TITLE: The Keeping-Box
GENRE: YA Fantasy
The first thing Bianca noticed about the visitor was the blood caked on his face. The second thing she noticed was that he wasn't human.
"Much apologies," he said as he shut the door of the apothecary shop behind him. His voice, heavily accented, came from somewhere deep in his chest. "Did not want intrude. No other choice."
She stared, transfixed, while the forgotten rag in her hand dripped water onto the floor. Fantastical creatures like this weren't real; they only existed in legend. Yet here one stood, in the flesh, breathing the same air that she breathed. He was no taller than a child; his mouth and nose looked more like a wildcat's than a human's. And the blood on his wrinkled brown skin was as green as tarnished copper.
She gathered enough wits to answer, "It's all right," and clamped back the dozen or so questions she wanted to ask. She tossed aside the rag and dried her hands on her apron. "Sit down," she said, indicating the chair near the counter. "I'll get bandages and salves."
"Salves? What is salves?"
"For your wounds."
He continued to look perplexed, touching his face with an absent gesture as if his injuries were the last thing on his mind. "Much thanks, but not wish that. Wish other thing."
"Other thing?" Bianca repeated. What else could he need with his face like that? Why had he burst into this shop, if not to have his wounds tended?
With a desperate look he said, "Hide."