Title: THE WATER CHILD
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 60,000
Special Question: MC would be Obi-Wan because he is the all-knowing guru and Tora can’t stand to be left in the dark, she wants answers.
35 Word Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Tora wants to forget her pearl-diving heritage, but when the 2011 Tsunami strikes Japan, wrenching her mother away, she’ll comb the waves – and graves – to bring her mother home again.
Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.
“We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.
Electronic doors slide open, releasing the disrupted passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.
“Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.
I startle, recalled to our present journey and the plum blossoms waiting for us at Tenjin Shrine. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The afternoon breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.
Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat floods to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.