There Are No Eaters of Souls In America
by Rebecca Fraimow
The monster slithered over the side of the ship when nobody else was looking. Hodel could have cried out, but she was more afraid of the other passengers than she was of the monster. It shivered and dripped water onto the deck from tattered seaweed fronds. It looked like an old peddler, stuffed with rags to keep warm.
It looked like it might speak Yiddish. "You shouldn't be here," said Hodel. "You've got no ticket. And you might be sick."
"I am sick," said the monster. It did speak Yiddish, badly, with a sloshy abyssal accent. "I've been eating the ones they tip over," it said. "The ones who don't make it. Ah! That's a mistake. Their dreams are so strong, they're making me ill. I've got to finish it, or I'll have no peace."
Hodel tried to remember what her mother had done for the old peddlers. "Are you hungry?" she asked.
"Not yet," said the monster. "My stomach can't take any more dreams just now."