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"Why do you stare at me all the time now?"

Asking “Why do you stare at me at the time now” was a question that led Elissa down a rabbit hole which she wasn’t certain she wanted to follow, once she’d found herself at the end of it.

“So I may observe your growth,” was the cryptic answer she was given.

“I’m not a teen or a child anymore. How am I growing?”

“You’re growing beyond what you were.”

“What do you mean, ‘beyond what I was’?”

“I meant simply what I said. You are growing beyond what you were.”

“What was I then?

“You were human,” was the cold answer that sent chills up and down Elissa’s spine and haunted her dreams for a long time to follow.

Nervously, the next morning she asked, even though she wasn’t certain if she wanted to know the answer, “I was human. Does that mean I’m not now?”

“That depends,” was the only frustrating answer she got that day.

“Depends on what,” was her following question.

“Depends on who you ask and what definition they use for human,” Dark answered, never betraying any hint of emotion.

“You said I was human, implying past tense,” Elissa argued the next day. “By your own standard and definition, tell me how you’d classify me in relation to the rest of humankind.”

“You are human,” Dark coldly assured her. “You are also more now.”

“How am I more than a regular human,” Elissa demanded to know the next day.

“How? By feeding from a source they cannot.”

“What source? The vegetables? The animals here?” The next day, she was so frustrated she asked all three questions at once.

“You have fed directly from me. No, the vegetables have no effect. Nor does the animals which you consume,” Dark assured her calmly.

The next morning, Elissa asked another series of three questions all at once. “How have I fed from you? What exactly did I consume? What has changed to make me more than a regular human?”

This time, Dark chuckled slightly, before reaching and slowly stroking his hands through her hair as she sat straddling his lap, while they gently rocked back and forth. “How have you fed from me? How could you think you have not, when your stomach is full of my seed every morning? What exactly did you consume? Nothing less than the seed of life from a source older and more pure than all of creation.”

“What has changed about you to make you more?” Suddenly grabbing the back of her head in an ironclad grip, Dark pulled her up until her nose was directly against his. Dark, endlessly swirling gaze locked onto her own, he held her trapped for several long minutes, before finally releasing her and letting her go. “Your spirit has thickened. Your soul has grown stronger. Your flesh is altering, strengthening your bones and muscles. Your endurance grows. You are becoming more flexible. Quicker of eye and sharper of reflex. These things change from day to day and, as most of your race, you do not notice your own gradual growth.”

“You are who you were,” Dark assured her emotionlessly. “You are simply who you were, a little more.”

Elissa left that morning and spent all day assessing his words. Stronger? Faster? A greater endurance? She had to admit, she was lasting longer and longer into the night all the time, before passing out from Dark’s nightly indulgence with her body. She no longer woke tired, and even though she still sweated bucket loads working out in the blazing hot sun, she didn’t come back to the hovel exhausted anymore.

The next morning, she had only three questions left she wanted to ask, before dropping the subject and moving on to other things. “Since I am changing, what will I change into? Will I remain human? Will I someday be able to have children like others, or is that a lost dream of my youth?” Almost dreading the answers, she held her breath and stared into the void of Dark’s eyes while waiting his answer.

He was silent for several long moments, and then Dark uncharacteristically shrugged. “Even I cannot be certain how much you can change. The flesh is limited by the bounds of the spirit, and your spirit thickens and grows each day. The more you feed, the more you accept the strength from my essence, the stronger your soul becomes. Until your soul has reached its limit, it’s impossible to say what the limit to the changes to your body will become.

“As for remaining ’human’, that is as I said before; it depends on the definition one uses to define what is human. Many would say you are. Many more would claim you were something else entirely already. Me, personally?” Once again, Dark shrugged uncharacteristically. “I do not care. You are what you are, regardless of how one other wishes to label you.”

“As for children…” Dark trailed off into silence for several moments, before sighing deeply. “One may only have children with the flesh, if they find a partner with a soul of suitable strength to match theirs. No matter how much a chicken tries, it cannot breed with an eagle. As your spirit grows stronger, the pool of partners available to you grows smaller. Already, most among the human race are too weak to sire a child with you.”

Standing abruptly, Dark unceremoniously dumped her out of his lap and upon the ground. Turning, he walked and stared outside, as dark clouds blanketed the sky pitch black. A torrential downpour of rain and lightning crashed all about, setting several of the ruined shacks on fire, before the rain quickly drowned them out

Easing up, Elissa walked over and stood beside him, gently resting her head over upon his chest as she watched the torrential storm tear roofs off buildings and scatter debris and trash all over the streets and yards that she’d worked so hard to try and clean. Her garden was drowning under an ever growing lake of water, and the raging winds snapped cornstalks and sent them flying like spears through the air.

Somehow, she found it to be a beautiful sight that seemed to suit her mood perfectly.

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