He’d loved his master—tried to please him, to follow his commands, to anticipate his needs. Until his master, the man who’d given him life, who’d sustained his life, had gone away. Conrad thought he’d died, but he’d never found the body.
Time passed, and Conrad no longer knew what do, whom he should please, what his purpose was. Then the fear had begun. His life—no longer sustained by the man who’d created him—began to slip away. How would he live? He needed to live. So he turned to the strange, dark tomes in his master’s library, and, for the first time, he understood what he was. Knowing that taught him how he could survive without the carefully doled out sustenance from his master. He could steal the memories, the emotions of others, eat them, and he would be sustained. He would live.
So he stole the memory of a man’s favorite dog. A snack.
Then he stole the memory of a child’s dear friend. A meal.
And then he stole the memory of a woman’s loved one. A feast.
For a time, he was satisfied. But then he wanted more.
Anger, loss, love, pain. If he couldn’t find it, he made it. Then he ate. He no longer merely satisfied his hunger—he gorged on stolen emotions. Widowed men and women and bereaved parents became his newest, his best victims. He wallowed in the surfeit of grief, leaving behind only the empty husks of his prey.
He would never be full, because his hunger was endless.
But he would gorge; he would live.