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First pages

The music pulsed. Loud. It vibrated throughout my entire body, from red-tipped toes to the split ends of my brassy hair. The bass seemed to skim my skin, bubble gently against my limbs, fingertips, moist palms, run goosebumps down my arms, across the chest, stopping briefly against my heart, then down the other arm. I threw my hands up in the air. “This is so much fun,” I yelled, my voice a weak opponent for the music. Amy smiled at me, mouthed the words “I can’t hear you,” and wiggled off toward the bar. I watched her go for a moment before chasing after her. I found her bopping from side to side, sashaying her hips, leaning on the bar. I watched a small group of suited men start to mobilise and move toward her; I knew I had to beat them or we would be stuck with them all night. Naturally, Amy didn’t notice. She had no idea the effect she had on men, and some, perhaps most, women.

“Want another one?” she yelled, turning around to face me. I stared over her shoulder at the approaching men until they slunk off to continue drinking together, but alone, hoping some pretty young thing who’s had too much might not notice the paunches seeping over waist bands, the receding hairline at the temple. Might not notice or might not care, as long as they put another $15 cocktail in her hands. I cringed at the thought.

I nudged Amy. “Vodka soda, please.”

“What?” She was smiling broadly, her long dark hair framing her heart shaped face perfectly.

“Vodka soda.”

“Rum and coke it is,” she laughed, miming, covering her ears. Moments later, we were back on the dance floor, swaying in time with the music.


“Who are you?” I leapt from the bed, snatching at the blankets to cover myself. “Who are you?” I repeated the question.

He looked at me, baffled.

“I’m Joseph. We met last night. Marquee? Don’t you remember?”

He looked horrified. But not as horrified as me.

“Did we…?”

“I mean, yeah, but you were into it. I swear.”

“Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Get out. Please just get out now.”

“We used protection,” he said, his voice small.

Get out!” This time I yelled it.

He scrambled out of the bed, frantically grabbing at various items of clothing strewn about the room. “Faster.” I needed him to get out - desperately needed him to leave. Needed to regroup, gather my thoughts. It was not the first time this kind of thing had happened, and it wouldn’t be the last, but I still didn’t feel right about it. I had vague memories of kissing someone, grabbing their hand, hailing a cab. Stumbling through the door, loose with alcohol, side swiping the wall as I entered the bedroom, not bothering with the lights…

I sat down on the edge of the bed, still clutching the duvet about me, and put my head in my hands, let the hangover guilt sink in. As I watched the stranger hurriedly pull on his jeans, the pounding headache that wracked my brain came into focus. “I need to get some aspirin. You can show yourself out.” I wanted to hide in the bathroom until he left. I wanted to hide from everyone, for the rest of the day. Maybe even forever.

He looked at me with an expression that was something between disappointment and anger, nodded his head, and continued to dress. I pushed myself off the bed, nearly tripping over the comforter as it pooled at my feet. I reached into a nearby dresser and took out a long sweater, pulling it over my head. Adequately covered, I got up. For a moment, just a moment, I thought I ought to apologise to Joseph. But it passed before I opened my mouth.


And that was it. The last moment. The last moment that could ever be considered normal. The end of my old life. The end of the old me. The last moment.


I opened the door. I will never forget what I saw. It will be forever tattooed onto my consciousness, embedded in my DNA, soaked into my skin. There was blood. So much blood. It was splashed across the eggshell walls in great swaths, dripping by the sink, even spackling the ceiling in erratic patterns. The glass coffee table had shattered into a million pieces that glittered in the early morning sunshine streaming in through the window. The refrigerator was open, and had been for a while, judging from the smell it exuded. The drawers were open haphazardly, bloodied at the edges. Someone had tried to reach for something, anything, to help themselves. At least that’s how it seemed to me The sink was dripping as though someone had been interrupted filling a glass. Scanning the room, I found the shards of the glass, swimming in pink-tinged water, scattered around the jagged base. There was a bloody handprint on the bathroom door and a trail of blood, smeared across the lino floors, leading toward it.


At first, I was frozen. I stood, not breathing, not moving, stuck still. The whole world seemed to tilt on it’s access - I felt as though I was being seized by vertigo. I retched, the iron-metallic smell of blood suddenly overpowering. “Oh my god,” I said. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” I sank to the floor in a heap where I stayed until the bedroom door swung into my back, knocking me onto my side, head first into a bloody pool. Joseph, the stranger, took one look at the room, turned back to me, and screamed.


