The Sanctuary, YA Sci-Fi

Name: Raquel Irvine
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Title: The Sanctuary
Word Count: 73,000 words
Themes: Grief, personal growth, will to survive, #ownvoices

35-Word Pitch: After being expelled from her birthplace, 17yo Kit Gomez must survive the unforgiving Arctic – and possibly the undead – with only her handsome, entitled nemesis as a companion on a mission to save her mom’s life.


First 500 words:

If there was one thing I knew best, it was this: never let your guard down, never lose your edge. Too much hung in the balance. Once exhaustion overcame caution or distraction blurred focus then bad things happened. Like dying. And I wasn’t about to die. Not today. Not in training.

I shifted my weight, my legs numb from crouching. Curls from my ponytail tickled my neck as I squeezed my eyes shut and listened. High above, polar winds roared against the dome ceiling. An isolated gunshot echoed down the alley, followed by one – no, two sets of running footsteps.

I smiled. I lived for this. The moment to prove myself equal, to feel like I belonged for once – and it never got old. No, I wouldn’t die today. I felt more alive here than in the reality of the dome, where only cold expressions and judgement met me. And the past.

Alice crouched a few feet from me, her gun poised between her knees. Her deep brown eyes were dilated – an echo of the surge I felt. I held up two fingers, and she nodded back.

On cue we turned the corner into the alley. My heart battered my ribcage like a death dirge. I flexed my finger over the trigger, steady and composed.

Two figures froze, jaws open wide, their faces just discernable in the darkness. I fired twice at the thin blond nearest me, the recoil of the gun casting vibrations up my arm. He clutched his vest and with a sharp cry fell against the red brick of the building, his face white in contrast.

A shot rang out from behind me, and the second target hit the ground hard. I tightened my grip on the gun as I looked at their fallen bodies. A pang of remorse seized me. No time. I turned and scanned the street ahead. Clear. Too easy. It was never this simple.

A flash of movement on a roof caught my attention.

“Cover!” I hissed to Alice.

I ducked down a street to our left. The continuous rows of red brick wall formed a tight maze, but it wasn’t our first run. We’d never failed yet and didn’t plan to today. Alice followed as shots rang out from above.

“Thanks, Kit.”

I pointed above. “There’s two left. We’ve accounted for the others.”

Time was almost up. I pushed the thought away. I would deal with the realities of life in the dome when I had to. Not now.

“We can’t stay here forever,” I said. “Let’s go.”

We followed close along the wall, our focus a rusty fire escape about midway. Alice was taller, so she jumped and grabbed the lowest rung, cursing under her breath as it clattered to the ground. I flinched. Anyone could have heard that racket. Cole, I thought grimly.

The rungs of the ladder were cold on my hands, and the stagnant scent of mildew and mold lingered in the air around me, filling my lungs like a blanket of pollutants.


9 thoughts on “The Sanctuary, YA Sci-Fi

  1. Becky LeJeune says:

    This premise is fabulous. Please send your query letter and full manuscript to Becky AT BondLiteraryAgency DOT com. Word doc preferred and do include Pitch América in the subject line of the email.


    Becky LeJeune

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whitley Abell (@whitleyabell) says:

    Such a gripping premise. I’d love to read more. Please send your full manuscript as a word document attachment with “Pitch América” in the subject line to whitley [at] inklingsliterary [dot] com. And if you don’t mind, could you also include your query letter on the first page of the word doc?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel Stark says:

    Nice, tight writing and a solid premise—I love a survival story done really well. Could you please send your query and full manuscript, as a Word doc, to rstark[at]skyhorsepublishing[dot]com? Please include “Pitch América” in the subject line. You do not need an agent to query me.

    Liked by 1 person

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