This short story was a fun little project I threw together for a writing exercise of sorts I did with some friends in which we were given a list of words to work into a story. The setting inspiration came from “Mire” and it being a synonym for swamp. Even though it isn’t stated in the short, this set in Louisiana (What can I say? I love my state). With stretcher being part of a rowboat, I had the inspiration for it to be set out on a boat for whatever reason and a lot of inspiration flowed from those two words.
I’ll admit that I might be slightly in love with dystopian/apocalyptic worlds, this one being the latter. It fascinates me to no end how a world can so quickly and drastically be changed in so many ways. I love the freedom of being able to make up my own rules and not be confined by those of current day or those of past. I had a vague idea of our world in the not too distant future, but something has gone wrong and land isn’t safe anymore due to some sort of creature. I sat down with my sister and she had this idea for these shadow monsters which aren’t really shadows, but actual tangible beings that live in the shadows. They are also afraid of the water, which is where the boat came into play.
Something the characters don’t realize though, is that it’s not water, but large bodies of it due to their inability to swim.
These “Shadows” weren’t based on anything but the imagination of my sister who was glad to lend her mind to me.
The stuff about the kids being targeted came into play from a writing prompt I came across one night; “All the boys in a village disappear” I toyed with the idea and used it as a springboard until it felt right.
This is a story I’m planning on revisiting in the future, whether it’s for fun or a full length novel.
I also have a wickedly glorious love of cliff hangers and so I do leave it at a slight cliffy. It was mostly because I wanted to leave a lot to the imagination and let y’all (the readers) decide how you think things go from there until I can come back to it.
(Bonus note: If any of you are interested, Kat is short for Kathryn. :) )
Not long ago I would have thought it beautiful to watch the sunsetting over the lake. Today the only thought running through my mind is that I took too long on my run.
I’ve become accustomed to rowing this boat, my feet planted firmly against the stretcher as I pull the oars against the water. It’s methodical repetition helps me ignore the sounds of night replacing those of daytime. My rowboat bumps up against the boat I let out a whistle. It’s a song that Zach and I taught the kids as a passcode of sorts.
The cables are thrown down to me, excited chatter floating down to me as little heads peek over the side of the boat. The boat is a larger one of the fishing variety with enough room for all of us, though it can be a bit cramped when we’re all in one place.
I hook the cables to either end of the row boat and wait as the wheel jerkily reels me up. I frown at the faded pain on the hull. The kids insisted we name the ship The Nomad after Lewis called us nomads one day.
“We need to freshen up the paint.” I stand as I level with the deck.
“What did you find?” Gabby is the first to speak, as always. Her eyes light up as she stares at the lumpy tarp that’s proof I found something on my run. She and Lewis stand side by side, shoulders brushing. I always thought those stories about twins being inseparable were silly until I met those two. They won’t leave each other’s sight. I don’t blame them these days, I should have done the same.
Zach stands back, his arms crossed over his chest as he watches, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
I smirk as I stick a hand under the tarp.
“What is it?” Cody asks, impatient with my antics.
“Ginger ale!” I pull out the cardboard box full of green cans. The kids collectively squeals are deafening and I cringe.
“I haven’t had a soda in years!” Mia might be exaggerating.
“One is missing.” Lewis looks at me accusingly.
“Someone had to make sure they weren’t poisoned.” I shrug.
Zach helps me unload as the sound of soda cans popping replaces excited chatter.
“You pushed it,” Zach whispers as I hand him boat fuel.
“I know.” I glance out at the lake. The sun has disappeared, pale remnants of its light caressing the trees. It’s not nearly enough light to be safe. Between clothes, fuel, ginger ale, weapons and ammo, and finding game to hunt for dinner, the run took longer than I had anticipated.
Zach’s dark hand encases mine, steadying me as I jump onto the deck with a thud.
A shrill screech pierces the tranquility of the lake, sending a wave of ice through my skin, causing every hair on my body to stand on end.
The kids’ chatter halts abruptly, and I focus my gaze on the water’s edge.
I swear I can see them moving in the trees, but it’s hard to know when you’re seeing a Shadow.
“Let’s not cut it so close next time, okay?” Zach is always worried about me. I take more risks than he does, but he has a right to worry. I worry about him when he’s the one out there. I did cut it too close today, if I had only been a few more minutes I’d be dinner for those things.
“Yeah,” I mumble.
