MENTOR: Brent Taylor
ALTERNATE: Tom Mulroy
TITLE: FOLLOWING INFINITY
WORD COUNT: 38,000
PITCH: In the wake of her brother’s death, thirteen-year-old Molly travels across the country to his dream roller coaster. Will she find a final connection or discover her destination is something entirely different?
My brother Michael died last week. He was eight years old.
It wasn’t a car wreck or a swimming accident or some weird allergic reaction. He had been sick for a long, long time. Cancer, if you can believe that. Yeah, I know. That’s supposed to be one of those things you get when you’re older, like in your sixties or seventies. But to find out you have it when you’re only six, and die from it when you’re eight? Something pretty wrong about that.
I still remember the moment. It was 12:09 in the morning, but we had a houseful of relatives over. Everything felt warm and stale wrapped up in that middle of the night quiet. I went outside for some fresh air before trying to sleep and was met with a surprising autumn chill. Every time I left the house, even just stepping into the backyard like that, I felt out of place. It seemed impossible there was a world that didn’t realize what was happening up in that bedroom. It felt just impossible that I’d have to rejoin that world someday, which sounded as easy as climbing back on some spinning carnival ride after falling off. But it felt better to be outside at night, when I could hide in the darkness and look up at the stars and pretend none of it was real.
I hadn’t been out long before I heard the patio door slide open behind me.
It was my cousin Ryan, standing in the doorway.