A3: Fading

Dr. Fihtzu tries to breed a standard (super) human. Tye Greenfield, one of his breeding prospects in the Beauty Department, will either be selected to breed at fifteen or be killed. If he is selected, the other prospects from the Beauty Department will die.


Isaiah 40:6b-7: “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.”


Tye stared at the mirror and hated what he saw. Unlike most people though, he did not hate his image because he thought it was ugly. No. There was no hiding the truth. He was handsome, too handsome–handsome enough to live, enough to watch his friends die, to be the cause of their death.

Tye was tall and had blond hair, stunning blue eyes, strong arms, and a muscular chest. His picture had spread all over the Internet, and there wasn’t a girl or woman who didn’t want him. Tye didn’t want to be married though, not yet anyway. He was only fifteen, but he had already been forced to breed, twice, and it made him feel unclean.

It was no surprise though. He did live in the Breeding Hub, as he had come to call it, and now, just today, he had become a finalist in this destructive beauty pageant. Tomorrow the decision would be made.

It had all started three years ago, when Tye was only twelve. He had been taken away from his family and everyone he knew and loved. For what reason? Because he looked good; because while teenage girls thought most twelve-year-old boys were immature and still children, they did not think so of him. The number of teen girls who had had crushes on him when he left outnumbered those who had liked boys closer to their own ages.

And that was before he had been tall. His hair had been lighter too, but his eyes were still the piercing blue that gave him his nickname: Sky.

Tye

That day, the government had taken him away without giving him a choice. They had enrolled him in Dr. Gerald Reimer’s breeding program. That had been before Dr. Reimer had changed his last name to Fihtzu, the name of his standard dog.

Dr. Fihtzu was a man of standards. He was a breeder, and for some reason, the government listened to him.
They too were men of standards.

Dr. Fihtzu had first become famous for his standard dog: a mix between the already much loved Shih Tzu and a collection of other types of dogs, including the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bulldog.

Five years after he had created this animal, the U.S. government banned the breeding of other dogs. Fihtzu was no longer a breed. Fihtzu and dog were merely synonyms now.

The consequence for breeding other dogs was only a fine though.

Now, with the support of the government, Dr. Fihtzu was attempting to create a standard human too.

The consequence for human sexual interactions outside this breed would be much higher.

The penalty: death.

Tye had been selected for his looks. Others for their creative minds or ability to learn. Still others for their athletic ability. And finally, some had been selected just for being nice. The logic was that nice people survived longer than others. No one would want to fight them.

Tomorrow, Dr. Fihtzu and a board of other judges would select one male and one female from each of the categories: beauty, smarts, athletic ability, and niceness.

The rest would be sent to a lab to be experimented on. All the experiments were life threatening, so the truth was, if Tye did not win for his looks, he would be killed.

The next day came. The judges looked over them quickly. Then, they were sent away to separate rooms while the judges thought and decided.

The real examination happened while they were away. Dr. Fihtzu had cameras everywhere. He had taken a million pictures and videos of them and watched their every move during the three years before. Now, he and the other judges would look over the top digital selections and choose the best male and female candidates for each category.

The hours ticked by. Tye waited in the room designated for the male candidates from the Beauty Department. He called his friend, John, over and gave him a warm embrace, knowing it would be their last day together. John was shorter than Tye. His eyes were dull in comparison to Tye’s and his muscles weak. Of course, anyone who only looked at John would consider him dashing, but when seen next to Tye, he had no hope.

“John, you’re going to die,” something caught in Tye’s voice as he spoke to his friend. “I’m going to kill you.”

In the world outside, people considered those who boasted about their looks mean and arrogant. Here, it was different. Everyone wanted to know the truth about how they looked. They did not want flattery. Flattery would only lead to death.

“John, I don’t want to live,” Tye wailed. “I don’t want to live…knowing that others died because of me! That you died.”

Dr. Fihtzu walked into the room.

“John Ace, Caleb Andrews, Emmitt Andrews, Jay Backer, Ryan Barnards…”

The list went on forever and ever. Tye wasn’t on it.

“You will be sent to our lab in Siberia. We appreciate your hard work and positive attitude, but we no longer need you here.”

The room went silent. Tye’s name had not been called.

Finally the doctor spoke again.

“I am glad to announce that our top male specimen in the Beauty Department is…Tye Greenfield!!! Please step forward.”

A nauseating smile colored his face.

Tye did not want to step forward. He did not want to be seen. He wanted to hide. He wished he had been born in another era, but he hadn’t. A test of looks had been presented to him, and he had passed.

Now, he was a murderer. Each of the friends he had made in this lonely place was about to die because of him.
“Please step forward!”

The scientist was growing impatient, but Tye could not make himself move.

The doctor beckoned him forward yet again. Again, Tye resisted until finally, the doctor forcefully walked towards Tye and carried him to the front of the room.

“Because of him, you are being sent to the lab in Siberia,” the man bellowed, pointing. He was not used to being defied. “I am not your enemy. He is.”

But the boys knew it was a lie.

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A2: Modern Prodigal

Story description: Prodigal runs away from his home and father in order to reach Sparkle City, a city of supposed freedom.

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“Where are you headed?” the taxi driver asked me.

“I’m going to Sparkle City, sir,” I responded, a smile written on my face.

