MENTOR: Heather Webb
ALTERNATE: Dayspring MacLeod
TITLE: The Death Clock
CATEGORY/GENRE: Literary with speculative elements
WORD COUNT: 99,000
In Kit's world, everyone is born knowing when they will die. But an ex-lover's posthumous message leads her to a terrible secret: the government is carrying out medical experiments on refugees -- and death is not as predictable as it seems. Now a dead man is Kit's only ally in exposing the plot and saving thousands.
Death minus eighteen hours.
The sun was high over the Kensington Park horizon, and the reds and oranges of Jonathan's last sunrise had faded into a pale blue morning. There was, Jonathan discovered, a last time for everything. Last flight, last visit to his old flat, last sight of the Houses of Parliament striking a pose for the omnipresent flock of tourists. Last pair of pyjamas, last outfit laid out ready for the morning ahead - the last morning.
Jonathan turned from the window and looked at the antique pocketwatch open on the bedside table. Its hands had stilled, but time would not stop. On his alarm clock, on the grandfather clock in the hall, on Big Ben, all through the house and the world, his last minutes alone ticked away. Eight o'clock now - any minute, the precious quietude would end. And yes, even as the eighth bong of the grandfather clock died away, there was his cousin's slow, heavy stride creaking up the stairs.
Zach Levine was a ponderous person, his size giving him an air of authority. Nevertheless, he opened the door and looked in timidly, with a red face and a silly pasted-on grin. 'It's a big day,' he bleated, a rehearsed line. 'How are you feeling?'
His words came out in a panic, all in that stupid shrill tone, and he moved stiffly, as if his shoulders were as tightly sewn as the sleeves on his jacket.