Pitch-a-Week Part 18: Chattox Academy

High Concept: Harry Potter meets Cruel Intentions meets Friday the 13th

Genre: Young Adult occult conspiracy/survival horror

Overview: An inscription over the gates of Chattox Academy reads Sciere, Audere, Velle – “To Know, to Dare, to Will.” This has been the motto of the elite Massachusetts boarding school since its inception in 1692, and the school’s alumni have taken that motto and the bond of the “Chattox school tie” to the heights of government, business, art and academia.

The sprawling campus has been a surprising hotbed of egalitarian thought, providing education to young women since the early 1700s and becoming fully integrated with the admission of Pluto Milliner in 1866, The contribution of the school’s Five Families (the Kavanaughs, the Milliners, the Vasilov, the Ampelos and the royal house of Bashir) have allowed unprecedented access for dozens of students, with scholarships providing substantial tuition subsidies for the majority of secondary school students. The school even provides full tuition for fourteen young men and women selected every year through a rigorous recruitment program.

And, yet, some students wonder if the school’s egalitarian reputation is a front for something more sinister. They whisper about letters to select alumni that add et Tacere, “… and to keep Secret” to the school’s motto.  They note that both President James Fitzroy Kavanaugh’s assassin and the man who killed him were unlikely members of the polo and fencing set informally known as the Hunt Club among students… as was JFK himself. They wonder why such an orthodox Islamic family as the Bashir would send so many of its daughters to the school, withdrawing them before they turn 18. They note odd traditions such as “the Crowning of Theseus and Ariadne” at the school’s homecoming dance that seem more… focused than the eccentricities of old money and wonder if the accidents and disappearances that seem to plague “the old familiar maze” are the result of more than just clumsiness or overstressed teenagers.

But no one ever asks why so few of the fourteen special students actually leave Chattox Academy.

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