Author's Name: Meg Frye
Stage of Completion: Mostly Polished and Looking to Query
Preferred Critique Style: Straight to the Point
Cats or Dogs: Dog Person
Tea or Coffee: Both Tea and Coffee (Earl Gray first thing every morning, coffee later in the day)
Talented Pressa hungers to understand—the meaning of mysterious symbols, why naturally conceived “Nats” are worthless, and how close humanity is to repeating the mistakes that once shattered Earth’s continents.
When Pressa’s DNA is questioned, she is cast out of school and forced to live in an impoverished area where ignorance is cultivated more carefully than crops. The rules are clear—she must hide her education or face death. But Pressa’s very existence defies the rules. That becomes too obvious when she connects with a powerful young man in a way that should only be possible among genetically revised elites.
All day, the air felt wrong, unmoving, thick with breaths growing whiter, colder, and colder until the ceiling lights dimmed and the chimes rang nightfall.
Pressa noticed the change early in the morning. Droplets of moisture condensed on the concrete bathroom wall. She hoped it might be dew, a word from her small and growing collection, along with “Rev,” “horse,” “outside,” “family,” and “silence.” She understood these words only through other words, kept them in a special offline data store no one could access but her. Pressa also kept a much more precious set of words, those which had once been in her collection but had escaped. Made real by deliveries to her dorm-mother, the words “flower” and “fruit” became her treasures.
She left the bathroom ahead of the other five-year-olds from her dorm unit. Her slippers slid against the metal floor as she ran through the long hallway. She only needed two minutes, maybe three, to verify the definition of “dew” and move the word. She grinned, reaching for her unit’s steel door.
Pressa pulled the door too quickly. A long squeak announced her arrival. Molly appeared, her slack jaw a contrast to her otherwise meticulous appearance, pressed floral dress, matching shoes, necklace, lips, hair, all crimson. “Pressa, your hair!” Molly said in her heavily accented plain-speech.