Our Beasts

By: Erin Ashley

 It was quiet like it always was. Not dead quiet, you could still hear the waves and the insects. I sat on the beach, my hands clasped around my knees. I had buried the last of them in the cavern, then sealed it shut. Now it was just me. Maybe this was good, now I couldn’t get blamed for things I didn’t do. But all I can remember is the expression on little Micah’s face. She had been so scared, she held my hand the whole night, begging me not to go. I told her she was going someplace better, she’d see her family again. She must have believed me, because she died looking happier than she ever had living. I wish I could have given her more; she was my responsibility. She wasn’t actually my daughter, of course, I’m too young for that. We were outcasts, but I didn’t care, she was the only company I needed.

It was hurting again, where that thing had attacked me, right over my heart. The beast is dead now, after killing all of us for no reason. It never ate the bodies. It found plenty else to eat, small as this place is. It only attacked us, and left the corpses to rot. But I killed it, so it doesn’t matter now. I sat on the beach ‘til dawn. The signal fire was barely smoldering, so I got up and threw more sticks on it.

A flock of square clouds rested on the horizon again, but they turned and left like always. One didn’t, though, it just kept coming closer, and my hand closed over Micah’s locket. It was warm in the fresh sunlight, and it shone despite the dirt covering it. I stood up and waved. The great ship came, and I just kept waving, tears running down my face.

For everyone lost... and Micah.