Host :

Rain tapped at the windows, and wind howled outside. The weather was crappy for summer, but Lisette couldn’t be happier. Curled up with a book and steaming mug of tea, the fifteen-year-old girl quietly read and sipped contentedly, occasionally glancing to see the unbroken, glossy sheet of rainwater slide down the cool glass of the windows. Her parents and younger brother were away at some amusment park a couple states away, and she had elected to stay behind. Lisette had always been a bookish hermit, and so chose catching up on reading over kiddie rides and meth-addicted carnies.
The lamp above her glowed warmly, and Lisette smiled at her good fortune. She was just reaching the last few pages of her novel when a sharp cracking noise echoed throughout the living room, and the lamp abruptly shut off.
Wrapping her blanket more securely around herself, Lisette stood in the total darkness and went in search of some candles or a flashlight. She must have tripped and fell half a dozen times, acquiring some bruises in the process. She fumbled through drawers on her way there, and eventually found a couple candles and some matches. Lisette lit a short, fat candle and turned on her heel back to the stairs.
Balance failed her at that crucial moment and she fell forward. The candle went out as she went, and she reached out with her free hand for something to grab onto. To her surprise and terror she did. Something smooth and cold and slightly damp gripped her hand and pushed her backwards, setting her back on the first step. Lisette stood a moment, heart racing, before relighting the candle and waving it in front of her.
“Who’s there?,” she shouted, voice shrill. Lisette saw something move in the corner of her eye, and she whipped her head around to see that nothing was there. Paranoia, she thought to herself. That’s what has you so wired. It’s storming outside and the power was knocked out. It’s only natural to be paranoid.
She slowly, cautiously made her way downstairs and back to her chair, unnerved. The house was utterly silent, save the persistent dripping of rain on the roof and ground and the sound of her own heart thumping inside of her chest.
Lisette picked up her book and held the candle to it, attempting to reassure herself she was only imagining things. She had only just managed to calm down when she felt a light touch on her head. Not a very heavy touch, but still there. Only when she had leapt up and shrieked did Lisette see them.
Shadows, moving along the walls, black and wispy. Some were big and some were small, but still silent and ominous all the same. Lisette shook all over, fear taking hold of her. How was this possible? There was no one but her in the house. No one could be casting those shadows that were dancing along the walls. She suddenly had a childish urge to run away, to hide under the covers and shut everything out. But no matter how much she wanted to, terror glued her feet to the floorboards. One of the shadows, the darkest and tallest of them all, had managed to extract itself from the others and now stood in front of her.
It spoke with a voice like the slithering of snakes. “Lisette,” it repeated, black nothingness that had formed in front of her and rooted her feet to the spot. “I am in need of a new host. And I have chosen you.”
And when the last words were uttered, the shadow lightly tapped her and Lisette fell to the floor, twitching and shrieking. No one would of heard her; the nearest neighbors were two miles away, and the rain was too loud anyways. The shadow laughed and wrapped itself around her, arms around her mouth to muffle the terrible sounds she was making. And when the girl had quieted, the shadow gently ran a hand over her eyes and drew its thin, insubstantial fingers upward.
A new shadow rose from Lisette, white and shining. “A clean young soul. Practically brand new.” And with that Lisette’s soul was cast into the crowd of shadows on the wall. The one that had quieted her was burrowing itself into her still-warm body, taking hold of its latest host. The new Lisette flexed her fingers and stood up, testing the amount of control she had. Sometimes a bit of the owner’s soul would remain and try to fight her, but they never succeeded. This was not the case, and the new Lisette had total control. Old Lisette’s brown eyes frosted over and became icy blue upon newfound ownership. Emotionlessness washed over her face, and she calmly turned the circuit breakers back on. The shadows on the walls screamed and quickly tucked themselves into small dark places. New Lisette laughed faintly, uneffected now, and wandered her way into the kitchen, selecting a large knife and turning it this way and that, admiring the way the light glinted on its edge. The shadow’s own name had been lost so long ago, washed away by the ocean. New Lisette went back to the large, soft chair and picked up old Lisette’s book, flipping it back to the very beginning. She slid the blade underneath a pillow and awaited the arrival of old Lisette’s family.
The souls of her past hosts families would have some new companions soon.
New Lisette smiled.


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