The Gaurdians. Short Story.

My week has been going well, I went out on Monday for a going away party, that was pretty fun. I’ve started reading A Dance with Dragons. I’m feeling some trepidation and I’m wondering if I should hold off or read it really, really slowly, though I know I’ll probably plough through it like I have done with the others.

College is going to be starting again soon, I’m nervous and excited, with very little idea of what to expect but I am looking forward to it.

On with the show!


The Gaurdians.

The timer clicked down slowly, ancient and rusting cogs spinning in their never ending dance. The ticking was faint, so very faint it could barely be heard above the roar of the world outside, but when there is a lull, one that lasts a few brief seconds, it can be heard, inexorably counting down towards a long forgotten goal.

The city was buzzing, it always was, the loud, intruding noise of life being lived, of people moving, shouting, loving. The grumble of busses as they brought people to and from their destinations‘. The harsh blare of car horns as people expressed their displeasure over a minor inconvenience. The loud calls of the market places, where sellers tried to entice buyers with shouts of how fresh their produce was, how cheap, how delicious. People moved through the stalls, bags draped over their arms, stopping here or there to sample a sellers wares. Everything could be bought here, if one knew where to look. The city sprawled outwards, but the entire city was the central hub. Trains rattled on rails high above the city, enabling travellers to look down from dizzying heights, up there where the city looked peaceful and magical, where the rot that invades every city wasn’t visible, hidden beneath the glamour. A light blue glow surrounded the sky above the city, a halo above its head. Some viewed it as a beacon, promising food and money and safety, others knew it as a trap. A dancing light designed to lure in prey.

Above the city, the five watched with unseeing eyes. They were eternal, guarding the land before the city was built and would continue their vigil long after it was gone. Their true purpose lost in the steady flow of time. Remnants of a people long since gone. People lived in their lower towers, places that were few and reserved for the rich, no one ventured to their heights. Each had a different purpose, though no one knew what it was. There was The Scholar, a woman with a hand outstretched, mid speech, the other wrapped around a small book, stone fabric clung to her body, lights and wires traced out her arms and gown, her face smooth and beautiful. The Just, standing above the city, looking down upon the sinners, a stone sword clasped in her hands and stretching upwards. Guarding the city against friend and foe alike, her face harsh and unforgiving. The Penitent, her hands clasped in never ending prayer, her face demure and downcast, her eyes closed, praying for the souls of the lost and damned. The Hidden, with a stone fan spread across her face, hiding her expression from any who looked upon her, her eyes mysterious and cold. And The Plain. Her arms hanging limply by her sides, her face blank and common, she looked past her sisters, out into the darkness. Each one was brightly lit, highlighting their faces for all to see. Though no one knew their purpose, people revered them, respected them. Towers and buildings were built around them until it looked as though they sprung from the ground, growing outwards and pulling the buildings upwards. The city was still sprawling, still expanding and growing, like a lover languorously stretching across a couch.

The city was layered, each layer becoming filthier, poorer, yet it had to be this way. Space was limited, there was only so much that could be built. People lived their entire lives without seeing the sun and only brief glimpses of the sky, those who lived on the lower levels occasionally rose past their station, but they were never comfortable with the sky above them, that large, never-ending blue that had no right to hang unsupported in the sky.

The noises of the city grew louder as more and more people came, something drawing them towards it, hotels and hostels were full, people took to camping in the streets, the poor and rich alike, everyone came. No one knew why, just that they had to. Something was going to happen. The tension built up over three days, the city becoming more violent as people grew tired of the masses that had descended on them.

The ticking continued, slowly but surely, the steady



It stopped. The gears grinding to a halt, from somewhere there was a deep groan as machinery began to move and turn, finally called to action. Out side the city began to shake, only faintly, but it was there. People looked at one another, trying to find the source. Above them, The Penitent opened her eyes, her empty, staring eyes. Her head lifted, people began to see, pointing up at her. Her hands unclasped themselves from one another, she looked down at the city and people began to scream.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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