Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 75,000
Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Delilah collects fresh corpses to access a magic fountain that can heal her younger sister. When the fountain’s beastly protectors demand her sister’s soul, a defiant Del desperately searches for alternatives to satiate them.
First 250 words of manuscript:
The toe tag on the decapitated body read: IF FOUND, CALL (512)555-5813, so Del pulled out her iPhone.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Del said, circling the decaying corpse. She maintained a perimeter outside the buzzing flies and fluid soaked ground but breathed easier knowing it wouldn’t answer her. “I’ve seen other dead people, you know.”
*Seen. Created. Collected. Same difference.*
The burning Texas sun played spotlight for the headless body starring center stage. Nothing else in the barren field warranted a second glance. Del spied a turkey vulture gliding in a copycat pattern around the body. She reached down, snatched a piece of gray limestone from the dirt, and launched her projectile at the hideous black bird.
“Get outta here, dumb bird! He’s mine!” Del’s temples bulged purple veins. The vulture settled into the field’s lone oak tree and voiced its displeasure, but, for now, Del owned her prize uncontested.
She sneered at the corpse. “He’d eat you if I let him, but you’re my entrance fee.” Del flipped her head toward the unstained wooden boards under the live oak. “And them.” Dead bodies were a one-way ticket to life in jail for most, not a bloody precursor to salvation.
Del chewed her last unbroken nail to a jagged nub before dialing. She figured most would be afraid to call, but most weren’t in her situation.
*What if no one answered?*
Del wondered if she should have dialed 911, but the cops would canvas the field. Talking her way out of one dead body seemed plausible, but not half-dozen.