The Sentinel

1 min

Rae is an illustrator, world builder, and storyteller who loves archaeology, retro science fiction, and haunted tales. You can follow her artwork on Instagram @rae.allen.everett  [+]

Image of Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
Hours have passed. I still haven’t reached the ground. The creaking of these ancient, rusted scaffolds echoes in the endless expanse, pressing in on me as I climb ever downward. The haunted light beneath me grows ever brighter, and in my fear I wish for darkness to save me from whatever horrors I may soon see. Legend says that when the world fell, the people’s spirits were trapped beneath its surface, and their walking skeletons now stand as sentinels, guarding the world below.

My heart pounds. What ghastly horrors await me? My arms shake as I climb down, down, down...I sweat, and my fingers fail to grip the next hold—I slip, I scream, I fall—

“Oof!” I groan. I lay in a bruised heap on the cold floor, the sound of my impact still echoing throughout the chamber. I peer about in the dim light, watching the dust plume and settle with each puff of shaking breath that escapes my mouth. Suddenly, I hear a loud “click” followed by a low whirring sound. I am blinded as bright white beams ignite in sections, illuminating the vast space around me.

And is that... music?

I stand up. Strange writing and symbols glow on the walls. Empty chairs and tables surround me. The music grows louder, and I hear voices, singing in a foreign tongue.

A bead of sweat falls from my face. “The Sentinels,” I whisper.

And there, from a dark corner, emerges a bony, armored figure. It glides toward me, cool light glinting off its chromatic frame. My heart races, but I ball my fists and stand my ground.

The figure stops three feet in front of me. With its steel, motionless mouth, it speaks in an inhuman tone, “Welcome to HappyDale Mall, the place to suit all your wildest consumer fantasies!" It pauses, staring at me with glowing red eyes. "How may I direct your purchases today, miss?”

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Image of J Allen
J Allen · ago
Image of Marie Walker
Marie Walker · ago
Great job!
Image of Hope Gale-hendry
Hope Gale-hendry · ago
Image of Laurel Hale
Laurel Hale · ago
Loved it
Image of Rebecca Everett
Rebecca Everett · ago
Haha our worst nightmare!! The world is a Mall!! Love you Sweetie pie!❤
Image of Diane Paredes
Diane Paredes · ago
Nice twist
Image of Ryann Bailey Wawro
Ryann Bailey Wawro · ago
Image of Gary Gillum
Gary Gillum · ago
I love all the surprises!
Image of Judith Everett
Judith Everett · ago
Love the surprise ending!
Image of Ann O'Keefe
Ann O'Keefe · ago
Enjoyed the heart pounding & then the twist. I didn’t see that coming.