Raid at Dawn




“They’re coming at dawn,” the scout panted, insisting on delivering his report despite the doctor’s insistence he lie down. “Whole raiding party. Couple dozen, at least.”

“Fuck,” your Mistress hissed through clenched teeth. Dawn was mere hours away – not nearly enough time to prepare a proper defense. She turned to the village’s militia captain. You couldn’t remember his name. “Get your men to take up positions in whatever buildings have east-facing windows. They’ll attack from the treeline. And get my retainer some weapons. She’ll help.”

He regarded you with equal surprise and suspicion – you hadn’t said more than a few words to any of the villagers for the week you’d been staying here, despite your Mistress’ insistence. Words didn’t come easy – they never have.


Still, three hours later, here you were. Second story of the village hall, in a hasty sniper’s nest, the rifle feeling like an extension of your body. An old pistol sat in a holster at your hip – a comforting weight.

Thankfully, you saw the incoming raiders first. The scout was right – it was a massive force. A slow, methodical breath – a trigger pull, the familiar crack, the kick of recoil. The vanguard dropped, and all hell broke loose.

The raiders weren’t a trained force, but neither were the villagers – and the latter was woefully outgunned, even with your support. The perimeter had long since fallen, and fighting had spread throughout the settlement.

Your building was the largest, the de-facto command post, and where the fighting was heaviest.


The boom and shock of your rifle – one of the few semiautomatics in the village – had long since become the background noise to your internal instinct.

The very next moment you pulled the trigger, it felt different.

Out, again. You reached for a new magazine, only to grab empty air. Fuck. “I’M OUT!” You screamed to yourself, dropping the rifle and reaching for your sidearm. Your Mistress wasn’t here, and it was clear the village wasn’t going to win this.

You had to find her, to get out–

You rounded the corner too fast and came face-to-face with the barrel of a pistol. You tried to disarm your attacker, but were too slow. A flash, a snap, and–

You woke up. You’re in your bed, your Mistress sleeping soundly beside you, under soft blankets. The air conditioner whirs softly in the summer heat.

You were forged just after the war ended, when the military had no more need for combat units, and so released into civilian life.

You had never seen combat. You’d had your fair share of traumas, but none of them had anything to do with guns and combat.

So why was it so often the subject of your nightmares? You glanced at the nightstand where your handgun was secured. You could shoot – had shot, plenty, and were good at it – just never at people. The state of the country had encouraged you to arm yourself, for Mistress’ and your own protection.

You didn’t relish the thought of using it. Your human therapist even agreed you had PTSD.

The kick of the rifle, the weight of it in your hands, it still felt so real. It wasn’t fair, that you were inflicted with this pain.

You couldn’t do anything about it, so you wrapped yourself around your Mistress and cried until sleep took you again.