August 28, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. (BTW – it’s school time! For the next few weeks I might get behind on my posts as school, schedules and rebooting the OLD work-a-day takes precedence over posting – Bruce Bethke calls it: The Rule of Otogu! (Other Things Of Greater Urgency)...

H Trope: (reference: I think I’m going to mine THIS idea in various ways for a while!) the transmutation of species…

Of course the FIRST idea that pops into our pointy little heads are werewolves and other were-things. But let’s go BEYOND that. What could we think of that’s really horrible; something that transmutes one animal – or human – into something else…what if it wasn’t dark forces, but the human capacity for all kinds of things.

Etinosa and Osayimwese Ransome-Kuti twin sister and brother came to Minnesota for college and dropped out shortly after the school year began.

When they disappeared Ransome-Kuit’s parents, high officials in the opening shots of what the world media is calling the Reorganization Wars that might redraw the map of the African Continent, call on their supporters in the US to find their children.

Behind closed doors, they send agents to slide secretly into the state and do some checking. Daniel Edet Efanga is one of those agents. He reaches Minnesota and can’t find the kids. He’s approached by a poor, elderly woman who tugs at his shirtsleeve, muttering something he can barely understand until she pulls him down to her level and screams, “Raccoons! Hydrophobic, drooling, snarling monsters! Biting, hurting, infecting the children, the men, elder women! You must help! You have the mark! The mark they leave when they bite!”

She pulls back her tattered sleeve, revealing a bloody bite. Daniel recoils, pushing her to the ground and flees the scene; a light rail stop between the Old Courthouse and the towering glass and granite of the New Courthouse. Middle of the night. He’s a black man and while he has his Nigerian visa with him, he is marked as a black man no matter country he’s from.

He takes a hotel room to figure out what to do next. He falls asleep and dreams of the event all over again. He wakes, falls asleep. Wakes, falls asleep and finally is thrown from his bed by a nightmare. The woman is beating him. This time and in his dream, when she pulls back her sleeve, the bloody mark flares scarlet – and it’s not the simple puncture wounds you would expect from an animal bite. It’s recognizable; it’s a crest of Nigeria and beneath it is…

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