“We have to call the police. Now,” he said in a trembling voice.

“Amy,” I murmured.

“What? Where’s my phone? We have to call the police now.

“Amy!” This time a shriek. Panic had superseded fear. “I need to find her. Amy, where are you? Amy!” I lifted myself from the ground, slipping in the viscous red liquid; wiped the side of my face, drew back my hand now covered in blood, and took one, two tentative steps toward the bathroom. My breath was ragged in my chest, uneven, belaboured.

“Don’t go in there,” Joseph said. “Just, don’t.”

“I have to.”

I kept moving, slowly but surely, to the door, following the wet trail of blood. Every step felt like I was crossing an ocean, each leg felt heavy as an anvil. Joseph remained rigid, frozen, in the archway of the bedroom door. I glanced back at him, hating him. He was wringing his hands despairingly. Finally, I reached the bathroom door. It was cracked open an inch or so. I felt the room start to spin and inhaled deeply. With a wave of courage I threw open the door, and there she was. My Amy. My best friend. My roommate. My confidante. My Amy. Dead.

Her legs were bent at an unnatural angle beneath her. Amy’s smooth brown arms were draped over the toilet. Her head rested on the closed seat. Her hair, matted, saturated in blood, obscured what looked like a slash of a wound running deeply from her upwards-facing left temple down to the left corner of her mouth, and dark red marks that rimmed her eyes. There were multiple slashes from shoulder to wrist like nightmarish tiger stripes. The soles of her feet, pointed towards the door, were crimson with blood too and it gave me chills to think she had walked in the pools of her own blood as she made it to this final, lurid, resting place, bleeding to death alone. There were deep gashes all along her bare torso, once lithe, sleek, enviable, now wretched and horrifying. And on the mirror, written in blood, in strange jagged letters that oozed down, dripping into the sink, was the word Prisma.

I felt the scream welling up in my gut, moving through my esophagus, and reaching my mouth until finally it was released. It was an animal sound that reverberated off the walls with a violence I didn’t think possible. I turned, couldn’t look at the scene anymore, and there was Joseph, right behind me, saying “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” over and over while his trembling hands fumbled with his phone to dial 911. I could hear someone say “Hello, this is 911, what’s your emergency?”

I snatched the phone from him, frantic, a frenetic energy darting from my eyes to his.

“Hello?” called the voice from the line.

“Wait,” I hissed, tip toeing over what remained of my best friend. With the sleeve of my sweater I wiped the scarlet words from the mirror, creating a crimson smudge, then handed him back the phone.

“Please come quick,” Joseph said. Someone’s been murdered.”


I met Amy freshman year of college. Composition 101. A lecture hall of some three hundred kids all ready to unlearn years of quantity equals quality. I was an aspiring journalist, she was more interested in science, but somehow we found each other that very first week of school. She rolled her eyes at me as the professor announced he was going to break us of our bad habits, and we were fast friends from then on. Want to grab lunch, she wrote on the top corner of my paper. I smiled at her and nodded. I was terrified of being alone and would have said yes to anyone. Somehow I knew, in that moment, that this was a friendship that would last.


My parents hadn’t wanted me to live on campus. My diagnosis was still fresh, and the deep depression I had sunk into had taken longer than usual to subside. I had been hospitalised three times my senior year of high school, once for the mania, and twice for the depression, but I had insisted I move out of the house. I wanted to try to be normal. Well, as normal as one can be on the many medications that I took to regulate my Bipolar Disorder. I wanted a chance at a future less regulated by my parents and my doctors, a future that I could more actively own, and so they had begrudgingly said yes to dorms. Maybe if I had stayed home, this would have never happened. Maybe Amy would be out in the world, living with someone else, some hipster with jeans shorn at the top of the ankles and interesting facial hair, brunching with other young, beautiful women, gossipping over bottomless mimosas and ordering poached eggs with the Hollandaise on the side.

But I had insisted. Whenever they had tried to reason with me, I had dug my heels even deeper. The more they tried, the more agitated I became, and the more convinced I was that they were trying to coddle me into being their baby forever. So off I had gone, taking their station wagon with me, packed to the hilt with clothes, DVDs, and other knick knacks that I was sure I would miss but would eventually become lost in the clutter of freshman living.

