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When the Green Light Doesn't Turn On

by tigerstar54


Sitting on her chair at school, Phantyne twisted her untamable straw blonde hair into a ringlet. Couldn’t classes be a little bit more challenging? An unprecedented announcement broke her daydream session.

“All students are to come to the library for genetic testing. Because of a new scientific breakthrough, this is government mandated. No exceptions. Thankyou.” Students began to mill about, wondering why, but none of them seemed particularly suspicious. Did they have any idea how conspiratorial nationwide genetic testing is!

A military personnel escorted Phantyne’s class to the library where a ominous person waited for them in a white bodysuit. The military escort seized a person and took them to a chair. The person in the bodysuit plunged a long ominous needle in their arm, counted to ten, and removed the needle. A relieving green light flashed and the military escort took the next person. Soon it was Phantyne’s turn and the needle plunged into her arm. But the green light didn’t turn on.

Phantyne awoke in a white room with no windows. She was cleitherophobic, a fear of being trapped, and xenophobic, fear of the unknown. Being trapped in a room without knowing why she was there was enough to send her into a raging panic attack. Phantyne was so distressed that she didn’t notice wings sprouting out of her back, growing fur, fingernails curling into claws and gaining a tail. After an hour or so of lividity, exhaustion took over and she collapsed to the floor panting. A woman in a formal outfit flanked by two guards came in. The guards gripped their weapons as the woman spoke.

“Phantyne Thunderclaw, you have been tested positive for a genetic mutation that allows you to transform into a mythical creature that best represents your personality. Look at yourself and you will find that I speak the truth.” Phantyne looked down and noticed her skin was sleekly golden furred and a slender porcupine tail arched out of her rear. A majestic pair of leathery midnight dragon wings were at her sides. Her bodice was that a lion. She was the size of a horse. The Woman continued “It seems that you are a manticore from Greek mythology. In times of strong emotion you will turn from one form to the other. We will perform tests on you for the sake of better understanding your peculiar condition” She said the word ‘condition’ like it was a disease. The Woman turned and walked out of the room. Phantyne came to her senses just as the door was closing. She leaped and clawed the door open.

Freedom called to her just beyond her reach. One of the guards fired a taser at her. She barely felt its sting and swiped the weapon out of his hands before he could fire another shot. Swishing her spiked tail, she marveled at the power she encompassed. Three long quills stuck out of the other guard. The guard collapsed to the floor before she could finish the fight. Strange, thought Phantyne, the quills are venomous. Stretching her wings taut, she kicked off the floor. The corridors were just big enough for her to fly in.

Unfortunately, as Phantyne made her escape, her wingtip struck an alarm. The unearthly sound of sirens filled the facility, causing extreme pain to her now sensitive ears. On the upside, the echoes gave her a sense of how big the place was. Approximately the size of ten football fields. The air currents were heading in a specific direction, tickling her whiskers as it rushed by. Flapping harder to beat the incoming reinforcements and escape this morbid prison. Phantyne burst into a communal room that arched high over her feline head. The faint wind blew towards a vent that was three metres in circumference. Vents had to go somewhere in this world. She hooked her talons between the bars and pulled with all her tremendous might.

With a sound of breaking mortar, the grate fell back, right on top of Phantyne. She let out a squawk of surprise. The reinforcement squad had arrived, armed with tranquilizers and other non-lethals. In an instant, she threw off the grate and hurled it at her captors. A volley of poisonous spikes soon followed. Luckily, while she was at school and living a normal life, she was the queen of dodgeball. Using her techniques, she kept moving to give them a harder time aiming at her. Soon they had all succumbed to her quills and lay on the concrete floor twitching She seized the opportunity and climbed into the hole left by the bars.

Phantyne saw green forest and tall evergreens. Liberty at last. She breathed in and relished the scent of the pines. After looking back once and spotting a helicopter, she skedaddled in the opposite direction. The feel of air gliding beneath her wing membrane was quite soothing. When her shoulders began to burn and her wingbeats were more choppy, she landed in a sheltered clearing. The little meadow kept  from view. Safety was hers now that hundreds of kilometres were between her and her captors. Now, time to become human again. She willed her wings and tails to disappear, her body to shrink, and fur to shed. Nothing happened. Frustrated, she tried again, but to no avail. The powerful form that was her salvation was now a prison more impossible to escape than the one she had fled. Ensnared in herself.


