In daylight, the fort might have been less intimidating. As it was, the rusted iron bars that rimmed the decrepit entrance looked like grasping metal claws in the moonlight, an image which did little to put Jeremy’s worries to rest. He took a deep breath and grasped one of the metal bars, using it for leverage as he pulled himself up from the ditch that surrounded the fort.

        Small rocks crunched beneath his feet as he entered. He squinted to see in the dim glow from the moon; husks of low, squat buildings greeted him from the shadows. The nearest one looked like an old storage shed, with fragments of broken pots and tools lying scattered on the ground. One of its large wooden support beams had long since fallen, and the structure looked ready to collapse beneath its own weight.

        A gust of wind suddenly rose from the west, and Jeremy shied away, covering his eyes from the dirt that swirled in the air. A booming crack resounded from one of the shed’s other support beams, and the stone wall closest to him gave way with a grinding groan of protest. Jeremy jumped away just as the entire building caved in. Dust and dirt threatened to suffocate him, and he coughed severely as he moved away from the cloud that slowly drifted outward from the rubble.

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© 2015 by Tom Shutt.