They rustled and hissed amongst themselves like restless leaves in the wind. One, bolder than the rest, tried to skitter past me.
I twisted Vanmoriel in my hands, three feet of gleaming steel scything through the dim light. The little shadow danced back, but not quick enough–half its dark substance sliced cleanly from itself. Its wail trembled out into the night.
They made no more escape attempts after that, but clustered tighter together, whispering. I had them cornered along the side of the house, behind the garbage cans.
What do you want with us? one shadow spat.
Vanmoriel’s tip flicked out to point at the speaker. “You tried to enter my home,” I said coldly. “Again.”
They swirled together, agitated. Look, said one. We didn’t mean much harm. It’s just our nature.
“Yes,” said I. “And this is my nature.” I shifted the sword to my left hand; with my right, I fished a small glass bottle from my shirt pocket. With my teeth, I pulled out the cork.
No, they cried, no!
Half an hour later, my wife came home, to find me clearing a space on the shelf above my desk.
“Oh,” she said, “Something new for your collection?”
“Yes,” said I, placing the full bottle beside the jar of Fetch claws.