1944: 17-yo Lucas wants revenge on his abusive father. When his sister turns against him, he must kill her or lose his life. #PitProm
Dear Royal Advisors,
In 1944, 17-year-old Lucas joins the army in hopes of leaving his abusive past behind. When he’s sent back home due to an injury, he decides to finally seek revenge on his eugenics-obsessed scientist father, who forcibly transformed him into an Elite—a genetically-modified person with supernatural powers. But upon his return, he finds that something is amiss.
His sister Eleanor has already murdered their father, and tossed the corpse into a bayou.
Worse, Lucas finds he is no longer the only Elite in the family. After begging to be one of her father’s subjects, Eleanor is now one too, and has adopted her father’s views on genetic superiority. Her plan? Take over the Elite project, then play a sick game of survival of the fittest with unknowing participants. The strongest will earn the privilege of becoming Elites, the weakest get an unmarked grave. Bound by familial ties, Lucas has two choices: kill his sister, or stop her with a carefully-planned lobotomy. The longer he waits to strike, the more people’s lives are at risk, including his own.
THE ELITE is a 66,000-word Young Adult Science Fiction novel with a Southern Gothic twist. It features a racially diverse cast and would appeal to fans of Bioshock: Infinity and Captain America.
I’m currently a part time student at Cal Poly Pomona and work for Los Angeles County as a clerical worker. THE ELITE is my first novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First Ten Pages:
Chapter One: Normandy
I’m gonna die today.
My heart pounds against my chest, the only thing I hear as the German soldier pushes the cold metal gun deeper into my temple. I kneel before him in the muddied field, my knees sinking into the grass as my hands rattle from nerves.
The only witness to my murder will be the green copses surrounding us.
“Irgendwelche letzten Worte?” he repeats over and over, jamming the rifle’s muzzle harder against my skull every time he says it.
I try conjuring up the fire inside me, in hopes of burning him and breaking free, but it’s no use. My usually heated veins remain as cold as the hail raining from the sky. His finger curls around the trigger, and my addled mind is consumed with regret. I shouldn’t have signed up for this, I’m only seventeen for God’s sake. Now I’ll be coming home in a pine box, and my sister will be left to carry the heavy burden of what needs to be done. My labored breaths are the only thing I can hear now. My vision blurs from the heavy downpour, I close my eyes as I wait for it all to be over.
Gunshots ring out, so loud, that they leave a ringing in my ears. On the third one, the soldier gasps, his grip on the rifle weakening ‘til it falls to the grass. He blankly clasps his hand over the growing splotch of red on his chest. More shots are fired. On the last one, a sharp sensation tears through my gut.
Fear washes over me, and a lump forms in my throat. Searing pain rushes through my torso. I grab my stomach and catch a glimpse of the ground. Droplets of blood stain the grass.
With the little strength I got left, I grab my weapon and spin around, pointing it back toward the trees as I search for the sniper. All I see are a few dead cows in the distance.
While trying to figure out where all the shots came from, I forget about the injured soldier wavering behind me, at least ‘til his legs go out and he falls forward, his heavy weight coming down on me.
We hit the ground so hard the wind’s knocked out of me. My ribs noisily crack on impact, and the bullet lodges even deeper into my stomach. Too weak to push his deadweight off, I lie there gasping for air, digging my nails into the soggy earth. Uncontrollable heat suddenly rushes through my veins, shooting through my fingers, the dampened mud sizzles as my weakened fire meets it.
“Hey!” a man shouts.
Before I can muster up a response, the corpse is dragged off me. I look into his eyes, his boyish, dirt-stained face immediately becomes familiar.
I know him, and I know him well. I’d recognize that gangly figure, and those dark, worried eyes anywhere. He’s my friend, and given his sorry aim, he must’ve been the one that shot me.
The pain hits me all over again, before I can say anything. My stomach—and now my ribs--are throbbing. I bury my face in the grass, cradling my wound, and moaning in agony ‘til he flips me onto my back like a beached whale.
“Lucas?! What the hell are you doin’?” Robert yells.
I sit up, hunched over. He tries to touch me again, but I push him away. “Get the hell away from me.”
“What’s your problem?”
“You shot me, you son of a bitch. And I think I broke a rib. God damn—” The pain shuts me up before I can insult him.
“What’re you talkin’ about? I ain’t shoot you. There’s no way I could’ve.”
“I’m dyin’. I can’t believe it. I’m really dyin’…”
“Take your hand off your stomach and get a good look at it. Ain’t nothin’ there.”
“I can’t, my guts’ll fall out the bullet wound!”
“Stop actin’ like a loon and just do what I tell you,” Robert says. I steady my breathing before hesitantly releasing my hand from the wound. He’s right, there’s nothing there, I stare at my muddied fingers, dumbfounded. “And you said you broke a rib…which side do you think you broke?”
“Both of ‘em,” I utter.
“Both of ‘em? Bullshit, you’re sittin’ up fine.” He picks up my fallen helmet and slaps it on top of my head. “Stop actin’ stupid and get up off the ground.”
