Genre: Ownvoices Young Adult Thriller
Word count: 62,000
My MC and MA are dressed as: Tanvi prefers simple, and she can't afford a costume. She'll pop a sheet over herself and call it a ghost. Mimi needs to stay in hiding and keep her cousin from knowing she's back. What's better at disguise than a ghost costume?
For half a decade, 16-year-old Tanvi has prayed that her cousin Mimi isn't dead like the police presume. Aside from her aunt, Mimi is the only family she has left, and she desperately misses the cousin who treated her like a sister after she was orphaned.
The only memory Tanvi has of the day Mimi vanished is waking up bruised and in a muddy dress she has no recollection of getting into. Since then, she's lived with the fear that she might be responsible for Mimi's disappearance, or worse, her death.
Her prayers are answered when she spots Mimi in the nearby woods. But, when Mimi comes at her with a knife, Tanvi realizes that her cousin isn't craving a reunion--she's back to kill her. With her memory still elusive and Mimi in hiding again, Tanvi must piece together the events of the day Mimi went missing if she wants to stay one step ahead of her murderous cousin. When the secret behind Mimi's hatred comes to light, Tanvi must choose: family or freedom.
First 250 words:
There is something odd about the guy. I watch him from the back of the growing line at the dollar store. He hunches over, ignoring glares from the other customers as he counts out change for the cashier, dropping coins in the process.
“Come on, man,” the cashier says with a desperate glance down the long line. “You’re holding everyone up.”
A dull flush creeps up the back of the guy’s neck and he tugs his cap lower, shrinking into his faded jacket. I cringe, having come up short at the counter myself a couple of times. But then the register pings. The guy grabs his purchase and limps toward the exit, favoring his right leg. As he opens the door, his gaze falls on the back of the line where I stand, and he goes still. The cap’s brim shadows his thin face and part of a dirty, blond beard.
I meet his stare. A tingling builds up in my scalp, a weird sense of déjà vu. I have seen him somewhere before. But where? He must be in his early twenties, so he can’t be from my high school. It’s just Auntie and me at home, and I can count my friends and acquaintances on one hand.
He breaks eye contact first and leaves, the door swinging shut behind him.
I stiffen, my fingers tightening on the handle of the shopping basket.
No, that’s impossible. It can’t be him.
“Excuse me, miss?”
The cashier’s voice jerks me out of my thoughts.