TITLE: The Awakening of Minna Gray
GENRE: YA Futuristic Fantasy
She’d seen one before - years ago, with Cameron, by the seaside. Its little round body flitted between palm fronds like a tiny jeweled fairy. They were supposed to turn it in. But they hadn’t. They’d watched it all afternoon, until it leapt into the sky and flew away over the Outer Wall. Their secret.
This one seemed even more out of place, amidst the asphalt and early evening glow of the podcar lines. For a second, she thought she was imagining it. But then Ethan saw it too.
“What is it?” he asked, gaze transfixed on the emerald blot making its way across the dull bronze shine of the hood.
His brown eyes widened. “A real one?”
Minna nodded. “Don’t touch it.” But she was mesmerized too.
“It doesn’t beep.” He frowned, waving his PestDetector wand over it.
“Maybe it’s not infected.” Yet.
They watched its twiggy, spindle-legged progression from latch to windshield.
“I don’t want anyone to kill it,” Ethan whispered as he backed away.
Technically it was a vector. Technically they were supposed to destroy it. But it was so small and round and innocent. Suddenly, it lifted off. Humming, it vanished into the flurry of the nearby jasmine. Minna exhaled the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“Probably escaped from a DomeZoo.” Ethan said with a shaky laugh.
“Probably, but you still need to disinfect.” Minna puffed her emergency spray, enveloping themselves in shivering white mist. Silently they counted out the seconds: eight, nine, ten. Safe.