened. Footsteps came closer, and a shadow drifted from a crack near the floor and the wall. It wanted to giggle, but didn’t want to alert the girl.

It didn’t need to push the boy to act, he had already leaped to the wall, and flung it open. The girl, as it had expected, was frightened by the suddenness of their appearance, and toppled down the incline, landing on the ground below with a thud.

The boy separated himself from the creature without knowing that it had been present, and eased himself down the incline. It remained at the top, watching. The part it wanted, separated from the girl. Her gaze moved to where it stood grinning.

It howled, and thrust down the incline. The boy had already left the house, leaving the beast and the girl to play.

Seeing it, she darted into the tunnel, and it continued its pursuit, entering behind her, but not finding her inside. It cackled, returning to the enclosure at the top of the incline, knowing it would have its chance.

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