♦ ♦ ♦
We sit around the fire pit on the deck, munching on the game I shot.
The row boat hangs aloft beside The Nomad, creaking quietly as it sways in the wind.
“Kat?” Cody stares at the meat in his hands, turning it slowly.
“Yeah?” I lick the juice from my fingers.
“Can you teach me to hunt?” He turns his sharp gaze on me.
I glance at Zach.
His lips pucker as he leans down and rubs his fingers on the wooden floorboards. Admiring the amazing carpentry, no doubt. He always does that in uncomfortable situations.
“You know it’s not safe for you on land,” I speak carefully. I don’t want to hurt Cody, but he knows the reality of our lives. Land isn’t safe. Especially for those fourteen and under. He’s only just turned fourteen.
“But how can I ever learn how to protect myself if I never have any experience?”
I sigh and chuck the bone of my dinner off the side of the boat. “Cody, it’s dangerous.” I wipe my hands on my pants and look at him evenly. I don’t want to scare the younger kids. Sabrina is especially sensitive. She watched a gang of Shadows murder her family. She’s only six, but she managed to escape. She has more reason than anyone to be scared to death of them. We’re all scared of them.
He possesses a dangerous bravery that borderlines ignorant stupidity. There’s been a raging fire inside of him since his foster family died because of this mess. He wasn’t there to witness it like Sabrina, though. He doesn’t understand the real dangers and he hungers for revenge. Zach and I have about him many times and we both agree; we have to keep Cody on this boat as long as we can.
I open my mouth to answer Cody, but a strange noise calls through the darkness, wiping any words from my mind. It’s a deep throated chirping, unlike any animal call I’ve ever heard.
“What is that?” I walk to the edge of the ship.
All other noises have vanished. Frogs, owls, crickets- even the cicadas are silent. The only sounds are that of the breeze and the water gently swishing to and fro, which are deafeningly loud in the absence of the unusual call.
The overcast sky leaves the world dark beyond the light of our fire, unknown Shadows lurking beyond my sight.
Zach stands beside me and switches on the flood light. We rarely use it in an effort to conserve its power, and most times I would tell him not to worry about it, but I’ve never heard an animal like that even though I’ve been hunting since I was a little girl.
“Ever heard that before?” I ask under my breath.
“No.” He shakes his head. “Do you think it could be-”
“There!” Gabby shrieks, her arms wrapping around my waist like a vice.
Zach jerks the light back and- it sits atop a raft, with a long piece of wood as an ore in its long hands. Its body is slender but large, the kind of slender built for speed. It gnashes rows of long teeth that come to sharp, ragged ends, glinting starkly white against a body darker than black. Its eyes are beads, only visible because of the light bouncing off of them, revealing a hungry glint.
“Kat,” Zach’s voice is a tight whisper.
I have no words to give him for comfort.
Shadows have never come out on the water. We don’t know why, but they don’t like it. Maybe they’re adapting, maybe this one is desperate for a child to eat. At least that’s what I think they do with the children they steal. They never eat the adults, they slaughter them mercilessly, but they don’t eat them. I’ve wondered if the slaughtering of adults is a scare tactic. They’ve proven to be intelligent, strategic creatures on multiple occasions.
“What is it doing out this far?” Mia’s voice is steady and low.
My body is frozen in place as Zach rustles beside me. The moment I move it could charge across the water, I can’t eve blink. Blinking could get us all killed. I stare into its hideous demon eyes, knowing the second I look away will be an act of submission or weakness. I refuse to show either.
“Mia, hold this for me, will you?” Zach asks. She’s only twelve, but she’s one of the bravest souls aboard the boat.
She takes the floodlight and holds it high and steady. “It’s not moving,” She says after a few seconds.
The creature opens its mouth and that odd, chirping roar echos toward us again, its black body rippling like waves with each croaking chirp.
Zach shoves a rifle into my hands and I don’t take my eyes from the creature. “Why would it be out here all alone?” I whisper to him.
“What?” He’s rustling through one of the boxes.
“They don’t travel alone, remember?” I say. “They’re like wolves, always traveling in packs.” It’s something we’ve learned over time. If you see one Shadow it means that there’s at least one more close by.
He stands up and looks at me. “Maybe it’s a reject. Wolves do that, don’t they?”
“I don’t-” Darkness fills my vision and I’m shoved to the ground by an icy heaviness. My head slaps hard against the deck as a scream pierces the air.
