Mentor Name: Sharon Johnston
Mentee Name: Lakin Wooliver
Title: THE CORPSE CIRCUS
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Word Count: 69,000
At midnight, seventeen-year-old Corin seeps into her twin’s grave to escape her family’s drug-dealer lifestyle. In the Land of the Dead, she lives her aerialist dreams at the Corpse Circus. But when a Mors discovers she’s alive, he kidnaps her twin and delivers an ultimatum: kill for him or he’ll devour her twin’s soul. Supernatural Dexter meets Cirque du Freak.
Tonight, I have to make a choice: risk my life in a periling feat or betray my corpse twin. Our aerial act debuts in the Corpse Circus in an hour. Normally, I’m excited to enter the Land of the Dead, but the small fact that this could kill me still has me second-guessing our confidence.
I clench my fists. The headstones jut out of the cemetery like jagged teeth, waiting to swallow me whole. I check my watch again. Two minutes until midnight. I hold a chilly breath and release it slowly. The puff dissolves in front of my face as I move toward my sister’s grave. Her slab reads “Ryder Danielle Penson, June 6th, 1998. An angel too beautiful for this world.” My twin sister died before we were born, so I never imagined I’d meet her. Then, she invited me into her grave.
My palms sweat inside the black gloves. The tight corset itches against my skin. My nerves buzz and pop like frayed wires, threatening to set my body on fire. I look down at my watch once again.
I curl my toes in the ballet flats, imagining wide open spaces as my feet sink into her plot. The oxygen trapped in my lungs pushes painfully against my ribcage. I’ll be out in a minute. I’ll be out in a minute. I tell myself over and over, a reminder I won’t be squeezed to death.