Name: Jordan Mierek
Title of manuscript: KISTISHI ISLAND
150 word description of your story: Sixteen-year-old Serena Cole can kick serious butt thanks to young women only she can see. School bullies aren’t a problem, but Serena’s mental health might be. To shield Serena from a dark secret, her family tries to convince her that her friends are imaginary.
Fleeing her distrustful aunt, Serena joins her mother on an archeological dig at Kistishi Island. There, Serena discovers an ancient scroll and realizes her invisible friends have never been imaginary; rather, they are goddesses native to the island, and they are in danger of enslavement for their abilities. The queen of Kistishi craves their powers so she will never have to bow to deities again. Only Serena can save her friends if she can discover the past her family has hidden her entire life – the reason why only she can see the goddesses.
January settled into the sand by Serena’s head to preen her matted hair.
“You know something,” Serena whispered. “I think I’m gonna be okay with leaving my mom here, because I’ll always have you guys. Forever.”
“Forever,” Wahrheit, the Goddess of Truth, said.
A light streaked across the sky. Serena wondered if it was one of the fleeing Kistishian Gods or Goddesses.
“Dear Dad,” she said. “I found you, but I don’t think this is where my life is.” Although she didn’t want to stay with him, a stranger, she couldn’t wait to give him the letters that remained in her notebook.
Her father sat on a long sofa of red velvet, a glass of merlot in his hand. His dark skin mingled with his pale purple eyes. His black hair, with a few streaks of gray, was fastened at his neck in a queue. He wore white pants, a white blouse, and a jeweled belt. She’d never seen any man so handsome.
Serena stood across the room, the letters clutched in her hand, her heart racing.
“Dad?” The word dropped from her mouth to plink the floor.
He coughed into his fist. “If you feel comfortable calling me that, all right.”
“I never thought I’d really have a dad.” She studied his face, recognizing her nose and eyes in his. “I used to hope you were still alive, but then, I knew it was impossible, and it was silly of me to think that.”
“I never knew you existed.” He stared into his merlot. “I apologize for that. If I’d known, I would have found you.”
“Don’t blame Mom. She didn’t mean to make trouble.” Despite her faults, Sophia was still her mother. Serena couldn’t find hatred in her heart for the woman.
The king lifted his gaze. “I could never hate your mother. I hope we can become closer now.”
“I hope so, too.” Serena giggled. Her father was supposed to marry Sophia now. She would have actual parents, even if they lived on an island far away.
Silence fell. He took a sip. She studied an ocean painting on his beige walls. “Is this your office?”
“My thinking room.” He rose from the sofa and crossed the room to a table of bottles. “Would you like a drink? I have mango juice.”
She licked her lips. “That would be great. Thank you.”
He poured orange liquid into a glass and held it out to her. “Come join me. I would like to hear about your life.” When she accepted the drink, he rested his hand on her back to lead her to his sofa. “I want to learn how to be a…dad.”
Serena grinned. “I wrote these for you. I was going to burn them, because Krieg said that’s how you talk to the dead, but she was going to do it and she never did. Maybe she was going to actually give them to you.”
“Maybe.” He accepted her bundle. “We’ll read them together.”