Every wisp of air shoves from my lungs with the impact. Shouts fill the air around me, matched by shrill, animal screams.
My head is warm as I stand, my vision fuzzy. Zach shoves the kids below deck, shouting at me, but his voice is distant and garbled with the ringing in my ears. I grab my rifle and shoot for the first black shape I see. It moves at lightning speed, barely illuminated by our glowing firelight. They thrive in the darkness. It’s our greatest weakness.
The rifle fires and my ears ring with a screech. It’s not human, and it’s not the hungry cry we heard at dusk, either. It’s pain. I shot one.
Fiery triumph courses through my bloodstream.
Vicious snarls and growls assault me from all angles and teeth gnash in my peripheral. The gun flies from my hands and pain shoots through my arm like an electric wave. I fall to the deck again, held down by the black monster, its foul smell choking me and weight pressing on my lungs.
A gunshot sounds in the night and the creature pulls back with another pained scream, its eye gleaming with fury.
Mia stands, feet braced apart and hands shaking, a pistol held high. The pressure of the body on top of me disappears and everything in me screams.
“Mia, run!” I shout as I jump to my feet.
A weight collides with me and I slam onto the floor again.
I push myself to my feet as Mia’s scream rings out in the silent night like a siren. A dark arm is snaked around her waist, pulling her to the edge of the ship faster than I can think.
“Mia!” Zach runs past me and I follow on his heels. We reach the edge of the ship and Mia’s screaming grows distant in the dark night. “Mia!” Zach screams louder than I’ve ever heard and begins to haul himself off the edge of the ship.
“We can’t!” I grab onto him, pulling as he struggles against my grasp.
“I’m not leaving her!” He turns and shouts in my face.
“And you’ll leave them?” I shout back, waving my arm below deck. “They’re still here and they’re trusting us to protect them!”
“And Mia isn’t?” He snaps. “One of us has to go after her!”
“You know as well as I do that we won’t see her again.” I lower my voice, I don’t want to kids to hear.
“So you’re giving up?” Zach’s face is tight and his voice quivers. “We can find her!”
“And what good will it do Mia if you throw yourself over the edge of this ship and go running into Shadow territory? You wouldn’t be on land for two seconds before they were on you.”
His chest rises and falls with heavy breaths, his dark eyes piercing mine with a fury. I don’t know if the anger is because of me or because of the situation, but I can’t let him get himself killed or hurt the kids. I can’t take care of them by myself.
“We need you here,” I whisper harshly. “These kids need you. I need you.”
“Mia needs us,” He whispers weakly, his shoulders slumping as his eyes fill with tears.
“We’ll look for her tomorrow.” I set a hand on his shoulder. “We aren’t going to abandon her. But we have to be smart about this. Besides,” I look out into the darkness. I can’t hear Mia’s screaming anymore. “We can’t stay here anymore.”
♦ ♦ ♦
I stare at the door, rifle in hand.
We barricaded ourselves into the only one door and no windows. Not even a porthole at the top of the room. Zach woke me a few hours ago to keep watch while he sleeps, Sabrina curled up in his lap.
The flood light sits in the corner, pointed at the ceiling to distribute its light. It works well enough, but nothing compares to warm sunlight. My watch says it’s after 7AM, so the sun should be risen by now, but I want the kids to get enough rest for the long journey.
“Is it early enough?” I glance at Cody. He was shifting enough that I thought he was awake.
“I don’t know,” I answer. “But I want them to get enough rest.”
“We should get started as early as possible.”
“I know.” Mia’s pale face flashes through my mind.
Zach and I didn’t put it together until late into the night. The first Shadow calling out in the water was a diversion. These things are smart, maybe smarter than us. I don’t know how they got away so quickly. They had to have spotted me on my run and followed me back, then used the cover of darkness to attack.
I took a risk and stayed out too long hunting and Mia is gone because of it.
Sky blue eyes that sparkled with gumption, framed by long black hair. She was beautiful.
I wait a half hour to wake Zach.
He wakes with a sharp breath, “What’s wrong?” He sits up straight, making Sabrina stir.
“It’s just getting late, we need to move.”
He nods and I wake up the twins.
A few minutes later once they’ve fully woken up, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, Zach holds the door handle. “Ready?” He asks.
I nod, readying my finger on the trigger of my rifle. It scares me some days how natural it’s become to carry weapons everywhere and check dark corners for monsters.
