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It clung to her, the thin fabric exposing her body underneath. She shivered, then huddled against a tree in the corner. Her brother came near, throwing his pack, then thudding down beside her.

“This looks like a good place to stay for the night. First things first, we need to start a fire.”

“Do you think we’re far enough away?”

They traveled through the woods for the whole day. Not a peep came from behind as they made their way. She figured they were far enough away, but who could really know for sure?

“The only thing we have to worry about now is monsters.” He searched through the trees, checking to see if anything hid in the mist. Val did as well, but saw nothing.

“Monsters?”

They had to deal with a war in their village, running away for safety, and possibly others stealing their supplies, and now monsters? Val couldn’t handle it. She wanted to go back and wait in their home, but it was all Vic’s idea that they should leave. It was safer this way, he said.

“You never heard the stories?”

“I mean, yeah, I’ve heard them. Do I believe them? That’s another thing.”

“You know about the madman in the woods?”

“Yes, I’ve heard it.”

“If you ask me, he’s not so mad. The mad one’s the princess. The princess is the one having sex with the monster in her castle, causing the curse to spread, asking for the madman to go through the woods, capture girls just to satisfy her monster’s urges. Sounds like he’s just acting under orders.”

“I said I heard it.” Val threw her back against the wood, turning away from him. She didn’t want to hear about this now.

The princess, far away, who slept with a monster, causing evil to spread through the world. The madman who stole young women and brought them to the monster to satisfy his lust…being a young girl, and afraid, why in the hell would Val want to hear his babbling?

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