Idea for...: a YA novel
Condition: semi-complete pitch
Price: £15.99 inc p+p
Teenage reservoir noir. An agoraphobic girl, a sunken secret and a bid for freedom that isn’t all that it seems…
Fourteen-year-old Oscar Redzia can’t take any more.
He’s leaving his moorland home and never coming back. His two best friends – Cameron Fencer and Ellie (‘Mac’) MacFarlane – are helping him plan. The three of them have worked secretly to prepare, packing a rucksack with a sleeping bag, spare clothes and food, torch, matches and a jerry can of fuel… then hidden it in a barn near the reservoir. They’ve figured out an escape route, identified a vehicle for Red and decided upon a date. Red’s drunken uncle won’t be abusing him anymore.
But the morning after Red’s leaving date, Fencer and Mac discover something’s gone wrong. Red’s house is a burned shell and his uncle’s body is among the ashes. Red’s missing… but when Fencer and Mac check, the secret rucksack is still there. The village is swarming with police. Soon the cops will discover the bag, dust the stuff and find their prints all over the jerry can and matches. It couldn’t look worse for them. Driven by terror and panic, cops closing in, the two friends fill the bag with bricks. Fencer keeps watch as Mac rows it out into the centre of the reservoir to drown it.
Our story begins three years later.
Red’s still missing but any leads have dried up. PC Kelly Martinez, a determined maverick who won’t let the case go, still pays periodic visits to the remote town, convinced she’s missing something. It’s the hottest June since ’76. The reservoir is almost empty, a sun-baked basin of cracked mud. Holidaymakers come to visit the skeleton of the drowned village that sits at its centre, sloshing through the clay to explore the ruins. Every morning on the way to school, Fencer checks the water-levels, dreading what he’ll find.
One day he’s going to see the rucksack emerging from the mud. The stubborn and unstoppable Martinez will find and retrieve it… and their secret will be out.
I guess this idea really belongs in Hangfire - my repository for the ideas I'll never get around to realising - with the other edge-cases. Check them out if you want...