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“Shhh,” she whispered, wrapping her arms tightly around the younger girl. “Shh, it’s only a bad dream. ”

Around the dormitory other children were waking, stirring, staring at them with fear and hate.

“Shut her up,” one of them demanded in a stage whisper. “She’ll get us all killed!”

She stroked the girl’s head and rocked, desperately willing the little one to be quiet, to sob silently as the rest of them had learnt to do.

“You’re going to be okay,” she whispered, pulling the too – thin blanket over them both as the little one subsided into mercifully quiet tears.

Not a moment too soon. The door opened with a click. The Overseers crept in, soft as shadows, bringing with them the sense of wriggling things, impossible dimensions and unnatural, cold, damp holes.

Stay still, she thought. Stay quiet. Don’t cry.

She didn’t need to worry. Not tonight. There was a rustle of blankets and a muffled cry – the boy who had told them to shut up, she thought.

In the darkness they clung together until fear wore them out and sleep took over.

In the morning there was one more empty bed in the dormitory.

(C) Kari Fay

(Posted from my phone so apologies for any errors! )