Featured Story: Frozen Heart

Several weeks ago I received an email from a teacher at the French International School in Hong Kong. Every year, he runs a science fiction writing competition for his students, and he’s been encouraging them to use SciFi Ideas as a source of inspiration. (Great! That’s what we’re here for!) As an additional incentive for the students, I agreed to publish the winning story on the SciFi Ides website.

Here is that competition winning story. It was written by 13-year-old Cloe Cheung. Congratulations Cloe!

Frozen Heart

by Cloe Cheung

Raven was sick of this. She sat in her cell, thinking carefully. The plain walls and barred windows didn’t help. Sunlight leaked through, blinding her. On the outside, Raven may seem like an ordinary girl, but actually, she was an experiment and she hated herself for that. She didn’t know what scientists did to her. She just knew she was different. She was faster, stronger and smarter than a normal human. But there was one side effect: shape shifting. She could turn into any living thing she wanted. The scientists created her to destroy their enemies on ‘missions’ they sent her on.

Raven paced around, frustrated. She needed to get out. She didn’t want to be imprisoned like some rabid animal. She was planning on escaping, to leave the prison and start a new life. But first, she needed to get out of the cell.

She placed her hand on the door, calculating how much energy she needed to break it. Then, she walked to the back of the room, muscles tensing up, ready to charge. She ran at full speed towards the door, flinging herself onto it. Her momentum also helped in breaking the door. One of the hinges ripped off and the door tumbled down. It fell to the ground with a thud. Her shoulder ached from the trauma, but she didn’t care at all.

Raven ran down the hallway, before stopping. She just realized her tracker was still in her arm. Looking down, Raven could see the faint blue glow of the tracker. Grimacing, Raven knew there was only one thing to do. She walked towards an empty operation room (not before checking if there were any cameras) and searched for the tool she needed. She saw a gun and slipped it into her pocket, knowing it might come in handy. She finally found what she needed and picked it up. There in her hand, lay the Laserium.

Shakily, she placed the Laserium on top of her wrist. She knew this was going to hurt a lot, so she jabbed a syringe filled with painkillers hoping it would ease the pain. Before she changed her mind, she pressed the button. A green laser beam shot out and sliced through her skin, revealing her flesh and tracker underneath. She bit her tongue hard, muffling her scream. Even with painkillers, the pain was still there. She stuffed the Laserium into her back pocket. Feeling slightly better, Raven pulled the tracker out and threw it across the hallway, smashing into the wall. She stood up and made her way to the exit.

But she was quickly stopped. A scientist stepped out of nowhere. Raven watched as the scientist quickly realised who she was.

“Raven, what’s going on? What do you think you’re doing?” the scientist demanded. Raven didn’t answer, but instead, pulled out the stolen gun, aiming it towards the scientist’s chest.

“I think I’m leaving.” She said sarcastically and pulled the trigger before she changed her mind. The bullet slammed into the scientist’s stomach. Blood blossomed as he fell back, not moving. Raven flinched, knowing it was wrong to kill someone. She has killed someone before, but it was still wrong. But she forced the thought out of her mind. They hurt you. They’re the enemy. She thought to herself.

She picked up the scientist’s lab coat, remembering her shape shifting ability. Breathing in deeply, she closed her eyes and concentrated. She felt the change ripple through her; she felt a light tugging in her gut. When she opened her eyes, she was the scientist. Straightening her posture, she approached the doorways. “Good day, Dr Lerange. Where are you going?” one of the guards asked.

“You know, to get a fresh breath of air, the patients are really tough these days.” Raven responded, hoping they wouldn’t see through her lies. They nodded as they unlocked the door for her. She stepped out into the garden, feeling triumphant.

Now, she had to change disguises. She pulled out a bracelet her best friend Semira made for her and focused. When Raven opened her eyes, she was Semira. Raven chose to change into her because she was an Aberration. They were experiments that went wrong. They were allowed more freedom: to go out into the garden that surrounded the prison. She began to walk towards the edge of the garden. She trudged for a long time, before noticing something was wrong. The garden seemed as if stretched on forever. She felt a sense of hopelessness rush over head. It was too late to turn back now. She had sealed her fate.

* * *

Raven paused, catching her breath. Then, something caught her eye. She blinked again, not sure what she saw. But there it was again! Then, it clicked. It was just an illusion, a hologram! Stupid! She thought. There was something off about the landscape: it was too vivid, too fake. Looking closer, she could see the pixels, the waver in the air just above the trees. No wonder no one could escape, they never found the exit! Thought Raven, but now, she had. Excitement flooded through her veins, and adrenaline spilled into her body.

Now she had to deactivate the illusion. Raven looked around and it suddenly clicked. She walked up to a tree and placed her hand on the trunk. That section slid up, revealing a touch-screen keypad. Raven’s eyes skimmed over the numbers. She knew she couldn’t figure out the code in time, so there was only one choice: to disable it.

She carefully wrenched off the glass covering of the panel, leaving just the number pads. She aimed the Laserium towards the middle. The beam sliced through the keypad, then fell apart, revealing the wires underneath. Raven saw wires of all colours: red, yellow and green. Pulling the green wire, she tied them in a knot around the red wires, but not before stripping the protective covering off. The electric current crossed; then burnt out with a small flame. The hologram shimmered, the fake grassland and trees flashed. Raven watched in awe as the hexagonal pixels flickered, before falling away. The grassland disappeared, revealing a gate and a large rocky road that stretched out towards civilization.

But her excitement was short lived. In the distance, loud alarms started blaring. Raven froze, heart pounding. They knew she escaped. Now, it was a race against time.

“Stop right there!” yelled a guard. Raven hesitated, and then sprang forwards; there was no time to lose. She felt a bullet whip through her thigh, drawing blood. But Raven didn’t have time to feel the pain. Her mind was focused on one thing: Run.

Suddenly, Raven felt a horrible feeling in her gut, her instincts screamed for her to dive out of the way. But it was too late. The bullet embedded into her chest, burying into her lungs. The air was blasted out of her, pain exploding in her chest. Raven fell down, choking on her own blood that was bubbling up her throat. The pain was unbearable, to the point of being numbing. She knew she wasn’t going to make it: the bullet lodged in her lungs was specially designed to show no mercy. They were spiked, bullets, ensuring no one could live. Sounds were slowly fading; all she could hear was her own shallow breathing and the fading beat from her heart. Raven was dying, but she felt proud of herself. At least I tried. She thought. At least I succeeded, in a way. The last thing Raven saw before she gave up to the darkness was the pale colours of the dusk sky.

Story by Cloe Cheung (French International School in Hong Kong).

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  • Kim

    Brilliant idea from the school teacher and great to have young people getting involved in sci-fi writing! Wish more teachers would be brave and encourage this!