from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 24-26

Welcome back to another installment of From The Other Archives, where I lose my will to live through reliving all the repressed memories attached to the books that I wrote in middle school. We left off last episode with two very hormonal teenagers stuck inside of a tent during a rainstorm. I smell a new character in the mist.

“Oh, looky here. Some more bottles. Almost enough to get back to the real world.”

But if that’s the world that you live in, then why don’t you consider it the real world? Are you just catering to your friend’s delusions that there’s a separate dimension that you two desperately need to get back to?

Timothy and I were looking around the border for lost bottles of permathium, like the ones that had broken in the cart that one stormy day. I had found more than Tim so far because I could run faster. The ‘perfect’ operation had turned my muscles into something stronger, lighter…

Snooping around the border? I don’t think Donald Trump would like that.

See, look at what you’ve done. You should feel bad.

If I had been giving Emma that description, she would have said, “That brings up bad memories.”

What kind of 2012 “triggered” is this? Have I made that joke already?

There was no time for thinking about what those bastards had done to me. I had one goal right now, and that was to get to Emma.
“The last bottle, Maxi,” Tim said, jerking me from my thoughts. “Now we can get to Emma, just like you wanted.”

Sigh… G, why do you always use suggestive verbs? I mean, you were pretty emotionally repressed and all, but I thought writing was supposed to be your safe space. You don’t have to mask things in seven layers of doubt and self-hatred.

Night was now falling; it had been only five o’clock when we had started. Whoever was piping permathium into Oblivion had a rickety cart or else they wouldn’t have dropped so many of the precious bottles. Although I have to give them this: they were good at hiding their clumsiness, or else we wouldn’t have found so many because other people would have taken them.

Thanks for the drugs, rickety peddler!

Tim was putting the bottles into a bag that he had brought with him. We would have to use them tomorrow because I didn’t think that Emma would appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night, especially not with a boy in tow. A cute one would be even worse.

Gah, blarghey. What was I coming to? I had feelings for Tim; we both did, but not the mwah-mwah-kissy-kissy-making-out kind of feelings.
Long story short, we are technically not romantic together, although we did feel a connection.

Please buy me this in retribution, Algeria.

This time, we camped out by the woods; the trees would make good covers so that the fairies couldn’t find us. It was probably only the middle of the night, but I wasn’t tired.

Of course you weren’t. On the contrast, I am always tired, but I persist so that I can display my dank meme collection.

Then, out of nowhere, there was a whimpering. I crawled out of the tent to see where it was coming from, but it probably came from the heart of the woods. Great. I didn’t need a flashlight because the operation gave me excellent night vision. As I drew closer, the whimpering grew louder, and I eventually ended up at an alcove, with a small child curled up in it.

Why is the child alone? Did she get lost? Did her parents abandon her? Maybe she’s a main character of another book and you’re about to kidnap her from her plot line. Don’t do it, Algeria! Don’t hit complete rock bottom!

She was probably 5 years old. She had golden, curly hair and was wearing a simple white dress. The girl had no shoes on and was barefoot.
She noticed me and looked up. “Who are you?”
“I’m Algeria,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“Princess Sparklypants. I was created as a five-year-old Mary Sue through which my author lives out power fantasies. I don’t understand why I have to beat up so many people, but it pays the bills.”

“Luna,” she said. “My name’s Luna. I’m tired. Can I come with you?”
I carried her back to the tent. “Who’s this?” Tim said.
“This is Luna,” I explained. “I found her, abandoned, in the forest.”

Good luck explaining that one to the police.

“Interesting.” He took Luna and gave her a water bottle. She sucked it dry in a flash. Talk about thirsty.
“Speak up, Luna,” Tim softly yet firmly commanded. “Where are you from?”
“The Laboratory,” Luna piped up. “They were trying to make someone who looked like an angel.” She shifted her dress a little, and her wings slid through the slits on her dress that I hadn’t noticed before.

Of course you didn’t notice despite your superhuman vision. Of course, because how then could you make that “saddening” plot point?

Her wings were brilliantly feathered; they were the purest white that I could imagine, and only slightly tarnished in some spots from the ground. She really did look like an angel.

Okay, I guess.

She had also been an experiment, just like I had been.
And I would do anything possible to make sure that never happened again.
I realized later that I failed.

