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Mom and Dad say it's a guardian angel, sent directly from God in heaven to watch over us.

Sometimes, I let my friends get a peek while it's resting, and they think it looks more like a robot from outer space! How cool is that?

Mean old man Henrikson down the street, he says it's the work of the Devil. "Ain't nothin' of this Earth look like that," he'd always tell me, "that thing came straight from hell."

It's been here since I was born, and I'm only 10. I call it the Sentinel, because it keeps my family safe. It's big, even bigger than Dad, and he's six foot! It looks like it's made of metal, but it never rusts or anything. Which is weird, since it's been here for 10 years. Mom and Dad said that a few weeks after they took me home from the hospital, the Sentinel just kinda... appeared in the backyard. It didn't do nothing but stand there, and it was too heavy for them to move. They called the fire department, but they couldn't budge it either. Nobody even knew where it came from.

A few more weeks later, a burglar broke into the house while everyone was asleep. Mom said that she and Dad were so afraid, all they could do was take me and hide. But when nothing happened, Dad went downstairs to check, and there was the Sentinel! It stopped the crook before he could steal anything! It was just standing like it always did, but in the center of the kitchen, according to him. I always used to ask him what happened to the burglar, but he would make me go to bed before that part of the story.

"Well, we had to renovate the kitchen after that," Dad would always say. I'm not sure what he meant.

Now the Sentinel sleeps in our shed. I can tell it's sleepin', because when it's awake its eyes glow orange like a jack o' lantern. When the light goes out, that means it's resting until the next time we need it. It's been asleep for awhile, so I guess that's good. It means we haven't had any dangers recently, and that's fine by me.

Sometimes, when it's asleep, I'll go into the shed and talk to it. Whenever Mom's busy or Dad's at work, I'll just sit on one of the buckets in the shed and tell it about my day. Recently, I've been having some bad times. I tell the Sentinel about the kids at school who call me a retard for making up stories about my "pet robot." I tell the Sentinel about old man Henrikson from down the street, who keeps yelling something about Satan to me whenever I pass his house. I don't know, sometimes I wish it could hear me, and it could keep me safe from evil like it used to. Now it just sleeps all day.

****

I woke up really late last night. I felt sick, so I got up to try and get some water from the bathroom near my bedroom. When I passed the big window in the hallway, I thought I saw an orange glow coming from the cracks in the shed.

Just my brain playing tricks on me, I guess.

****

Old man Henrikson don't bother me no more, so that's nice. He must not like the weather we've been having, 'cause he used to sit out on his front porch so he could shout at me, but it's been a few days and he hasn't even left the house. Maybe he's feeling sick like I was.

Same thing goes for all the kids who bullied me. Must have been some kinda bug spreading around, 'cause a lot of kids weren't at school this morning. I saw a kid I knew who had a brother who wasn't in; when I asked if his brother was sick, all he said was, "I believe your robot stories now." Then he stared at me, real wide eyed, then just walked away. The way he shuffled away, it looked like he was scared. Like he was scared of me.

Nah. Who'd be scared of me? I wouldn't hurt a flea.

****

It's been a few days since the Sentinel disappeared. Mom and Dad are scared. Like, really really scared. They won't let me leave the house, and every time I go to a different room one of them has to come with me. I don't know what they're so scared for. It's our Sentinel, right? Even if it were on the loose, it wouldn't hurt us, would it? We don't have to be afraid of it, right? It's our guardian angel. It's like family.

****

The Sentinel came home today! I was scared witless, what with all the ways Mom and Dad got me riled up while it was gone. But I was right! They thought it was gonna hurt me, but it didn't, because it's our protector! I went to tell Mom and Dad that everything was okay, but I couldn't find 'em anywhere.

The Sentinel is still awake, but it ain't doing nothing. Just standing in our living room, lookin' at me. If it could talk, I wonder what kind of things it would tell me. Maybe we would be friends.

It's started moving again, so that's good. It's motioning, like it wants me to follow it. We're leaving out the front door. I never noticed how empty my block was; normally, there'd be other kids playing outside, or people walking their dogs, but now it's just... empty. It feels like me and the Sentinel are the only living things left.

But that ain't true. It can't be. Wherever it's taking me, we must be going to find Mom and Dad. Because that's its job. If Mom and Dad are in danger, it's the Sentinel's duty to make sure they're safe. It's a guardian angel, sent directly from God in heaven to watch over us.

Right?



Written by Parlour
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