Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

WEP/ISWG August Challenge - A Change of Heart

The WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) Challenge so generously hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee is back.  Olga Godim and Nilanjana Bose have joined the team, providing welcome support to the doughty duo and adding to the wealth of ideas and talent.  Yolanda is not well and has been taking time out.  Sadly, the next challenge is her last.  She will be missed.

However, from this month WEP has joined forces with the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group).  The collaboration will bring very welcome support to the WEP administrators and will also attract more entries.  And this greedy reader is loving that thought.




This month's challenge is A change of Heart.  Fiction, non-fiction, photography and poetry are welcome, which gives us a lot of scope.

Aren't Olga's badges stunning?


If you visit here and click on any names with a DL next to them you will be taken to some wonderful pieces.   As always I will marvel at the other participant's creations.  If you do visit, please leave comments to encourage the writers.  A little encouragement never goes astray.

Despite feeling intimidated by 'real' writers I am throwing my hat in the ring again.  I should also stress that I have never received anything but kindness and support from the other participants.

I have no idea where this tale came from, but it was insistent it be told...



***

Nine


Nicholas and Samuel (never Nick and Sam, no short cuts for this pair) are driven, perfectionists and high achievers.  Anything less is lazy, second rate,  and to be avoided at all costs. Their child, their most important joint creation, has to be perfect in every way before she is launched on to the world.

Millions of dollars and decades of gruelling work have gone into this project.  Secrecy has been paramount and no one other than Nicholas and Samuel is privy to all the details.
 
Chromosomes have been mapped and harvested.  Genes spliced.  Politicians, educators, scientists, surgeons, psychologists, historians, trend setters and carefully selected anonymous donors have contributed.  Most are unaware that there is a project and none know its extent.      

Nicholas and Samuel have provided the vision, and they have carefully ensured that the accolades and credit will be all theirs. 
  
Practicality and economies of scale demanded that each potential child be raised with her competitors.   Intelligence is of course a prerequisite.  Each child receives the same education and training, and is subject to the same rigorous testing.

Their education is not limited to academic subjects.  All are financially literate, politically and socially aware and versed in diplomacy.  Their artistic and musical exposure has been broad.  They are supple and fit, but not athletic.  They have been encouraged to study fashion and develop their own style.  Outlandish is a fatal flaw. Distinctive and memorable is essential. 

The field on which they play (and must excel) has been artificially levelled.  In the distance, but getting closer by the day, is the pinnacle they must climb.  The route is unclear, and what they take from their education may map the way. 
 
'Healthy competition' said Nicholas, as they watched from the gallery.  Samuel agreed, adding 'With the bonus of clear warnings about the price of imperfection.  This weekend is the decider, which they know.  Three left from the original eighteen.  A high attrition rate I suppose, but perfection is rare, valuable and worth sacrifices. '  

Each child is known and addressed only by their version number.   The chosen child will receive a name.  The current  Versions believe some variation of Kameela (which means perfection) will be the name one of them is awarded, before the remainder are culled.  Adiah (or prize) is another possibility.

Nicholas and Samuel agree that Version Nine is perhaps the most promising to date, but Eleven and Three cannot be written off.  Earlier Versions have not been wasted.  Constant rigorous evaluation has charted success and identified and eradicated physical, mental or emotional imperfections.  Version Eight's heart and lungs were perfect, and now serve Nine.  Three has one kidney from Two  (Eleven has the other) and another from Five.  Nine retains her liver, but Eleven and Two both have replacements. 

Components from other Versions which were of an acceptable standard and re-usable have been kept in storage.  They will be disposed of with the other failed Versions when the decision is made.  
  
The height and body mass of all three contenders is now perfectly acceptable.  Their features are regular and pleasing.  Skin tone and colour are flawless. Teeth are regular, white and cavity free.  Wasted or unnecessary organs like tonsils and adenoids have been discarded. 

The She who is selected will have no need to reproduce in outdated and old fashioned ways.  The organs and hormones required are prone to failure and a needless distraction.  They have been removed.     The capacity for sexual activity has been retained.  Sex can be a very useful tool.  All current versions are fully trained and expert in its application.

Of course Nicolas and Samuel have eyes and ears to watch and report back about the Versions' activities. 

You are such a comfort to me.  Am I mad, or are you really here?  I cannot see you, but I can hear you and I can feel your heart pounding. They would discard me if they knew. 
 

          Of course you can feel my heart.  It is in your chest.  And is your heart now, as it always was.

Not mine, but ours.


          It is exciting isn't it?  Exciting, but frightening because we are still in danger.  Their project is nearly at an end, and ours  about to begin if all goes well. 

They see themselves as omnipotent.  All powerful.  All knowing.  Luckily they are poor at reading body language, or interpreting emotional cues and cannot read thoughts.


          Of course not.  Why would they try?  We are not and have never been human to them.  Cattle can only feel fear and hunger.   We have certainly been given both.  We cannot think.  We cannot plan.  One, and one only of us will be useful.  The rest are extra to requirements.
 
