Name: Cass Newbould Genre: Urban Fantasy Title: Signal Against Noise
35-Word pitch: 16-year-old Haley was born a weapon. Her 15-year-old brother born to repair the dying-lands. To maintain their identity, both mutants must accept their new roles in a world of humans or lose each other again.
Their first mistake was keeping me alive, unfortunately for them, it wasn't their last.
Sitting in our room, getting ready to start the day, I can’t get that thought out of my head. When you’re born with the sole intention of being used by your government as a weapon, your choices aren't many.
Being a 16-year-old mutant with the ability to shift anything--shapes, emotion, space, blood, well… Daydreaming is the only thing that keeps the collar around my neck from choking the life out of me completely. What was Earth like before The great wars? Before all the chemical fallout that turned us into what we are today? To be a normal girl, with a normal life; yeah, that sure would be nice.
"Haley... Hey, Haley--where are you right now? You're totally spacing out again! Girl, you’re never on the ground. Pretty soon we’ll need to leash you just to have a conversation!"
"If you don't watch it, Benni-boy, you’ll be having a conversation with my fist in a minute!"
Benjamin is my best-friend. I feel like strangling him on a daily basis, but I couldn't imagine life without him. Getting each other’s sense of humor goes far in a place where funny is unacceptable. A giggle escapes me. Ben raises one eyebrow.
"What horrible torture are you planning for me now?"
"Why ever would you think that, don't you know I'm a lady?"
We both erupt into laughter.
"Haley, you and I both know how very far from the truth that statement is, and with a giggle like that I can only imagine the pain you were dreaming to inflict on me."
"Well, to be honest, I was dreaming about punching you just for the simple fact of how stunning you look today, Dahhhling!"
Batting my eyes and drawing out the word darling, we fall into another laughing fit. We both know exactly to whom I am referring. Miss Glasseu, our histories teacher, always calls Benni ‘Dahhhling’ and makes eyes at him. She's plainly infatuated, even though she's 10 years his senior. Then again, age has never really stopped anyone here from getting what they want. Or at least trying to.
"Are you going to class today mister?"
"Me? Aren't I always a model student?"
"Well mister model, that's a shame because I was thinking how lovely a day it is. Sun is shining, people are laughing. Everyone is out having a good time. Such a travesty… What would you say to a little rainstorm? It would be just awful for all these fun-loving citizens to get wet, don'tcha think?"
"Haley, that sounds like a horrible, terrible idea... I'm in! Who needs teaching anyway when you've already got class like me?" he says (winking), and I can't help it--I sock him in the arm--just because.
Feigning pain, he looks up. “Ow, that hurt!”
That just makes me hit him again and we both fall to the floor, laughing hysterically. Physical strength is not my strong point.
Name: Cass Newbould
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Title: Signal Against Noise
35-Word pitch: Sixteen-year-old Haley was born a weapon. Her fifteen-year-old brother born to repair the destruction. Whether Haley decides to save herself or her brother's life, both mutants must accept their roles in a world of humans.
Their first mistake was keeping me alive. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't their last.
I can’t get that thought out of my head.
I need to get out of here. Today! Now!
What was Earth like before The Great Wars? Before all the chemical fallout that turned us into what we are today? To be a normal girl, with a normal life; yeah, that would be nice.
"Haley... Hey, Haley--where are you right now?”
My eyes try to focus as I breathe slowly. My nails are digging into my clenched fists. I scoot over on the bed and Ben plops down hard beside me.
“ You're totally spacing out again! Girl, you’re never on the ground. Pretty soon we’ll need to leash you just to have a conversation!"
"If you don't watch it, Benni-boy, you’ll be conversing with my fist in a minute!"
“Man, you’re touchy today,” Ben says. I shrug in agreement.
“I can’t take these walls anymore. They’re closing me in.” Looking at Ben’s face, I hope for the best, and say, “ I've got an idea, what would you say to a little redecorating?”
“Ohhhh no, last time you tried to get us out of here not only did you melt the floor, you ruined my best sneakers!”
Glancing at the new floorboards I imagine how they looked last week. Burned to a crisp. It was amazing I hadn't set the whole room aflame. Controlling fire is something I am going to need A LOT more practice with.
“I promise I won’t melt anything.”
My fingertip traces a line in the wall next to my bed. It leaves a path my brain wants to follow. I feel the concrete as it digs into my flesh. My finger melts away until it’s one with the wall. I push into the mass. The heaviness of the stone envelopes me. Skin wrapped in a hug, the pressure mounts the more I let myself go.
Can I make my whole body transform into concrete? I think of the great wall that separates us from the human citizens. This could work, we could get out of here this time.
Run. Escape. Now!
“Ahh, Haley?” says Ben, startling me out of my reverie and I blink.
When you’re born with the sole-intention of being used by your government as a weapon your choices aren't many… Daydreaming is the only thing that keeps the collar around my neck from choking the life out of me completely.
Coming back to myself I smirk in Ben’s direction. Ben sets his shoulders and looks like he’s steeling himself for destruction.
“Silly bird,” Ben says and tugs my hair, “We are going to be fine.” I lean into him and sigh.
“So... I just came up with a plan of escape, you interested?” Under the black cotton tee-shirt I feel his muscles contract with the excitement the idea of escape brings. His shoulder a pillow for my head. “ I know you are, I can feel it.”