Manuscript Status: One Month
Mentor Names: Brenda Drake and Heather Cashman
Mentee Name: Amanda Donegan
Title: WILLOW HILLS
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Dark Fantasy #ownvoices
Word Count: 70,000 words
At dark, the gravestone statues in Willow Hills Cemetery come to life—including Gretta. Watcher of the dead, it’s her job to make sure her charge, the demanding, snarky spirit Quinn Rivera, crosses over and finds spiritual peace. But Quinn refuses to cross unless her brother learns the truth of her death, and the crippling bipolar depression that led her to shut him out beforehand.
In ten minutes, the sun would freeze me. Fifteen, maybe, if the sun creeps behind pearls of clouds.
Morning fog clung to the surface of my body, turning it dewy and dark, like the rain that had splattered my face for decades, forever imprinting a cascade of gray tears down my cheeks.
Crouching behind a weathered shed, I eyed the groundskeeper of Willow Hills Cemetery, an old man named Charlie Jack. He unlocked the front gates and pried apart the large wings of rusted iron, casting aside the chain, opening a world I’d never get to see. A world full of life where demons lurked.
The hounds no human could see paced the gates, their noses to the ground, shackles raised and teeth glinting. Barring me from my dreams. Daring me to escape.
A twig snapped underneath my granite foot. I stilled, hoping Charlie hadn’t heard.
Charlie crossed the graveyard and rested his hand on Mother Maria. Dirge, my gargoyle companion, growled as Charlie surveyed the tree line.
Hunkering down to the earth, I held Dirge.
“Is anyone out there?” Charlie’s voice echoed over the headstones.
Please don’t come closer. I didn’t breathe. Not that I needed to.
Dirge wrapped his stone claws around my ankle sliding his nails into the crack on my leg. He whimpered and hugged the damp ground.
My time to roam was up.
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