My entry for the Writer’s Voice Contest:
As Dust or Breath
64 000 words
YA science fiction
On the 4thof July the world will end, and it’s all Kyle’s fault.
Two weeks before graduation, 18yr old Kyle Wolfe downs a bottle of tequila and accidentally starts a fire that kills his two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. Or so he thinks. He’s not quite sure, since the memories are sketchy and he keeps shifting between realities. They both suck, and unless he wants the world to end, he’ll have to go back to when it all began; the day of the fire when he cheated on his boyfriend, Danny, with their best friend Shira. But the past is a tricky thing to change, and Kyle can’t keep living in both realities; being catapulted along the space-time continuum is killing him. He has to make a choice: Danny or Shira? Broken family or broken body? The choice isn’t easy and he better do it quick before the syzygy breaks and he risks being locked in a reality he’ll never be able to escape.
First 250 words:
Every time I close my eyes, I pray I won’t wake up. But, whoever’s up there, clearly doesn’t give a crap.
I must’ve dozed off and for a moment I’m in limbo, floating between two possible realities. The next instant, it comes crashing down around me and I have to deal with Danny’s death all over again. It’s like being on a rollercoaster except I’m the only one on it and there’s no getting off.
One day Danny’s dead, then reality shifts, and instead we’re mourning Shira. And what do I get out of this reality jumping deal? Cold sweats and nose bleeds, and the joy of trying to juggle two dead friends. I’d do anything to make it stop.
“We need to talk,” Shira says. We’re in Shira’s bed, tucked into the back corner of her mother’s trailer. Fairy lights dangle from the ceiling, a spider-web attempt at making the room less depressing. It smells of Shira’s grapefruit body cream and patchouli incense. It smells like sex.
The sheet clings to my sweaty chest and dust swirls in the sun-rays stabbing through the broken blinds. It’s always talking with her, like she can talk away any problem, as if talking can undo the past.
“About what?” I sit up, wrapping the sheet around my waist, hands already searching for underwear and socks. Beyond the finger-print smudged window, the sun’s just starting to slip beyond the horizon, turning the sky the color of spilled blood.