December 9, 2014 at 12:44 AM #5119
Name: Annie Clark
Title of Manuscript: COR AUT MORS – YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 1245
Plot Summary: Cursed with purple eyes and a glass heart, Cora is destined to be a killer. One look into her eyes and the victim has 24 hours to find someone to give their heart to. If they can’t, their heart belongs to Cora. Literally.
Morgan, Cora’s normal twin sister, hates their serial killer life – burying her sister’s heartless victims and staying two-steps ahead of the local authorities. She’d given up hope of ever having a destiny of her own. However, when Morgan’s dormant curse awakens, it results in a boy named Lucas professing his undying love for her.
Flying into a jealous rage, Cora curses four people at once – including Lucas. Morgan doesn’t know if Lucas’ love for her is real or because of her curse, but what she does know is she may be the only one who can save him – at the cost of her sister’s life. Because if Cora doesn’t collect Lucas’ heart, her glass heart will break, killing her.
First Five Pages:
My sister has a nasty habit of making people kill themselves.
All of the teenagers in this overcrowded room are her potential victims. Boy, girl, fat, skinny, popular, nerd, gay, straight, everyone and everything in-between are all fair game to her. Who they are, their hopes and dreams, their lives – none of it matters. As long as they have a pulse that she can stop, she’s interested.
I hate parties like this. Packed in this house like sardines, the air goes stale in minutes and yet no one thinks to crack a window. Probably because the pungent scent marijuana would alert the neighbors to the oh-so-obvious house party happening next door, but drugs would actually give them a reason to call the cops. Cops in this town don’t respond to noise complaints. There are far more important things to worry about – like the abundance of unsolved disappearances, clueless corpses, and inexplicable suicides.
Standing against a wall, tucked into myself, I cover my nose and mouth with my hand because the combined stench of beer, tequila, and salt may prove to be too much for me. But we’re here to work; I have to keep my wits about me. Parties are ideal for selecting potential targets – no one is watching where they should be. Boys are all too willing to follow her into the darkness in hopes of getting laid. Girls are too busy protecting their own from the drunk boys and not from the demented beauty with a taste for blood. None of them stand a chance against her.
By the looks of it, she’s already selected her next victim. Almost out of my line of sight, I spot my sister in a corner with someone. The throng of bodies gyrating to the awful pop music blasting through the speakers of this god-forsaken house nearly conceal them, but their chemistry is undeniable: they look good together. Her on his lap, while he whispers in her ear making her laugh. A picture perfect couple – the all-American dream.
My sister and I may share a face, but whatever makes her different from me, whatever makes her a killer, gave her an extra bit of oomph. I’m not saying I’m ugly; I’m saying she’s beautiful. Transcendent. Her skin glows like she’s made of sunlight, full bee-stung lips, a delicate sloping nose, and thick, split-end free raven-colored hair. Paired with her penetrating gaze, seductress air, and melodic laughter, Cora is genetically designed to attract. Moth meet flame.
Her only caveat is her eyes. We force her to wear glasses – thick lenses that transform her eyes to a muddy brown color. She hates them, but knows better than to let me catch her without them on.
He, I’m fairly sure his name is James Mallory, is six-feet of purple mountain majesty, good ol’ fashioned, tanned California boy. Shining rust-colored hair, jaw smattered with the beginnings of stubble, broad shoulders leading to biceps that strain against his plaid sleeves. Stiff jeans that taper nicely around his solid behind and hang low on his hips.
People were going to notice his disappearance immediately. Damn it.
“CORA!” I shout telepathically to my sister, “Pick someone else.”
Our telepathy is a skill unique to multiple births. All identical siblings are born with the ability but only a few, like Cora and I, know how to use it. It comes in handy when we she’s in trouble, which is always.
My sister turns her head in my direction. I catch her eye long enough for her to give me the “Don’t bother me. I’m hunting” look.
“My heart’s set on this one. Sorry,” she replies.
