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Taitlin woke up on a cold, dirty, gravel ground. She opened her hazel eyes and stared at the blue sky, adjusting to the light. There was a soft breeze, the type of breeze that came before a heavy rain storm. 'Where am I? How did I get here?' Taitlin wondered, prying herself from the ground. She stood up and brushed the dirt out of her brown hair.

Looking around, she saw that there was nothing surrounding her but trees, and the only path was the gravel one she was standing on. She took note that the gravel road started at where she was standing. It was almost as if someone placed her there purposefully. She looked down at herself and saw that she was wearing a white tank top, dark wash jeans, and black combat boots. 'I know I didn't put this outfit on today.' She thought warily.

She cautiously walked forward, peeking inside the seemingly endless mass of trees. The road didn't last long. It emptied out into an overgrown field. Taitlin continued to walk, through the gnarled weeds and tall grass. The sky begn to darken in the distance. 'A village? Hopefully there's people there. It looks like it's about to rain.' She thought, spotting a dreary looking village.

Taitlin jogged up to the first building she could get to, and knocked on the door. No answer. She knocked again. Nothing. "Hello?" She called loudly. "H-" She stopped short when she notice the windows were busted out of the building, and the side of it was smashed down, and she could see inside.

She backed away and continued to walk further into the eerie town. All of the buildings were either half gone with windows busted out, or the doors were ripped off the hinges. She walked until she came to a giant black building- nearly as big as an entire block-with rows of windows busted out, and a large rusted lock on the front doors. Gazing up at the giant building, she swore she could've seen shadows and things moving. 

"Who are you?" A guy's voice asked.

Taitlin whipped around, to see a tall, good-looking guy, who was maybe about eightteen. "....Taitlin." She said, wondering if maybe she shouldn't have told him.

"Come with me. We gotta get out of the open." He whispered to her, grabbing her arm.

She shook his hand off and firmly stood her ground. "Who are you?"

The guy sighed anxiously. "Cryll." He took her arm again. " We have to get away from here."

 "Away from where?" Taitlin asked, getting frustrated at this guy, who thinks he can order her around.

"The Ward!" Cryll shouted lightly.

Taitlin kept quiet as he guided her to where ever he was taking her. He seemed to be walking very fast, and he kept looking around before he kept going. 'Why is he acting so scared?' She wondered.

They entered the deep woods, and stopped shortly after, as they arrived at a large black metal door in the ground. Cryll knocked on it three times, when a girl opened it, and quickly ushered them inside. Cryll made Taitlin go inside first, before looking around again. They both hopped down into the doorway, and Cryll then sealed it shut, with an array of gears and other devices that looked complicated.

"Follow me." The black haired, blue eyed girl said to Taitlin. Taitlin looked back at Cryll for assurance, and he nodded. Is she already trusting him?

Taitlin followed the girl into a series of tunnels, seeing numerous small piles of weapons. Swords, knives, spears. She wondered why they had those, and began to worry.

Taitlin stopped following the girl. "I don't think I should be here."

Cryll lightly pushed her forward, causing Taitlin to give him a glare. The girl they were following looked over her shoulder. "You'd rather stay out there and die? Down here is the safest place to be."

"What-" Taitlin started, but held back her question when the girl brought them to a big room, where fifteen other children were seated, talking, eating, and sharpening weapons. They all looked up at Taitlin.

"Now we have another fear on the rise." Cryll said dully, going around Taitlin and the other girl.

"I suppose I should introduce myself." The girl said rather pleasantly. "My name is Kory."

"Taitlin." She replied, not taking her eyes off Cryll. "What did he mean by 'another fear on the rise'?"

Kory cocked her head to the side sadly. "There's a lot to tell you." She took a seat on the floor and leaned against the wall. Taitlin slid down against the wall and joined her. "That black building, the Ward is..... where the Monsters originate....."

"Monsters?" Taitlin asked, draping her arm over her knee.

"Yes. Monsters. At night time, the lock on the front doors of the Ward falls off, and a Monster chooses one of our fears to take the shape of,  and it comes after us all." Kory explained.

"Comes after us? And does what?" Taitlin asked with a hint of terror in her voice.

"Tries to kill us." Kory frowned.

"So that's what all the weapons are for. You have so many, why didn't you just kill them?" Questioned Taitlin.

"That's the thing, we don't know which weapons kill each fear. We haven't exactly stayed around them long enough to test out each weapon." Kory joked lightly, and stood up. "You need a weapon."

Taitlin stood up and followed Kory over to a table covered with an array of weapons. Maces, daggers, guns. "Do you have any..... throwing knives?" She asked.

"We do." Kory walked over to the end of the table and grabbed eight throwing knives by the handles in one hand.

"Thank you?" Taitlin stated, not sure of thank you was the correct word for what Kory just gave her.

"You're welcome." Kory chuckled. "Try them out." She gestured to targets on the wall.

"Um.... alright." Taitlin stood infront of a target and grabbed a knive from her hand, and poised herself. With a flick of her wrist, the knive went gliding through the air, and into the bullseye of the target. Everyone started to clap. Even Cryll.

Taitlin shrugged and retrieved the knive from the target, and went to set the pack of knives back on the table.

"No, no. Keep those with you at all times." Kory instructed.

Taitlin nodded and slid the eight knives into her front and back pockets. She looked around at everyone expectingly. "I'm........Taitlin." She said to everyone.
















Taitlin nodded once, trying to remember everyone's names.

"Is it almost time?" Asked Sawyer.

"Almost." Replied Cryll.

"I'm scared." The young blond girl, Gemma, whispered, as Lacy hugged her.

"We all are." Said Jaz blankly.

"Everyone, get your weapons ready."




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