PW #117: Adult Psychological Suspense/Domestic Thriller (#ownvoices): BABY TEETH

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Margarita Montimore
Mentee Name: Zoje Stage
Category: Adult
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Domestic Thriller (#ownvoices)
Word Count: 99,000


Recovering from Crohn’s disease surgery and overwhelmed by her mute seven-year-old’s increasingly defiant behavior, Suzette’s health and sanity hinge on finding professional help for her daughter. Hanna resents Mommy treating her like a “bad seed” and vows revenge so she can live happily ever after with Daddy. Their battles escalate, but only one will win the mother-daughter war.


Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke. Maybe they blazed in her bones. Maybe if the people in the white coats blew up the pictures they’d see her thoughts, mapped like mountains and railroad tracks, across her ghostly skull. Hanna knew nothing was wrong with her. But Mommy wanted them to look. Again.

The room in the hospital’s dungeon carried the threat of needles and smelled like lemon candies tinged with poison. When she was little, the machine scared her. But now, seven, she pretended she was an astronaut. The rocket ship spun and beeped and she scanned the coordinates, double-checking her course. Through the round window, tiny Earth dropped from view, then she was in the darkness with the glimmering stars, zooming away. No one would ever catch her. She smiled.

“Stay still, please. Almost finished—you’re doing great.”

The flight director watched her from his monitor. She hated all the ground control people, with their white coats and lilting voices, their playdough smiles that flopped into frowns. They were all the same. Liars.

Hanna kept her words to herself because they gave her power. Inside her, they retained their purity. She scrutinized Mommy and other adults, studied them. Their words fell like dead bugs from their mouths. A rare person, like Daddy, spoke in butterflies, whispering colors that made her gasp. Inside, she was a kaleidoscope of racing, popping, bursting exclamations, full of wonder and question marks.


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