NAME: Jadzia Brandli
MENTOR: John Hansen
TITLE: MAYBE FOREVER
GENRE: YA sci-fi
WORD COUNT: 60,000
PITCH: Human Dynamics, Inc. manufactures Clocks that predict death, and they want the research Keller’s deceased father hid from them. When HD abducts her best friend, Keller is forced to uncover her father’s secret before her friend’s Clock “stops.” But everything changes when Keller learns her father may still be alive.
The bourbon-spiked punch in my cup fails to warm the numbness inside of me. The whispers creep in—family members talking behind their hands, eyes on me.
I zone out as someone introduces himself. His name is Marcus or Malcolm, and he tells me how sorry he is for my loss. I finally look at him. He says he’s my father’s cousin, but I’ve never seen him before.
Marcus-Malcolm shakes my hand. His wife gives me a soft hug and her weak body trembles. Her obvious wig brushes against my cheek. When she pulls away, I notice the chain around her neck, the Clock ticking there.
“Eight days,” I say, reading the numbers counting down.
She looks startled—whether because I’ve finally spoken, or because I’ve mentioned her Clock, I’m not sure.
“I’m sorry?” she asks.
She presses the timepiece against her chest. Her eyes shine with tears.
Marcus-Malcolm’s eyes narrow. He pulls his wife away by the arm while she strains her neck to look at me, her eyebrows furrowed.
People don’t usually mention other peoples’ Clocks. Death is a touchy subject, especially now that it can be predicted. Regular Keller wouldn’t blurt stuff like that. But right now, I’m not me.
I can’t stand this muggy feeling in the living room, lit only by the large windows on the front wall. I don’t want to listen to their hushed tones, to see their fine black funeral wear and their somber expressions.