We are the hungry ones. Alabaster skin and full of teeth. We feed on the hollow chests of young not-yet-men; on the breasts of new mothers and old crones; on the squalling red flesh of month-old infants. We feed on those with love to give. Love enough to fill us and blunt the gnashing of our inner maws. Love. What we cannot give, we need to live.
We are the last of our kind. We are the ancient gods kept alive by fading faith. And in place of lost faith, we are driven to seek that which you give so generously.
Love. Such a soft, whispery word; yet so broad in its promise, falling so easily from human lips. Want, need, lust, longing, greed, childish craving – all these and more are confused with love. Love in its distilled form, as a singular emotion, is given by very few. Those who claim to own it do not. Those who pour it out freely do not own it.
Or perhaps, all roads lead to love. The fount of all sentiment – including hate. The fount that we as gods must now drink from. Once, humans sought from us an elusive elixir. Now we drink theirs from their backyards, their streets and beds; in the dead of night, in the daylight, in the tender place between their collarbones. We drink and drink. But our appetites are as immortal as we. And so it goes on: the sucking, the dark, the great empty. Gnashing fangs in our bellies. Hunger in our eyes.
Faith, once given freely, is lost. Our temples lie in ruin. Humans of today give their blind belief to an invisible force. And we are left shrinking in the rubble.
They are so selfish with their faith now. It is exclusive; celebrated in congregations and societies; it has rules, it has restrictions. But love! Humans are generous with love. They give it almost carelessly. It is not an ideal love – tangled as always with a morass of lust-hate-longing – but it is beautiful nonetheless, and filling.
So we feed. We drink deep. We suck away like carnivorous babes who refuse to release their mothers' teats. Without this elixir, we would be dust.
We are the ancient ones. The hungry ones.
And all we need is love.