Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #28

GENRE: YA Horror

The toe tag on the decapitated body read: IF FOUND, CALL (512)555-1212, so Del pulled out her iPhone.

Her favorite television shows portrayed dead bodies as a one-way ticket to life in jail, not a prerequisite to salvation. But life wasn’t television.

Life wasn’t that simple.

Del spied a turkey vulture gliding around the body. “Get the hell outta here! He’s mine!” she said, snatching a piece of gray limestone from the dirt and hurling the rock skyward. The irritated vulture voiced its displeasure before settling into the field’s lone oak tree which masqueraded as a kickstand for her ten-speed bike. For now, sixteen-year-old Del owned her prize uncontested.

The burning Texas sun played spotlight for the headless body starring center stage.

“I’m not afraid of you—” Del circled the shirtless decaying corpse. She maintained a perimeter outside the buzzing flies and fluid-soaked ground but breathed easier knowing it wouldn’t answer. “—I’ve seen other dead people, you know.”

Seen. Created. Collected. Same difference.

The option to call the cops had long since passed. They would canvas the field. Talking her way out of one dead body seemed plausible, but not a half-dozen. While her underground fort kept the bodies out of sight, their putrid scent would undoubtedly betray her.

Besides, if this was what she thought it was, there wouldn’t be a need for anymore collection. Time had come to collect on her handiwork.

She chewed her last unbroken nail to a jagged nub before dialing.


  1. This is super-weird and I am intrigued. What is this girl doing with dead bodies? And toe tags with phone numbers on them? Creepy stuff.

    A few things you could tweak. "Masqueraded" seems an odd choice for the sentence about her bike; maybe rephrase that. It's a bit forced to insert her age like that in the next sentence. Try to introduce information more organically. And "canvas" is a noun; "canvass" is probably the verb you're looking for.

    Good luck!

  2. Really gripping start and very intriguing. As a reader, I was a little confused about the body. If Del has been collecting corpses, why was there ever a question of calling the cops? Does Del want to call the cops or no? I was a little unclear on Del’s motivations or what the plan is that is taking shape in her head. But otherwise, a really cool, compelling hook.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback. I've heard this same question a few times (about the cops), so I did address it earlier this week. I appreciate you confirming this as the correct thing to do.

  3. This definitely caught my attention, and I love your descriptions. There was only one part that pulled me out of the scene a little and it was when you gave her age--it felt a little too narrator-esque to me. I think you can relay her age in another way without stating it outright. I'd definitely keep reading though--great set up!