a cold winter's night
The child did not know why he was there.
He remembered something had woken him up - what was it? Singing, that was it. The singing that was so eerily beautiful, yet so cold. The singing had woken him up, so he had gone to investigate.
And now he was here.
He looked up. The stars were dancing. They came down from the sky spinning and twirling. As they came closer, the boy saw that they were not stars at all, but little people. Little people with wings.
They glowed like the firebugs he liked so much. They made the night brighter, which made him happy. He did not like being alone in the dark; it frightened him.
There was no moon, the little boy realized. It must be that time when the moon goes away to hide, because it gets shy. But that didn't seem right, the moon had been growing not shrinking... Maybe he hadn't been paying proper attention; he did that sometimes.
When the boy wasn't paying attention and his mother had said something important, she would scold him. He didn't like that, so he would try to pay attention whenever he could, but it was hard.
The little people with wings made him forget about all the bad things though. They made him feel happy and warm inside. Happy and warm and safe.
He didn't have to think about the bad things anymore. In fact, he never had to think about anything, ever again. He didn't have to worry about remembering anything either. All the bothersome memories were already almost gone. He realized he couldn't even remember his name.
The remnants of the little boy that was shouted from the back of his head. "Run!" the voice screamed, "Run away! It isn't safe!"
But that little boy was gone now. He had been gone since he had woken up to singing.
All that remained was the hollow shell of the little boy that was after his essence - his soul - was drained out. It was cold and lonely and something that no one should see. It was lifeless. The empty vessel realized it should probably be feeling afraid, but it didn't feel anything anymore.
The little winged people were close enough for the boy to have seen their faces if he so wished, but he had lost his curiosity. He saw their grins, mouths full of teeth sharpened to a point.
And simply did not care.
No one ever saw the little boy again.
"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping than
you can understand.
"Away with us he's going,
The solemn eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a wold more full of weeping than
he can understand"
- "The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats, 1889