Three days or less now.  I do hope I/we can triumph.  So close, but there is no room for error. 


          Perfection.  Prize.   How little they know.  Nemesis or Justice are better names.  

I promised Eleven and Three that if I am chosen they will be avenged.  In full.  The promise was made mentally because I cannot risk it being misused, but will be honoured. 

My vengeance will be for them, and those who have been rendered down into  components (including you, heart of my heart).  Not forgetting those who, like our anonymous mothers, were simply discarded as worthless.
   
Justice will be sweet, and Nemesis will be unexpected, swift and merciless.  You are Justice and I am Nemesis.




Word Count: 903

Full Critique Acceptable.


72 comments:

  1. Hi EC - well that is very thought provoking ... and interesting concept on life to be. Nicholas and Samuel are too involved and can only see the end line, not realising that Version Nine is cleverer than them. Loved it - fun take on Change of Hearts ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: I do hope that Version Nine is cleverer than Nicholas and Samuel. So much.

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  2. Oh! I like that it did not run on beyond the word count; it leaves me free to draw my own Nemesis.
    Well done.

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    1. dinahmow: I am wondering what your Nemesis would look like. Rather a lot.

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  3. I love the concept of this, not least because I can see things like this happening in the not too distant future.

    I for one don't believe in perfection - everyone and everything has flaws. That's what makes life interesting.

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    1. Laura Clipson: Perfection (particularly the sort that Nicholas and Samuel aspire to) is so very subjective. And fortunately not achievable.

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  4. I think I need to come back and read this in the morning.

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  5. A frightening concept! Enthralling story and well told. I almost burned dinner, I had to get to the end. You are a 'real' writer, each and every entry proves that!

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    1. Yolanda Renee: Thank you so much. Nearly making you burn dinner is an incredible compliment and backs up what I have said about the amazing support I have received.

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  6. I really liked it. I can almost see this happening.

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    1. Mary Kirkland: So can I see it. Sadly.

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  7. Wow. They deserve vengeance, i hope they get it.

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    1. messymimi: I hope so too, but wonder...

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  8. This is very provocative. Please don't ever suggest you're not a real 'writer.' I agree with Yolanda. (I just noticed - in the middle of this comment - she said the same.)

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    1. Rawknrobyn: I am a reader and a dabbler. And so grateful for the support that the real writers provide.

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  9. Heh... Nemesis and Justice. Love it. The thought of what she/they will accomplish sends a chill up my spine - and puts a big grin on my face! Awesome concept.
    As others have said, you are every bit an accomplished and imaginative writer! Well done to you!

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    1. River Fairchild: If Nine is selected Nicholas and Samuel may not be the only ones to get a shock. Watch out world?
      And huge thanks for all yur support.

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  10. So much to ponder! Anything but shallow, my dear!

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    1. Cloudia: Thank you. I hope your ponderings take you along pleasant paths, but fear the opposite may be true.

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  11. "A change of heart" has taken on an entirely new meaning after reading this. It's wonderful, and frightening, and hopefully will never come to pass. Your ideas and writing never fail to entertain, EC.

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    1. jenny_o: There are some scary corners in my head. I too hope this never, ever becomes real.

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  12. Oh my, what a thriller. I love the formatting. It added so much to the tension. This is quite a doozie. Justice is sweet.

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    1. Ann Bennett: Thank you. I struggled with trying to find a way for Eight's voice (if it is her voice) to be heard. Justice (and her close relation karma) certainly is sweet.

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  13. "Despite feeling intimidated by 'real' writers I am throwing my hat in the ring again."

    What do you mean?? This was fantastic...and horrifying. You know, there are people in our world who would do this. If they could.

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    1. Sandi: I wish I could say that it is complete fiction, but we are some steps down that path already. Hopefully we won't take more steps.

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  14. I can see this happening ... behind closed doors ... until the final reveal.

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  15. This is a disturbing and thought-provoking tale. Creators need to be careful and never underestimate their creation. If they do, they may pay dearly for it. Nicely done!

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    1. L.G. Keltner: Thank you. I do hope that Samuel and Nicholas DID underestimate their creations.

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  16. The Greeks gave us yet another good word...hubris.

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    1. dinahmow: They did. And it has brought down many a Nicholas and a Samuel in its time.

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  17. Thought provoking and a little too close for comfort. We are probably closer to this than most of us realise. Well done as always!

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: Thank you. I am sure we are closer to this than people realise. All done for the very best of reasons but...

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  18. Words fail me. I am stunned. This is beautiful and horrifying all at once. Woman reduced to someone's idea of perfection?

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    1. River: Scary isn't it? And, as I said in response to an earlier comment, perfection is such a subjective thing.

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  19. and I agree with the others here, you are definitely a writer!

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    1. River: Thank you. Some day I may believe that.

