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"Ana!" I yelled for her through the flames.

The smoke had become so thick and heavy that I could barely see more than two feet in front of me. She was the only one still inside, and I had no idea where she was or where she could've been. Ana was just a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ever since I found her lost and alone inside of an abandoned mall surrounded by those... things... I knew that she was my responsibility, and that I would do everything in my power to protect her.

"Sam!" I heard Ana crying weakly as she continued calling out for help. "Sam, I'm scared!"

I slowly began to make my way toward her voice. Moving through fire, climbing over and under wood and debris before I made the clearing. I could see Ana coughing in the distance. Her leg had been lodged beneath a large stock of metal beams, rendering her unable to get free and crawl out to safety.

As I opened my mouth to call out to her, a large black dog the size of a bear had appeared before me.


The animal's eyes began to glow red as it snapped its jaws and snarled viciously.


"Sam, get up!" A blonde shook my shoulders aggressively, trying to wake me up by all means.

"What?" I muttered tiredly as tossed over on the mattress and waved my hand lazily for her to go away.

I spent the last few days in the basement with Jester as my only company. Elika had left me upstairs in our room to rest and had taken Seth with her, Brick took over my responsibility of taking charge of our small forces and did everything possible to keep our defenses up in case the hounds tried to dig under the gates again, and everyone seemed to be doing something... except for Ana. It was my first day back and all she wanted to do was bother me.

"Damien and Ahmik are fighting again!" She smacked me in the head with a pillow. "Get up, you lazy bum!"

"Cut it out," I snatched the pillow from her hands and threw it across the room. She huffed, clearly annoyed by my action as I pulled the blankets over my head. "I can't go downstairs, remember? We agreed that I wouldn't go down the day after I get out, and I'm sticking by my word."

"You gave me your word first!" She argued, yanking the sheets off me as I stared at the young blonde who'd been yelling at me. "I don't care what those bitter people say about you! You promised that you would fight for me! They don't see that you're the one that gave them a place to be safe- the one that got between me and that wild animal!"

There was a moment of silence as the bed shifted. Ana had crawled onto the mattress with me, staring up at the ceiling quietly. Looking at how far the two of us had come, it was hard to believe that there was a time when she couldn't stand so close to me without accusing me of being a child molester. And that was only because she was terrified and alone when I had found her, after the hounds had chased and cornered she and her friends.

"You can't listen to them," She said quietly as she took my hand. Her heart had ached for me, and I felt relief knowing that Ana was still on my side. "You're still my hero."

"I'm no hero," I frowned at her choice of words. I wasn't anything but cursed.

"You're just saying that because you don't think the world would understand what you are." She turned her head to look at me.

"Because the world wouldn't understand," I replied honestly. If the people I once called friends couldn't understand, how could the world possibly see me as anything but a monster?

"They'll understand someday," She reassured me with a smile and squeezed my hand. "Until then... we'll just lay here until you're ready, and then we'll face the big bad world together."

Submitted: February 05, 2016

© Copyright 2020 JaayAnon. All rights reserved.


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