My roommate freshman year was Dahlia, a boring eighteen year old whose name was the most interesting thing about her. She didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. She was an infamous partier with a flawless fake ID that fooled bouncers across the state, from Buffalo all the way to the Meatpacking District. I was more of a homebody, experiencing more bad days than good, but unwilling to acknowledge it. I much prefered the comfort of a movie night to Dahlia’s rawkus hedonism. But that didn’t stop me from going out every once in a great while, when Amy pouted at me and shoved some torn flier in my face for an event with DJs I didn’t know, bands I didn’t care for, and parties I had no interest in. I would always drink and regret drinking, often blacking out and waking up to strangers in my room. Amy just shrugged it off - we were young and reckless, it was part of growing up - but I carried with me a tremendous sense of guilt. It took me days, sometimes weeks, to feel myself again, so I largely stayed sober.


What if we had just stayed in this time, I wondered, rubbing my bloodied hands on my bare legs. What if we had just stayed in?


Sophomore year we were able to choose roommates and Amy and I moved into a two bedroom dormitory with a shared living room, kitchen, and bathroom. We were lucky to get single rooms and not have to share with anyone. It was a difficult year for me - my mother was diagnosed with Lupus, my older brother, Lucas, struggling with his own mental health issues, joined an inpatient programme, my father caved under the stress and began drinking again. Amidst all this tumult, there was one constant: Amy. Amy was a relentless listener and an undying optimist. She would sit across from me while I talked, legs tucked beneath her, cup of tea or glass of wine in hand, and gaze at me with such an intensity I almost felt ashamed. Almost, but not quite. Because she always knew how far she could go, how much she could pry, how long she could look, without doing harm. She understood boundaries better than any person I’ve ever met. And now she’s gone.


Senior year, I decided to stop taking my medication. I was sick of feeling “flat” all the time. I had forgotten what it felt like to laugh until I cried, to desire someone wholly and fully, to fret appropriately about a test. It was a bad idea, and Amy told me so. “I thought you liked me just the way I am?” I asked her honestly, my voice breaking.

“I do, but I want you to be safe - to be well.” She was right of course, but I ignored her. That was the year I came up with Prisma.


During my bad days I liked to draw. Sometimes they were independent illustrations, but most often they were comics, dark and brooding, more autobiographical than not. I would post these comics on the back channels of the internet and within months I had an online following of several thousand. People shared my work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. They commented on it in extensive threads, guessing at the person who had created them. Some were struggling with mental health issues like me, and commented on the accuracy of the strips. “Preach,” they might say, or “You get me.” Others were trolls, who begged me to end it all instead of subjecting the internet to another one of my moody stories. Most were somewhere in between. I found it exhilarating, inspiring, and depressing all at once. On one occasion I posted a trio of images, the first showed a cartoon of a woman looking down into a vast, dark canyon. The second showed her jumping into the black abyss. The third showed her shoe, left behind, creeping to the edge, with the caption “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.” It was ridiculous and sad, but it got picked up by two different influencers, posted and reposted, and before I knew it I was getting calls about interviews and requests for advertising. I decided then to start my own page - titling it after the last and most successful drawing: The Other Shoe. My plan was to keep up with my academics, but to spend as much free time as possible doodling and posting. I started to feel powerful, big, and before I knew it, there was my old friend - mania.

I stopped going to classes, working on my illustrations through day and through night. I stopped sleeping. I barely ate. My thoughts raced. Any interruption, from anyone, including Amy, was met with agitation and a fiery temper. My professors sent emails, told me I was failing, my advisor reached out by email, and then by phone. Amy called my parents. My parents called me. I ignored them. They showed up at my door. I refused to let them in until they threatened to bring me home. I relented, but only in the opening of the door. I couldn’t hear what they had to say. There was nothing they could say to me to make me stop. I had to finish what I had started, my magnum opus, my capo di lavoro, my crowning joy: Prisma.

He was a demon, with long talons for fingers, a drawn and haunted face, and empty red eyes. His mouth was like a smear, forever contorted into a wicked smile. He was bald and eyebrowless, his head an egg, reflecting the dim lights of his basement lair. He wore a suit, all black, forever besmirched by ancient blood stains. And from his craggy hands he released prisms of light that simultaneously slashed, blinded, and destroyed. He was a menace, a terrifying menace. He was a horror to behold, and yet I had come to love him as the physical embodiment of that beast I knew so well: depression.

