TITLE: The Keepers
GENRE: YA Fantasy
It was the nameless hour between evening and night. Darkness was threatening to descend upon the frenzied market. Everyone walked with a purpose, but they were anything but oblivious to the creature that loomed high overhead, a vulture prepared to envelop the Earth under its deathly, dark wings. Women held their purses close, and men hurried to sell their final products. Pickpockets trailed after careless customers, stealing anything they could get their hands on, only to afford a meal for tomorrow. Shop stalls had already begun to light up with lanterns, oil lamps, and hanging light bulbs, warding away the threat that nightfall carried. Their gaudy glow attracted mosquitoes and other insects with beating wings. A melody of sharp buzzing could be clearly heard.
An old shopkeeper felt a feathery touch as one landed on the base of his wrist. The pulsing of his blue vein could be seen beneath the translucence of the man’s worn skin. A riverbank of blood and temptation had caught the bloodthirsty eye of the mini-beast. Agitated, the man cleanly swatted it away with the grace and speed of a predatory cat.
Getting back to work, he grunted as he lifted the elegant mahogany table from his donkey-drawn cart. His muscles tensed beneath the bleak, sweat-stained grey of his shirt. He did this every day, yet it never got any easier. In fact, he was getting older and his strength was beginning to leave him. He balanced the weight of the table precariously between his two arms.