Title: PAINTING THE ROSES DEAD
Genre: YA mystery
Word Count: 50K
It’s a world of laughter,
A world of tears.
It’s a world of hopes,
And a world of . . .
The night before seventeen-year-old Teegan Krane’s first day playing Alice in Wonderland at Disney World, she receives a mysterious invitation to a midnight scavenger hunt. Intrigued, she accepts. But the initiation rite turns from a dream to a nightmare when someone stalks her through the park, and another Alice is found poisoned the next morning.
As Teegan wonders whether she was the target, the police arrest a suspect: Teegan’s brother, the victim’s ex-boyfriend. But even after Miles’s arrest, the other Alices report shadows outside their apartments and threatening notes in their lockers. Talk about curiouser and curiouser.
When Teegan investigates behind-the-scenes (and under the streets) at the most magical place on earth, she discovers a world of jealousy and competitiveness blurring the line between fantasy and reality. And when all clues point to her roommate, Teegan knows it’s time to head down the rabbit hole for proof—or it’s off with all their heads.
Most people don't know the original Alice in Wonderland can be split into two parts. The first part involves the caterpillar and his hookah, the white rabbit and his pocket watch, the foods and their magical properties. This section is a zany but fun romp around Wonderland. Danger, in the form of the Queen of Hearts and her army of card-soldiers, appears in the second half.
So, of course, on the day before I am set to play Alice at Disney World, I get to deal with part two.
Off with my head, indeed.
"Is this some sort of initiation present?" I tilt my head at Heidi. After my last day of shadowing her, we came to the locker room so she could change out of her Alice costume, but that plan has been derailed like a faulty Matterhorn bobsled.
A dozen white roses, a set of playing cards, and a bucket of red paint wait outside my locker.
"They're not from me." Heidi crouches, inspecting the items. "Hey, they have notes."
She passes me the slips of paper. I frown at the spidery red ink. Smell Me. Play Me. Use Me. Roses, cards, paint. "Are you sure these aren't weird happy-first-day-of-being-Alice presents?"
"Positive. Our initiation is different." She points above the items, at my locker itself.
A small, cream-colored envelope sticks halfway through the slats. When I pull it out, the cardstock is thick and rich, and sky blue letters spell You're invited to a Merry Un-birthday.