In every house, every corner, every nook and cranny came the noises. They were low at first, soft and gentle like a lullaby. They soothed during summertime when the breeze was easy and the light plenty. In the winter the sounds were different. The sunlight sparse, the wailing long and lonesome.

“Do not open your eyes,” my mother would instruct me. Her dark hands holding my own, a mirror image of hers. “No matter what you hear and what you feel, you must not move an inch, you must not open your eyes until the sun is out.”

“I thought they only came to take away our children, to give us their own broken ones,” I would respond, in a low and whispered voice, my head bent close to hers so that our kinky and coiled hair mingled together.

“No, my dear child,” my mother would say. “It’s the young women they love most. Keep them at bay with vanilla milk and fresh bread. Make it yourself or it will be useless.”

“How tiresome,” I would reply and pull away to finish the chores.

I always heard the wails but I never understood her warnings, not really. They existed but they were far away from me. Far from those around me, out in the wilds and away from the walls of my home. That was until I felt the breath of a strange creature above me. The bed groaned under their weight and their face rested just above mine. Their hair fell forward and I could feel it, long and silky combining with mine all dark and coiled. Their fingers reached to touch my face, cupping my dark cheeks. They were cold, their touch akin to the biting winds that whirred outside, banging against my window in a fit of rage. Through my eyes I felt the blinding light. Even keeping them shut, scrunching at the inner corners I could see light, but it belonged to no sun. The creatures loved to use trickery.

“Open your eyes,” their voice commanded in a whisper against my ear. Their breath was warm so unlike the rest of them.

The creature above me melded their body with mine, curves against curves until their lips pushed against my own. I didn’t dislike it, in fact I quite liked it but I knew I mustn’t move. I must not respond. I did not move my body but I let them pry open my lips and look inside. I return the favor. Their fingers dig into my sides like thin needles bending against me trying to draw blood. They tried to claw their way under and lift me up but they couldn’t. I had not moved of my own accord.

It was a long wail that sounded from their lips into mine, creeping through goosebump flesh and into shivering bones.

I realized in the morning that I had forgotten to put out the vanilla milk and fresh bread. In fairness, I had gotten hungry.

Silas M. Adams is a writer and editor currently working as a freelancer with the hopes of breaking into publishing. They’re a graduate of Rutgers with a major in English and a minor in Creative Writing. Writing has been a way to help Silas understand and explore the various cultures that overlap within their life. Their works have appeared in Haunted MTL (2019), Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 5. (2021), and Lupercalia Press – Vulcanalia ’21 Digital Anthology (2021).