MENTOR: Joy McCullough-Carranza
ALTERNATE: Lyudmyla Mayorska
TITLE: NANNY MORTO
CATEGORY/GENRE: MG Horror
WORD COUNT: 25,000
PITCH: A death angel-in-training requires the soul of a child to earn her wings, so she becomes a nanny. When she grows to love her charges, she must reconsider her destiny. MARY POPPINS meets THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
A clean, chalk-white skull grinned at Phillip from underneath a black velvet hat adorned with a golden brooch. A large beaded purse sat on the floor.
The new nanny finished the interview with Mr. and Mrs. Kiev. She answered the questions satisfactorily, provided impeccable references, and was offered the position on the spot. When the parents inquired what the children should call her, she removed her gloves, revealing skinless, bony hands and replied, “Nanny Morto.”
Phillip wasn’t the skittish type, but when the hard, white finger-bones stretched out to shake his hand, he paused.
“Mom?” His raised eyebrows and wide-eyed expression should have counted for something, but Mrs. Kiev did not understand her son’s hesitation. Unlike Phillip, all she saw was an elegant young woman qualified enough to care for her two children on last minute notice. And so Mrs. Kiev frowned and nodded, prompting her ten-year-old to take the bony fingers of his new nanny and shake.
“Pleased to meet you, Phillip,” Nanny Morto said as soon as their hands met. Her velvety voice matched her hat.
The bones gripped Phillip’s hand, and moved it up and down. The boy withdrew as soon as good manners allowed and retreated behind the yellow sofa, mumbling, “Nice to meet you,” and rubbing the cold from his hands. Soon after, Phillip disappeared into the kitchen, but he continued to spy on the adults from the doorway, the curiosity and the sense of imminent adventure rising in his veins.