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The general stood in front of his assembled soldiers and frowned. They were a mixed bunch; a rag-tag group of poorly equipped, poorly trained innocents. Well, they wouldn’t be innocent for long.

“Right you lot!” He nodded with approval as some of them at least attempted to snap to attention. “We have every reason to believe that there will be an attack on our charge tonight, and it’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen! You all know your places. You all know the drill. What are you going to do?”

Some of them exchanged glances quickly before they replied uncertainly, “Protect our charge, sir?”

The general strode up to stand directly in front of one of the soldiers who had replied. “And how are we going to do that?”

The general loomed over his soldier, staring at him intently with his one eye. The soldier quaked in his boots and didn’t answer.

“By holding the door, sir!”

The general looked around. The reply had come from a tall, slim doll with long blonde hair- well, perhaps she had more of a backbone than he had thought.

“Yes,” he replied. “By holding the door. If we hold the magic door closed tonight, the monsters cannot get through and our charge is safe, for at least another month. Now all of you, whether you’re bears, dolls or collectible figurines, you all know your positions. Get into place before our charge comes to bed!”

The toys all scrambled across the room, arranging themselves carefully in exactly the positions that they had been in when the little girl who owned them had left the room.

The general watched them with approval, then sighed. They didn’t know how lucky they were, all with their places in the little girl’s heart. He briefly put one paw up to his missing eye before returning through the dust under the bed to take his position in front of the magic door. She might have forgotten him for now, but that was no reason to let the monsters get through that door under her bed.

She’d find him again one day, of that he was sure. If he kept her safe, she’d find him, remember him, and he would never be left under the bed again.

© Kari Fay