Genre: MG Low Fantasy
Word Count: 50,000
Pitch: Blake, a 12-year-old whose biggest fear is talking to grown-ups, becomes his town’s Secret Keeper. Creepy shadows whisper the townspeople’s secrets and describe a murder-to-be. Blake must stop the killer…or become the next victim.
Icicles dripped all around me. One fat drop snuck inside my coat and ran down my neck, giving me the shivers. As we walked, I stomped in a puddle, soaking my good shoes…and my sister, Jenna. She didn’t even yell at me. Just gave me a cold stare. But her red, teary eyes totally ruined the effect.
We trudged along in silence. Having started at the front of the group, we’d dropped further and further behind. Mom didn’t notice, of course – too many things on her mind.
Jenna wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
“I’m going to catch up to Mom,” she said. “You better get there soon.”
It’d been quiet before, but now all I heard was silence. Times like this made me miss him more. I felt his absence like a concrete block on my chest. Everything got blurry and I tripped, landing on my hands and knees. Something wet rolled down my cheek.
I wasn’t crying. Twelve-year-old boys don’t cry…at least not in public.
I was going to stay there, or maybe crawl home, but the wind blew. Well, I’m pretty sure it was the wind. The leaves were the only things that moved. The dead ones on the ground rose up and circled around me, like a mini-tornado. The sharp edge of one scratched my cheek and made me bleed. They moved around me, pressing in closer and making me dizzy. I stood up. Waving both arms in front of me to scatter the leaves, I pushed my way through.
MURDER MOST FOUL
Mr. Boddy lies in the hall, his face blue, silk fibers stuck to his neck. There’s a faint dusting of white flour on his back.