6. PitchSlam: FOREST LAKE

Title: Forest Lake
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 69,000
Hogwarts House: Slytherin, because she aims for better than she has and is willing to be sneaky to get there!
In a land ruled by a sacred lake, where everyone dies at forty, fifteen-year-old Alysis must pick a life-partner among twelve boys she despises, or find a way out before the lake chooses for her.
First 250
The body sunk into the Pond’s clear water. Alysis’s gaze followed its slow downward path until it reached the deep bottom and joined the many down there. Men. Women. Next to each other, on top of each other, looking as the day they died, with their fine clothes and their arms crossed and their eyes closed.
And in twenty-five years, it would be her.
“Forty in the belly, forty in the air, forty forever in the bottom of the Lake,” Alysis murmured, standing on the long floating platform crossing the center of the Pond. On the other end a small group of villagers sung in low voices, paying their respects to the dead bodies below them.
If they were really dead.
The longer she looked at the dead, the more alive they seemed. If she stared long enough, their arms would almost move, their mouths would almost part, and their eyelids would… She shuddered. She hated the dead and she hated the crisp clean water that made it possible to see them from so far away.

A shadow crossed the edge of her vision and she turned to watch one of the boys dig for mussels. Clad in a loincloth accentuating his thin body and amber-colored skin, Roderihk dove with ease before working on the shells attached to one of the many trees circling the Pond. The bodies didn’t bother him. They didn’t bother anyone but her.


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