Title: MADNESS AND MOTH WINGS
Category/Genre: YA Southern Gothic
Word Count: 99,000
My Main Character would use sun or snow to battle their biggest obstacle:
In the face of her biggest obstacle, Perry would use heat as her weapon of choice. Growing up near the Bayou and living with the New Orleans heat has given her a resilience to the sun, but she knows that heat can turn into fire and that can easily burn down the whole city to get past whatever hurdle stands in her way, even if it’s not completely within her power to control it.
Seventeen–year-old Perrine Deveraux was raised speaking Cajun French and warding her home against the legendary rougarou…but witchcraft? That’s just a story they sell to the tourists with their gris-gris bags. But after hallucinations of drowning in grimy bayou water land her in the psych ward, Perrine discovers her delusional episodes aren’t delusional at all…they are manifestations of a curse that runs deep in the Deveraux bloodline.
As a first-born Deveraux girl, Perrine is marked to be a martyr for the Witches of New Orleans-a living vessel whose sole purpose is to contain the dangerous dark side of magic, leaving the rest of the community free to practice witchcraft without being corrupted by the darkness.
While the curse holds, Perrine’s hopes for a new start at St. Agnese’s Catholic School are nonexistent, especially when moths trail after her in the wake of the hallucinations, and her uncontrolled powers manifest in English class. With the help of her new friends, the seemingly clairvoyant Lucy, and her brother Ian, the boy with more secrets than God, she sets out to break the curse and get her life back. But the Witches of New Orleans will do anything to keep the darkness tied to her and escape the inevitable madness that is the price of magic…even if it costs Perrine her soul.
First 250 words:
The yellow bolt of lightning cuts through the indigo sky, striking the top of the dark tower lit with flames. My fingers linger on it, sliding over the glossy surface of the last card in the tarot spread I’ve just laid out on my window seat. La Torre is painted across the bottom in pretty black script that contrasts with the violent image. The tower is fitting, of course. Sudden crisis. Unseen danger. Destruction and catastrophe.
It’s the card I’ve gotten in every reading since I got home a month ago; I know Mamére would have told me it’s a sign. I thought things were going to be normal now, but my readings are never wrong.
A white moth flutters through the open window and lands at the top of the card. It crawls over the tower, its powdered wings covering the image. “It’s a bad omen,” I tell Sacha, rubbing the sun warmed fur between her ears. “What if I start seeing…things again?” She twitches her tail in answer, closing her eyes against my hand.
The moth beats its wings and flits away, revealing a dark twisting shape where it just was. Leaning closer, I watch as a crimson spot moves, running from one of the windows of the tower and draws across the vivid colors. It branches off at the ground like tree roots, creating tiny shoots of red. I press my fingers to the card, tracing the line. When I pull them away, it leaves a stain across my skin like blood.