Oct 24, 2014
NoQS Agent Round: AUTONOMY: YA Thriller
Genre: YA Thriller
Word Count: 75,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Jason's most fearsome obstacle is his own mind. If he could, he would tear apart the people who abandoned him and his friends in the desert, but signs indicate that he may be on their side. His kidnappers seem to know his every move, and it forces him to question his own sanity.
The researchers told seventeen-year-old Jason that after spending six months in their danger-free study, his family’s money problems would go away for life. Less than a day in, the cat-like equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster tries to maul him to death.
Dumped onto the plains of the African savanna—in the heart of the study—Jason dodges death and dismemberment until he joins a group of participants who have been fighting to survive for months. A trip to the study was a one-way ticket, and no one knows the study’s real purpose. Only that life will end in either a violent mauling or a freak accident.
When Jason kills a fellow participant in self-defense, a tattoo hidden on the kid’s body suggests the impossible—that Jason may be helping their kidnappers. The group questions who Jason really is, and soon Jason is questioning his own sanity.
Trekking across the African plains searching for a way out, Jason follows a desperate group who questions him at every turn. And while they must work together to escape before the study kills them all, a question plagues Jason during their search. Is he helping his friends, or trying to kill them?
Jason didn’t drink, but he assumed this was what a hangover felt like.
A pile of mush had replaced his brain, and his body itched with sweat. The lazy whirling in his vision slowed to a stop, but the sun’s glare still poked at his eyes like needles.
A metal cage in the middle of a field didn’t serve as the best place to sleep, but he hadn’t been given a choice. His back felt like the testing center for a hammer factory. Sitting up, he put a hand on the steel to support himself, but pulled it back with a hiss through his teeth. The sun had turned the surface into a skillet.
He immediately hated where he was. The air was hot and humid, wrapping him in a cocoon and making the fuzziness in his head worse. He had no clue which country he was in, but it had to be far away from home.
A desperate voice yelled in his direction.
He moved to his feet, soles clanking on hollow steel as he tried to find the source of the noise. Dead grass surrounded the cage, wind bending the stalks with a giant, invisible hand. The walls must have disconnected while he slept, serving as four ramps to the cracked dirt and weeds below. A backpack and a spear lay beside him.
The last wisps of sedative started to fade, and he focused on the nearest landmark—a lonely clump of trees a hundred feet away.