Title: THE ROAD TO DUSTY DEATH
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Word Count: 82,000
Pitch: Revenge goes awry when two seventeen-year-olds team up to take down a Christian camp with unholy means of “reforming” gay teens. They must outwit a twisted, self-righteous older brother—or risk being sent away permanently.
First 250 Words:
The video is a form of torture, but I watch anyway.
It begins with white words superimposed on a black screen. Cue soulful music, voice-over, fade-in, and here we go:
Parker, please come home.
My brother is perched on the edge of his desk. An American flag, framed photographs, and medals and mementos from his Iraq War days blanket the wall behind him. A slice of Research Triangle Park shimmers through a far window. Anderson clutches a picture of himself as a cadet at Oak Ridge—he’s kneeling and hugging seven-year-old me.
As if anyone needs a visual. My photo has been splashed across social media and fronted news programs for months. Even I’m sick of my face.
We don’t care what you did. We forgive you. Please come back.
He forgives me? When I’m not dodging Mexican street gangs and avoiding California surftards, I’m enduring endless days of boredom. Never-ending nights. Loneliness.
Gotta hand it to him, though. My brother nails it—an Academy Award-winning performance. The camera zooms in, capturing his anguish, then pulls back to focus on the big, bad, camo-clad soldier.
Parker, we just want the family to be together again. We miss you.
Since losing it and screaming at the screen won’t help, I relax the chokehold on my bottle’s neck and calm my breathing. I picture…Ella, my wicked wallflower. Yeah, that’s better.
It’s been hard for us.
Anderson’s voice cracks. He sounds genuinely upset.
I squint at the screen—nope, still faking it.