Title: OF FIRE AND SHADOW
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 63,000
The day after her mother dies, shadows begin stalking sixteen-year-old Talitha Martin. To start over and be safe, all she needs to do is hide her biggest secret: that her body randomly turns into smoke.
Except secrets, like smoke, are impossible to contain. When emotional stress causes Talitha to shift, her new neighbour Caspar sees. Except instead of running away—or exposing her secret—Caspar is intrigued. His stubborn friendship, however, is tested when the shadows attack Caspar and Talitha, and they’re saved not by her smoke, but by two beings forged from flame, the Ascended.
The Ascended came down to Earth to find the vessel—a human who carries one of their essences, their key for survival. For if the Ascended fall so does humanity. Though not the vessel, Talitha’s power enables her to find and protect this person. The Ascended promise to help her control the smoke, but only if she agrees to help. And, of course, she does.
But when the shadows mark Caspar to die when the vessel does, Talitha knows time is running out. She must harness her powers fast or the shadows win. Either way, her dreams of a normal life just went up in smoke.
My mother died a week ago because of me. Smoke inhalation, the coroner’s report said.
The problem: there was no fire.
The cause: the freakish mutation that's plagued me for three years. Not that I could admit it, unless I wanted to become a science experiment, or thrown in jail. As I leaned against the rough brick wall, something caught my eye.
The shadows across the road were oddly darker than the midday sun warranted, as if they had swallowed the very ground. Goosebumps prickled down my neck.
I stepped away from the wall, drawn by the shadows, which was a good move considering the wall had etched a pattern into my skin.
Something, or someone, stood in the shadows across the street. I squinted, trying to overcome the glare of sunlight, to make out what stood before the towering office buildings. The figure swayed like branches caught in a breeze. My eyebrows furrowed as I stepped into the gutter, ignoring the cars blurring past. The shadows writhed and crept towards the buildings, the figure moving in their safety.
“Talitha?” I spun and faced my grandma’s inquiring face. She’d finished inside the lawyer’s office—finished with the aftermath of my own design. I swallowed hard and glanced back at the shadowed trees and sidewalk. They were normal once more.
“Everything sorted?” I asked, and shook my head to clear it. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen the writhing shadows.
She squinted at me through her round glasses. “Yes.”