Manuscript Status: FINISHED
Mentor Name: Lindsey Frydman
Mentee Name: Kristy F. Gillespie
Title: LUCY COUNTING STARS
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 91,000
After teen artist suicides rock a small town, Lucy is sent to a sinister mental hospital where they believe creativity causes mental illness. She’s force-fed an experimental drug which “cures” her OCD but threatens to unmake everything she is.
The funeral home restroom smells like shit-covered roses. As much as I’d like to leave, I have to finish drawing a flock of birds on pieces of toilet paper. Then I’ll feel less shaky, more in control. At least I hope so.
After a moment, high heels click-clack across the linoleum floor. “Lucy, the service is about to start,” Heather Marshall says.
“I’ll be right out.” I flush the paper and watch the birds drown in discolored water. I count to lucky number seven, tuck the pen into the side compartment of my purse, and smooth my wrinkled dress before exiting the stall.
Heather leans against the sink, inspecting her sparkly nails. Before I can wash my hands, she flings her arms around me. “I’m so sorry.”
She’s the sixth person to say this, which is an unlucky number for me. Even numbers are too perfect—just like Heather. When she lets go, I’m surprised to see tears pooling in her brown eyes. Heather barely spoke to Janice and me, even though we’ve been classmates since kindergarten, and now she’s hugging me and crying. What the hell?
Unsure of how to respond, I say, “We should probably go.”
“Yeah, it smells horrid in here.” She slips her hand into mine and leads me out of the restroom. I’m so taken aback by her kindness, I forget to wash my hands. I hadn’t peed or anything; I only drew while hiding in the stall. But I did touch the restroom door, the stall door, and the toilet handle…