Title: Catacomb Saints
Entry Nickname: Cryptopolis
Word count: 80,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
For sixteen-year-old Davi, the darkness has never mattered. A petty pickpocket by night and a worthless burden on society by day, she has only ever wanted to be left alone to live what little life society affords castoffs like her. Trouble is, this time out, Davi’s stolen something that isn’t supposed to exist, from a man who isn’t supposed to be alive. The Bone Key might be a treasure worth a thousand kingdoms with power enough to raise the dead, but as far as Davi is concerned, the only two things the eerie metal relic is worth is getting the bounty off her head and saving her own life.
Thrust into the heart of a bitter centuries-old civil war between the two great kingdoms of Thessaly and Rhone, Davi must navigate the unfamiliar world of hired royal assassins, deadly artifacts, political intrigue, and nebulous legend if she has even a prayer of not only returning the Key, but making it out alive. But the longer she has the Key, the more she learns about it—and herself—the more she understands that returning the relic is the very last thing she could ever do. If she is to survive, Davi must not only uncover the truth behind the Bone Key’s past, but her own.
It wasn’t much, home. If you could even call it that. But it had three walls, a rough concrete ledge for sleeping, and it was all I had. For someone who could count on the tip of her newly missing little finger the number of possessions she could lawfully lay claim to, that actually meant something. Around here, people had lost more trying to hold on to far less.
I had neither the time nor the patience for the kid right now. I ignored her and shuffled backwards, my arm just brushing the soft leather of my newly acquired prize.
I weighed the purse in my hand. I sure as hell hoped what was inside was worth it. Of course, like most things I managed to steal off the spoiled brats up in the Night Market, it probably wasn’t. Besides, losing the red-cloaked idiots of the City Guard, unlike my pinky, had taken far longer than expected. Now all I wanted was to sleep. Well, to eat and sleep. And yet only one of those was likely to happen tonight.
Like a roach to a crumb, the enquiry came again and I exhaled, tossing the pouch aside.
“What is it, Serri?” I demanded.
Below the fractured lip of my concrete ledge the familiar tangle of dirty blonde hair fidgeted. Like a pixie-sized plague, no matter what I said or did, Serri always came back.
“Davi?” Serri said, her voice as narrow as a shaft of distant sunlight.
~ VERSUS ~
Title: The Siren Episode
Entry Nickname: Cement Gargling 101
Word Count: 82,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
Arlen’s parents kill monsters—sirens, gorgons, and even leprechauns—then broadcast the murders on their TV show, Myth Slayers. And killing is a family business.
Ever since mythological creatures destroyed San Francisco twelve years ago, Myth Slayers has been number one in the ratings. Now the show’s stars want to retire and force the reins upon their son. But at seventeen, Arlen doesn’t want to slaughter monsters on primetime TV—he just wants to survive high school, where a quirk in his Myth Slayer blood makes life unbearable.
Arlen’s blood gives him power, but repels members of the opposite sex. He can’t even approach girls without making them physically ill. So when he finds a girl who’s not getting sick, he finally sees a chance at a normal life. Problem is, she’s a siren. And she hides a secret: the location of a safe filled with evidence that Arlen’s parents destroyed San Francisco instead of the monsters. Arlen’s parents would kill to keep this secret buried, leaving Arlen with an impossible choice: murder the siren to protect his family, or seize this opportunity at freedom, journey with the siren to the safe, and expose the truth to the world.
Arlen Boggs hopped his neighbor’s fence and sneaked past the protestors. They’d camped in front of his house again, picket signs raised. He tried to keep his footsteps light, but the deep rain puddles didn’t help his cause.
Trees rustled on either side of him. He looked up at the sycamores and saw nothing but windblown leaves.
Two more blocks, he thought. You can do two blocks.
The morning air gave him a chill, and he buttoned up his father’s trench coat, too big for his lanky frame. He wore it to keep himself hidden, though it never helped. Arlen stood out wherever he went.
Head down, he followed the dotted yellow lines along the center of the street. Another rustle. He stopped and stared into one of the trees. Still nothing.
A woman’s voice came from behind him: “There he is.”
Arlen turned to look at the protestors, five houses back. “Great,” he said.
Two of their poster boards read, “GO AWAY, MYTH SLAYERS!” and “MYTHS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO!” Despite the wet September morning, the crazy zealots wandered onto the road and shouted at him.
A few months shy of his eighteenth birthday, Arlen still didn’t have his driver’s license. His parents didn’t have time to teach him, always out filming their TV show. Otherwise, he would have driven himself to school and avoided the morning hate-fest.
Another tree rustled and a branch snapped.
Could be a monster.
The protestors sped up, chasing after him with their hand-painted signs.