My hands violently shake as I buckle my helmet, wincing from both embarrassment and the throbbing pain in my sides. I force myself to stand upright. “Where’d you come from anyhow? Where’s everyone else?” I say.
“I was hidin’ behind ‘em trees.”
“Where’s everyone else?” I repeat.
He hesitates, before finally saying, “‘Member how that bomb went off when we were comin’ off the beach…” He stops himself and swallows hard like he’s not sure how to say it. “I saw ‘im get blown up on impact. Saw ‘im explode. I don’t know how I made it out and he didn’t, we were standin’ side by side.”
“Lieutenant Warner you mean?”
“Shit,” I mutter. “And Thompson was shot, wasn’t he?”
“Yeah… right through the eyeball.”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see ‘im go down. But everyone else… they’re gone.” Gunshots ring out in the far distance, we look over in their direction before returning our glances to one another. He’s gone stark pale now.
A nervous queasiness settles into my stomach. “Well if everyone’s gone, what the hell are we supposed to do?”
Before he can answer, a bomb goes off nearby, violently shaking the ground beneath us. Screams of nearby troops that’ve been spotted fills my ears. The smell of sweet gunpowder fills the muggy air, followed by the strong stench of charred flesh. We look at each other, eyes big as saucers, before sprinting toward the trees. Once covered by the abundance of brush, we crawl, eventually stumbling upon an abandoned trench of about five feet and climbing into it.
We kneel in ankle-deep, muddied rainwater. Robert squints as he tries to keep the rain from going in his eyes and points his gun toward the opposite side of the forest. I copy his stance, ‘til sudden debilitating pain consumes my reddened, aching fingers. I swallow hard. It’s happening again. Judging by how painful it is, the fire’s gonna be much worse.
Robert suddenly opens fire, and four men fall from the branches. The world goes deathly silent.
Sharp pain rushes through the tips of my fingers. I grimace, clumsily dropping my weapon as I suffer in silent agony. I pick it up and put it back in its holster. A stronger ache nearly forces a whimper from my throat. It’s only a matter of time. The electric-like sparks inside me aren’t letting up. I’m not gonna be able to stop it.
I ball my hands up so tight, the heat threatens to burn my palms. Desperation sets in as I search for a place to hide, my sights immediately setting on the woods far off from us. “Hey, I’ll be back. I-I got business to take care of,” I say.
“You shouldn’t go too far. And you ought to not stand up, it ain’t safe down here. Ain’t safe nowhere,” he says, never lifting his gaze.
I nod, before ignoring his warning and racing toward the groves behind us. The throbbing in my fingers grows worse as fire threatens to shoot from them. My hands uncontrollably quiver, as I dive over the top of the ditch and race for the trees.
I rush over to a tree, grabbing its weighty, low hanging branch. It stubbornly cracks as I try yanking it from its copse.
Suddenly, a hellish inferno escapes my fingertips. I jerk back, the branch comes with me, snapping in my grasp. I toss it and watch as the fire eats away at it, fighting to stay alive. Eventually, my flames are killed off by the heavy rain. My heart starts racing all over again.
I don’t know if I’m going to make it back home...she’ll probably be there at the dock waiting on me and I’ll never turn up. The whole thing was stupid, me leaving Louisiana cockily thinking that I’d fight through a war and head back home without so much as a scratch. Now I’m gonna pay for this decision with my life. My heart twists in my chest as my vision blurs, from imminent tears. I’m gonna die.
Chapter Two: Falling
At first I have no idea where I am. Then the smell of fresh coffee and burnt toast takes me back home. Back to the diner, where we started planning Pa’s murder two years ago.
We’re sitting in the same booth as last time. Two measly years has changed her a lot. Eleanor looks less like a girl, and more like the woman in the photographs she sent me. Her light hair and stern facial expression is reminiscent of Pa’s, but her blue eyes and delicate features remind me so much of our dear Ma. She glances up from the menu and briefly smiles at me, I do the same before taking a smoke out and discreetly lighting it with my finger underneath the table.
My addled mind is full of so many things, yet nothing at all. The normalcy of it all makes it worse. The laughing people, the bell ringing when another order’s up, that radio playing near the front of the shop. It all feels too perfect.
Then I notice it.
There’s a receipt on the table. I pick it up to read it, but the more I stare, the more the words blur together.
Eleanor takes my free hand, and interlocks her fingers with mine. Her hand is so soft and delicate looking up against mine; with grime under my fingernails, a busted knuckle that still hurts like hell, and a healing cut going across it. This was all her idea, but it seems like I’m the only one paying the price.
“You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you?” she says.
I swallow hard, “I—”
“Just put the receipt down and forget about it.”
I shake my head.
“Lucas, you made the right decision. Bothering ‘em wouldn’t help a thing.”
I stay quiet.
She pulls away from me—that’s when I realize I had a grip on her so tight, she probably lost all feeling in her hand. She clears her throat and smiles. “Anyhow, enough about that. I wanted to show you something.” She pulls a folded-up newspaper from her purse and slaps it on the table. “Look at this.”
