They seem so normal. Just another friendly body in this great big universe, a shoulder to lean on, a warm smile you didn't know you wanted to fall into. And when you do fall in--who could resist the charms of such easy comfort?--
--the feeding begins. It starts slowly at first, with some fawning, a soft compliment assuaging your suddenly tired soul and you start to relax under their gaze as they sink their teeth in--feeding on your energy, sucking out your light. You are plied with the heady elixir of flattery and adoration until you are dizzy enough to forget this one crucial fact: you do not know this stranger, that there is no real bond. You think only of how nice it is to feel the warm praise for which you didn't know you had been thirsting. In the coming days, you are left with only a vague memory of your talk. Still, you bear the markings of their feedings, the exhaustion and lack of inspiration, as if the light you shine on your world has gone out, casting everything into gloom.
It is the brighter burning spirits they gravitate towards, like dark moths to a flame. But they need the invitation to enter the day; until you return their smile, they can only lurk in the shadows, hover near the periphery of daylight, hungry. Always hungry. Forever unable to make light of their own.
That is their weakness, their lack of light. And while they search for holes in your armor, your willingness to ignore the boundaries you have so carefully cultivated like a thicket or rose bushes around your home, you know this one fact: they can only hurt you if you let them in. So you use your energy to tend your roses so that each bloom is fat and full, an impenetrable shield of life and earth; you use your light to cast them back into the darkness from where they came. You have no room for them in your world. Only the sunlight that seeps through the perfumed petals and jagged thorns of your roses.
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