Entry Nickname: A Girl and Her Serial Killer
Title: The Confidant
Word count: 62k
Genre: NA Thriller
18-year-old Stella Stokes has a secret: Gideon, a dashing English serial killer in the novels Stella writes, actually talks to her. He’s been by her side, offering somewhat twisted peanut gallery commentary, advice, and affection for every pathetic turn in her adolescent life. Sure, some of the darker suggestions he makes scare her, but she’s never been worried about his presence. After all, she’s the only one who can interact with him; he can’t really kill anyone.
The summer following high school graduation, Stella and her best friend, supernatural-obsessed, trans man Quinn, decide to take a few weeks to explore California. However, their first stop at an idyllic beach town isn’t quite as calming as they would’ve hoped: a prank-gone-horribly-wrong leaves Quinn and Stella standing over four dead bodies. As they clean up the mess and beeline out of town as fugitives, Stella can’t help but notice Gideon’s signature all over the murders.
Now, Stella has no choice but to figure out what Gideon is: ghost, demon, byproduct of mental illness, or something else entirely. Because, well, if Gideon is more than an imaginary friend, not only could he really begin a murder spree, but maybe he really does want Stella to kill with him. As bodies stack up around her, Stella has to remain one step ahead of the authorities, keep Quinn safe, and most importantly, prove that the creator is more powerful than the creation.
"You're barmy if you don't think a paid professional screwing up your haircut is enough reason to kill them.”
I open my drawer and snatch the first two pieces of water-friendly fabric I see. The unsolicited advice is coming from Gideon as he lies on my bed, tossing a dragon figurine around. This conversation has been going on for five minutes, and I’m just about done.
“No, Gideon, you’re…whatever you just said if you think I'm going to murder someone because she cut my hair too short,” I say. “Besides, you’re English. Your people would rather suffer in silence than complain about a subpar haircut. Turn around.”
Gideon rolls his eyes and turns his back to me. I slip into my bikini.
“This figurine is a good density. An ideal bludgeoning weapon—”
“Don’t change the subject.”
I reach for my cover-up, but stop as Gideon wraps his arms around my waist.
“C’mon, poppet. Have I steered you wrong before?”
I swallow an answer as he presses his lips to my throat. The moment almost lasts, but a thunk from inside my bathroom brings me back to reality: my best friend Quinn is changing in there, and when he comes out, he won’t be able to see Gideon.
I should probably stop and explain something.
I'm the only person who can see/touch/hear/smell/taste Gideon. Call him my imaginary serial killer friend.
I pull away and put my dragon back on the shelf. It is dense.