Thursday, April 17, 2014

#NestPitch SB5: The Big Sleep of Artimus Finch

Category/Genre: YA Literary Magical Realism

Word Count: 84,000 

Pitch: Sixteen-year-old Josephine, haunted by her mother’s death, hops a magical train in 1933. It leads her to a mystic promising her greatest wish, if she risks her life to get it. 

If the MC was an Easter egg...

Josephine would be an indelible and bold painted Russian egg, because art never dies. 


There is a risk to love. That nothing this beautiful can be held, that the lover’s heart exists to be beautifully, perfectly, gone.—Josephine Nightingale

(For Nikolai)


1933, Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.A

The train roars like a metal monster trying to outrun us. I chase it as my past chases me. Thirteen years ago today, my mother and baby sister died in pool of blood and moonlight in the field beside our farmhouse. Ever since, something dark and oppressive has been building around us, stalking my grandmother and me.

This morning, the nightmare finally caught up, and I ran for my life.

Dust billows up from our feet as we sprint after the train. Nikolai grips my hand so tight his heart beats inside of my palm. Glancing sideways, I catch him in a smile big enough to change the world.

I shout over the train's chugging metal wheels, "Everything in exchange for each other, right?" The whistle blows, echoing freedom into the clear prairie sky. The native scent of wild sage rides the wind at our backs like a love-letter pleading don't go. I focus on Nikolai's dimpled grin instead of the fact that I'm running away.

Nikolai replies in what remains of his Russian accent, "Everything in exchange for each other, Josephine!" His blonde hair weaves a golden web over his face. I squeeze his hand tighter and push my legs faster, propelled by his answer and the hope in his ice-blue eyes.

Tears threaten, but I won’t let them come. Because right now, racing alongside my best friend, I am warm and safe; there is only Nikolai Genokovitch and my feet pounding the earth.

Hands still clasped, I’m closest to the half-open boxcar rattling like a million chains. I reach out my left hand for the train car’s handle.


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