Nice foreshadowing, G. This herring is so dead that I have no idea if it was even supposed to be a herring in the first place.

“Who’s Abbey?” I asked as Tim roasted a marshmallow on the fire for his morning s’more. “You would know. You’ve been at the Laboratory longer than I have.”

How did you build a fire? Did your pack contain fire-building materials? And where’s Luna? You’re a horrible kidnapper.

Tim pulled the toasted marshmallow out of the fire. His was almost perfectly cooked, but Luna’s was on fire. That was the third burnt marshmallow today; good thing that she liked them burnt or that would have been a lot of wasted s’mores.

I thought there was no such thing as perfect, Algeria, at least according to you. You can’t even keep your own canon straight.

“Abbey’s a scientist there. The funny thing is, she’s the only one there that isn’t at least part fairy.” He shrugged and took a bite from his s’more. “I saw her one day, when I was really little. Turns out I have great long-term memory, or I wouldn’t be telling you this. She mentioned someone- a Momta Radine. You know her? ‘Cause I don’t.” He took another bite.

“But of course! Genetically modifying human embryos is the family business!” Algeria rolled her eyes. “It was on my file, smart one.”

Luna smirked at me. She was holding up on her stick a marshmallow that wasn’t burnt. Finally! Little bugger, burnt marshmallows. Gah blarghey.

It’s not working.

“Wait- what’s that thing in the sky? I can’t see as far as you can. Not everyone’s ‘perfect.’” His air quotes unsettled me.
I looked up in the sky, and my heart skipped a beat.

That’s happened to me before, and let me tell you, it’s painful as hell. And I thought you were perfect? How is your heart wonking up like that if it’s perfect?

Tomorrow was finally ready.
Ready for payback.
Ready to exact the revenge she’d been waiting for so long.

Back at the Laboratory, when Algeria was just a couple months old as a baby, they had all but abandoned Tomorrow to care for the new one. They had all gasped in surprise when they had learned that this attempt had failed. This attempt could fly, but their attempts at coding the genes responsible for appearance had gone out of whack, causing everything to be the opposite of what had been intended. Taller than normal height. Brightly colored wings. Pale blue eyes.

Tomorrow, of course they’re going to play with newer and shinier toys. Everyone loves a Mary Sue, because if they don’t, they usually get injured or killed!

But the biggest surprise was when Algeria was 5 years old, and she had proven to the scientists who studied her that she had FEELINGS and a SOUL. She wasn’t a hollowed-out shell, ready to do their bidding, whatever their bidding was.

You do realize that personal agency is a thing, Tomorrow? I mean, I assume that you’re intelligent since you managed to find two teenagers in the middle of nowhere, and even then, that doesn’t take that much skill once one has the equipment. You didn’t have to follow the instructions. You could have hijacked the book and become the protagonist…

Tomorrow hurt inside from the feelings of being tossed away because Algeria was more interesting to the pseudoscientists. And the cause of those feelings was about to be eliminated.
By her.

I guess, next episode, we’ll see how many of Tomorrow’s jimmies get rustled, and how many triggers are pulled… okay, I admit, that wasn’t a good joke.


from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 20-23

So, at the time of writing this, I had to give a book talk in English about a nonfiction book that we read over the summer. I read Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, and it’s probably the reason why I’m working right now instead of procrastinating by surfing on now-deleted social media accounts for four hours and then immediately regretting the wasted time.

Now we were still in Dreamland, on the border that separates it from Oblivion. There were no ways that led back into the real world as far as I could see. It was raining and we had pitched a tent on the hard ground, with nothing but a tarp between us and the hard, pelting rain.

From where did you get the tent, Algeria? And why are you trusting yourself alone in a tent with someone you just met? Granted, he seems like a sap, and he should be more scared of you…

“So now what?” Tim said as I laid down. I wasn’t very tired, as my enhanced ‘perfect’ muscles could stand a LOT of flying, but I could still squeeze in a quick nap. Who knows, maybe when I woke up, there would be sunshine and no more rain.

And how quick was that nap, G? Did Algeria’s surgery give her the ability to recharge like a robot? Is Algeria now just photosynthesizing even though the rain would create cloud cover? Did you even think about what you were about to write before you wrote it, G?

And a way into the real world. Yeah, right. Like that’s ever going to happen.