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  20. Dear EC
    I really enjoyed this story (I agree with the comments above, you are definitely a writer). Thought provoking and clever to have all points of view. My sympathy is with the creations, not creators, just as you meant it to be. Frankenstein for the modern age, perhaps?
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  21. Ellie Fostet: Thank you. After all Samuel and Nicholas's work you sympathise with the Versions? What is the world coming too? (I am of course glad.)

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  22. Hi Sue, I've left this too late at night and my eyes are on sticks. A lot to ponder so I will return in the morning. You really must stop considering yourself not a 'real' writer. You couldn't be much more 'real'. Really! We love having you writing/reading for WEP!

    Denise

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    1. Denise Covey: Thank you. I am looking forward to your return and critique.

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  23. EC - love, love, love - so wonderfully creative. What chills you gave me as the story slowly unfolded and then, the denouement - the slow unfolding of the hope inherent in the horror. Full marks.

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    1. Kalpanaa M: Thank you so much. I am still not convinced that the hope will be realised...

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  24. Your story is fascinating. Two scientist experimenting as they try to create the perfect person. In many ways they have lost their own humanness and the ability to relate to people with the many atrocities that they have committed.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Pat Garcia: They kicked their own humanity to the curb early. As I believe many high flyers do.

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  25. Oh this is brilliant!
    How can you possibly consider yourself not a 'real' writer, when you produce work like this?!
    This really drew me in...and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end!
    It is a literary masterpiece!! :))

    Hugs.

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    1. Ygraine: If you read the other contributions you will see just why I consider myself less than the talent on display. But thank you. Lots.

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  26. EC, you should run with this and turn it into a full fledged manuscript.

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    1. Sandra Cox: Thank you. High praise coming from an accomplished and prolific writer.

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  27. You have such a wonderful way with words via comments, blogging and writing. What a wonderful gift! Hugs...RO

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    1. RO: I am so very grateful for the warmth and support I have found in the blogosphere. Humbled and grateful. Hugs.

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  28. Very well written! You had me from the first sentence all the way through to the last word. I agree with Sandra Cox that you should develop this idea to its conclusion and the characters will tell you where that point is. And thinking you're not a REAL writer? Well, from one insecure writer to another, just STOP that thought process--immediately if not sooner! It's not even a little productive or useful to your sanity. I also agree with other comments that this is far too close to reality, far closer than we realize. This is one of those possible realities that make me glad that I'm old now and probably won't live to see this happen...probably. But you know how I feel about humans. We're really not worth the oxygen we breathe, but that's another discussion. Right now, go write some more. Shoo! Just make it happen! NOW! Go on! :-)

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    1. Laura Culley: I had no idea you ever visited my blog. And then such a wonderful supportive comment lands. And yes, as you know I share many of your feelings about our species. Too many of us are oxygen thieves.

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  29. Oh gosh, this is horrible. To exist in such a cruel place. To be a subject to such cruel masters. I hope the disassembled children would get avenged, and their two smug 'creators' will get what they deserve. They should be utterly destroyed, and their lab smashed. I would lend a hand to whomever does the destroying. A very powerful story.

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    1. Olga Godim: I really didn't set out to write horror, it wrote itself. I am glad that you would happily assist in destroying Nicholas and Samuel.

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  30. Great entry indeed. Would make a great full-fledged book. Can see it happening too, if it isn't in some deep dark corner already, as man likes to play god. But then they usually get struck down, at least in stories.

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    1. Pat Hatt: Snippets of work in this direction IS happening now, and I shudder to think about the dark corners. I do hope that something does strike the self appointed gods down. Quickly.

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  31. Genetic engineering and interchangeable human organs,these guys are mad scientists.Definitely a change of heart when someone plants a new one in your chest. And all for the sake of some distorted idea of perfection. A dystopia I would not want to see coming to pass but an imaginative story.

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    1. Deborah Drucker: Nicholas and Samuel are just a little further down paths we are already familiar with. Paths we accept. I do hope that some brakes are applied.

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  32. The desire to create and control perfection seems never-ending. One of the flaws in the creators is that they will also be discarded once the creations are self aware as this one seems to be. Love this comment on genetic manipulation. On a program the other day, a scientist was saying they can already program in eye colour and other characteristics. Playing with DNA can make it hard in the future to check into your ancestry. . .well done, EC, and it has a scifi element to it.

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    1. D.G.Hudson: I think what scares me most is that we already accept so much which is well on the path to creationism. Accept it, applaud it, encourage it. All with the best intentions of course...

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    1. Jamie Ghione: Good intersting, or bad interesting? I would really like to know.

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  34. Great job, Sue. What you have imagined is quite possible and frightening. I would imagine a future like this is not that far off.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: I hope not. I really, really hope not. But fear you may well be right.

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  35. This would make a great dystopian novel. I agree with others above that said our society is getting too close to this idea of perfectionism.

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    1. Elizabeth: It is scary isn't it? I hope it stays in the realms of fantasy.

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