The pay was good.
That’s what Dylan told himself when he took the job. It was good pay, better than anything else a washout jock had right to expect. It let him support Kaylee and their baby girl and, a year later, their baby boy, and it was out in the middle of nowhere – just about the safest place to be, if it weren’t for the monsters they were guarding.
Not that they looked like monsters, or acted like monsters, or quacked like ducks in any way. Sure, they looked a little funny, and had a little bit of magic here and there, but that was like calling housecats dangerous because they bore a faint resemblance to tigers.
But the pay was really good. Dylan reminded himself of that when his fellow guards made rude cracks, the sort of stuff that, if it had been any ethnicity and not faeries, El-hee-may as they called themselves, would have gotten them fired, sued, and blacklisted. He reminded himself of new shoes on his baby girl’s feet and the little cottage Kaylee loved so much when a squirmy kid with scales like a snake’s bit him and his hand swelled up for a day and a half.
The day that the teenaged girl with the goaty bits came crying to him (because he was the nice guard) because three of the other assholes had gotten her in a corner and threatened to do worse if she told, he went home and held his family tight for hours, and wondered if any amount of money could really be worth it.
The paychecks stopped coming a week later.
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