Zach swings the door open and steps out into the hallway. Sunlight sines down the narrow hallway, but that doesn’t mean a Shadow isn’t hiding. Which is what Zach is looking for as he creeps away from us, and why I’m staying here guarding the kids.
“All good,” He calls back.
I sling the rifle onto my back and balance sleepy Sabrina on my hip, the other three following me down the hallway. I peek in the other rooms, double checking behind Zach, but everything seems safe. They got what they wanted last night.
The sunlight is bright and brings attention to the throbbing in my head. There’s a lump back there and Lewis keeps fussing about a concussion, and an infection in the cuts on my arm. They sting like someone charged them with electricity.
Zach sits on the deck, a map rolled out in front of him. “They took her that way.” He points south.
I sit down next to him, pulling Sabrina closer, letting her hide her face in my neck. She had nightmares of her family being slaughtered all night, paired with Mia’s kidnapping.
Zach has to know we can’t get Mia back. Not without risking the other four kids that we’ve managed to keep alive this long. He’s too emotional for me to say that, though. He’ll blow up and we’ll never get anything done.
“We need to get off the lake,” I say. “They’re figuring out ways through the water which makes us sitting ducks with clipped wings. We aren’t far from the coast. If we stick to open roads we could get there before dark.” I tap the ocean on the map. It’s our best bet.
“What about Mia?” Gabby looks from me to Zach. He and I don’t disagree often, but this will definitely be one of those times.
“Mia’s gone,” Cody says. “We all know that. Going after her will be useless and just get more people killed.”
Sabrina buries her damp face further into my shoulder with soft sniffles. She’s only four, she shouldn’t have to be living in this hell.
“The way they took her is the same direction we’ll have to go to get to the coast.” Lewis inspects the map closely. “We can keep to the water by traveling through the mire.”
“The what?” Gabby stares at him.
“It’s a synonym for swamp,” He says, still looking at the map.
Gabby sighs and rolls her eyes. “Why can’t you talk like a normal nine-year-old?”
“Because I refuse to stoop to their level of intelligence.” He shrugs.
“We have to travel on land,” Zach says quietly. “Open roads with plenty of light.” His eyebrows pull closely together and he puckers his lips. “That’s what you said, right?” He looks at me.
I nod, hugging Sabrina close. Zach is accepting that we can’t go after Mia. If we were to find her, and if she were still alive, she would be in the middle of a gang of Shadows. We can barely fend off one. Surviving an entire nest of them would be an incredible, but extremely unrealistic, feat. Mia is gone and going after her would be useless. I want to hunt down those Shadows and find her, but I don’t think she would want us to risk it.
“We pack light.” I stand, Sabrina still in my arms. “Necessities only.”
“What do we do when we get to the coast?” Lewis always wants concrete plans.
Zach sighs, “We’ll figure it out when we get there.”
Zach shuts off the boat’s motor, letting us drift into the dock. I keep my eyes on the trees. We found the brightest and most open dock we could. I just hope it’s open and bright enough.
I hop down to the dock, Cody following suit. We help Lewis and Gabby down and Zach jumps down with Sabrina hanging onto his back.
My backpack is heavier than the others since I didn’t want to make the kids carry too much. Zach and I are used to carrying more because of our runs. Sabrina is still so young that Zach keeps her on his back, so I have the heavy supplies.
We follow the road, Lewis reading off directions to the coast. None of the kids have mention Mia in an hour of walking and I think they’ve resigned themselves to the fact that we won’t be seeing her again. They would have to come to terms with it eventually, but they’re learning to cope too quickly. At such young, influential ages being in this environment, being so used to death, I worry they’re going to become hard. I worry Cody already is. Zach and I have over twenty years of memories before everything went dark, but they’re kids. Kids who had been living hard lives and then had them become that much harder.
Sabrina sleeps on Zach’s back and I know he must be tired, but I let him carry her. They have an unusual bond, always comforting each other only with their presence. As tired as he may get, it will be far easier for him to have her close.
“I’m hungry.” Gabby breaks the long silence. I glance at my watch; it’s 2pm already. We’ve been walking for hours and we only ate a light breakfast.
“Let’s take a quick break,” Zach says.
He fishes into bags and pulls out cans of fruit and soup, sitting on the road with the kids. As hot and tired as I am, I can’t sit. We’re getting close, only a few more hours of walking and we’ll be able to see the ocean. I don’t like sitting still when I’m on my own, and especially not with a group of kids.
