TITLE: United We Fall
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
GENRE: Psychological Suspense
WORD COUNT: 64,000
Accused of her boyfriend’s murder, Kayla teams up with a toxic friend to clear her name — only the killer is closer than she ever imagined. This is GONE GIRL meets FIGHT CLUB in high school.
I jog through a cemetery of fallen pine needles coated in a brittle white frost. Each step I take sounds like I’m crunching down on the skeletons of tiny birds. Morbid, I know, but that’s the kind of mood I’m in. I woke up on the darkest side of the bed today and I can’t seem to shake it.
Marshall Park just feels so lonely this morning. It’s still early and I’ve got it all to myself, but that’s not unusual; Portland’s got so much green space close-in there’s plenty to go around. Maybe it’s because the sun is lost behind the clouds again, probably forever. It’s barely October, but I swear winter is coming early this year.
I bet I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That or my hormones are screwing with me, ‘cause life’s pretty damn great right now. I finally fit in. I’ve got an awesome group of friends. And there’s Tyler. I won the lottery with him: he’s honest, and funny, and crazy cute. We’ve been together for almost two years and I still have to pinch myself sometimes. See? I’m lucky. There’s nothing to get depressed about.
I push myself to go faster. Usually it’ll work: I can peel off my charred layers and leave them in the dust. But not today, today my gloomy mood keeps perfect time with me. I cross over the river and cut left. An awful stench of eye-burning vinegar mixed with copper, raw hamburger, and wet dog smacks me in the face.