Thursday, October 17, 2013

#13 GONE WILD YA Speculative Fiction

Name: Martha Mayberry
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction

75 word pitch: As seventeen-year-old Lia leads a group of shipwrecked kids across the wasteland of Stellar 3, her little brother is gravely injured. A legend says the desert dragons bestow unlimited power on those who need it most. But to earn the ability to heal her brother, Lia must bind her soul to the dragon and risk losing her mind to the beast forever.

First 500 words:
Our ships perched like raptors on the runway, dull gray in the muted sunlight.  A shiver skated across my skin. Within an hour, my brother and I would sleep inside Demeter, suspended until we reached our parents on planet Stellar 3. Morphed into a space-icles. 
My wrist com beeped and I jumped. 11:40. Twenty minutes until they called our names.
“This is crazy,” Auntie said. The fake lips she’d drawn on her mask gave me the creeps. But my own mask, sans red paint, hid my grimace. 
“Stay here,” she said. “I’ll find a way to take care of you and Joe.”
“I can take care of myself,” Joe said, puffing his skinny chest.
Auntie gave him a long look.
“I can take care of myself,” he said. “I’m almost nine. A man.”
Maybe he’d grow tall in our new world, like a transplanted tree.  Unable to resist, I tousled his hair, making it stick up all over his head.
Giggling, I twisted away from his hand.  He’d be a thorn tree.
“What’s this?” Auntie plucked a mouse from inside his shirt.  “I told you I’d care for your pets.”
“Can’t I bring a little one?” Joe pleaded. In an instant, the man fled, replaced by the lost boy who’d crawled into my bed every night since our parents had left.
 “Joe, you can’t take an animal on a spaceship.” I said. “What would it eat?”
“It would eat you,” Joe said. “It would gnaw on you, the whole time we’re in space.”
 “Jeez, Joe, thanks.  I’m feelin’ the love here.”
“What were your parents thinking?  Abandoning their children for a dream in the stars.” Auntie played with her mask as she stared at the ships, and her fingers smeared the brilliant red, giving the smile a ghoulish slant.  “Chemicals and cryogenics-it’s all so dangerous.”
Thanks, Auntie, that makes me feel better. “We’ll be fine.” I hated the quiver in my voice.  “Besides, I want to go. It’s an adventure.” 
The opportunity of a lifetime. A new colony. Clean air, no mask in sight. If only it was a quick flight across the country, instead of a year in a freezer.
“Some adventure if you end up dead, far from home,” Auntie grumbled.
Ignoring her comment, I fidgeted with the end of my braid and stood on my toes, scanning the kids waiting to board Hestia on the platform next to ours. No Malik.  Thumping back on my heels, I peered around as discretely as possible, hoping Auntie wouldn’t notice.  Where the heck was he?
President Marand arrived and rode to the top of a glass structure suspended in front of us. Smiling, he waved to the crowd, then clasped his hands and bowed to the kids waiting to board our ships.
The loudspeakers powered up with a squeal. After tapping the mouthpiece of his headset, President Marand cleared his throat.  The shrill sound blasted around me, pricking the fresh scab on my nerves. 
“Today’s a historic day for Earth,” he said in a booming voice. 

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