[Flash fic]: Hunger

She settles down gracefully at the water’s edge, calmed by the mirror-flat surface. The night whispers about her. Lights, like fireflies so rare in Singapore now, sparkle about her. Somewhere she hears the throb of techno and smells the whiff of barbequed chicken wings. A girl’s soft giggle comes from the grove of Portia trees, followed by soft masculine murmurs. She loves the night and it loves her back.

“You are early tonight,” the ice-cold hand touches her shoulder and she looks up to see the water spirit looming above her. She can see the stars and a random passing plane through the transparent figure.

“I was relieved early from my duties,” she explains, always feeling edgy around the water spirit. The spirit flows, like the slow cascade of clear water. It moves in the shape of a woman, the shape it wants to be seen by mortal eyes.

“No more deaths,” the water spirit whispers softly and ripples as if it shudders in revulsion. “I am glad. Stopping the hungers tires me.”

“Thank you for your help.”

The water spirit sighs. “The hungers were drawn to the sadness. So much sadness, so much pain. Your people are in pain. Can they find solace?”

She remembers all the news in the papers. The suicides. The drownings. A society in flux and eating itself from inside out.

“No.”

“Why? There is so much beauty here. Why is there pain, little mortal?”

The throb of techno grows suddenly loud and there is drunken laughter, a sharp-pitched yelping. She feels the change of atmosphere, the feeling of hunger … in the air, the emptiness in her stomach. She stiffens, almost reaching for her dragon-form athame in her pocket. She finds it difficult talking about money and the pursuit of fleeting happiness. She hates being who she is, feeling their hunger, feeling their need.

The water spirit’s face moves, dipping inward, its way of showing a frown. “I have to go. The hungers awake. You need to stop them from going in. The hungers feed more and they demand more.”

She stands up, her feeling of peace gone. In the distance, she knows the darkness waits for its meal.

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