When it comes to magic-based sports, deaf teenager April Harding washes out the competition.
April's water-controlling powers make her a natural at diball, the hottest magical game since aerial ping pong. She'll overcome any obstacle to turn pro. Any obstacle, that is, except her own guilty conscience. A few days ago, she mistook a text message from an old opponent for some weird spam. "Helpmeout," it said. Now her texter has committed suicide. Maybe there's nothing April could've done to stop him, but she can't forgive herself until she knows for sure.
April visits Charlotte Hayes, her texter's last opponent, hoping for some insight into his mental state. While there, she speechreads a disturbing phone conversation. Charlotte practically admits that the "suicide" was her doing -- an attempt to cover up the fact that she's been stealing players' powers. Unfortunately, speechreading isn't an exact science, and no one believes April's claims. She just knows (okay, really really suspects) that Charlotte is power thief and a killer. A killer, by the way, who's aware that April spied on her. April needs some serious, undeniable proof to bring Charlotte down. And she'd prefer to get it without losing her magic or her life.
WATER SPEAKER (57,000 words) is a YA modern fantasy. I am a Clarion West alumna whose work has appeared in True Confessions, Purpose, and is forthcoming in Highlights for Children. I have also received three Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest. Thank you for your consideration.
Katrina S. Forest
First 250 words
The pebbles had started growing again. I ran as fast as I could, but by the time I reached them, they'd blown up to the size of refrigerators and blocked the entire length of the playing court. Behind them, my opponent merrily dribbled the ball towards my goal.
Not now. Not this game. Focus on his weakness.
Right. My opponent's boulder-growing magic was nice and all, but it made him a one-trick pony. Once he set up his stupid barriers, he became like a soccer player, moving the ball with his feet and nothing else.
I, on the other hand, had my water.
I cupped my hands, and the floating puddle next to me flowed through my fingers, letting me manipulate it like putty. The words "25 meters to goal" flew across the glowing blue scoreboard.
I sent two jets of water flying into the closest boulders. They broke right through. The brittle rocks fell to pieces, sending decent vibrations through the rubber flooring. I leapt over the rubble, and my lungs seized with the dusty air.
"15 meters to goal," flashed the scoreboard. How had he passed the center line already? I split the water again, creating a line of four liquid globes. No problem seeing my opponent now – his uniform was an obnoxious bright red with the words, "Harrisburg Fine Chocolate" emblazoned in yellow on either arm. But the gap between us was huge. It'd take a quarter minute to catch the guy at least.