“I guess we just stay here and ride out the storm,” I said. I wasn’t going anywhere in this rain.
There was a long pause. Tim was digging in the bag of stuff he’d swiped from the Laboratory when we were escaping. Whatever was in his bag caused a lot of noise when being digged in.

It’s “dug”, not “digged,” you idiot. I thought you said you had a large vocabulary?

Then his voice broke the silence. “Hey, Maxi, I think I found some things of value in here!”

Like maxi pads? Gotta love that puberty!

I pulled myself off the cold, hard ground, and looked at the small pile of things Tim had pulled out. There was a hand mirror laced with gold on the edges and a manila folder with the words Classified Information- Keep Out printed on the front. It had lots of papers in it, that I could tell.

“I found a mirror,” Tim said, “so you could see what they had done to you in the labs.

Well, aren’t you so sweet.

And these papers-” he made a sweeping gesture to the papers- “were about us, from the quick glimpse of them I got before getting out of that stinkpot Laboratory.”
“Umm, thanks, Tim,” I managed to say before I swiped the papers and looked at them for the first time ever.

For once in my life, I can actually relate to Algeria’s level of disinterest. Umm, thanks, G.

The first couple were like profile sheets- they had information on them like our real birth dates, our pictures, our biological parents… even a list of favorites and dislikes.

Man, this is more invasive than the NSA- favorites and dislikes? That’s not very OPSEC of you, Algeria.

I found the page with my name on it and quickly read the list of favorites, and I’m guessing that these people must have had their own private squad of spies to get all this information.

Santa Claus outsourced to the NSA. Why wouldn’t the Laboratory do any differently? They’re both fictional!


I looked at the rest of the page about me, and I was so shocked that in my shock I let the pages fall to the ground. I was sitting, anyway.

Laboratory of Soona Bris
Authorized Personnel Only
Data Sheet

Subject #: 3
More Commonly Known As: Algeria
Full Given Name: Algeria Maximilla Radine-Fisher

G, I know that you’re supposed to show, not tell, but Chapter 21 just looks atrocious so far. It’s drier and plainer than the turkey breast at Thanksgivings at my grandma’s house.

Genetic Info
Human: 52%
Fairy: 47%
Other: 1%

Recent Operations
January 28, 2013: Underwent surgical enhancement. Recommended by Subject #4 (MCKA: Tomorrow).

MCKA? Monte Carlo Kirchhoff Approximation?

Biological Parent Info
Mother: Momta Radine, 20 yrs
Father: Dadta Fisher, 22 yrs
Reason for donation: Passed out from drunkenness caused by party. Both perished next day.
Fetus growth at time of donation: 6 months

Blending in

Of course the parents are dead. The parents are always dead.

Getting into trouble
Timothy, the total teenage heartthrob (he’s so cute!)

In the original document, this little bit was written in a completely different font, outlandish and not at all compatible with the book compiler that I had at the time. True, Calibre has since updated tremendously, but still… cursive fonts make for headaches.

Toilet jokes
The Laboratory

What kind of a respectable and professional laboratory would keep such a detailed file on their subjects’ likes and dislikes? Why even keep it at all? I don’t understand. I wonder who got paid ovettime to write in about how much Algeria hates toilet jokes.

I was so shocked that I had to read the whole page again.
My parents, drunk partygoers?
Six months?
1% other?
Getting into trouble?
Timothy the heartthrob?

Don’t act like you didn’t know this all before, Algeria.

The handwritten parts were definitely Tomorrow’s work; I could recognise her handwriting. But the rest was too hard to handle. Tomorrow had been right about my being an experiment. What else had she been right about?
What other things about my unknown past did she know?

If your past was so unknown, then how does Tomorrow know it?

Tomorrow was hopping mad.
She was still at the laboratory where Tim and Algeria had escaped during the security system’s temporary failure.

Honey, you could have taken advantage of that failure as well… it really isn’t the fault of your supposed friends that you were too lazy to do so.

I’ve given her a chance. I, I, I, of all people, programmed the brain lesions to KEEP her here!
But she didn’t stay here. Freedom was calling I guess… but I was the one to recommend the procedure to make her perfect! PERFECT, of all things! She should be kneeling at my knees, thanking me for this.

Coercion isn’t a gift, idiot, no matter what it brings.

