Entry Nickname: Queen of Drones
Title: The Chimera’s Snare
Word count: 85K
Genre: YA Sci-fi Postapocalyptic
After a failed scientific experiment, twenty-four settlements scattered in the ruins of North America are all that remain of human civilization. Sixteen-year-old June lives confined to an underground bunker at Alpha settlement. Her only link to the outside world is the streaming feed on her holographic monitor; her only companion is her stoic, infuriatingly secretive guard Kyle.
When flesh-eating, genetically engineered chimaeras destroy Alpha, June’s isolation is shattered. She and Kyle trek through a mutant-infested bayou to the next viable settlement, Omega, where they encounter three other Alpha survivors. But, each person remembers the attack differently and June races to piece together the truth behind their conflicting memories before the survivors turn on each other. Alpha’s damaged records could hold the key to reconciling their stories and finding a way to fight the chimaeras, but with four other settlements destroyed, June and Kyle have to act quickly, before the monsters strike again.
The two return to Alpha’s subterranean passages to search for remnants of lost data, instead they unravel a past that ties them directly to the horror of chimaeras. June discovers she is a clone, engineered to turn the world into a beehive of zombie-like drones, and Kyle is an assassin sent to stop her. An assassin, whose wiped memories are beginning to resurface. If June isn’t strong enough to override the monstrous program in her DNA, she must persuade Kyle to follow his orders and kill her.
To make matters worse, another clone would stop at nothing to rule the human beehive.
First 250 words:
June felt the vibration in her bones seconds before the emergency siren shrilled to life. The wave of sound passed through the thick layer of earth, slamming against the bunker’s titanium bearings. The walls and the ceiling shuddered and the silver chess figurines on the table knocked against each other, her careful strategy scrambled into chaos.
In a space of a heartbeat she was up, her ear pressed to the concrete, straining to catch familiar sounds beyond the blaring wail.
The main generator was silent.
We can’t stop the apocalypse, but we can survive it. June scowled at the enclave’s oh-so-optimistic motto flickering on the holographicmonitor over her bed. Grasping at straws wasn't surviving.
She climbed on the mattress, licked her fingers and reached towards the air conditioning ducts. Nothing, other than a faint scent of mildew. And apples. In the settlement apples were a luxury. Wondering which chemical compound could've produced the odor, she didn’t notice when the siren cut out.
For several long moments the walls preserved its echo, fainter with each iteration. But the air conditioner, the generator, and the intercom system didn’t come back online.
“Kyle?” June never liked the sound of her voice. It pitched childishly high and the discord between her chronological age and her frail, angular body made her acutely self-conscious.
“Kyle, where are you?”
Not in the bunker. Otherwise, he would’ve already responded.
She jumped off the bed and rubbed her bare foot against her calf. The floor was rapidly cooling and this too was wrong.