from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 4, Chapter 31

This chapter, which was also a post on my old blog, is so big and formidable that it deserves its own review. I’m gonna need all my energy for this one.

Yasmin’s Blog
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Emma, Luna, a bunch of random strangers, and I were in that bus I hijacked earlier. It was almost midnight and time for Emma and I to switch off driving the bus.

Not quite sure how or why any of you are driving without a driver’s license. For goodness sakes, at least have a learner’s permit so we know you know the rules of the road.

I stopped the bus and headed for my seat in the way back as Emma took over. I had just gotten to my seat when the bus started moving again, causing me to fall. Luckily, it was backwards into my seat.
(Emma, you’re lucky I didn’t get hurt.)

Why? It would make for a good plot point if you did get hurt, Yasmin. Plus maybe we wouldn’t be so deathly bored.

As I settled into a comfortable spot where I could safely go to sleep, Luna whispered in my direction, “I wonder how it felt to wake up and notice you’d been changed.”

I wake up like that every day, Luna. I’m always someone new when I look in the mirror. Why do you think Yasmin, the emotionally stunted thirteen-year-old, would have special experience with that?

There is a girl lying on an operating table. She has dark hair and her eyes are closed. Her new arms-wings are not strapped to the table.
There is a man in a mask, carefully putting a cast on each arm-wing. When he is done with that, he positions the casted arms-wings on her chest and then casts that too. Now she looks like her torso and arms-wings are in a cocoon that ends before it can reach her legs.

Are you sure that’s not a straitjacket? Plus, how are you going to mitigate the high chances that the girl’s body will reject the new tissue? Why does she need to be in a cast to heal? Did you even think any of these medical details through before you shat all over the screen, G?

The man in a mask picks up the girl, cradling her so that he can stare at her soft face. Judging from her face alone, she would be 10 or 11.

That’s slightly disturbing.

As the man in a mask walks out of the room with the girl, he whispers to her, “Before this, I couldn’t stand living with a child in the house.

You know there’s this thing called adoption, right?

But now that I’ve changed you, made you one of my own creations, I can’t stand to live without you. Think about it. My own little Yasmin, part of my plan to change the world.

I wonder how many child abuse and malpractice laws this violates?

I woke up and couldn’t help screaming when I did. Thankfully, the scream didn’t wake up any of the random people on the bus.

There are random people on the bus? Why’ve you kidnapped them? And besides, I had the impression that you and your gang of misfits were the only people on the bus, unless one of us missed something.

Had the person in that dream been ME?

What do you think?

After the scream, I went back to sleep. There was no use for staying awake, because then I would have to drive the bus. I didn’t want to drive the bus because I wanted to think about what the dream had been about.
I didn’t even notice that I had fallen back asleep.

Your writing is putting me to sleep. Unfortunately, my loud brother who has no volume control on his voice is keeping me awake.

The girl was sleeping in a crisp, white bed. She was lying on top of all of the sheets but she showed no signs of being cold.

Because she’s asleep???

The door opened a crack, and the man’s masked face peered into the silent room. Well, silent except for the hospital machine connected to her cocoon of casts that kept track of her heartbeat.

If it was connected to the cocoon, where is the heartbeat coming from? Medical supplies aren’t living.

The man walked into the room, making sure to close the door behind him. He looked at the girl and whispered to her, even though he was sure that she was not listening.

I smell a forced info dump approaching.

“Everything about your operation went great. The arm-to-wing transition went without a hitch. Your immune system isn’t attacking the implanted avian heart and lungs, and they’re working perfectly. The heart-lung machine worked great, keeping you alive while we were packing up the human lungs and heart for transportation to an organ bank. Did you know that we donate all of the organs we replace? We’re solving two issues at the same time. And we were also able to alter your reproductive system with no complications at all.

You know, G, if you were a little more adept at worldbuilding, then maybe you could have sprinkled this in throughout the book and let your readers piece it together. Besides, this huge chunk of text is, quite frankly, boring.

Well, I guess I better stop talking and wait for you to wake up.”

How about you just stop talking altogether?

The man waited for a half-hour before the girl slowly woke up. When her eyes were fully open, she simply asked the man, “Why am I in this cast? And why do my lungs feel weird? And why do I have this feeling like I know where a bunch of strangers are?”

Again, another info dump. Besides, if she were truly bewildered, I don’t think she would immediately been able to form coherent sentences, instead choosing to panic.

The man in the mask sighed and then repeated everything he had just said, except for the last sentence.

“Does that mean that I won’t be able to have babies when I grow up?”
“No, it just means that you’re now oviparous.”

That kind of transition is medically impossible. But, of course, G doesn’t give a damn.

(I was going to put a birdgender joke here, but being practically DDoSed by Tumblr’s rabid userbase isn’t on my list of things to do today.)

“What does that mean?”
“It means that you’re now able to lay eggs instead of giving live birth.”

Thank you, dictionary. Speaking of that, I’m going to be smacking myself over the head with a dictionary now.


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