Entry Nickname: Twin for the Win
Title: Come to Paris Your Sister is Dead
Word count: 72,000
Genre: New Adult Thriller
Devastated by the news of her twin sister Angela’s death, twenty-two-year old Shayna Daniels arrives in Paris to collect her belongings, identify the body, and get back home before medical school starts in two weeks. But, police are baffled by the strange Gemini symbol tattooed on Angela’s ankle and the utter lack of clues. When Sebastien, Angela's boyfriend, shows up pleading for closure, Shayna agrees to re-trace Angela's footsteps, hoping to discover more about the sister she hasn’t spoken to in two years.
While searching Angela's apartment, Shayna finds a message that makes her blood run cold: ALIVE. TRUST NO ONE, written in their childhood twin language. Taking these words to heart, Shayna must navigate the back alleyways of Paris with her shoddy French, dodge Sebastien's insistent help, and decipher why Angela's hot neighbor keeps crossing her path. Unfamiliar with Angela's recent life, their communication having thinned since their parents’ death, Shayna must follow her gut and channel the deep twin connection Angela always believed existed between them in order to locate her. Quickly. Before someone else does.
This work is set (mostly) in Paris amidst political turmoil between the United States and France, and is told from Shayna’s perspective and through Angela’s past emails.
First 250 words:
Come to Paris. Your sister is dead.
The rest of the words from Sebastien’s email asking me to come and clean out Angela’s apartment all fade against these opening sentences. If ever there was a more stark framing of the facts, I’ve never seen it.
“On est arrivé, mademoiselle.” We’re here. The taxi driver speaks to me through the rear-view mirror, an Arabic accent marking his speech. My French was never as good as Angela’s, but I get by.
I lock my phone screen then count out exact change, placing it in his weathered hand. That’s one thing I truly appreciate about Europe. Euro coins correlate in size to their value. Unlike illogical American dollars and coins. Whose bright idea was it to have the dime be smaller than the nickel and twice its worth?
“Merci, monsieur.” I climb from the car, turning in time to catch his greedy eyes leave my ass. I slam the door a bit harder than intended and don’t look back.
The first email from Sebastien seemed excessive. I ignored it. Your sister is missing, you must come to Paris to look for her.
The second one seemed like a movie plot. There was a shooting at school. She would not leave without saying goodbye.
But that’s the thing. She would, and she has in the past. Always with the same sad dolt left wanting more.
This time was different.