The sun was setting over the mountains of Muewei. Farmers were occupied with bringing in their livestock as quickly as possible before darkness took the planet, and shop owners in the village were closing their doors. There was no night life on Muewei; it was far too dangerous to be out after the sunset.
I sat back and fiddled with the ring on my right hand. It was nothing special; just a silver band with a small sword and a crown stamped into it. This ring was the only piece of jewelry I ever wore. Mindlessly, I stood and began to complete my closing routine. Nobody had entered my shop today, but it was to be expected with the seasonal Muewei Market open. I might as well have stayed closed, but I had no idea what I would be doing if I wasn't in my shop. My shop was my life.
To some, our nightly routine might've seemed alarming, but to us, it was run of the mill. I leaned out my doorway and yelled across the street at a woman, who was waving happily at me.
"Minx fixed my radio! Will you be listening tonight?"
She nodded and smiled, shouting back, "Yes! Let's talk about it in the morning!" I agreed and watched as concrete walls encased her shop, screaming as their sides grated together. She and I both had similar living arrangements. We owned shops and slept above them. In a tiny nook, we had our beds and small pieces of furniture. It was more of a loft than a bedroom, really.
I looked to the right and to the left. There was nobody outside anymore on our dusty street. I could see the shadows of night creeping along the buildings like molasses. The friendly shouting had ceased and the only sound was that of grating and machinery moving heavy pieces of concrete and steel. I sighed and brought my head back inside my shop. It wasn't easy to live on Muewei. Most of us were used to it, but the weight of the danger outside at night was still heavy, even to those who had lived on this planet their whole lives.
To the right of my window was a light switch with a hand written note over the top of it that read, "FLIP THIS AT 6PM SHARP!!!"
It was 6:04. I always pushed it to the very last moment. Just as I saw the shadows begin to creep across the shop, I flipped the switch and watched the giant steel panels emerge from the ground where they had been dormant during the day and encase my shop in darkness. I stood silently for a few moments after the grinding had stopped and listened. Somewhere out there in the wilderness, there was a long, sharp howl.
Muewei didn't have many rules, but the ones that existed were taken very seriously.
Never, ever go out at night.