HUMAN SPINES (YA Urban Fantasy)




MonTanna Spring


YA Urban Fantasy

Word Count:

95,000 words


Fifteen-year-old Emmeline Jefferson doesn’t have time away from the Demons. Not a minute to say goodbye to her family, not a moment to wonder “Why me?” Every second she’s not possessed is spent begging stranger after stranger for help. But no one believes a sporadic girl who claims Demons have spent more time in her body than she has. No one until she finds Dumaine.

Dumaine Chartres’s whole life fits in his accordion case, his friends are nonexistent, and this fascinating girl is telling him Demons exist.These things all make perfect sense. What he doesn’t understand is why humans have such outrageous issues with murder. Death isn’t wicked or pleasant. It’s natural. If he wasn’t supposed to kill anyone, they wouldn’t have died. Nobody even noticed the bodies he witnessed himself slaughter. The bodies driving him wonder if he’s actually human.

In return for a break from his internal demons, Dumaine offers Emmeline help, and she’s willing to receive it from anyone. Maybe this boy can finally be the ally she needs. Maybe chasing this girl’s Demons can explain why he’s so different from everyone else. Maybe this friendship can work.

With enough determination to perturb the Demons, Emmeline and Dumaine concoct a plan to unriddle their lives. The first step is to confront the Demon’s creator. But something else seems to have found the creator first.

HUMAN SPINES is the first in a series and told from the viewpoints of Emmeline, Dumaine, and their rambling but wise navigator, Hans. Through a diverse cast, it explores themes of learned distrust, fear of the unknown, and the battle against the evil inside us all.

Born in Nebraska eighteen years ago, I graduated high school just before turning fourteen and have spent my time since then traveling, reading, and writing. I identify as mixed race, being half African-American, a fourth Swedish, and a fourth Native American (Pawnee and Blackfoot).

First 300 words:

He’s sitting on top of a rusty black trashcan on the corner of Dumaine and Chartres. I’ve been watching him for twenty minutes. I’ve never seen him before, but that’s not exactly surprising. I’ve only been in New Orleans for about four days. I’ve only been conscious for two of them.
Dozens of musicians play all down the streets. Solo guitar strummers, paired violinists, whole bands with singers and drum sets, and even a parade of horns marches joyfully down the street. But I’ve only stopped for this one.
He rocks back and forth, consumed by his own melody. His black, beat-up accordion rests on his leg as he bends over it, watching his fingers dance about the keys and all but forgetting his other hand shuffling away at the buttons. He’s precise and rhythmic. He’s also rather filthy. A layer of dirt coats his face and clothing. A beautiful maroon hat with a black and gray feather that droops down on one side covers his head, but it’s not enough to contain his dark blond mess of hair. It just touches his shoulders in what appear to be dreadlocks but it may just be extremely dirty. His legs swing back and forth, and his dark brown boots, two sizes too big, are laced overly tight so they won’t fall off. His black jeans are rolled up to the tops of his boots. I can see gray timeworn sleeves that try to fall past his fingers. He is mesmerizing.
The gothic tune he’s playing ends, but he doesn’t lift his head. He hasn’t looked up once since I leaned on the pole across from him to watch. I want him to look up. I want to see his face. I want to see if he would believe me. But first I need to make him look at me.


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