Name: Katherine Hillis (@kehillis)
Title: One-Way Ticket to the Multiverse
35-word pitch: When an alien pulls Alex Turner through a wormhole to an alternate version of Earth, she goes from helping her family pay bills to navigating the enthralling and treacherous worlds of a multiverse-spanning empire.
First 500 words:
Alex Turner lowered the blinds on the dark windows, keeping her eyes averted from the glass. Despite the precaution, something caught her eye, motion in the front yard. It’s definitely not a serial killer, she thought, I mean, what are the chances—?
“You’re so paranoid,” Sara closed the front door behind them and tossed her overnight bag on the couch.
“I always think I’ll see someone out there.” Still, Sara had a point. Alex’s house was too far out in the country for anyone to creep on them. But knowing someone could look through the windows and observe them unseen—
“The young’uns asleep?” Sara attempted to step lightly through the house, but the old floorboards gave her away.
“Yeah.” It was nearly eleven. Molly and Oliver still had a bedtime of nine. “Mom’s at work ‘til morning.”
“Third shift again?”
“Pays more.” Alex followed Sara into the kitchen. Her stomach ached from being ignored since lunch. She and Sara had both worked shifts at Taco Bell, but after two weeks making cheap tacos, Alex couldn’t stomach the food.
Sara, however, would eat just about anything and was always hungry. She grabbed some chips off the counter while Alex opened the fridge in search of more substantial fare.
“Ugh.” Alex stared at the gallon of milk, which had turned and separated into thin yellow liquid and white chunks. No gush of cool air met her skin. Great. “The fridge is doing the thing again.”
Outside, Pancake started barking, which set Watermelon off, too. The Turner’s had the most excitable mutts in creation. They’d probably seen a squirrel. Alex’s hand was on the back doorknob when their barks stopped.
A note of fear echoed through her chest. The first thing a murderer would do would be silence the dogs—
No serial killers in Oakville, North Carolina. We don’t even have a Wal-Mart.
Despite her hunger, Alex went to bed without eating. She took the couch and gave Sara her bed. The gesture wasn’t entirely altruistic—Molly would snore from the top bunk all night.
In the dark living room, the house made strange noises. Alex was used to the way the wood sighed around her own bedroom, but sleeping in another part of the house was like wearing a pair of shoes a half size off. Almost normal, but different enough to irritate.
Alex closed her eyes and tried to ignore the lumpy cushions and the draft coming through the cracks under the front door. The quiet grew heavy, amplifying every tiny sound—
Something had been outside, moving. She’d seen in through the window. And the dogs hadn’t just up and decided to quit barking on their own, at the same time.
The gun safe was in Mom and Dad’s room, too far away to be of any help. She could probably open it and get a rifle without waking Dad, but sleeping armed was a great way to earn a Darwin award.