Birds fly from trees to telephone lines in a large group. They usually become quiet and restless like this when Shadows are nearby. They should be chirping and hiding from the summer heat, but they sit in the sunlight instead, some bathing in puddles to cool off.
I peer at the windows of nearby buildings as best as I can from here. Shadows wouldn’t dare attack in the sunlight. They never do.
“Aren’t you going to eat, Kat?” Gabby’s voice is muffled by her full mouth.
“I’m not hungry.” I smile at her.
I don’t want to let on that Shadows are nearby. They’re probably following us, waiting for us to trip up so they can attack.
Zach only glances at me, but it’s all I need. We’ve gotten used to communicating with nothing but eye contact. He gives me a slight nod and tosses me a water bottle. He spends the next few minutes reminding the kids to hurry so we can get moving. My water is hot and unsatisfying.
Branches in the woods crack and break, and another flock of birds fly from a tree, moving quickly to get away from the danger that lies within their home.
I peer between the trees and dark shapes move in the shade. A head pokes out from behind a tree, watching us with beady eyes from its shaded haven. “Let’s go.” I glance back and Zach is already standing, hauling Sabrina on his back.
The day becomes hotter as it stretches into afternoon and the heat radiates off of the concrete in waves, making it unbearable.
When we hit the interstate, abandoned cars lining it, the kids start behaving uncomfortably. Forest lines both sides of us and we have no escape if something goes wrong.We never did, but at least they had an illusion of safety.
Another hour goes by and it’s almost five in the afternoon.
“How close are we, Lewis?” I ask. We still have a few hours until sunset, but we have to account time for finding a boat to get into the water. And how we’ll survive in the ocean with no land to make runs to? Are we going to take the kids out to sea so they can slowly die from dehydration?
“A few miles…” He’s barely stopped looking at the map. I’m glad he has something to distract himself with. I wish I could give the others a distraction. Gabby’s not talking. On any other day we would call it a miracle, but she’s scared and missing Mia. They were almost as close as she and Lewis.
“How are you doing?” I ask Cody, matching his stride, but placing myself between him and the tree line. He’s been drifting too close and I worry it’s intentional.
“Hot, tired.” He shrugs. “But we all are.”
“Anything you want to talk about?” I give him a pointed look. If he is intentionally wandering toward the forest it’s a stupid plan. He’s unarmed and wouldn’t last.
“No.” He looks straight into my eyes.
That was his mistake because I know he’s lying. Forced eye contact has always been his tell.
But maybe he’s thinking about Mia. He could be missing her like the rest of us. I hope that it’s only a matter of him not wanting to talk about her and not planning a suicide mission.
♦ ♦ ♦
“We’re here!” Lewis beams proudly, pointing at the ocean.
We can see it, but we still have about a mile to go before we actually reach it. And we have to figure out a plan to get out into the water without dying after a week or two.
A town lies between us and the shore, and so does a storm. The wind is strong and cool, the sun hidden behind churning dark clouds.
“We need to hurry,” Zach says, walking to the front of the group. I stay at the back so the kids are in sight at all times. There’s enough shade that we stand a chance of being attacked.
Cody kept wandering earlier and Zach ended up calling him over and they talked about a number of random things. I’m just relieved Zach noticed Cody’s behavior. My sister was a lot like Cody. She was angry that our family had been killed, and when our little brother was taken it was the last straw. She went on a rampage and tried to kill as many Shadows as she could.
I don’t think she got one.
Zach is the only one here who knows about her. He was with me the night she ran off, her screams filling the air. That was the night he held me back the way I did for him last night. Except he didn’t leave fingernail marks on my arms.
The city is full of short, abandoned buildings that keep the streets as bright a they can be with these clouds.
A warm raindrop falls on my face and I wipe it away.
It only takes a few moments for the rain to pour from the sky in a veil that obscures my vision. I make Gabby and Lewis hold on to my backpack so that I can feel them, and I keep a firm grip on Cody’s arm. I won’t let him run off and get himself killed.
Zach walks a few steps in front of me, Sabrina hanging on his back like a soaking wet koala bear.
I run into Sabrina when Zach stops suddenly. “What are you doing?” I shout over the noise of the rain.
“Kat, get your gun!” He shouts back, panicked.