Bitch. She’s not even close to sorry. After all these years, I doubt she feels a single shred of remorse for the things we’ve done. Unfortunately, I love my sister in spite of her addiction to death, which means nine times out of ten, I’m a willing accomplice to murder. Because that’s what sisters, twins, do.
So while she flirts and lures, I play the role of eternal wallflower until she’s ready.
The music stops. A few people yell and groan in complaint, while I thank the merciful universe. The headache pounding between my eyes reached unbearable territory fifteen minutes ago.
“Hey Morgan!” Jeanette Pearson calls, squeezing next to me.
“Ho-la,” I reply, keeping one eye on my sister.
I’ve known Jeanette for years. Back when her nickname Rat’s Nest because of her abundance of brown, unruly curly hair. When she still wore braces, her puberty growth spurts only affected her feet, her face dripped oil, and forehead was covered in pimples. Now, she’s stacked like a model; curves for days and days with some of the clearest skin I’ve ever seen in my life, but with that same sweet smile that was always remained kind and forgiving through the bullying she endured.
It was a smile I never wanted to have to bury.
“How are you? I missed you at my birthday party,” she says. Her alcohol saturated breath hits me, making me gag.
“Ah, sorry about that,” I dip my head down to breath the air closer to my own body, “My sister wasn’t feeling well and my dad had to work so yours truly got promoted to primary nurse.” That was a lie. Cora and I were actually burying a body in the woods on the outskirts of town.
Jeanette scrunches her nose causing her round, green eyes to squint at me. “That sucks. You’re such a good sister though. Anyway next week, I was thinking about having a movie night for the softball team. You’ll come right?”
“Maybe,” I lie again. The answer would be no. Jeanette, bless her heart, didn’t like Cora. And if Cora couldn’t go, neither could I. “But, if you recall, I’m not on the team?”
“I know but you can totally come,” she slurred, resting her head on my shoulder, “I want us to become better friends this year. Before we leave for college.”
“We are friends.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. She smiles at my response and it makes me want to say yes. To say, yes, I will go to your movie night. Yes, let’s be best friends this year and write each other emails every day when we leave for college, but I don’t. Instead, I deflect. “And as such, it’s my duty to inform you that you are drunk.” I tap her nose.
“Maybe just a little,” she giggled.
“Who’s watching out for you?” I ask.
“Luna. She’s DDing tonight.”
“Good. I’m probably leaving in a bit. Call me if you need me.”
“You’re so nice Morgan!” Jeanette stands up straight, teeters on her heels, and launches herself at me. Her arms wind around my neck as she squeezes. My arms move on their own – before I know it, I’m hugging her back. Her hair smells like pineapple, she’s squishy soft, and warm as blankets fresh out of the dryer.
I really wish we could be real friends.
“Morgan,” my sister snaps. “I’m ready.”
I look up in just enough time to see her glaring at Jeanette’s back as she walks out of the door with James behind her.
“I gotta go,” I pull back, “See you Wednesday?”
“Yeah. Hopefully we’ll be in the same class again.”
“A girl can dream,” I press a quick kiss to Jeanette’s forehead making her laugh, and push my way through the room and out the door to find my sister.
December 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM #5123
I LOVED this. What a great concept. I really want to read on to see what Cora does next – and how she does it. The voice is perfect for YA, and the title is something that should stand out. Don’t have any crits to make here, good luck!
December 29, 2014 at 2:18 PM #5128
I just love that first line. It’s also an intriguing concept. I really wanted to like this more. What I found lacking was empathy. It’s fine to have an evil twin if the other has a really good reason for sticking by her side. I didn’t feel enough empathy for Morgan. Sticking by her heartless, blood-thirsting sister’s side and being her willing accomplice in murder? I need more of a reason than she’s my sister or I don’t care enough about what happens to the character. Remember, not all evil characters have to be 100% evil. They can have some redeeming qualities that may us care for them while we still despise their actions.
Good luck with your story. I think it has some real potential!
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