Tomorrow suddenly lashed out her arm, and a stack of books fell to the floor. She found another one, and knocked it over too. It felt good to her, and she wanted more.
Tomorrow wanted revenge.

Someday, I’ll get revenge. I can guarantee it. The fairies and I will build a big stadium, and I’ll finish her off in there. We’ll sell lots of tickets and I’ll get rich. Then she will be dead and Tim will have no choice but to come. Back. Here.

I’ll choke the life out of her. I’ll watch the light slowly fade out of her beautiful, perfect eyes. You won’t be so tough then, Algeria.
Tomorrow laughed with the idea. She had to find a date for this.

And we both know that you get whatever you want, Tomorrow. In fact, why didn’t you take over this book and write it for G? It would have probably turned out better written. More gore-filled, though. You’re like Bes Junior without the plan of what to do after total control is gained.

some improvements

dear blue eyes
is there any sort of knowledge
that you can impart upon me today?
I’m having a rough patch

you see, my personal muse
is a bit defective right now
a dry desert of inspiration
where a strong waterfall once fell

so if you’ll forgive me
I’m going to take it back to the shop
maybe there’s a loose screw somewhere inside
although that’s supposed to make it better

life’s getting better all the time
and simultaneously getting more stressful
but one must suffer for knowledge
no matter how hard to come across


from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 17-19

I have been sick all day, so hopefully my mental faculties are up to withstanding the cancer that we’re about to witness. It hasn’t affected my writing schedule for TWLF so far, thankfully. I hope that’s still true when this scheduled post gets published.

Cool fingers pressed against my forehead; someone was taking the bandages off of my eyes. I didn’t struggle; there was just no point fighting it anymore.
I was ‘perfect’.

Does your hateful ideology prohibit transgender people? Because if someone offered to let me transition for free and be attractive as hell afterwards without looking like a completely different person, I’d take it in a heartbeat. (But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?)

The world still felt like it was on fire, but less so now.

Man, your anesthesiologist stinks at his job if you’re still feeling pain right after an operation.

For the first time in probably days, I saw, but this time with an icy clarity. I slipped off the operating table when the straps were removed, and I felt faster, stronger, more graceful… just powerful.

Why are your surgeons letting you walk around right after being operated on? Do you know how much stress that puts on the countless stitches they undoubtedly had to put in your skin? I thought you were supposed to be some super intelligent person, Algeria. I’m disappointed.

But I remembered the dream, and I looked behind me. My wings were mint green, and I felt a rush of anger, which was from me, but it was soon replaced with a feeling of submission.

Judging from the shards of the backstory you gave us, I’m guessing that you didn’t really go to a formal school… so obviously you didn’t learn about the five stages of grief.

Oh my gosh, they had touched everything, including my brain. I felt the back of my head, and there was a small space with no hair, with a small scar from the cut they had made into my head.

“Oh no! They’ve messed with my hairstyle! How will I ever be couture now?!”

Then the loudspeaker said, “Our newest achievement are brain lesions. They can be programmed to give the subject emotional feelings, including anger, sadness, loss, and submission.” She spat out the last word, probably because this was the one I had been given.

Five seconds into a Google search and already I can tell that’s not what brain lesions do at all. 0/10 science points, G. Mr. Langer would be disappointed to know that you learned so little in his class.

Then two of the freaks came and dragged me out of the operating room, shoving me into a cage. And the worst part was that I didn’t even care anymore.

No description of how they dragged you out? Of the metallic noise the concrete floor made as your feet scraped against the tiles? Of the rattling chorus the bars of your cage sang as your limp body collapsed to the ground, all the fight gone out of you?… none? Okay…

They left, and when they did, I noticed that the new person next to me was a boy about my age, which was 13. He took as much notice of me as I did to him, which was a lot.

And here we have the Mandatory Teenage Heartthrob Boy that nobody asked for but was foisted upon us anyways. For how socially isolated you’ve been your entire life, Algeria, I don’t blame you- there’s this cute boy in my Science class named Eddie that I’ve taken a liking to. This isn’t a teen fiction book, unlike your life, and I have no expectations of being anything other than friends.

“Hi,” he said. “I’m Timothy. I’m part fairy too.”
I felt a connection, and I think he felt one too, because we reached toward each other’s cage and our fingertips met in the middle.

