Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #35

TITLE: Memory Keeper
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy

She’s going to die today. Maybe.

Her best chance of survival hinges on what I do next. The glass arrow in my hand quivers like a beast ready to charge. I want to hold it back, lock it in a cage, but the thing is, my orders aren’t up for debate.

With an indignant sniff, I squeeze my weapon. I love magic, but I hate mine. Memories are such an intimate part of a person. Erasing them, or even changing them seems like an invasion of privacy. And it ruins lives. Might as well be dead with your memories gone.

My skin pricks. My heart thuds. Don’t do it. Orders are orders.

The girl I’m to rehabilitate is ready for the alchemist to administer the anesthesia. Under his careful guidance, I’ll work my magic. Standing on the other side of the girl is her memory therapist, here mostly for emotional support. She’s the only one in the room not wearing a uniform. I think it helps the patient feel more at ease.

I drag my gaze to a bright light above where my target sits. It’s so bright it’s like staring into headlights. I can’t see the girl whose memories I’ve been ordered to erase. I’m glad I can’t see her face. It’s better this way.

A ripple of fumes like mirages on a hot desert road seeps out of the light. Hisses of black fire sizzle from the wrinkle that looks like it’s melting. The fluorescent tube explodes.


  1. I. LOVE. THIS. The MC's voice is so strong! And dat first sentence! Keep it up! (Also, find me on twitter if you want, let's be friends, haha! @EmpressAwesome)

    Now to the critique... You need a comma after "or even changing them". 'K bye!

  2. This is great! I'm super curious about what's going on. The only thing I found confusing was "Don't do it. Order are orders." It sounded like she was arguing with herself, but it made me pause. I already want to read more!

  3. Love this! I want to read more and your voice is killer.
    critique. after Maybe put a question mark? and make it italics. Maybe. I'm still on the fence about it.

  4. love the start, the maybe in the first line adds so much character to it. the first 250 words are intense would love to read more, the writing style hooks me, but it also give the idea that it is in another world, or maybe its just me (for me fantasy is always in an different era, for some reason) in your case the mention of headlights sets the time the story is in, i like that! Good luck!

  5. I would definitely keep reading to find out what happens with the black fire and fumes. I'm not really clear on what her magic is. She says she likes it, but not hers. Maybe clarify that a bit. Good luck!

  6. The first line is a great hook. It immediately makes me sit up and take notice. It sounds like her magic is erasing memories? If so, I'd mention that right at the part where she mentions she hates her magic, so we understand why she hates it.

  7. This is a high-emotion, high inner-conflict scene before I'm familiar with the character enough to have an emotional response. It feels rushed, and I feel like an outsider. Even though the writing is good, I'm not drawn in to this scene, and I'm wondering if it's suffered from too many revisions or too many critique partners.

    Premise-wise, this is all very mysterious and interesting! I always love a closer point-of-view though <3

    I did have some questions as I read: Is the MC’s weapon the arrow or something else, her magic talent? What’s the relationship between the glass arrow and what’s happening in the scene? Where is the narrator located in this scene relative to the patient (above? nearby? same room? bedside?)? The light is obstructing the narrator’s ability to “see the girl” as well as “her face.” If so, how does the MC know where to aim the arrow or her magic and how does she know it’s a female target? As to the word target, it made me feel like she was an executioner rather than a healer. What and who is the narrator—a medical assistant with magical talents or an assassin? Who is the patient to the MC (does she have any reason to care about her?) whose memories are to be erased? Why is erasing her memories a life and death proposition?

    Whew! That's a lot of questions. I'm intrigued and frustrated at the same time. I'd likely read more to see if the story-telling smoothed out, but I'd definitely ask for a revision of the opening.

    Thank you for sharing!