Name: Kate Larkindale
Title of Manuscript: Chasing the Taillights
Description: After a car accident kills their parents, Lucy and Tony are forced to rely on one another - and decide whether to reveal their secrets.
Lucy struggles to get her life back on track. She can’t tell Tony what she knows about the accident for fear of destroying the tentative bond between them. Yet the longer she holds onto the secret, the more it festers inside. If she doesn’t confess, she might lose her mind. If she does, she might lose the only person she has left who loves her.
Tony has his own problems. Between diving practice, classes and homework, not to mention concealing the crush he has on Jake, his best friend, Tony needs to find room in his life for his sister. Only Tony’s strength can save them both, but his own stability dwindles with every passing day.
Last 500 Words:
Later, much later, we stroll the length of the small, private bay behind the house. The moon is high in the star-strewn sky now, a brilliant white orb casting enough light to read by. Under my bare feet, the sand is cold and gritty. My toes ache, but it wouldn’t feel right to wear shoes.
We don’t speak, just walk, listening to the gentle scuffling of the crabs moving along the beach and the hypnotic lapping of the sea on the shore. It’s peaceful and beautiful; the perfect resting place.
“Here?” Lucy stops in the shadow of an overhanging tree. I look up at it, remembering the forts I’d imagined in its branches, the hours I’ve spent sprawled across its broad limbs.
I nod. “Yeah.”
She starts climbing and I follow. I’m surprised by how easy it is to make my way up the knotty trunk, but I’m a lot bigger now than the last time I attempted to climb a tree. We scramble along a thick branch to a point near the end. Beneath us, the bay sparkles in the milky glow, a perfect reflection of the silver ball lying at our feet.
It’s into this illusion that I fling the first handful of ashes. Next to me, Lucy upturns the urn, letting the dusty remains of our parents dribble between the leaves to rest on the golden sand.
“Goodbye, Mom,” she whispers. “Goodbye, Dad.” There are no tears now, just a determined cast to her face, a set to her jaw. I bow my head, whispering my own farewell before leaping from the branch to the packed sand below. I wince at the water’s chill spiking up my legs and wait for them to numb before reaching up to pull Lucy from the tree.
“Jake kissed me.” I stare out at the sea, watching the ripples slide the moon’s reflection toward me, then pull it away.
“Is that where you’ve been this week? With Jake?” She’s shivering with cold, her teeth chattering together.
“Yeah. I think we’re good.”
“I’m happy for you.” She looks up at me and smiles, the moonlight making her teeth shine like pearls.
“Let’s go home,” I say, pulling her close to my side as we splash through the shallows, kicking up a jewel-like spray.
“Home?” She stares up at the dark shadow that is the house. Hugging me around the waist, she presses her face against my chest. “I am home.”
As we walk, our shadows cutting a path through the moonlight, Lucy starts to sing.