NAME: Diana Gallagher
MENTOR: Danielle Ellison
TITLE: WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER
GENRE: YA Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 63,000
I have never lost a game of Manhunt.
Cassie isn’t patient enough for hide-and-seek in the dark. She would rather be found, squealing and laughing. She’s always been the best at pulling people near her, people who want to hear her stories or kiss her.
I’m the best at hiding. Slipping into small spaces, knees and elbows covered in dirt. We gave up Manhunt three summers ago. But I am still that girl with her back pressed against the tree, listening to receding footsteps.
“Let’s go, kiddo,” my father says, and I step away from the scrawny birch.
My footsteps are the ones moving forward now. Reluctantly. Instead of retreating into shadows, I join the line of would-be drivers. The girls behind me whimper.
“Name?” the DMV attendant says.
“—Kaitlyn Gregory,” Dad interrupts.
“‘K.S. Gregory,'" the man reads in an I-don’t-have-time-nor-
“Yes,” we say in unison.
The man sighs. “Park across from the playground.”
Early morning October sunshine hits my eyes. Cassie cut school to go to Montauk today. It’s too cold to roam the tip of Long Island where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, but that’s how she likes it.
Tomorrow, she’ll show our teachers the photographs, dropping her voice so that it falls into her purple-and-green Palestinian scarf. She’ll even win over our notoriously hard-ass precalculus teacher. He too will take the camera. He too will be enchanted. As always, she will be forgiven.
While I’m here. Road test, attempt seven.