I grab the rifle slug over my shoulder and hold it ready. “What is it?” I shout over the rain as is pours down my face and into my eyes. If this rain would quiet down a bit communicating would be much easier.
“Shadow,” He says. I grab Lewis and Gabby to make sure they’re still there.
“They don’t like water!” I shout back, my voice shaking. My heart hammers in my chest as I squint into the gray blind.
“I saw it,” He shouts back. “I’m sure!”
“We need to run,” Cody shouts. Zach nods and I make sure Lewis and Gabby are in front of me, then we start running.
Water splashes as we run through the streets as fast as we can. Every now and then I see a dark shape darting through the rain.
This doesn’t make sense. They don’t like water. Unless it’s large bodies of water… Maybe they can’t swim and water has no effect on them. How much of what we think we’ve learned is wrong?
A dark shape comes barreling toward us through the rain. I shove Gabby and Lewis out of its path and the figure crashes into me.
I fall into the wet street, the heavy body on top of me. Its growling oddly clear and loud through the sound of the rain that pounds on my face.
Something sharp and stinging scratches my arm and I shove at the Shadow. Someone shouts distantly, my name, I think.
The Shadow’s face comes closer to mine, jaw opening widely to show its jagged glass-like teeth.
I shove at its head, my hands cutting on its fangs. It’s strong, though. Too strong. My arms shake, my muscles giving way.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to let it end me right here, right now. It would be quick. But how can I beg Zach to stay with me and the kids and then desert him without a fight?
I shoving at the creature’s face with one hand and grab a knife from my hip with the other. A dark, slender hand wraps around mine and my wrist burns in agony as sharp claws dig into my skin like knives fresh out of a fire.
I won’t scream.
A muffled bang sounds through the rain and the Shadow turns to dead weight, falling on top of me in a limp, cold pile.
Hands yank the dead body off of me and I take Zach’s hand, letting him pull me up.
“Are you okay?” A man I don’t know shouts through the rain.
I shove him back and pull up my rifle. “Who are you?” I shout. “Where is Zach?” I look around, but I don’t see anyone else. “Where are they?” I shout over the rain.
“With my group.” He holds out his hands. “We have a ship. It’s safe!”
“Why should I trust you?”
He sighs and holds his hand up to shield his face from the water. His lips pucker and he whistles a choppy tune.
I lower my gun. “Take me to the ship.”
“That’s it?” I ask, staring at the tiny boat at the end of the marina dock. It’s even smaller than The Nomad.
“No.” The man shakes his head. “We have to ride out to the big one.”
We hurry down the dock and a figure waits beside the ship. Zach.
He squeezes me in a tight hug. “The kids are fine,” He says loudly, the rain still pounding around us. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I nod. Long scratches run down both arms now, my palms are cut and stinging from its teeth, and my wrist bleeds from the deep gashes caused by its claws. My head is hurting too. I think I might have hit it again. “Good call on the whistle,” I say.
“I have a few of those every now and then.” He smiles, but it’s not the one that makes his eyes light up.
The ride on the little boat is rough in the choppy sea. Lewis and Gabby curl up beside me, all of us under a blanket. They both keep saying that I saved their lives, and all I keep thinking about is that Mia isn’t here. I didn’t save her life. We never even looked for her. Maybe we should have, but we barely made it here alive without any detours.
“You didn’t scream.” The man who killed the Shadow stares at me curiously.
“I’m sorry?” I ask.
“When they’re about to die, they always scream.” With a grim expression plastered on his face he turns his back to me.
The ones I’ve known that died by the Shadows do scream, I always remember the screams. It’s why I told myself that if it came down to a Shadow killing me I wouldn’t scream. My sister’s screams were the last time I ever heard her voice. I don’t want Zach or the kids to live with their last memory of me being the sounds of me futilely screaming for a life that I’d already lost.
I stare at the man’s back.
His people supposedly live on a cargo ship. They make occasional runs to shore to get what they need and pick up anyone who might be looking for safety. But they have an enormous stockpile of goods. The man says it was a miracle they were on land when we were attacked by that Shadow, but I hardly believe in miracles these days. Something doesn’t feel quite right about it, but how could they have known we would be there? And what could they even want with us?
Maybe it was a miracle. I don’t trust these people yet, and neither does Zach. Maybe over time we’ll come to trust. But for now Zach says they’re our only shot, and he’s right.
I just hope it’s the right shot.
Copyright© 2014 by Caroline Keeth