TITLE: MARK OF THE SIFTER
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Deep in my chest, I could feel it: the girl was asleep. The itch to jump into her dream almost overpowered me, but I lingered in the arched entrance hall of Rainthorpe Manor, the mansion we'd used as home base on Earth the last twenty years. A new recruit had died this morning, and Beatrice would bring her by any moment to meet me. Not even the peaceful glisten of snow through the leaded windows could curb my urge to depart, and I leaned around the corner to check the grandfather clock again.
Beatrice and an older woman with brown, wind-toughened skin materialized in front of me. I nodded to both of them.
"This is the Head Sifter, Seth," Bee said, gesturing in my direction.
The new Sifter's eyes flicked to Bee and back to me.
"Welcome." I didn't ask her name. The details of her former life had been included in her contract.
Her voice wavered as she asked, "Are you the one shielding it?"
I gave a short nod, and her hard face looked like it might crack. "Thank you. It was horrible."
Bee caught my eye and raised a finger to show she understood my impatience. "I'll introduce you to your partner," she said, drawing the woman from the hall. "And we'll go over some of your duties."
"Thank you!" the woman called over her shoulder, but I was already fading out, diving into the dream world of the destroyer.
It was time to find the problem.