Why are your cages so close together? Couldn’t you then shimmy around and unlock each other’s cages? What kind of subject management is this? At least in TWLF, the few cages that are there are horizontally stacked on top of each other so that nobody can help each other escape.

Timothy and I stayed in our cages. Nobody came to unlock them. We were alone, as far as I could tell.

Chapter 18 commences with a perfect example of why you should show in writing instead of telling.

“What’s your name?” he said. “Your middle name. I go by middle names.”

“Maximilla,” I said. What? He said middle names.


“Huh,” he said. “Can I call you Maxi for short?”

“Please don’t copyright me!” G shrieked, pleading with the Author Who Shall Not Be Named while clutching the papers of her wretched book to her chest. “I… I just wanted to be a really good fan…”

“I like your hair.”
I felt embarrassed.

Finally something I can relate to!

“So, does that mean I can call you Tim?”
“Sure. Friends?”

As a high school student looking back, I can confirm that is absolutely not how making friends works.

So now I had 1 friend here in this junkbucket. I don’t count Tomorrow because she tricked me into coming here and becoming ‘perfect’. She did this to me; now I do this to her, although I don’t think that she cares whether I like her or not.

Did you catch that tense change? Or have you become immune?

“You want to escape, don’t you?” Tim whispered. “I can read your mind, and you don’t like it here. You know that Tomorrow betrayed your trust, and you feel a connection to me.”

If my Mandatory Teenage Heartthrob (provided I was in a teen fiction book) could read my mind, I would break it off with him as soon as possible and call the police. That is not a power that should be in anybody’s hands.

How did he know?
“I feel a connection to you too, Maxi.”

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I think that’s some sort of code for- is it too much to hope? I feel the same way.
And we both said ‘I love you’ at the same time. It reminds me of a song I heard once.
Can’t you see, oh, can’t you see…
that we were meant to be.

Can’t you see, oh can’t you see, that you are by far one of the most pathetic characters that I have ever had the misfortune of writing, right up there with the “Japanese” princess that got turned into a hamster by a witch and Evan the transgender token.

There were no nights and days when I was around Tim; there was only now, and only now mattered when he was around. Days passed, but the only people I saw were Tim and Tomorrow.
“I told you that you would be perfect,” Tomorrow said. “Do you believe me now?”

Chapter 19 begins with infatuation and the warning signs of a future abusive relationship. I mean, in TWLF (the second draft) Anders gets chastised by Amane for trying to propose to Miranda after only a week of knowing him, and yet here we have Algeria who would do the same given the chance. And Tomorrow is condoning this… I think I need a break.

 “There is no such thing as perfect,” I said. “There is only better and worse.”
“So then you are better,” Tomorrow replied. “because before then, it was so easy to tranquilize you. Besides-” and at this Tomorrow looked at Tim- “it looks like you’ve met Timothy. He’s a nice guy.”

But you haven’t tranquilized her since, Tomorrow, so where’s half of your comparison?… And why does meeting a boy make it any different?

Then Tomorrow leaned down and whispered to me, “I’m leaving your cage door open tonight. Feel free to stretch your wings or anything.”
Then she left, and we were alone again.

Well, that doesn’t look like a plot copout or anything.

Night came for the first time since the operation. The connection was stronger now, and I knew that we couldn’t stay here forever.

Nice job with that transition, G. I can tell the amount of effort you put into this crap.

“Maxi,” Tim said. “We have to leave. I’ve been picking up thoughts about you-  bad thoughts. They think that the war against the goblins is going horrible and they wanted you to fight for them.”

I know you’re not supposed to hanfistedly set up your world and let it come naturally… but somehow you’ve managed to still make it forced, G. Where were the mention of goblins before any of this? And why would anybody want a pithy teenager to fight for them?

My heart stopped for a second as Tim continued. “There’s a secret air shaft that the fairies haven’t bothered guarding- we can escape through there.”

Well, isn’t that a convenience!

We carefully crawled out of our cages for the first time in what was probably days. When we stood up, I felt dizzy- like the world was revolving around me quickly. Tim took my hands into his and helped me steady myself. “You ok, Maxi? Ready to pop this joint?”

I… I have no words. I have been rendered utterly speechless by the complete idiocy of this passage.

“Definitely,” I said. He picked at the screws to the air shaft and had the metal covering on the ground in two seconds flat.