The first time I drew him he was creeping into my bedroom. Slinking through the night and poking his long, bulbous nose through the door, illuminated by a sliver of moonlight filtering through the window. His terrible, slender-fingered hands wrapped around the door frame and he had a splash of blood visible on his collar. I lay in my bed unaware, sleeping deeply, dreaming perhaps, but not for long. The caption read, “Sleep, for now.” I posted it the first week I had stopped taking my medicine. The internet loved it, which only served to convince me I had made the right decision. I continued to produce images of this new anti hero, Prisma; in rapid succession I drew Prisma entering and destroying a high school classroom, obliterating a crowd of tourists in Times Square. It was dark commentary - but it was just that: commentary. The monster of depression had engulfed me just like it engulfs millions of Americans each year. I didn’t think about the possibility of it being misread, misinterpreted. It never occurred to me someone might perceive me to be soliciting actual violence. I could not imagine the consequences.

None of my friends knew about Prisma, or at least none of them knew that I was behind it if they had heard of him. And because of that, when I got the email, I had no one to turn to. I thought about showing it to Amy but recoiled at the thought of her being disappointed in me. Or worse, afraid. I paced my bedroom, counting steps to try to soothe my swirling thoughts, hoping a burst of inspiration or even a mediocre solution would come to mind. It didn’t. So I ignored it. Now I wished I hadn’t.


“What the hell are you doing?” Joseph’s voice was panicked. Sweat was beading at his temples and rolling down his face. His eyes were misty. I could see the shock settling in. “Stop that! You can’t tamper with a crime scene.”

“Shut up,” I yelled. “Just shut up.”

“But you can’t --”

“It’s done. And don’t you dare say a word to the police when they arrive.”


The email came two or three weeks after my parents’ visit. They had left uneasy and unbelieving of my assurances that I was fine. And so we had a contingency plan, that Amy was a part of. If I didn’t go to bed before midnight, Amy was supposed to write it down. If it happened two nights in a row, Amy was supposed to call them. If it happened three nights in a row, they would come to pick me up. That was the agreement. I had no intention of abiding by it.


It was a Thursday evening when I received the first message. I had managed to get myself to class, but left halfway through, unable to be still in my body. I walked home, agitated. When someone brushed against me in the street I scowled. When someone held the door for me, I didn’t say thank you. When I crossed paths with someone who was more than an acquaintance but less than a friend, I averted my eyes. I was in a terrible mood. I clenched and unclenched my fists, biting into my palms with nails yet unbitten. I tugged at my hair and fidgeted with my feet whilst I waited for the traffic light to change.

The air was cool, the night clear, and the moon was a beacon. A gentle darkness had settled over the university town in which I lived. It was November and Thanksgiving was rapidly approaching. People were out and about in gloves and hats and scarves, soaking up the last of the autumn weather. For a moment, I saw myself as I was, tipping the scales, manic, and in that moment I desperately wanted to be normal. But then the flashing sign turned to white, telling me I could cross, and I started to run. My breath heaved in my chest, my bag slammed against my left side, my coat swished at my knees. I dodged people looking down at their mobile phones, and kept running until I was back at the dorm. I didn’t smile at the security guard who had always been kind to me. I ignored the classmate who called out to me, smoking a cigarette in the courtyard. I had to get home - couldn’t deal with anyone or anything.

I fumbled with my keys at the door hoping and praying that Amy would not be home. Sometimes her empathy was suffocating. But there she was, sitting in the tiny living room, a cup of steaming tea on the table beside her, computer on her lap, tv quietly thrumming with white noise in the background. She looked up as I walked in and concern creased her brow. She could see something was not right.

“Genie, are you okay?” My nickname, not my full name. No one called me Eugenia. “You look… off.”

“I’m fine,” I said shortly before making a beeline for my room. Moments later she was rapping gently on the door.

“Do you want some tea? The kettle is still hot.”

“No. Thank you.” A terse reply.

“Genie, can I help? Do you need anything?” She was always so kind. It made it hard to be angry with the world. Amy was such a blessing.

“I’m okay,” I said, softer. “I’ll be okay, I just need some time to relax.” Usually, feeling this way, I would have dived straight into my drawer of medicines - an Ativan or a Xanax to assuage my anxieties, but I was trying not to rely on pharmaceuticals. I wanted to be my most authentic self. I was a fool.

