Title: THE LEDGE
Word Count: 37,000
Song: “Hall of Fame” by The Script
Pitch: 16yo discontent Jack drags his13yo survivalist-brother, Bryce, on a backpacking trip where Bryce has a tragic climbing accident and near-death experience (NDE). Alone and scared, Jack must risk his life to save them both.
250: Thirteen-year-old Bryce Harrison slid out of the Jeep, swung his backpack over his shoulder, and squinted at the trail-head sign in front of him. The faded words read, “Caution: Bears,” and below it, “Lily Lake: 16 miles.”
Walking to the edge of the swollen mountain river, Bryce picked up a smooth rock. Aiming, he chucked it sideways, trying to skip it on the swift water that instantly swallowed it up.
Second thoughts—doubtful ones, fearful ones—about this adventure crept like fingers up the back of his neck and into his mind, clambering for his attention. Bryce knew it—he shouldn't have let his big brother, Jack, talk him into going on this backpacking trip. “Death by bear attack” would be the writing on Bryce's tombstone. Even though he wanted to practice his survival skills out here, he didn't want to be mauled by a bear.
Tromping over to Bryce, Jack shouted, “Think fast.” He tossed a water-bottle too hard at Bryce. It hit him in the chest and bounced off, landing on a rock. Water started seeping out of a hairline crack. Jack rolled his eyes and shook his head at Bryce.
“It's not my fault!” complained Bryce. It wasn't, but it didn't matter. Bryce knew that Jack didn't care.
New fingers of doubt replaced the old ones. Glancing sideways at Jack, Bryce feared what might happen if Jack wouldn't get along with him, or stranded him, or worse. Maybe Bryce's tombstone would read instead, “Death by stupid, mean big brother.”