Rusalka Author:C.J. Cherryh In the folk-tales of pre-Christian Russia north of Kiev, the world was full of spirits, mostly hostile, that must be propitiated. There were Yard-Things, Cellar-Things, and a host of others. Most dangerous of all was the Rusalka, the ghost of a murdered girl, still seeking to exist by drawing the energy of life from all nearby living things. — ... more »Once Pyetr Kochevikov had mocked all such beliefs as he rioted through life with the gay young blades he thought his friends. Now his only friend was young Sasha Misurov, who feared his beginning magical powers. Outcast from their native city, Pyetr and Sasha had found safety here in this out-of-the-way cottage of the old wizard, Uulamets. Or it had seemed to offer safety, if not warmth.
Now Pyetr was less sure it was safe. The dvorovoi or Yard-Thing and the domovoi or Cellar-Thing were hostile, though they accepted young Sasha. The vodyanoi or River-Thing had tried to kill him, and he had met the ghost of Uulamets' murdered daughter, whom the wizard was desperately trying to call back to life.
She was the Rusalka who had already destroyed an area of the forest in her desperate attempt to cling to a semblance of life. And now she seemed drawn to Pyetr!
The worst of it was that he felt himself falling in love with her, as she seemed to be with him! But no love could quench her need for the life=sustaining energy within him. And no man could long suffer that drain and live.« less