That name held so much meaning. Of course, I had never actually been there before, but from what I had heard, it sounded like a city of freedom, a city of fun. There, I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. No fear of Father looking over my shoulder, examining my every move.

“Did I hear you right? You said Sparkle City?” the taxi driver asked.

“Yes sir,” I responded.

“I wouldn’t go there if I were you. It’s a nasty place. It ruins a man.”

“Sorry sir, but there isn’t any stopping me now,” I responded.

As long as Father was out of the way, I was fully intent on getting there. Had I not asked Father for the inheritance money so I could pay to live there? Had I not run away from home for that very purpose? I had even boarded a plane to get here. No! This man could not stop me from going.

“Dude, I’ll drive you a mile from the city itself, but I won’t go any further. I was one of those men that it ruined,” the driver said.

“No problem. I’ve got legs. I can walk the rest of the way,” I told him.

In no less than a minute, the man stopped, and after paying him, I grabbed my backpack and got out of the car.

Sparkle City had other attractions as well, not just its freedom from rules. I had heard of Foolish Talk, a great comedian in the area. One of my friends had also informed me that Lust, my favorite music star, was touring these parts. If you paid enough extra, he had said, she would even let you backstage.

This would be a hoot. I had needed a vacation for far too long.

After walking for about an hour, I came across a building labeled: “Boastful Pride of Life Theater” just inside the city.

“What shows are they doing here?” I asked the man sitting at the ticket booth after I went inside.

“Right now they’re doing a magic show; I mean a real magic show. No tricks here. After that, Foolish Talk and Lust will be performing their potty humor routine. It’s hilarious. You wouldn’t want to miss it,” the man said, clearly trying to advertise.

“Boy, I’m lucky,” I responded. “They’re both one of the main reasons I came here. Imagine, just happening to come to a theater where they’re both performing. It’s ridiculous.”

“Actually, not really. They’re everywhere,” the man responded.

“So, how much does it cost to get in?”

“It only costs one-fourth of a soul. That is, if you only want to watch the show,” the man said. “It would have cost less if you had paid ahead of time, and there is another show in a week. You can wait till then.”

“Nah, I can’t wait. I’ve always wanted to meet Lust. She’s one of my favorite singers. Are there any tickets that could get me backstage?”

“There are, but they cost a lot more. A whole soul for just one ticket.”

Is it worth it? I asked myself, but there was really no question in my mind. I could do anything I wanted now. Maybe I would have to buy back soul money, but while the experience lasted, it would be wonderful. Father couldn’t stop me. He wasn’t here.

“I think it’s worth the price.”

I laid down my soul in front of the man. Immediately, he led me through a short corridor into a backstage entrance and told me to enjoy myself. He obviously did not want me to change my mind.

I smiled as I walked in, and who did I see smiling back? It was Lust herself. Foolish Talk was next to her, talking to someone else who had given his soul to get back here.

“Hello,” Lust whispered in my ear. “You’re one of the only ones brave enough to give your soul away, but don’t worry, it’ll be worth it.”

Her voice and light smile soothed me.

“You’re mine, now,” she whispered.

Her eyes bored into mine.

“You don’t need your father. You have me. I have your soul. It’s my slave…forever!”

It took me a while to realize what she had said. I was too concentrated on the calmness of her voice and the smoothness of her skin and dark brown hair. I breathed when I finally did realize it. Had I really given her my soul? What did she mean, “It’s my slave…forever!”

“I mean that from now on, you will live to serve me,” she remarked, as if reading my mind. “You will bow down to my every wish. You will call me mother and Foolish Talk father and worship us.”

“What does that mean, though?” I asked, desperate now.

“Look behind you,” Lust said.

There was a certain fear in her voice that I had not heard earlier, and as I turned around, I knew why. Father was standing right there. He was ready to save me if necessary.

“That is your first job,” she said, pointing. “Spit at him. Mock him. Smack him across the lips, and after you are done, find some food in one of the city dumpsters or just starve yourself. Let yourself die. Then, we will converse. You and I will join together and become one.”

“No…I can’t,” I told her, surprised by my own words.

“I thought you didn’t care about your father,” she said.

“I thought Sparkle City was different,” I retorted. “I thought I would be free.”

“Well, you’re not. You’re mine, and you will do what I say. You can do nothing to save yourself.”

“I can save him though,” Father confronted the woman.

“Not as long as I have his soul,” she responded.

“You cannot take him from us,” I heard Foolish Talk say. It was the first thing that I had heard come out of his mouth since I had entered the room.

“I will give anything.”

“Even your life?” Lust mocked.

I waited for him to say no, for him to leave me here. I waited for him to abandon me to Lust’s power. I knew I would end up her slave.

Father didn’t love me that much. He couldn’t. I certainly wouldn’t love me that much if I were him.

Hadn’t I run away from him? Hadn’t I wished he were dead and asked for the inheritance? Why had he given it to me? Why had he given me my soul when he knew I would only waste it?

I didn’t deserve love. I didn’t deserve anything. I deserved to die. I deserved to be a slave to my sin.

“I will even give my life. I will do anything to get him back.”

Had Father really said that? A tear hurtled down my face. Like never before in my life, I actually wanted to come back too.