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Tuesday, 21 January 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

MENTOR: Skylar Dorset

MENTEE: Robin Hammer


CATEGORY/GENRE: NA Magical Realism

WORD COUNT: 90,000



All Sydney wanted was to get a new start at a good college. Then she finds out that the honors program she’s been accepted to is a cover for a massive and dangerous experiment in mind control. Surrounded by people literally playing head games, Sydney has no idea who she can trust…including herself.



Please don’t let her stop. Please don’t let her stop. Please don’t—

She stopped.

One of my scattered papers settled at her feet and she picked it up. “Here you go.”

I took it, glimpsed at the good-deed-doer and then back down at the jumble of books and notes that had fallen out of my backpack.

Ten more steps. That’s all I’d needed. Then I would’ve passed her and the only witnesses to my poor bag zipping skills would’ve been the handful of students across the quad who were too far away to bother coming to help. But noooo. I gotta dump my stuff directly in front of this non-rushed, thoughtful person who seemed perfectly at ease coming to the rescue of—and possibly wanting to make small talk with—a perfect stranger. Great.

The girl grabbed another stray paper shuffling away in the breeze and knelt beside me, smiling.

“So you have BioPsych,” she said flicking her gaze to my exposed book. “Which professor do you have?”

And there it was. Small talk. The sun seemed to grow twenty degrees hotter and sweat accumulated at my temples. “I—”

Words wouldn’t come. My mind blanked like it always did when faced with a simple social interaction. Give me a few good old-fashioned Euler-Lagrange equation optimization problems to grapple with and I’m your gal, but play meet and greet with a cheery fellow college student? I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.

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