I had no choice but to follow the compulsion tugging at me. It took me beyond the city and into the woods. I floated through thickets and meadows, and I felt the shadows of dead trees fall across me—they are appreciably colder than the shadows of their living counterparts. It seemed like I was walking the halls of a forested and celestial house as the atmosphere exuded the shelter of gigantic, enclosed places. The treetops fashioned the darkening firmament into a great threshold, making the sky seem like a yawning portal to a cosmic chamber where something waited patiently, breathing in the silence of dead space. I could still see through the growing darkness even as the shadows quickly gnawed away at the periphery of my vision.
The night was closing off the world, but the pull of an invisible force kept me one step ahead of the advancing blackness. Soon the night trapped me, falling from all sides at once, surrounding me within a single blot of drying amber. The dim light drifted beyond me, letting the darkness crawl across my body, soft and silent. The shrinking twilight managed to survive but a few seconds longer before it melted around a small wooden cabin, leaving behind only a ghost of warmth that the night exorcised with a cold breeze. The tugging became the slightest cobweb, compelling me in the direction of the crumbling shack. I entered the structure through a hole that was once a door and strode into its blackened innards.
Something stirred. Whatever it was, it was aware of me. It carefully slipped beneath the silence as the pulling dissipated into the air. I was so very close to my destination. My sister came into to my hand, her glittering laughter dancing behind the silence as I vanished into a solid patch of purest darkness, waiting.
The hidden creature was a patient thing indeed, and while its movements never betrayed it, its smell eventually did. It was something wild and carnivorous, and it was a predator of some distinction: a cougar, perhaps. My second sister rose from her bed and they grinned at me. I smiled back. I moved toward the source of the smell, and I made no secret of my approach.
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