Short Story: Monsters in the Night

They paused their journey as the afternoon sky dimmed into evening. All the caravans gathered in a tight cluster of rings. Those to be protected in the circle, those doing the protecting forming the outer shell.

All her life, she had been sheltered inside. Now that she had just become an adult, it was time for her to be prepared to fight the monsters outside. For the first few months, her role was to observe. The more prepared she was, the higher her chances of survival.

She waited with bated breath as the sky darkened fully into night. As stars blinked into view above them, luminescent green eyes appeared around them as the shadows took form.

The first strike happened like a shooting star. One flash and it was over. Without another sound, the monster fell to the ground in two pieces.

Her heart turned cold. She didn’t even see what happened. How was she supposed to fight?

“You’ll get better,” her mentor assured her. “In the meantime, there are other ways you can help, like ranged support or medical aid.”

More sparks flew outside as humans and monsters clashed, so fast she couldn’t even tell who was fighting.

“What if I never get fast enough?”

“Then we find something else you’re good at. It takes more than strong fighters to keep everyone alive.”

A human cry rang and cut off abruptly. She should feel grief, but instead she felt fear that it would happen to her one day, relief that it wasn’t her right now, and guilt that above everything else her strongest emotion was relief that she wasn’t the one out there.

Her mentor might not say it out loud, but she knew that if they ran out of fighters, she would eventually have no choice but to brave the battle outside.

She prayed fervently for everyone to live.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 12/31

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