Title: Short Swords
Genre: YA fantasy
Sophie and Brent live in the Under City where food is scarce and children are forced to live on the streets. To survive they must steal what ever they can get, however, if caught by the Street Sweepers, punishment is harsh. Sophie has joined Tommy's children's street gang, of which Brent is a member, but Tommy has set her up for failure.
“Who’s coming?” she tried not to yell in her panic and began wiggling faster.
Brent took hold of her shoulders and pulled. “Tommy spilt the beans. Told the Street Sweepers ye would be here. I’m sorry Soph, it’s my fault.” His panicked tugs were more hindering than helpful.
“Brent let go, I can do this myself. And it isn’t your fault, you were trying to help feed me.” She grunted in pain. “Will Tommy hang?”
“Tommy?” Brent froze. “Hang? Oh no Soph ye dinna understand. They dinna catch him. He volunteered the information. He only let ye join ‘cause I insisted but he dinna like the way ye talk.”
Sophie kicked her feet trying desperately to find something to push against. The blood in her temples was beating so hard her eyes watered, “He doesn't like the way I talk?” she whispered. “I can’t help that my grandmother made me learn fansy Upper City speech.”
New foot steps echoed down the ally. Two more men had arrived.
“Brent go!” yelled Sophie. She knew there was no point hiding now, sped was their only remaining hope.
“I’ll be out in a moment, just get out of here!” Sophie redoubled her struggles as, with one last look, Brent melted into the darkness.
“Well well well, what have we here?” asked a new voice and a pair of filthy shoes appeared in Sophie’s vision.
She stopped moving as all feeling left her limbs and old terrors took over. Twice already the Sweepers had caught her, a third time would mean death or transportation.