PW #309: Young Adult Science Fiction: MONSTERS BENEATH OUR SKIN

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Sharon M. Johnston
Mentee: Michelle Graham
Category/Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 88,000


The Darkness, a fog-like entity from a failed military experiment, infects Kadey with a corruption like many others—she disintegrates any living thing she touches. No one knows how to control, or cure corruptions. But unlike other people with the corruption disease, when Kadey encounters the Darkness, she goes temporarily insane, killing anyone, and anything, she gets her hands on. Responsible for a growing death toll, Kadey finds herself with a bounty on her head. Fringe meets Stranger Things with X-Men-esque superpowers.


I didn’t kill anyone yesterday, and this thought should make me happy.

Instead, it kept me awake all night. I’m nauseated with exhaustion, but I can’t sleep surrounded by so many people. I huddle in the corner, staying as far away from the rest of the group as possible. The eight bodies scattered throughout the room are all people that might die today because of me. Trista and her toddler son. Rain and his wife, Anile.

I’m only alive because they don’t know who I am. Henry’s the only one who knows my real name. But he doesn’t know the real me, not really. The monster beneath my skin. He shifts in his sleep, and I consider brushing his hair out of his eyes, but I can’t.     

The boards over the window rattle, making me jump. The light of dawn creeping through the cracks between the wood brightens, then darkens. Something’s outside. My throat constricts, and my heart batters against my ribs. I stand, and the floor squeaks under my foot.

Henry groans. “What’s wrong?” He reaches out, but I slide away.

“I’m checking the window,” I whisper. The crack between the boards is just wide enough to peek through. If it’s a cloudy morning, we’re safe. If it’s not, I have to get out of here.

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