Genre: YA SpecFic
Title: No Man's Land
35 word pitch: A century after a pandemic killed off every man on earth, Aurelia's struggling in the all-female utopia. The prisoner trapped in the basement of her mother's top secret research laboratory isn't helping.
First 500 Words:
Floating six-hundred feet above the surface of the earth, Aurelia Skylar imagined she could wrap a wisp of cloud around her fingers if she just reached out her hand. She didn’t, of course. The rooftop had been vacant when she arrived an hour before, but someone might be watching by now. And try as she might, she couldn’t ignore the glare of early morning sun on the transparent ceiling. The sky appeared reachable, but it wasn’t.
However, the heated pool was warm enough that as long as she held very still, she could almost forget she was in the water at all. And with her eyes half-closed, her coppery eyelashes filtered out the glare and made the ceiling fade away.
Voices broke through her reverie and she rolled to her stomach, using long strokes to pull herself towards the horizon of the infinity pool. She draped her arms over the side to gaze down at the vista below, letting the water run down her fingertips. Below, the stripes of civilization extended from the base of Tower Eleven. Her home. Her entire world. Colorful gardens, followed by miles of farmland, then the forest rolling up and over the blue tinted mountains.
The voices grew louder. Three girls she knew from school stripped off their clothes on the far side of the pool and and pulled chaise lounges together, laughing and talking. The May air still held a hint of chill, but it had been an unusually long winter and apparently Aurelia wasn’t the only one overeager for sunlight. They spotted Aurelia and waved. She waved back but made no move to swim closer.
The metal band around her wrist twitched.
She slowly swam towards the side where her school uniform sat folded next to her backpack, and hauled herself out of the water. Keeping her eyes down, she stripped off her swimsuit and yanked on her school uniform, the fabric clinging to her damp legs. Her classmates continued chattering away, seeming more comfortable entirely nude than she had ever felt fully dressed.
As she crouched to grab her shoes, she groaned.
Eight minutes. Not enough time to run home, but the bright aqua colored sneakers she grabbed that morning were most definitely not uniform compliant. She pulled them on anyway. Maybe if she got lucky no one would notice and she could stay out of trouble. For once.
The temperature seemed to plummet as Aurelia made her way towards the chair in the center of the small white room she privately called “the Tank.” She settled herself with a shiver, shifting her sit bones against the firm surface. Designed to fit any female body shape, the cold plastic still managed to press against her in all the wrong places.
“If you were sent here any more often we’d to have to name the place after you,” Dr. Charlemain said with a chuckle from her seat in front of the monitors.