Pitch: At an all-girls boarding school, charismatic manipulator Marlowe Brady recruits three of her peers for a club dedicated to learning lucid dreaming. However, Marlowe plans to use the club as a cover to gaslight the three girls until they’re incapable of discerning reality from dream.
First page of manuscript:
People didn’t tend to believe that insects had free will, but Marlowe never doubted. If something had free will, she could control it. The fly was no exception.
Marlowe was halfway through the second day of her vigil when the fly landed on the bulb of the green shaded lamp on her bedside table. The rest of the girls in the dormitory were asleep, which left Marlowe alone with the dark, the quiet, and the long wooden room with its vaulted ceilings and long double rows of beds. She was wearing her favorite silk pajamas and doing fairly well considering it’d been nearly three days since she last slept.
She watched the fly intently, the way its filmy wings shuddered, how it threaded its spindly, segmented arms back and forth through its proboscis whenever it took a break from its paces along the surface of the hot glass. Once they’d been properly acquainted, Marlowe devoted her thin morning hours to mentally coaxing it in one direction or the other, “Come here,” “Go there,” over and over again.
Most of the time, it wouldn’t. But on the rare occasion that its movements aligned with her mental command, she became re-energized by the illusion that her will had been so strong that the insect had been unable to resist, that the sheer force of her own thoughts had pushed it back onto the glass bulb when it wandered off. She indulged in the fantasy that this small, fragile thing would burn itself alive if she wanted it.