Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #47

TITLE: Beautiful Malevolence
GENRE: YA Thriller

I have to bury my best friend today.

Right now, Dad is outside digging a hole next to the oak tree in the backyard. Mom is on her knees at the head of the hole; she doesn’t even look bothered that she’s ruining her new linen pants. She won’t stop adjusting the hastily thrown together wooden cross. She looped Tobin’s collar around it but it won’t sit right. I should go down there and help but I’m not sure if I’m welcome.

Mom can’t even look at me without crying.

She thinks I did it.

I don’t blamer her. They found Tobin in my bed, his golden fur matted with blood, and the butcher knife in my hand even though I was asleep.

I don’t remember a thing, and I don’t think I did it, but it doesn’t matter.

Tobin is dead and Mom hates me.

“Olivia, honey, do you want to come downstairs?” Dad calls from the kitchen.

Dad isn’t mad at me—he knows I’d never hurt Tobin on purpose. He thinks maybe I was sleepwalking or something. They’re taking me to the nut house tomorrow to talk to some shrink.

I climb off my bed, thankful Mom put clean sheets on the rust-colored mattress, and shuffle through my door and down the stairs.

“Will she let me go outside?” I ask.

“Of course she will.” Dad holds out his hand.

I reach for it and we walk into the backyard together. It’s a beautiful, sunny day.


  1. I actually immediately remembered your entry from An Agent's Inbox, which is a good thing, it stood out to me! That first line, POW. I am probably sadder that she is burying a puppy than if she was burying a human best friend honestly, so you have my attention right from the start.

    Really creepy imagery but I wouldn't mind a tiny bit more dimension to the description, maybe something besides the visual, at least for the bit where she is found in bed with the butcher knife– does she wake up with the feeling of blood sticky on her fingers and panic? Does she hear the scream of her own voice? Sometimes adding another sense can really help bring things to live. She also seems a bit removed from the events considering it's her best friend but maybe that is intentional, it's hard to know at this point.

    Also, I have a hard time believing that the mom would put clean sheets on a blood-stained mattress– wouldn't she soak in it bleach or something? That feels pretty gross.

    Finally, the last line is SUPER creepy in context and I love it. Your 250 really ended at a great spot! I would definitely keep reading this one.

  2. Hey! I would totally read this one, but I just want to point out what Zoe said on the distance of the MC from the events. She killed her best friend. Wouldn't she feel some sort of self-loathing? Wouldn't there be shock, daze, resentment of her mother for fearing her instead of comforting her?

    For me, I always like to try and see the scene through my character's eyes. What would I do?

    Just a little note for an otherwise creepy-awesome piece. Keep up the good work! Good luck, and I know you can do it!

  3. I'd like to read more. The first line is very powerful.

    I have to agree with the other reviews, the MC does seem oddly detached. I'd expect her to feel fear that she can't remember what happened.

    Overall though I really like it.

  4. Great opening sentence.
    The rest feels rather removed. Want to feel closer to the MC.

  5. I liked it. I'd read on. There is a bit of detachment, but I'm wondering if that fits the character. I mean, this is a girl who may have killed her dog in her sleep. I'm guessing she's not totally normal. ;)

  6. Super opening line. And I'm creeped out, which is a definite plus. The narrator's sentences, though, are a bit too clipped and rapid fire for me to get a sense of voice. Work on stretching and teasing out narration.

  7. Strangely, what I like most about this -- other than the stellar opening line -- is the final sentence. That sort of contrast of mood and imagery is very poetic and would keep me reading, even though the ultra-short sentences tend to put me off a little.

    I really want to know how old the MC is, but from this I have no idea. It would be a big different between, say, a twelve-year-old doing this and a sixteen-year-old.

    Also, because I don't think anyone mentioned it yet, you have "blamer" in the fifth paragraph instead of "blame".

  8. This is super creepy in a good way. I'm not bothered by her detachment so much, but I was thrown a little by the location of the scene. She's describing her father digging the hole and her mother kneeling before it, so it sounds like she's watching from an upstairs window. At the end though she climbs from the bed so how could she be looking at the grave preparation? Also, why would anyone get back into a bed they discovered their dead dog in that morning? Or was the discovery made the day before and they're just now getting around to burying the dog? I had a few questions, but I'd definitely read on.

  9. Great opening. I agree she should be more upset that her dog is dead and she's not sure if she did it. But I was totally creeped out in a good way :)

  10. Tis really hooked me and I liked the detached feel of the MC because she really doesn't know if she did it! The only thing that hit me was the last line. I think if you managed to move that up to the opening it could give an even creepier feel to it.