Title: IN DARKNESS WE RISE
Category/Genre: YA Gothic Horror
Word Count: 62,000
My Main Character would prefer to live in:
I’d prefer to live in world where women are allowed to attend medical school instead of training at my father’s side to be a surgeon’s assistant. Sun or snow, it doesn’t matter if I have freedom to choose my own fate.
Seventeen-year-old Dilly Rothbart knows her father’s laboratory is off limits, but curiosity drives her to enter his hidden room. There, she discovers body parts in various stages of decomposition, strange whirring machines, and vats filled with putrefying liquids boiling and bubbling.
Horrified and fascinated, she delves into his notes, and discovers his research involves cutting skin samples from corpses to fix her reclusive sister’s burned and scarred face. Often discouraged by Victorian society for her innate curiosity, Dilly begs her father for a chance to assist him in his medical research. Only by helping her sister can she overcome her guilt over her role in her sister’s injuries. He agrees, but begs her to keep his work secret.
Then murdered women begin to appear on the streets of Whitechapel. And when their missing organs turn up in the laboratory, Dilly fears her father is the man the newspapers call Jack-the-Ripper. If she exposes him, her sister will remain scarred forever. But if she doesn’t, more women might die.
IN DARKNESS WE RISE is a YA gothic horror that takes place in 1888 Victorian England during the time of Jack the Ripper. Readers of The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel, or The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd, will enjoy IN DARKNESS WE RISE.
First 250 words:
It’s my fault she’s a recluse.
A familiar feeling of guilt washes over me.
The changes in my twin sister Deirdre are as tiny as the jagged stitches that run around the edges of the skin sewn onto her right cheek. The right side of her mouth droops more, and there’s a pale milky glaze covering her right eye. Neither Mother, nor Father seem bothered by these changes. The firelight casts shadows across the room and gives her the appearance of a ghoul as she tips her head to let her hair drape. She doesn’t wear her veil tonight but she never does inside the house unless we have visitors.
We never have visitors anymore.
I’m supposed to be reading aloud to Mother, but lose my place several times. My eyes drift to the hidden laboratory door behind a wall panel, and my desire to find a way in intensifies. Father insists he’s searching for a way to fix Deirdre’s scars but I know it’s more. I’m determined to uncover his secrets.
Father’s lips tremble as he watches Deirdre play a mournful song on the pianoforte. Her sad voice makes my eyes fill with hot tears. They drip on the open page magnifying a drawing of Alice with a bottle in her hand. The words, DRINK ME on the tag stare up at me. I close the book and lay it down next to Mother who dozes on the settee, an almost empty bottle of laudanum clutched in her hand.