Name: Kate Brauning
Title: THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE
Genre: Adult fantasy
Tagline: Shadow & Bone meets American Gods: Non-magical Ava must escape the god of war or be an unwilling diplomat in his Middle Eastern takeover. Marry him and live with guilt, or escape- risking her friends’ death?
1st 250 Words:
After the war, the neighbors would whisper, “We saw how it started, you know- we were there when she was born.” The mother- a charming woman, really- had loved entertaining. But then came the child, and after that, the wasting illness. When the illness left, it took the woman with it, leaving the child- a girl named Ava- the motherless daughter of a red-faced, small-eyed man.
That man never should have had a child. The neighbors all knew it. When they stopped by to say how sorry they were about the mother’s death, he wouldn’t answer the door, nor would he return their phone calls. Most unforgivably, he left the casseroles on the steps until the wild cats ate them. No one was surprised when Ava was sent to live with her mother’s parents.
For a while, the neighbors forgot about her. But one summer evening, six years after the toddler left, a Toyota sputtered to a halt near the house.
Ava had been sent back to her father. Her grandparents had died now, too. The girl wasn’t crying, wasn’t screaming. She simply held on to her seatbelt and refused to get out of the car. She clutched a picture frame.
The neighbors saw leaves swirling in summer dust devils around the car. They saw the father jerk the single suitcase out of the back seat. They didn’t see the tall woman in white standing by the street lamp, watching as the child refused to budge. Her father didn’t see the woman, and neither did the social worker.