Name: Carla Cullen
Title: PIPER GIRL
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word count: 75,000
In a modern twist on The Pied Piper, seventeen-year-old Marisa possesses the ability to charm animals with her silver flute. When crazed rats from a research lab infest her rundown neighborhood, she uses her music to capture the rodents. But after a powerful scientist learns Marisa’s powers also affect humans, she stands in danger of becoming his next lab rat.
The music flows through me, sweeter than a sugar rush, stronger than a caffeine high.
My phone chirps, rousing me out of a half sleep. I pick it up warily, wondering who’s calling after . When I see the text icon, my heart speeds up.
It’s from Carlos: Are you awake? Meet me at the wall.
Going outside at this hour—in this neighborhood—is asking for trouble. But I rarely get time alone with Carlos. And there’s a chance he didn’t text his other friends. None of them have the guts to climb the wall.
I reach over to turn on my lamp, but nothing happens. My fan isn’t moving either. No wonder my back is plastered with sweat. The electricity’s out again.
I fumble around the edge of the mattress until I find my flashlight. When I twist it on, a few cockroaches skitter into the shadows. Big ones. By now, I’m used to them. I send Carlos a quick reply, then put on flip-flops and unbolt the door. Following the faint beam of my flashlight, I navigate the narrow stairwell to the ground floor.
Out on the street, a blast of hot, dry air hits me in the face, bringing with it the smell of smoke. But there’s no sign of a fire anywhere. If anything, our street is unusually quiet.
Luis, one of the neighborhood sentries, sits on a rusted lawn chair halfway down the block. When I approach, he looks up. “Evening, Marisa. Your boyfriend’s waiting for you at the wall.”
Warmth creeps into my cheeks. “Carlos isn’t my boyfriend.”
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