I sat down at my computer, rocking back and forth in my chair and clicked on the bookmark for my site. Fifteen new comments, forty new likes on my most recent post - Prisma, slamming a book shut as I tried to study for an exam with one hand, damming a river of blood accumulating behind the bedroom door in the other. The blood was seeping over the door jamb, pooling at my feet as I worked. The comments were nothing much. A lot of “cool” and “weird” and “wow.” Sometimes people read more deeply into my illustration - saw them as a snapshot of my mind. My troubled mind. They would comment empathically, “I know how you feel” and “Thank you for sharing your struggle.” But most of the time the comments and captions were meaningless offerings, that neither encouraged nor discouraged me. And on that night, I didn’t have time for them.

I opened up my inbox, tapping a foot nervously. I wasn’t expecting anything, but in hindsight I should have. I should have known that eventually my tiny successes would become gargantuan failures. That’s how life works. I knew that then, in my anxious heart, and I know it now more than anything else.

“A Gift,” was the the subject of the email at the top of my inbox when I opened it, from an address I didn’t recognise: Necromanik. I toyed with the idea of deleting it but decided, impulsively, to open it instead. After the fact I wished I hadn’t.

The email included an image and nothing else. In the picture, grainy, taken by an older model of mobile phone, was a girl, clearly dead. She was lying in a bathroom, somewhere in the world, her body draped over the open toilet seat like she had died about to vomit. Her skin was white as snow and marred by slashes that went up and down her arms, blood pooling around her. There was a deep gash that ran up the left side of her face, barely visible in the poor quality of the photo. And on the mirror, written in blood, was the word Prisma. I felt my heart catch in my throat. I had seen this image before.


A week earlier I had fallen out with a girl I had previously considered to be one of my closest friends at university. Besides Amy, that is. Harper and I had met as freshmen in the same orientation group, rolling our eyes at the hipsters performing for an open mic night in an East Village dive. We were tentative friends, who had more dislikes in common than likes. Somehow we maintained a friendship despite our multitudinous differences. Maintained it, that is, until the autumn of senior year.

Harper did not understand me. When I had an off day, when I struggled to get out of bed, when I couldn’t stop myself from crying without the slightest provocation, she called me lazy and dramatic. When the wheels of my brain wouldn’t, couldn’t stop spinning, she would tell me to calm down. In coming off my medication I knew I would lose that friendship, and that was fine by me. I said as much to another mutual friend, Alex, and he reported it back to her. She was furious - not because I had accused her of being apathetic towards mental illness, but because I had had to audacity to say so to someone else.

“You’ve been talking about me with your big mouth, Eugenia,” she said. She always used my full name. “It makes me sick to know how little you think of me. How can I trust you now?”

“You can’t, I guess,” was my only reply.

“I feel like this is death by a thousand cuts,” she said. “A thousand tiny slashes until I have had enough. I don’t think we can be friends anymore.” She had walked out with her head held high. It seemed as though she had been waiting for any excuse to abandon me, and I had given her a good one.

That night, I paced the length of my room, door locked, trying to exorcise my agitation with repetitive movement. It wasn’t working. I went down to the courtyard to scrounge a cigarette off a trendy upperclassman in skinny jeans and a band tee shirt. It didn’t help. I sent text after text to Alex and then to Amy, but their responses did not soothe me. So instead I started to draw. I sketched in pencil until my fingers ached and my palms were graphite grey. Harper’s words swirled inside my head over and over. “Death by a thousand cuts.” “Death by a thousand cuts.” When I had finished, I looked down at the darkest illustration I had ever created. It was a self portrait. My naked body lay draped over the toilet. “It makes me sick…” A deep slash opened up the side of my mouth from corner to temple. “Your big mouth.” The skin on my arms was cut open repeatedly in wide, even lines. “Death by a thousand cuts.” In the corner, was Prisma, grotesque and diabolical, lording himself over my dead body. I titled it “The Error of My Ways,” and posted it immediately to my site, with little thought of consequence. After that, I decided to drink.


I smeared some lipstick across my mouth and ran fingers through my tangled hair, wrapped a scarf around my neck and threw my jacket on. I didn’t know where I was going, just that I had to be somewhere other than home.

I walked up Third Avenue towards Murray Hill and slipped into an uninviting sports bar, with giant screens that lit up the place with the Knicks game. I sat down at the bar and ordered a whisky. I didn’t often drink, but when I did it was always dark spirits. I was barely twenty one but the bartender did not ask me for my ID. That was one of the things I loved about New York - it was so easy to fool people into thinking you were in the exact right place, so much so that they never questioned whether you were meant to be there or not.

