Title: The Siren Episode
Entry Nickname: Cement Gargling 101
Word Count: 82,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
Arlen’s parents kill monsters—sirens, gorgons, and even leprechauns—then broadcast the murders on their TV show, Myth Slayers. And killing is a family business.
Ever since mythological creatures destroyed San Francisco twelve years ago, Myth Slayers has been number one in the ratings. Now the show’s stars want to retire and force the reins upon their son. But at seventeen, Arlen doesn’t want to slaughter monsters on primetime TV—he just wants to survive high school, where a quirk in his Myth Slayer blood makes life unbearable.
Arlen’s blood gives him power, but repels members of the opposite sex. He can’t even approach girls without making them physically ill. So when he finds a girl who’s not getting sick, he finally sees a chance at a normal life. Problem is, she’s a siren. And she hides a secret: the location of a safe filled with evidence that Arlen’s parents destroyed San Francisco instead of the monsters. Arlen’s parents would kill to keep this secret buried, leaving Arlen with an impossible choice: murder the siren to protect his family, or seize this opportunity at freedom, journey with the siren to the safe, and expose the truth to the world.
First 250 words:
Arlen Boggs hopped his neighbor’s fence and sneaked past the protestors. They’d camped in front of his house again, picket signs raised. He tried to keep his footsteps light, but the deep rain puddles didn’t help his cause.
Trees rustled on either side of him. He looked up at the sycamores and saw nothing but windblown leaves.
Two more blocks, he thought. You can do two blocks.
The morning air gave him a chill, and he buttoned up his father's trench coat, too big for his lanky frame. He wore it to keep himself hidden, though it never helped. Arlen stood out wherever he went.
Head down, he followed the dotted yellow lines along the center of the street. Another rustle. He stopped and stared into one of the trees. Still nothing.
A woman’s voice came from behind him: “There he is.”
Arlen turned to look at the protestors, five houses back. “Great,” he said.
Two of their poster boards read, “GO AWAY, MYTH SLAYERS!” and “MYTHS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO!” Despite the wet September morning, the crazy zealots wandered onto the road and shouted at him.
A few months shy of his eighteenth birthday, Arlen still didn't have his driver's license. His parents didn't have time to teach him, always out filming their TV show. Otherwise, he would have driven himself to school and avoided the morning hate-fest.
Another tree rustled and a branch snapped.
Could be a monster.
The protestors sped up, chasing after him with their hand-painted signs.