Do you need nail therapy, Timothy? And maybe some mental therapy to get over your sudden crush for a girl whose looks are fake and whose heart is falsely genuine?

“I love you,” Tim said, looking at me. Then he jumped up the air shaft and started climbing, his pants slowly disappearing into the ceiling. Anyway, that’s what it looked like to me.

Well, that’s not suggestive at all.

“Are you coming or not?” he said.

Jeezum cristo. It just keeps getting worse.

This time, I did not hesitate, and I joined him up in the dusty air shaft. It was dark, and the only light was coming from the room below. I could only see Tim’s feet as we went up the shaft.

Outstripping Fifth Shades Of Grey Since 2012©

Finally we reached the top, and we steadied ourselves on the roof.

And then Timothy put his pants back on, and the two immature teenagers parted their ways without a word, never to see each other again.

“Where are we going now?” I asked Tim.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “We could go anywhere. Where do you want to go?”

“I want to go back to Emma,” I said. Emma would know what to do.

Of course she would. Emma is the wise mentor in this book, except just as ignorant as everybody else.

“Then let’s go to Emma, then,” Tim said, and we began our long flight home. Nobody caught us because they had turned off the defenses to the laboratory completely. I don’t know if it was Tomorrow or not. That secret is lost to the ages.

I think I’m going to go binge on some actually well written books now and cry myself to sleep. This suffering will probably never end, given that this post doesn’t end up killing me.

Am I the modern day Sisyphus? Or will turning seventeen free me from the chains of this wretched book? Tune in next episode for more innuendos that were begging to be made, forced backstory shoved down the reader’s throat, and prods at my quickly diminishing will to live!

from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 14-16

When we last left off, Algeria attempted to an hero jumped into a portal and found herself inside of the laboratory she saw in a totally not drug induced flashback. Her old friend Yesterday showed up and teased Algeria’s backstory in a contrived attempt at exposition.

The room darkened as Tomorrow entered and the loudspeaker became dormant again. It was suddenly foggy in the room as the door closed, leaving me with Tomorrow.

“Dammit, Carl!” Tomorrow’s feet swept the floor as she turned around, glaring at the open door. “Dial the fog machine back!”

“What do you have to do with this?” I found myself saying. I had suspected that Tomorrow was connected in some way with the freaks that had forced me out of Dreamland, but this was the first time that my suspicions had been proved. “Why are you here?”

“Because this is the only way that I can get a paycheck. This book needed a crappy antagonist, and I fit the description, so I took the contract.”

“Didn’t you know that you spent the first 8 years of your life here?”

And every single one of them was angst-filled torture, because no protagonist can ever have a normal childhood.

“What!?” I was in disbelief. Tomorrow was on this, and everything had crashed together all at once… What other secrets did Tomorrow know about me?

It’s interesting how you automatically believe her, Algeria. And no, everything did not crash together all at once- you were drip-fed information and then decided to take things into your own hands instead of maybe waiting it out or getting into contact with the authorities.

I didn’t remember any of the 8 years that I had supposedly spent here, and yet- everything felt familiar at the same time.

Don’t worry. The memories will all come back in one single weary chapter, and then the reader will put down this book and let you deal with your problems yourself.

“I’ll break it to you now, because you don’t have much time left.

The fall of a drug trip and the subsequent return to reality is always harder than the rise.

You were the subject of an experiment to see if a human-fairy hybrid would survive better in the real world. I was the one who told the ‘freaks’-” At this Tomorrow made air quotes- “to come and kidnap you.

Well, that’s kind of a shitty thing for a friend to do. I’m almost expecting one of those YouTube pranksters to start filming and then use the “EPIC PRANK GONE SEXUAL” clickbait.

And I was the one who activated the trigger that caused you to have the dream about the fairies that made you. You know now who was on that gurney?”

My will to live?

Me. It was me.

Well, there goes the fifteen bucks that I had bet.

“The fairies that made you wanted you to turn out the way they wanted you to,” Tomorrow continued. “They will stop at nothing to make sure that you turn out RIGHT. I want to see you turn out right.”

“Can you clarify?” Algeria’s eyebrows wrinkled. “I’m just fine the way I am- physically, at least. Why do I need to conform to your expectations?”

“Because…” Tomorrow twiddled her fingers, searching for a full minute for a reason. “Because I’m the antagonist, and you’re the protagonist, and you need to conform to the standards of the System in order to create angst.”