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120 Reviews


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Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:58 am
RippleGylf wrote a review...



Very interesting concept. I'm eager to review it. :)

Sitting on her chair at school, Phantyne twisted her untamable straw blonde hair into a ringlet. Couldn’t classes be a little bit more challenging? An unprecedented announcement broke her daydream session.

This doesn't seem filling as far as exposition goes. Maybe elaborate on what she's daydreaming of, and give us some insight into her character through that.
“All students are to come to the library for genetic testing. Because of a new scientific breakthrough, this is government mandated. No exceptions. Thankyou.” Students began to mill about, wondering why, but none of them seemed particularly suspicious. Did they have any idea how conspiratorial nationwide genetic testing is!

I'm asking the same question. Either these students are behaving uncharacteristically, or this just something they're used to in this world. In the case of the latter, why point out that it's suspicious? The reader is going to find out soon enough, no need to spoil it.
A military personnel escorted Phantyne’s class to the library where a ominous person waited for them in a white bodysuit. The military escort seized a person and took them to a chair. The person in the bodysuit plunged a long ominous needle in their arm, counted to ten, and removed the needle. A relieving green light flashed and the military escort took the next person. Soon it was Phantyne’s turn and the needle plunged into her arm. But the green light didn’t turn on.

Obviously, this an important enough part to be title-worthy, and yet it is only a fleeting part to the story. Try to expand this part and give it more emotion.
Phantyne awoke in a white room with no windows. She was cleitherophobic, a fear of being trapped, and xenophobic, fear of the unknown. Being trapped in a room without knowing why she was there was enough to send her into a raging panic attack. Phantyne was so distressed that she didn’t notice wings sprouting out of her back, growing fur, fingernails curling into claws and gaining a tail. After an hour or so of lividity, exhaustion took over and she collapsed to the floor panting. A woman in a formal outfit flanked by two guards came in. The guards gripped their weapons as the woman spoke.

This part feels the most out of character. The narration feels unnatural, and how does she not notice her transformation?
“Phantyne Thunderclaw, you have been tested positive for a genetic mutation that allows you to transform into a mythical creature that best represents your personality. Look at yourself and you will find that I speak the truth.”

We don't get any explanation as to why this happens, and this description just doesn't make sense. Genetic mutations aren't that specific.
The powerful form that was her salvation was now a prison more impossible to escape than the one she had fled. Ensnared in herself.

I think this is the main theme that you're trying to get at, but it isn't supported by anything else in the story.

Overall, you have a lot going on here. Government run genetic testing, seemingly magical powers, and escape from an ill-intentioned facility. However, you don't spend enough time to flesh out any of those. It just needs to be longer. Regardless, I quite enjoyed reading it. Keep writing!




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Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:29 am
StarGazer wrote a review...



I liked it a lot. It has personality and a lot of room for a longer story or something more developed to grow out of it. I don't know if this is a first draft or something you've spent weeks on, but it has some grammatical errors. The ones I noticed were the lack of a space between thank and you in the second paragraph and and exclamation point instead of a question mark at the end of that paragraph, but beyond that, I noticed nothing. Probably because I was sucked into the action! It's always good to have an exciting start to a story, it draws your reader in. That being said, it seemed almost a little too fast. Give us description, time to think. What does Phantyne think of all this? She was scared, yes, but too scared to notice herself transforming? I want more time in her head. She is our bridge into this world, and we need a bit more than what she's giving us.

Your chase scene is well done, long enough to give us a taste for action but short enough that it doesn't bore. You have sparse description here, as it should be in a fight. I think what I really want from this piece is just more. More description, more action, more fear and confusion. Your character has just been drugged and shoved into a room. How would you react to that? How would she react to that? Fear, obviously. Live in that fear. Make us scared of this room, this situation that isn't actually happening to us. Describe the room in excruciating detail as Phantyne panics looking for a way out. Give us a glance into her head as she transforms. And give us her character as she escapes. Is she fine with killing? Does she think super strength is cool?

This is an excellent start to a longer story. I don't know if you were planning that, but I suggest you run with it. Give us this entirely new world through one person. You already have two conflicts. She just escaped from somewhere that will probably hunt her down again, and she's trapped in her new form. I want to see where you go with this.





I'll show my defiance through ironic obedience!
— AstralHunter