Outside, the wind stirred. All was silent. In the house, the girl was lying on the sofa, one foot resting on the arm, the other flat on the floor. Her eyes were closed. But she was still dead.
She was young. She was special. She was rare. A “trainer”, they would have called her. Hers was a soul that could rival others. Hers was a soul that would have ferried others into the afterlife. Psychopomp. There could be only one. But, now, it belonged to him.
Her last breath had asked for death. Death because she was ridiculed, outcast from society – they’d said she was “weird”. In exchange for her soul, she wished to be eternally consumed.
No one would find her. He would make her body disappear in a lake or a forest. His hands had been stained with earth and blood before.
A pool of blood. Wide staring eyes. No, that was his death – the death of his body.
He flitted around the room, trying to decide his next move. A light flickered. His pulse leapt. He touched the light switch; nothing happened.
And yet, another soul.
No! He wouldn’t! Not again! Not anymore!
But that glimpse of a forgotten energy... The feeling of so much power coursing through him. He would add her soul to the ones he’d inherited already. Countless. Never-ending.
It was bittersweet. He wept. But the wondrous power overwhelmed him. Her screams would never subside. He would hear them always in his dreams.
Her soul was sweet. It sustained him for hours. And when hunger was satisfied, he retired to his loneliness. What had become of him? What he had been before, he was again.
* * *
And the other inside him was whispering again. Gentle, soft strokes of a voice kissed the inside of his soul. It warned him. It hated him. It was a part of him.
He sat in darkness. Waited. Drinking the black ink of eternity as though it would dampen the sensation of loss and greed. Greed. Powerful greed was more appetizing than safe logic. Logic didn’t exist in his brain any longer. Logic was dead like his body. Dead again.
A memory burst forth on the horizon like the dawning sun. Warm love. The distance of the feeling ached in his core, but the inviting emotion strengthened his resolve. In moments such as this, he thought he could beat the other inside him.
Because she made him strong. No. Not her. The memory of her made him strong. She was different than the others. Pure soul – yes. But the soul was not what drew him. Was it?
The memory took a turn. The other inside him was consuming it. No! He would not allow it to happen. He pulled the thought of her to the front of his brain. She was his. No one else was allowed to have her. The Siren.
Her song made him weak even in memory. That weakness allowed the other to devour the thought, feeling, emotion. It was too late. The memory faded with the descent of the sun. The grubby window reflected a slanted ray of light; falling over him like a judgment. He wanted no more. The other didn’t agree.
The old Éire. Another wraith. He wanted souls. Their consciousness mingled, tore apart, became two, then three, then one. The two fought; the one demanded. The demand was strong. Her soul would be his.
The Siren would die.
* * *
Something was wrong again. The morning had been fine. He had woken up to the singing of birds and the smell of fresh brewing coffee. His head had been clear, conscious, no sign of the other inside him. A good day, he would have said.
But the girl was there. She was new. No rare soul. Normal.
He had been seeing her a few nights a week. Young, slender, beautiful. She failed to see his underlying struggle whenever they were together. And he refused to see her whenever the other took control. It had been happening more and more often.
The girl came into his room bearing a cup of coffee. She looked worried when she sat next to him in bed. The sheets tangled around him, trapping him in place. Reaching out a blind arm, he swiped the mug from her. Burned his mouth. A curse flared. The girl shrank back.
He felt around for her. The softness of her thigh beneath his weary fingers. It melted into his memories. The pull of that warm love he’d once felt. The Siren again. She haunted his conscious. She was the only one he’d known. The other inside him would not have her; could not have her. He refused. The old Éire awakened. Enraged.
Hot greed and anger ripped through each muscle fiber, shredding his nerves and endurance. Without them, there was no control. Without control, there was only hate.
Choked shrieks. What had he done? The girl. He’d forgotten about her. Her slender neck was gripped between his powerful hands. She clawed at him. Nails ripped into his flesh, dragging the torn skin down to the muscle. Blood stained her fingers; dripped onto the carpet.
The fight dwindled. Her grip loosened. The body fell limp in his arms. Raw pain stung in his hands. They bled. He wept again.
Not her soul. This time, a life without purpose.