Title: PIPER GIRL
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 74,000
As circus performer, seventeen-year old Marisa was famous for her magical ability to charm animals with her silver flute. But after a tragic accident tore her family apart and left her penniless, she ended up in the Dumps—a walled ghetto outside downtown Los Angeles. With the support of her neighbors and her close friend, Josh, she has managed to survive. But she’d give anything to escape the slums.
When valuable lab rats from pharmaceuticals giant Dyna Corp invade the Dumps, Marisa sees a chance to profit from her unique talents. Assured of a generous reward, she uses her flute to round up the rats. But after she reveals she can also control people with her music, a high-ranking scientist at Dyna makes her a proposition. If she lets him study her powers, she’ll earn enough to leave the ghetto forever.
Marisa is tempted, until she learns that her neighborhood is overrun with a deadly new strain of rat, infected by a disease created in Dyna’s labs. With Josh seriously ill from a rat bite and the Dumps at risk of an epidemic, Marisa must decide whether to put herself first or help her community—even if it means taking on Dyna Corp.
An urban twist on The Pied Piper fairy tale, PIPER GIRL will appeal to fans of Marissa Meyer’s CINDER and Anna Sheehan’s A LONG, LONG SLEEP. I am a member of RWA and SCBWI.
The sirens sound like they’re right outside my door.
Burrowing my head under the pillow, I try to block out the noise. Enough, already. It’s no use. I reach over to turn on the lamp, but nothing happens. The electricity’s out again.
Without my trusty fan whirring away, my room is stifling. If I try going back to sleep now, I’ll end up tossing and turning on my mattress, growing sweatier by the minute. I fumble in the darkness until I feel the hard plastic of my flashlight. When I twist it on, a few cockroaches skitter away into the shadows.
I slip on flip-flops, but hesitate before unbolting my door. Do I really want to go out there? Sirens usually mean cops—a rarity in this neighborhood. If they’ve ventured into the Dumps, the situation must be serious.
But I’m too restless to stay cooped up inside. Maybe just a quick peek.
Before I go, I shine my flashlight around the room, to ensure there’s nothing visible worth stealing. What little cash I have is hidden behind a loose cinder block in the wall, along with my precious silver flute. I couldn’t care less about the money, but I’d be devastated if someone took my flute.
I lock the door, pocket the key, and navigate the narrow stairwell to the ground floor. Out on the street, a blast of hot, dry air hits me in the face, bringing with it the acrid smell of smoke. Something’s on fire.