They come in the night and nothing but the coldest flesh will appease them. On their sickly pale horses, they slowly and quietly ride into the town.
Nothing heralds their coming, there is no omen or ceremony, they simply are where they once were not.
So wrap your children in tightly and keep the fire burning for as long as you can since they are drawn to cold skin like the vampire to a young maiden’s neck.
As soon as the cold takes hold of you it’s best to just begin your prayers since as soon as they are close enough, they can feel you shiver.
Once they have their prey in sight, nothing will stop their feast, not even father’s rifle or mother’s Holy Scriptures.
Nothing, except fire.
It is midsummer and the night-time is slowly pulling the sunlight away.
In one of the smallest home in the town, an old woman tells her two grandchildren stories to frighten them in the night,
as she speaks of warlocks and werewolves they squeal with childish delight,
still believing in their innocence that the harshest things in existence were their schoolteachers scolds and the putrid tasting cough medicine from the apothecary.
This is why they do not listen to their grandmother who reminds them to wrap up warm against the prying eyes of the creatures that search out the cold in the dark.
They smile sweetly and say they will but when they reach their warm room they decide they won’t let a crazed old woman be the reason they sweat uncomfortably in the night.
The eldest opens the window slightly “just to let in some clean air, it’ll still be warm,” she says, unknowingly trying to reassure herself.
The two girls slip into their thin summer nightdresses and lie beside one another with the intimacy found only amongst sisters.
As the night draws on grandmother covers herself in protective furs and falls asleep in her rocking chair,
not thinking it necessary to check up on the two young girls since she knows that they always shield each other against the dark and believes that they always take her advice.
The tick-tock of the grandfather clock masks the light tapping of hooves on the gravel outside and the wind and the sound of a hungry breath mix in together to form an indistinguishable howl.
There is a pronounced 'thud', the sound of someone, or something, dismounting its animal. A few footsteps, and the sound of claws gently caressing the open window.
Soon there is a visitor inside All clad in black with a face like burnt leather and fingers like meat hooks.
It stalks over to the bed, where the two girls lie, drawn in by the coldness of their aura. A hand reaches out, so close to the little one's foot.
The door slams open, and grandmother stands there, torch in her right hand, and a pail in her left. She yells at the girls, tells them to stand back.
With swift movements, only possible in her old age because of the burning love she feels, she throws the torch towards the bed, setting the ground before it alight,
and douses herself in cold water.
The visitor recoils at the sudden heat, and finds new prey behind it. Someone is shivering, and the visitor is advancing.
The girls are awake now, and they barely understand what horror is taking place before them, but they know that they must leave.
Careful not to touch the advancing flames they slip out of the window and into the night, leaving the awful sounds of crunching and gargling behind them.
They are safe, for now.