first time doing this so hopefully it’s okay!
Title: Portrait of a drowning girl
Genre: YA, dark fantasy, mystery/thriller
length: around 80k
Pearl lives in a small town on an isolated island. They only have one law, no swimming beyond the bay. This law is due to the dangerous rips and currents that circulate out there.
Pearl is sixteen years old and she loves to swim and read. She swims in the bay every morning and desperately wants to go further out.
The story begins with her and her best friend Ceruleun discovering a body in the water as they eat lunch on the pier.
This set of a serious of events as the scene is examined and the long process of ferrying out to mainland to try and contact emergency services. Pearl and Cerulean are told not to get involved and Pearl is banned from swimming in the bay.
Later, it is concluded that the woman simply drowned, however, a week later another body appears.
Pearl is disturbed by this as it brings to mind a book she read about ancient mythology and lore of their town. It mentioned strange creatures of the night who would come out and drown people at night.
Everyone thinks she has an overactive imagination and is playing childish games. In search of someone who will listen, she ventures to the edge of town where the hermit Huxley lives.
He speaks to her and tells her more ancient stories, fueling her fear. Still, no-one will listen, even Ceruleun thinks she is crazy.
One night, she breaks the newly enforced town curfew and sneaks out to spend a night in the bay. She witnesses several beast-like creatures coming out of the water.
The following night, despite her terror she forces Ceruleun to come out with her. To their horror, they discover the mayor of the town and his two sons hauling out a woman and offering her to the creatures.
Pearl, not trusting in the mayor or his laws anymore finally decides to swim out of the bay. In doing so, she finds skeletons and human remains everywhere.
Huxley warns them to not get involved after hearing the news and invites them to live with him in his hut, away from the town and their drama. Pearl cannot do that with a good conscience.
Her and Cerulean decide to sneak into the town hall to try and find evidence. They discover records and newspaper articles of a series of deaths every thirty years.
Unfortunately, the mayor catches them in the act. He tempts Pearl by telling her of a reef just a little further out with clear, sublime waters.
She accepts his offer, only out of fear of his anger. On the small boat trip out there, it is revealed that there is no bay and he simply took the two out there so he could sacrifice them and play it off as an accident.
In a heavy action scene, Pearl ends up accidentally drowning the mayor. She is disgusted by herself and feels terrible but Ceruleun comforts her.
The creatures appear, take the body and disappear. They are satisfied for now, but that in thirty years they’ll be back and they will have to kill them for good somehow.
-these ancient creatures come out of the sea every thirty years demanding blood.
-the heads of the town would deliver them sacrifices to keep them placated.
-If they would not do so, they were worried the creatures would devour them all
-a lot of panic in the town and constant rising fear of dread (I want the overall feel of the book to be that of watching a car crash in slow motion)
-there is more detail related to the mystery, ancient ruins, lore and mythology that they discover
-the ending is incomplete and leaves further questions