Wednesday, August 10, 2011


For contest rules, go here
Name: Ebyss
Genre: YA Dystopian

Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley with a black messenger bag slapping against her thigh.  The sirens piercing the night an hour earlier had finally faded, but she still wasn’t safe.     
Her mind raced as it flipped through the map she’d memorized.  Turn right here, left there.  She had to reach the train that would take her away from Chicago.  There she might find safety…or her death. 
She slipped behind a metal dumpster and backed up against the brick wall, blending within the shadows, breaths coming in gasps.  Panic edged her nerves, and she released the reins. 
For a few blissful moments she allowed herself to bathe in the physiological effects of panic.  She felt her heart slam against her ribs and blood rush through her veins.  But not for long.  Panic brought less desirable traits—uncertainty and paranoia.  She understood why her father would find the emotion useless, hindering the goals of a soldier and, therefore, eradicated. 
Regardless, it was an emotion, and she relished the feeling before she closed her eyes and slowed her breathing and heart rate, reining in panic and tucking it away.  Ellyssa opened her eyes, her face like a blank slate, completely unreadable.    
She looked out from behind her cover and peered into the alley.  Dark shadows wavered, but nothing solid moved.  She reached with her mind, feeling for any presence.  Silence greeted her.
Pulling into the shadows, Ellyssa settled back against the wall and looked at the sky.  Soon the workers would change shifts.  She unbuttoned the white lab coat that all were required to wear at The Center Genetic Research and Eugenics, revealing a white blouse and tan skirt she stole from the laundry.  A couple of dark marks soiled the hem of the skirt, but the stains were small and unnoticeable.  She shoved the hated lab coat into the dumpster along with her old life.  Kansas City was her new destination.  She didn’t know why, but that was what the dark-haired prisoner put into her head.    
Slowly, pinks and purples crept across the night sky.  Soon afterwards, the muffled steps of the workers reached her ears from the street.  With her bag tucked beneath her arm, she pulled her shoulders back and strolled into the sea of blond-haired, blue-eyed people on N. Michigan Avenue. 
Everyone was dressed the same according to their jobs: women in tan skirts and white blouses and men in tan trousers and white button-downs signified the business industry; light blue coveralls – city workers; yellow smocks belonged to the service industry; dark blue indicated Schutzpolizeipolice; and black trench coats – the Gestapo. 
The race Hitler envisioned was almost a reality.  Dying over forty years earlier, the visionary--a term she’d started to doubt--never lived to see the successes in genetic engineering she and her siblings were a byproduct of.       

The regular citizens carried similar genetic makeup.  There were differences within facial features and size.  


Rachel McClellan said...

Like always, you write very well. LOVE the idea for this book. I think it has huge potential.

My only critique is this feels almost like a second chapter. I really want to know what happened one hour prior to her being in the alley. I think that's where your story should start. :)

Ru said...

I think this is really great. My only suggestion (and to be taken with a grain of salt) is that I would take out the reference to Hitler. If your story is about what would have happened in WWII had had a different ending (I'm assuming? Or maybe the reference confused me), I think it would pack a bigger punch if you revealed it later. Just put in the details about the quasi-uniforms people wear, genetic engineering, etc. and let the reader slowly figure out that things have gone really awry in this world of yours, and then throw in the back story once they've already gotten a taste of the current action.

(In other words, I agree with Rachel -- too much backstory here for a beginning -- only I said it in a more roundabout way, haha.)

Leah Miller said...

So, this does what I think the first 500 should do, it interests me. It makes me wonder what is going on. I'd probably continue reading. Just a couple of things, the paragraph about the different uniforms for different classes or careers doesn't need to be mentioned yet, I think. It's a little infodumpy. I think the same thing about the Hitler paragraph (which, wow, what a bombshell :) ).

But all in all, good job and good luck!