The Strays

They marched into the neighbourhood with the pulse-pounding beat of a terrible rhythm. Hundreds of jack-booted soldiers poured in from every street, every alley. Restless eyes rolled in their sockets, searching for the strays that had eluded them.

Three children, filthy from a brief life of scrabbling for scraps huddled behind a dumpster. They whimpered quietly, unsure of where to hide but seeking the comfort of a barrier between them and the soldiers. Vague memories came to them of being tucked safely into their beds by beautiful women who filled them with love and safety. The memories only served to increase the terror now. Love and safety were gone, taken by the very soldiers who hunted them now.

The children felt them first. Waves of hatred infiltrated their natural defenses and permeated their minds. The soldiers had stopped their deadly march and stood still like dispassionate sentinels. As if they were one, they shut their eyes and pushed their energy outward.

The children cowered.

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