The man, pushed a glass filled with amber liquid - a heavy pour - towards me. “Close it out or keep it open?” he asked.

“Keep it open,” I said, passing him my credit card. I was going to get drunk.

Four drinks in and the world took on a softened edge. I could feel my anxiety melting into the atmosphere and my body sinking into the chair, finally able to relax. I knew I would struggle to remember in the morning, but I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me. That was the thing about being manic - at the same time it felt so bad, and yet so good.

I’m not sure how I got home that night. All I know is that when I woke up my head was thick with booze and my stomach was sour with hangover. I wasn’t going to make my 9am class.

I reached for my laptop and opened it. I had over a hundred notifications on my previous post. Most of them were generic, boring feedback. “Scary,” “Creepy,” “Wild.” But one stood out to me, from a commenter using the screen name Necromanik. “Beautiful,” he wrote. “A masterpiece. I love your body of work.” I slammed my laptop shut, unnerved. I knew the internet was crawling with weirdos and assholes, but there was something about this one that made the hair on the back of my neck bristle. I was unsettled.


The night I received the image from Necromanik, it didn’t occur to me how he had gotten my personal email address. I was so disturbed I didn’t have the wherewithal to think about what else he might know about me. All I could do was focus on the picture. It horrified me and yet I couldn’t look away. “It’s not real,” I said to myself aloud, in an attempt to comfort myself. “It can’t be real.” Taking one last look at the bloodied, crumpled figure, I clicked the X in the top left corner and deleted the email. I guess I thought if it was gone, I wouldn’t have to think about it. And for a short while, I was right.

That day I was off. I always sank into a deep depression - hangover guilt - the day after I had been drinking heavily. I didn’t go to a single class and instead lay in bed all morning thinking about what Amy would say when she realised what I had done. At noon, I mustered the energy to pull a book from my shelf, and slowly trudged through a few chapters of Zola’s Nana. If I wasn’t going to go to class, the least I could do was some homework.

At 4:30 in the afternoon Amy came home. She was concerned as soon as she saw me, entangled in all my blankets, still in pajamas, without a lick of makeup on my face.

“Genie, are you okay?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Are you sick?”

“Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know.” Her eyes narrowed.

“Okay, what can I do?” Darling Amy. Sweet, sweet Amy. My friend. My caretaker.

I sighed. “Nothing, I just had an off day.”

“Shall I call your parents?” For a second, I hesitated. My mind cleared and it was obvious that the right thing to do was to let my mum and dad know I was struggling, tell them about the email, and let them guide me back to my therapist and psychiatrist so I could get the help I needed. But it was the impulse of a moment. “No,” I snapped, a little too quickly. What if they didn’t believe me? And, examining my current state of being, what if they were right not to? What if I had imagined that grizzly scene. I thought about opening my laptop once more, attempting to retrieve the email, bringing it to the police. But I was afraid and confused and I started to doubt I had even seen what I had seen. “Please,” I said to Amy. “I’m okay. Don’t call them.”

Amy hesitated for a moment and then caved, though I could see in her eyes that this was strike one. Two more days like this and my parents would be back to collect me. “Okay,” she said, “but you’re putting on some real clothes and we’re going to get ice cream. I’ve been craving it all day.” I managed a smile before heading back into my room to dress.


“You know, this is frozen yogurt, not ice cream,” I teased, as we sat together nursing rather large desserts.

“Same difference,” Amy said.

I scoffed. “Sacrilege!”

“Whatever. It’s sweet and it’s cold.”

We giggled together and I could feel my earlier anxiety start to dissipate, to melt away into the cool ozone of the ice cream shop. Amy had such a soothing presence. There was something calming about her easy nature and voice.



About me

Elle Cermola is a Boston-based writer. This novel is her third attempt and NaNoWriMo and the first to be submitted for publication. Elle is a public school teacher in the Boston area and spends her free time dancing and participating in aerial circus arts.

Q. What books are you reading now?
Right now I am reading Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust. I read a lot of YA fiction so I can make real recommendations to my students. I just finished reading The Essex Serpent. I loved that it was written in the style
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Making time to write! I live such a busy life and I don't usually get to prioritise writing, but in November all of that changes. I push aside other activities and make space to write and it is wonderful.

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