PW #321: Young Adult Contemporary w/ magical elements: IF THESE WINGS COULD FLY

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentors Names: Kate Karyus Quinn & Mindy McGinnis

Mentee Name: Kyrie McCauley


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary w/ magical elements

Word Count: 62,000 words


When fifty-thousand crows invade Auburn, PA, Leighton Barnes doesn’t find it strange. No stranger than her house, which heals itself whenever her stepdad breaks it, or her mom forgiving him, again. Leighton must find a way out before she faces her choice of heartbreaks: leave her sisters in the cycle of violence, or sacrifice her college dreams. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING with magic.


It’s in the stretches of silence that I wonder if she’s dead.

My window is propped open, its wooden shutters thrown wide to welcome a breeze that doesn’t exist. I suck in air, thick with humidity, and look up at the night sky. Heavy clouds, no rain. Mother Nature, you’re such a tease.

Our whole town waits on rain to ease the drought. Rain to wash away the sweat that clings to our bodies each day as soon as we step outside. Rain to pummel the hard, dry dirt beneath withering crops in the fields. Rain is life. Rain is forgiveness. Rain washes away sins faster than a priest can.

I hear it again: a deep, rumbling noise. Don’t be fooled, it isn’t thunder. His voice is as loud as God’s and as mean as the Devil’s. I try to ignore it, but then I hear the soft padding of little feet on the hallway carpet. A moment later, my bedroom door opens and the girls come in. The three of us sit under my window, one sister huddled beneath each of my arms.

As if I can protect them.

My arms curl around their shoulders. “It’s okay,” I whisper, to them and myself.

A scream fills the house. It isn’t Mom. It’s the opening shriek of a classic rock song. When the bass drum hits, the door to my room quakes.

It’s a full volume night.

34 comments to PW #321: Young Adult Contemporary w/ magical elements: IF THESE WINGS COULD FLY

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