I glance over at the newspaper she’s just flung my way and see her on the front page. Standing there in a light-colored dress with a bouquet of flowers, her hair’s in one of those fancy pin-up hairstyles, and her face is all done up―as usual. And she’s got the biggest grin on her face. “Miss New Orleans of 1944… and that’s you.” I mutter, unamused. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks, but it wasn’t too hard to win, I mean, I was the prettiest one there. They all said I look almost just like Betty Grable. Pa was so proud.”
Confused by her gleeful mention of Pa, I eye her suspiciously before defeatedly nodding. Distracted by an unimaginable sadness.
She bites her lip, before sighing and shaking her head. “Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if we’re doing the right thing. But then I remember all the lives he’s ruined, including yours. All the awful things he’s done to you...”
I don’t answer.
She looks at me, all the playfulness in her voice is gone. “When you do it…how were you planning to get it done?”
The phone near the front of the restaurant rings… my stomach twists, and nausea hits me like a ton of bricks. My heart races. I swallow hard as I watch the heavyset store owner pick up the receiver.
The air grows stifled, I’m sweating bullets now. Every breath feels like my last.
Someone grabs my shoulder and I’m suddenly back in Normandy, laying on the concrete floor of what I’m sure is the lobby of an abandoned church. The once fancy carvings on the baseboards have been marred with blood and dirt. And among the rubble, there’s a shattered statue of who I think is the Virgin Mary on the ground.
Robert’s staring at me like I’ve gone off the deep end, and everything blurs together. I momentarily close my eyes. I don’t remember coming here, and I sure as hell don’t recall us agreeing to stop so we could sleep.
“Lucas, you all right?” Robert says.
“What time is it? What happened?”
“I don’t know what time it is. We were supposed to be takin’ a quick rest but you ended up fallin’ asleep. I didn’t wanna wake you. You all right?”
“Yeah I’m fine.” I sit up, putting my fallen helmet back on.
“Seemed like you were havin’ trouble breathin’.”
“No, I’m all right.” I sigh. “You ever have a dream… and you know it’s supposed to mean somethin’… but you don’t know what?”
“No.” he says. It grows silent ‘til he adds. “Why?”
My voice quivers with every word, as I tell him about the month-long nightmare I’ve been having. I skim over the parts about killing Pa, and go straight to the ending, where I’m all nerves about a ringing phone.
“Then what?” Robert asks.
“I don’t know. Nothin’ I guess. Every time it gets to that point I wake up.”
“Your sister… you mean the pretty one that kept sendin’ you pictures of herself with every letter, ‘til you told her to knock it off?”
“Yeah.” I laugh. “She swore up and down that I’d come back and not recognize her if she didn’t. The little nutcase,” I take a smoke out and light it with a match.
“She may be a nutcase, but she sure is a doll. When this is all over I’d love to meet her.”
“Oh yeah. Well I’d like to meet your sister. The one a little older than you, kinda busty, real pretty face. Man, she’s a hot little dish. What’s her name, Rose?”
“It’d be a cold day in hell.” He pauses. “And for the love of God. Don’t ever talk about my sister like that again.”
The churches bell interrupts our laughter, and the gun shots that follow leave us staring at each other, wide-eyed. We snatch our weapons from their holsters. Robert gets up and motions for me to follow, so I rise and we race to the other room, I trail behind him as he starts climbing the concrete stairs, leading to the bell tower.
Soon as we get to the top, I have my rifle pointed right at the figure hankering over the tower’s edge. When I realize who it is, I hesitantly lower it. I know this blonde bastard. He’s one of us… one I don’t like.
“Carver,” I mutter.
Robert walks over to him, giving him a welcoming slap on the shoulder. “What’re you doin’ up here all by your lonesome, soldier?”
“Shooting some Krauts, that’s what,” Carver says, while still looking out from behind one of the three large bells. “I got them all real good. You hear that? Sweet silence.” He finally turns around, and when he notices me, he laughs. “Man do you look happy to see me.”
“Sure am. I’m thrilled to see the idiot that tried to use me as a human shield.” I grimace as I think about it all again. Gunfire had rang out as we were coming off that beach, and Carver yanked me by my collar, shielding himself with my body, nearly getting me killed. I can still feel the heat of the gunfire, as it narrowly missed me.
“Well, it’s survival of the fittest… you know, I thought you would get that. But after all this time out here, you’re obviously still an over-sensitive pussy.” He turned to Robert. “You found him curled up in a ball crying for his mama didn’t you?”
“Knock it off,” Robert said.
“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Carver turns to me. “Look, it’s really not my fault that you’re a piece of shit. How ‘bout we call a truce?” He holds out his hand, and I don’t take it. “Come on, it’ll only be for a day or two, seeing that someone’ll probably off you by tomorrow.”
I glance over at the window, my grip on the gun tightens.
Welcome to the final round of pitches!
Agents and Publishers,