He drifted around his mark. Whenever he came to close his presence left a dark stain on the young boy’s aura.
The cracks in the boy's psyche were clear. The damage ready to rend his soul to fragments, one final push would be enough to drive the point home and send him over the edge.
He knew some Collectors that would take advantage of those cracks. Worming through them like oil and taking over the host, turning the pain of suicide into a wrathful strike against the tormentors.
The boy rushed to his room, moving with the hurried walk-not-quite-run of a child trying to hide something. Holding back the pain of the day as he sank to his bed, shoulders hunching tightly with stress.
He watched the boy reach under his bed for the knife that sat hidden for weeks, only coming out when the pain needed release.
As the boy held the knife in a shaking hand, he drifted closer and whispered a trail of smoke in the youth’s ear.
"Do you know what Hell is child?" He asked.
"Hell is pain, Hell is suffering. Hell is misery." He said with the crackling hiss of brimstone. "It is knowing, knowledge burned deep in your soul, that your world will never change. Never improve."
"So go, kill yourself," he trailed a finger over the blade, the iron burning his ethereal form. "We're waiting for you."
He caressed the boy’s cheek, "And once we have you, do you know what we'll do?"
The soft touch turned to a harsh grip of the boy's throat. "We will put you right. Back. Here."
"You will live the same day of pain, of torment more exquisite than any fire could burn. That will be your Hell. And you will never, never escape it."
He let go of the child’s throat and laid his hand over the boy's own.
"Unless you put the knife down. Unless you face your pain, now."
He thought of that day, when the knife tore a line of red into his skin, tore a piece of his soul away and cast the broken remains into the fire.
Sometimes you have to let yourself break. And no, you will never, ever be the same again. Once you shatter you will never be able to put those broken pieces together. It is your choice then what to do. Do you fall? Do you fall and let the sharp edges tear into you? Or do you take them, do you use them? Build them together, not into what they once were, but something else, something new. A beautiful mosaic that shows the world who you truly are.