And this was the part that made it fall into place.
“You are scheduled to be in the operating room in a half-hour. They are going to take you and make you perfect.”

“So I’m going to be a supermodel?” Algeria’s eyes shone with tears of joy, and she shot forward and wrapped her arms around Tomorrow. “And with no cost?”

“Please get off of me.” Tomorrow grimaced as she pushed the trembling Algeria away from her. “You’re supposed to be devastated that I would dare mess with your body.”

She lashed out another tranquilizer dart, aiming it at me, but I rolled under a table and it missed.

damn 💯💯 need me a freak like that 💯 don’t hit me up unless you’re a gymnast 💯

She pulled out another one, but I moved too quickly for her and the dart missed. She tried again 5 times and she missed every time. “You are going down, whether you like it or not!”

“You know, for a homophobic as hell world, that was awfully… suggestive.”

“Shut up, Algeria!”

Algeria wiggled her eyebrows. “Are you sure there isn’t a second meaning to ‘under the knife’?”

But the dart made its mark this time. I went down, and Tomorrow was screaming, “Yes! Yes! I did it! I did it!”

“Tomorrow…” Algeria’s eyes fluttered closed as she struggled to keep hold of the last scraps of her consciousness. “At least use protection.”

“Yeah, protection from your attitude.”

I lay on the operating table. Everything was muffled and hazy here, and a green towel was strewn over my face. My arms and legs were strapped to the table, my wings splayed out like I was a butterfly on display.

Chapter 15 starts out with a reenactment of something out of Fifty Shades of Grey an operating room, I presume. It’s a bit awkward that there would be a towel over her have, though. Is it to keep her from immediately freaking out? Because I highly doubt that’s going to play out well.

I couldn’t speak, but I could at least make out some of what they were saying.
“And this is Subject 3, Tomorrow?”
“She prefers to be called Algeria.”

And I prefer to be called Vane, but we all know that the closet is a horrible place.

Then a pause while some feet scuffled around, and a new voice spoke.
“Ready the anesthesia.”
I instinctively struggled against the straps. There was no way I would let them turn me ‘perfect’! Besides, there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ on earth, and even if there was, how would these deranged lunatics know what perfect meant?

You know, Algeria, normally I’m all for bodily autonomy… but I would take the opportunity to lose a few pounds around my middle without having to get up off my lazy ass.

Cool hands held me down as I felt a pinprick in my right arm. And Tomorrow said, “Don’t worry, Algeria. You’re going to be perfect, and you’re going to like it. And we have a new subject to be in the cage next to you.”

I have a feeling that it’s the Teenage Heartthrob Love Interest. Maybe this will turn into one of those cliched books where the only real conflict is the two gay people being kept from having a relationship, just with more… you know what, never mind.

And while I slipped away into oblivion, I thought I heard her say, “And you’re going to stay here, whether you like it or not.”

That’s not very consensual of you.

I was in a field of flowers.
Wait- a field of flowers? Aren’t I supposed to be in a laboratory, supposedly becoming perfect?
Oh, wait, this is a dream. Great. Just great.

What exactly did they put into that anesthetic, may I ask?

Tomorrow was there. And she said, “I did it, Algeria.”

High score!

“Did what?” I asked. “Turned me into whatever you fools wanted? You’ve done enough damage.”


“Have I ever explained how I know you?” Tomorrow asked. I said no.

Weren’t you two in the flying school place with the apple cider? Why is she being treated like a stranger now? Where has your plot continuity gone, G?

“I’m part fairy too,” she said. And get this- she unfurled her wings, and they were at least a foot longer than mine.
And they were mint green.


“I was experimented on, too,” Tomorrow went on. “Except that my parents wanted me to be here. They wanted me to become better.” She blinked. “But when they tried to give me better eyesight, they accidentally made it blurrier, so now I have to wear glasses. But they fixed the procedure just for you, so you should turn out right.”

Shouldn’t they have tested the revised version first?

“What else are they are going to change?” I asked, feeling myself getting warmer and warmer. “Everything?”
Tomorrow slowly nodded. Then the world slowly faded into darkness.

I could feel that I was waking up, and I felt like the world was on fire.

I love feeling things! Especially the feeling of finally being done with this part of the book! Choo choo, here comes the angst train!