Dear Writer's Voice Judges,
Plagued by guilt for his role in the accident that claimed his sister’s life, Adrian Montgomery has spent most of his life trying to atone. That’s why he decided to be a social worker: so that he could help rebuild families that had fallen apart, just like his own.
His ex-wife calls it a “hero complex,” but Adrian never saw it that way. Then again, his wife never knew about his sister; nobody does, because Adrian hasn’t talked about her for twenty-five years. He’s never mentioned the nightmares, either – the nightmares about a cloaked man who’s coming to take him away. Over time, Adrian learned to forget his dreams and lock away his memories in carefully sealed rooms in his mind.
All of that changes when one of his clients, seven-year-old Nathaniel Weaver, disappears from his backyard. The only clue about his whereabouts is a drawing he left behind -- a drawing of a familiar tall, cloaked man.
Obsessed with solving the disappearance, Adrian visits Nathaniel’s home and finds a doorway where none should be. On the other side is Tagestraum, a faerie world built and occupied by human dreams. Here, the lines between dreams, memories and nightmares are blurred, and lingering too long can shred a human’s sanity.
In order to find Nathaniel and return home before the world tears them apart, Adrian must face his oldest, darkest memories…and they’re not happy about being forgotten.
TAGESTRAUM is a 77,000 word dark fantasy in the tradition of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint. [information redacted]
Thank you for your time and consideration,
The Nightmare Man came today.
That was what Nathaniel Weaver had said the first time he showed Adrian the drawing: a man, cloaked in black with two large blank white eyes and a gaping round mouth full of teeth like the maw of some deep-sea fish. The drawing stared up at him now from his coffee table.
What bothered Adrian about The Nightmare Man wasn’t his menacing appearance or Nathaniel’s insistence on his reality. It was the nagging feeling of familiarity, the feeling that Adrian had not only seen this creature, he actually knew him in some way. The first time Nathaniel had shown him a drawing, months ago now, a cold chill had crept up Adrian’s back, a sense of déjà vu that he could not entirely place. It bothered him. Now, with Nathaniel missing and the newest drawing staring up from its place on the coffee table, it bothered him a whole lot more.
In his hand, the cell phone was sweaty and the heat of the battery was uncomfortable against his palm. In his other hand, he turned the detective's business card over and between his fingers. Outside, the moon was high and pale in the sky. A dog barked, somewhere, but otherwise all was still.
He had been working with the Weavers for eight months, beginning just after Mr. Weaver was arrested for assaulting a prostitute – the last of many episodes and the first his wife couldn't forgive him for.