Photo: Bruce McKay

The mothers don’t know where I am. I see them occasionally turning in circles, looking for me. They lean their heads close together and talk behind their hands, and I know they are wondering. But like I always tell them, they won’t see me. If they do, it’s because something happened.

“What would happen?” they always ask, and “Monsters,” I tell them.

It’s strange that they don’t believe in monsters, don’t believe anything will happen to their children, and yet they hire me anyway. It’s something my grandfather figured out long ago, when he started this company, and it’s held true since.

From my hidden spot I see one of the kids—a girl, long black hair lifting in the breeze— inching closer to the creek. I’m not paid to keep them from falling into creeks, but I tense anyway. I raise the rifle and scan the treeline along the creek bank, even though I know I won’t see anything until they begin to move—monsters hide too well. They can hide in plain sight, where you can even see them and not know they are near. Until it’s too late, of course.

– You’ll hug your loved ones a little closer after reading Paul Crenshaw’s eerie story about the dissolution of a man who hunts monsters. Finish reading “Monster Corps” at Story Magazine.

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