Name: Jordan Mierek
Title of manuscript: TABITHA’S DEATH
Description: With blood dripping from her wrists, seventeen-year-old Tabitha hopes to find peace in death. Instead, the Gray Man sucks her into his kingdom, where she must obey him to fully die.
The Gray Man sends suicide victims to steal enchanted items he needs for his return to his homeland. Tabitha must cheat and steal –even commit murder – or face physical pain and mental torment. She soon realizes the life she left is the only thing she desires when the Gray Man shows her mother’s suffering. Tabitha’s only hope to return home is to destroy the Gray Man by absorbing his powers, but that might make her the new Gray Man.
It would be so easy to kill myself now and there would be no Gray Man to whisk me away to a world of undead. I could slit my wrists again, or drink some antifreeze. I could make a list of all the ways. I had made that list, once upon a time. The chances were limitless, and yet where was the fun in that? There would be no Gray Man. It would be the end, officially, and I wouldn’t come back.
I’d get to know what was on the other side of life, and whether I liked it or not, I wouldn’t come back. I wouldn’t know what future I might have had. I wouldn’t know the laughter, none of the happiness. So what if there were some tears? There was always brightness, always a joy, and those times are what make life worth it. Those moments were what I had to live for, the curiosity to see what fate held out for me.
Sometimes, you had to live for someone else.
I fetched the plastic bucket for washing the car from the garage and filled it with water in the bathroom sink, adding cleaning liquid and rags, a couple sponges. I dropped the bucket on my bedroom floor, fished out a soapy sponge, and washed my blood off the wall.
My hand slipped. No.
Slowly, I turned my head to look over my shoulder. Devin stood in the doorway blinking rapidly. He rubbed his hand over his mouth, gripping the wall with his other.
“Devin?” My tongue was so dry I could spit cotton. No way, he was gone. He couldn’t stand in my house.
“I, um… I realized as long as I have one good thing, I can stand living.” His smile appeared sheepish. When he took a step forward, he wavered unsteadily.
“But you left. You died,” I squeaked.
“I didn’t get far before I realized I couldn’t.” He coughed. “I couldn’t leave you, Tabitha.”
As I launched myself into his arms, knocking him into my desk chair, I saw the Scholar’s image appear in my mirror. He smiled and lifted his hand in a wave. Then, he winked, and I realized he’d brought Devin to me.
“You were one of those original brothers, weren’t you?” I asked the Scholar. “You and the Gray Man?”
“But he turned evil and you…you became a recluse,” I finished, unable to think of a better word.
This time, he smiled.
“Thank you for bringing me back life,” I whispered, and the Scholar nodded again.
I couldn’t wait to hug my mom and tell her about what had happened. I might have lost Bhuvana, but we had always been different; the biggest difference now lay in our fates. She had been careless, reckless, and she’d died. I would be more careful and live. Just because she was dead, didn’t mean I didn’t get to keep living.
Never had I looked forward to the future so much.