FRAME OF MIND
PITCH: When congressmen abduct Rena after believing she snapped photos of them poisoning a colleague in a D.C. cemetery, all she craves is escape. But if she doesn’t recover her film, they’ll get away with murder.
IF YOUR MC WAS AN EASTER EGG, WHAT FLAVOUR WOULD HE/SHE BE: I’d be solid milk chocolate, unbreakable–because that’s what I am.
FIRST 300 WORDS:
The headstone sat askew from the row like the poor soul was added as an afterthought. How demeaning to be treated that way after death. Rena Daniels aimed her vintage Pentax 35 mm, snapped a shot of the shadow cast by Blythe Rosewood’s grave marker, and advanced the black-and-white film with a quick flick of her thumb. Blythe had only lived for eighteen years.
Rena lowered the camera and tugged at her sweat-drenched, alma mater University of Maryland T-shirt. She flapped the neck seam to stir the humid air, regretting leaving her water bottle on her kitchen table. At the bottom of her purse, she fished for a mint. The refreshing peppermint tickled the back of her throat and cooled her mouth. Fifteen years ago she could’ve been buried in this cemetery, had the nightmare ended differently.
Concentrate, Rena. Edges, lines, and corners.
Sun scorched grass crunched under footsteps behind her. She fumbled with her camera as a male voice spoke. “What chapter you with?”
Rena spun around to the lanky six-foot stranger wearing brown cargo shorts and a faded black X-Files T-shirt.
His tanned skin creased around his smiling eyes. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”
Rena clasped her Pentax, a feeble weapon should he attack. “What do you want?”
“I’m Alex of Virginia.” He slid his black backpack off his shoulder to the ground and delved inside.
She hiked a cautious brow to the question mark tattoo on his left arm.
“Here’s my Pentax.” He revealed a battered camera. “You trying to capture her ghost, too?”
Rena scanned the grounds, but they were alone. “Um, no.” It figured she’d meet a lunatic in a cemetery on a Sunday. Ghosts were supposed to be a nighttime phenomenon, if one believed in them. “Not in broad daylight.”