Genre: YA Historical (Western) Science-Fiction
Word Count: 70,000
Pitch: It's 1869. A corrupt banker is bent on taking over the town. Lucy's newspaper is under attack, but she needs to figure out who killed her Pa. And the blacksmith...can shoot fire from his hands?
I hate bone orchards.
Under the too bright sun, I shiver in my itchy black dress as they lower Pa into the ground. This is what we all become sooner or later. Nothing but bones, leaving behind pain and despair.
My family stands dry-eyed together and people will talk of it tomorrow. I glance over at my younger sister. Her flawless face pulls into a frown as she yanks at the neck of the mourning dress Mama made her wear. How long will it take Charlie to climb back into her boys' clothes once this is over? I forget sometimes how beautiful she is. It’s been a long time since I've seen her in a dress.
I force my attention back to the preacher. He seems to be finishing up. My eyes sting, but I have nothing left. Nothing but a dark void my father used to fill with his kind ways and quick wit.
Mama is pale and drawn, her lips thinner than normal. She hasn't slept since Pa died. I guess the bed is too empty. Eugene has been sneaking into bed with Charlie and me, so our sleep hasn't been all that good either. He tosses and kicks something horrible.
We leave before the diggers start filling in the grave. None of us care to watch. Charlie's hand reaches for mine and I hold on tight, glancing over my shoulder at the mourners we leave behind. Are the vigilantes here? Why didn’t they save Pa?