So, I talked to my wonderful agent today about where we'll be going with The Guardians. I've got some lovely revisions ahead, but I also had some great ideas today of ways to achieve some of the suggestions. Because of that, I decided to tease from TG, well, actually give you the opening. Here's to it giving me the momentum I need!
We are the watchers—the keepers of things both seen and unseen. The unexplainable and inexplicable like the prickly sensation that runs up your spine, causing the hairs on your neck to rise. We are the feeling of comfort that wraps itself around you in times of grief and trouble. We are the guiders and protectors of the Host—the Guardians.
While we were tracking close on their heels, the mother and daughter hadn’t noticed us. Our shoes sloshed through the dingy puddles leftover from the morning’s rain. Striding across the deserted parking lot, the mother and daughter were engrossed in conversation. They knew nothing of us, but we know their names. The mother, who was edging towards forty, was Victoria; the fourteen-year-old daughter, and baby of the family, was Hannah. With their blonde hair and crystal blue eyes, they were mirror images of each other.
While on the outskirts of their conversation, we felt its light banter. Words like “crush” and “cutest boy in school” floated back to us. Then Victoria teased Hannah about something, causing Hannah’s to flush the color of her red shirt. At her daughter’s visible embarrassment, Victoria nudged Hannah playfully. It brought a smile to my face.
Then fear pierced us.
We felt the gang members’ pain long before they shuffled around the corner. Searing and dark, it hung around us like a cloak blocking out the May sun. Their eyes glowed amber, the hue of souls polluted by drugs and alcohol. Multicolored artwork and track marks tattooed their arms. In their animalistic state, they didn’t see the mother and daughter as people. To these animals, they were the next fix, the next trip. Their last high fading, the thugs’ bodies twitched for relief from their suffering. Gold wedding bands and glittering diamonds meant quick cash.
A desperate sob rose in my throat. I fought the urge to scream at the mother and the daughter. Why had they parked in such a place? Why weren’t they running to their car instead of ambling along, joking about who was the cutest Jonas brother and what were they going to have for dinner? I wanted to rail at them for being so naïve, so trusting. For all the little inconsequential details that altered the fate of our lives. But I couldn’t. The line between guiding and interfering was clearly drawn, and I couldn’t cross it.
As if to reiterate that fact, Gabriel, our leader, touched my arm. I glanced into his dark eyes, and he shook his head. “It isn’t our fight, Elijah.”
I bowed my head as the cold truth washed over me. I could only watch helplessly as it spiraled towards confrontation.
At the sound of the gang’s hurried footsteps, Victoria glanced over her shoulder. I saw the fear in her eyes and so did the gang.
“Mom?” Hannah questioned.
“Keep walking, Hannah!”
Victoria fumbled in her purse for the keys. One of the gang members cut in front of her before they could reach the car.
“Gimme your purse, Senora!” an angry teenager demanded. His clothes were ragged and dirty, and his tan skin pulled tautly over the bones in his face, illustrating how he only fed his hunger for drugs.
Victoria hesitated, noticing the silver gleam of a gun.
“I ain’t kidding, Senora! Give us the damn purse!” She thrust the bag into his waiting hands. “And the ring!”
Torment replaced the fear. “Please, don’t take it! It’s my wedding ring!”
“I don’t give a shit!”
A single bullet tore through Victoria’s chest. As she collapsed, a crimson river flowed out onto the pavement.
“Mama!” Hannah screamed. She fell to the ground, burying her face in her mother’s lap.
A skinny guy with a greasy ponytail stared in astonishment. “Dude, what did you do?”
“Let’s go!” another cried.
As two of them turned, one spoke up. “But she’s seen us.”
“Waste her,” the leader murmured.
At his words, Hannah snapped her head up. “Please don’t hurt me!”
The leader ignored her cries. As he raised his gun, Hannah shielded her face with her arms. Saving Victoria’s life had always been out of our hands. The reason we even stood here watching the scene unfold was understanding this moment would be vital for our mission’s success. This one tragic moment would be like a rock thrown into a pond, its ripples would be felt throughout the entire Thomas family.
It was then that Sophie broke away from us. Time crawled to a standstill as she stepped in front of the waiting bullet. Any other person would have cringed or trembled. But not Sophie. With a steely determination, she stared into the eyes of the killer.
The gun clicked.
Over and over, he pulled the trigger. With each misfire, Hannah jerked violently. Finally, the leader dropped his gun.