Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #14

Genre: YA, Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 92,000


Sixteen-year-old Seneca Harvey is an involuntary superhero who can’t resist punking the bad guys to avenge their victims. But stomping on the manhood of men twice her size and mummifying gas station thieves with duct tape screams ‘I’m powerful and a little off balance. Please strap me in a kryptonite straight jacket.’

Seneca’s daytime role as the rambling girl that even teachers overlook is easy. Eleven different cities in thirteen years with no one writing to say they miss her is a good sign she’s got the incognito thing down. But on random nights when other people’s fear transforms her into a spectacle of immeasurable speed, strength and agility, incognito ain’t easy. The media is this close to outing her.

Their spot-on description leads John Randall, the investor who funded the experiments that turned her into a freak, right to her doorstep. He wants a little return on his investment, in the form of Seneca back in a lab with chemical elements racing through her veins.

Next up: Impromptu move #12. And she’ll get right on that. As soon as she convinces herself that the chance to end Randall’s research isn’t worth the risk of becoming his lab rat again.

First 250:

I yank away the screen of my bedroom window, swing my legs over the sill and jump out into the night air. I have no idea where I'm going.

My feet hit the ground. It’s less of a landing and more of a jumping off point for my dash toward wherever the call of fear leads. Every hair on my body feels like a separate nerve. It’s like a tickle on the bottoms of my feet, except all over. With every breath, the familiar taste of metal on my tongue gets stronger.

In seconds, I make it about 30 miles away from my average Detroit suburb to one of those neighborhoods that my aunt and I cruise through trying to claim the best houses before the other one does. My heartbeat is furious as if it’s giving my muscles the strength they need to tear through my skin. I’m getting closer to fear’s call.

By the time I reach a huge lawn with skyscraper-like trees and a hidden drive, running isn’t enough to satisfy the hunger of the energy that rages through me. My feet, my ears, my muscles, my sensitivity to the fear that calls me— are all stronger, better, faster, more. I use the energy to launch myself up and through a second-story window of a city-block sized mansion. I somersault into a dark bedroom. Glass ricochets off my body, generating insect-like annoyances on my skin and then scattering across the hardwood floor.

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