Tuesday, January 21, 2014


MENTOR: Eden Plantz
ALTERNATE: Ambiguous_A
TITLE: The Drumming Song
CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Magical Realism
WORD COUNT: 90,000

When 17-year-old Drea becomes addicted to an intoxicating drumbeat only four others can hear, she must break the drum’s grisly curse and free herself from the addiction before it takes over her mind. 

 A street musician lounged at the edge of the plaza, singing wistfully about a girl, or a friend, or maybe a car. I wished he would shut up.

A crowd formed, trapping me on Chef, my new-used bike. I knew it was stupid to venture into Venari’s plaza at eight at night, but the thought of waking up tomorrow morning without fresh fruit and vegetables made me grit my teeth and my stomach gnaw. If I didn’t cook for my brother Guster, he’d revert back to a toaster waffle and peanut butter sandwich diet before I could grab hold of a dough whisk.

I used Chef’s front tire to nudge between people.

“Excuse me. Oops. Sorry.” People met my apologies with polite smiles, except one girl with electric yellow braces. She glared at me like it was a personal offense that I didn’t give a damn about the guy’s whining.

Laughter echoed beyond the stone plaza buildings. The setting sun reduced the golden hues of Venari’s meadows to soft yellow sighs. They were pretty, I supposed. A different kind of beautiful than Portland’s perpetually shaded streets.

Sir Sings-a-Lot hit a high note, ripping my thoughts out of that familiar place, back to this mess of song adorers and squat buildings.

I held my breath and squeezed between a chubby guy chomping on a corn dog and a recycle bin, breaking through the last of the bodies. I didn’t know if it was the smell of such deep-fried blechness, but I suddenly craved a shower and anything I could pull out of a garden. I would—

A pulse throbbed through the air, so clear that it reduced the murmuring and so-so singing to background noise. It was as if someone had slipped headphones around the plaza and hit play on a…drum solo.

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