Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Sharon Johnston
Mentee Name: Amanda Donegan
Title: THE ZERO MAKER
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Psychological Horror
Word Count: 63,000
Seventeen-year-old gamer Sunny just wants to show up her friends at Minecraft. But when she buys a laptop from a thrift store, a demonic virus lurking in the hard drive has a game of its own.
The rules are simple: spread the Zer0 Maker, or die.
Computers can die from brain farts.
If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be standing outside this rundown thrift store, peering through the windows like a complete creep. My pieced-together PC back at home, Frakensoft, circled the virtual drain in the form of a blue screen, leaving me practically itching for the online servers.
My fingers twitched.
Focus, Sunny. Computer parts.
Bells clinked against the glass door when I entered. A lady behind the counter raised a thin eyebrow at me and clicked her pen. Click, click, click. The rows of junk—or treasures, the jury was still out—beckoned for exploration. Hats, jewelry, movies, posters. This place was paradise.
“Twenty percent off the merchandise to the left.”
She smacked her bubblegum and leaned against the checkout counter. My butt vibrated. I dug out my cellphone to find a text from Twist, one of my gamer bros, asking if we could have an online session once I resurrected my computer.
Smirking, I replied, Oh idk, am I freaking breathing oxygen?
His reply made me snort-laugh. That probably sounded better in your head.
Shoving my phone in my pocket, I looked down the aisles. A box labeled “nerd gear” stood out from the rest stacked against the wall. Somebody drew a skull and crossbones on the side—a warning to back off the goodies, no doubt. A mouse cord poked out from the top like a beckoning index finger, calling to me: Come hither, intrepid gamer, come hither!
So I did.