Entry Nickname: Guinness
Title: Blacktop Oracle
Word count: 65,000
Genre: YA Supernatural Fantasy
Seventeen-year-old Cooper “Coop” Lambert excels at mischief. After a run in with Johnny Law, the D.A. offers diversion. He’s assigned to Mac, a 92-year-old crotchety piece of work, but the old guy has a way with cars and owns a bad ass 1969 GTO called Sybil. They’ve nearly finished restoring it when Coop arrives at the garage only to find Mac dead. Days after burying his elderly friend things only grow more confusing for Coop when he discovers Mac left the GTO to him.
Coop’s parents overcome their reservations until he’s ticketed three times in one week for reckless driving. Only Coop knows he isn’t the problem; it’s the car. Mac failed to mention that Sybil goes all funhouse mirror while doing 80 on the interstate. The windows wash out and instead of the landscape he sees visions of people in trouble. If that isn’t enough to get him committed, the prophecies start coming true, and the cops eyeball Coop for knowing more than he should. He doesn’t have to tell anyone, he can keep it to himself. But when he witnesses a murder, he has a choice to make. If he keeps his mouth shut, someone he knows dies. If he talks, it’s a one-way ticket up crap creek, where his parents have a rubber room on reserve.
Dust swirled around Coop’s head like pollution, clinging to his hair, skin, and eyelashes. Grit lined his nose and tickled his throat, but Mac kept reminding him that restoration was an art form, a way to bond with the vehicle.
The sander cut off and he ran his gloved hand across the fender. A grunt got his attention, and he turned to Mac, sitting with his cast up on a case of WD-40.
Coop pulled the dust mask from his face. “What?”
“Don’t go on many dates, do you?”
Mac was famous for causing whiplash with his topic changes, but Coop had learned to go with it. “Huh?”
“A car is like a woman.” Mac shifted in his chair to ease the pressure on his leg.
Coop mopped away the sweat on his forehead with one arm. What the hell did that have to do with anything? Mac’s wrinkled gaze homed in on his, and he realized the old guy wanted a response. “Yeah, how so?”
“A woman must be handled gently.” Mac ran his calloused hand lightly, almost lovingly, across the fender. “Stroked in a way that soothes rather than offends. A car is the same way.” Mac was full of…little bits of wisdom.
Coop eyed the sanded spot, his mind struggling to follow.
“Take that blasted glove off.” Mac’s gravelly voice landed on Coop’s last nerve, but he ripped the glove off.
“Run your hand across that spot you’re sanding, from right to left.”