Word Count: 100,000
Pitch: A 22nd century historian travels through London’s forgotten Underground back to 1692, where her Scottish ancestors wield ley lines that link her future with the Glencoe Massacre, and challenge her loyalty to the recorded past.
Before that day, I’d never set a toe in the Ruins for anything but research. As Sod’s law would have it, my exception to this turned into a complete cock-up. On top of everything else, it was my twenty-second birthday, so admittedly my wandering mind was largely to blame. With our average lifespan of forty-four, I’d officially entered midlife-crisis territory, and the swiftness of its arrival stole my breath. Like an alarm clock I hadn’t realized was set, my greatest fears joined forces to blitz my peace of mind at midnight on the dot.
The Ruins weren’t a place you went seeking solace, given what they were the remnants of, and yet they seemed an appropriate answer to the week’s trauma. Their dichotomy of incalculable loss masking invaluable treasure had set my course as a researcher since birth. Though I’d never say it aloud, I clung to my childhood notion that Thomas and I alone had the power to make them bequeath their hoard of history, of what really happened here all those years ago.
But today wasn’t about research, and thanks to birthday anxiety, it wasn’t likely to be about solace, either.
My boots pounded gravel as I darted through the fence, leaving town’s cottage rows and sculpture-dotted promenades behind. Weekly research expeditions built my tolerance to the Ruins’ psychological residue and disorientation, but Tessah and Hyde had no such tolerance. Dashing across the melted landscape, I swore for the fifth time in as many minutes. If anything happened to them, I’d never forgive myself.
CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found on his back on the lounge floor, something metallic glinting in a wound over his heart. A stain in the carpet reeks of wine, and a hint of cinnamon dusts his hands.