Sally stole a bit of every man who ever saw her.
Nothing they would miss. Not really.
She didn’t take for gain, more a kind of kleptomania. She really couldn’t help herself; it was like scrapbooking, or collecting butterflies.
Her two-bedroom, terraced house was the same as so many others in the small city of Norford. There was a box room off the main bedroom upstairs. It was sometimes used to describe the houses as ‘three bedroom’, or converted into a bathroom, but it mostly felt like space the architect hadn’t known what to do with, barely big enough for a double bed and a pair of slippers. In Sally’s house it was lined with shelves, with another row back to back in the centre.
The narrow shelves were filled with tiny sample bottles. About the same size and shape as the ones food colouring comes in.
What Sally sampled with great care, some humans stole recklessly and without even realising what they were doing. They would steal huge chunks of a person’s soul and then abuse it, crumple, crease and batter it, and just threw it away like a bad memory. Her own kind were worse, they always took too much, thought of humans as nothing more than cattle.
But Sally wasn’t like that, she saw herself as something of a custodian. She treasured every subtle flavour and nuanced scent a human soul could have. She catalogued them and studied them. She admired the creatures. And that was why she was outcast. She could not consume any part of them. She went hungry, and for that her sisters despised her.
Her sisters knew only feasting and deceit and thought that was enough.
Sally had a plan though. She had found that some humans were empty inside, so empty. In them was nothing but cold curiosity, a dark void that wanted just to examine, to consume and absorb everything around it. They were horrible, despicable things, not so different from her sisters, but she could use them. By giving up some of her precious collection she would scent one of these hollow men to appeal to one of her kind.
She would give him a flavour of devotion and desire, of obedience and worship, and just a hint of defiance; all the things her sisters hungered for. And when one of her sisters noticed, stalked her prey and moved in, took him to a secluded place and opened herself wide in order to consume him, she would be in for a surprise. Instead of the feast she came for she would find her spirit inexorably wrenched into that emptiness, consumed by that ravenous, psychopathic curiosity, even as the man destroyed her body, completely ignorant of her true nature.
Sally would watch. She would call the police and her hollow man would be caught red-handed. She would save humans twice over in one act. And any remnants of her sister she would bottle and take home, ugly things that they were.
They could never be a part of her collection. Sally had other plans for them... she was so very, very hungry.