Long before shadows would start forming around their feet, Moonside Town’s citizens had scurried about, shutting doors and shuttering windows against the harshness of the sun. Their worknight had come and gone, and it was now time for bed.
As with any town, bedtime came with protests and groaning rebellion from its youngest inhabitants, who forced their parents to chase them into their beds and pin them there with a tickle and a giggle. Spindle was no different, although she took pity on the elderly frame of her Great Aunt Fief, so she made sure not to be too difficult.
Like the onset of any other dawn, Spindle asked the same question: “But why can’t I stay up all day? I’m not tired!”
Great Aunt Fief shook her heavy head and patted Spindle’s small one. “You need your rest. Plenty to do tomorrow night.”
“You never let me stay up and go out at day,” Spindle pouted. “It’s not fair.”
“It may not be,” Aunt Fief nodded. “But it’s the way things are.”
“But why, Auntie? Why doesn’t anyone go out at day?”
For the first time, Great Aunt Fief paused to think, and she faced the youngster. “There are monsters that come out at day.”
“Who sneak through the halls?” asked the child, growing afraid as her imagination began to run wild.
“Oh, no. Much more frightening than that. These are giants. Wolves so large you can never see their ears even if you are on their snouts. I’ve seen thousands of our soldiers throw themselves on one of these monsters and not even cover its face.”
“You’ve seen one?” Spindle was nearly out of her wits.
Great Aunt Fief noticed. “Oh, dear. It was long ago – I was younger then than you are now – and one hasn’t been seen in generations. There’s nothing to worry about. Now go to sleep. Dream of happy things.” She comforted the young one, then retreated to her own bed.
Outside, just inches away, an aardwolf, itself heading home to avoid the oppressive sun, paced around the termites’ nest, preparing to brave the bites that inevitably resulted from sinking its tongue inside to feast on what waited within.