15 yo test subject Ophi’s powers light a megacity. To survive annihilation she must embrace her lightning & return an ancient relic #PitProm
Dear Royal Advisors,
Fifteen-year-old Ophelia Zeller hates the lightning in her veins and the blue stains the energy leaves behind. The streaks earn ridicule and brand her as a second-class citizen—a Visvolo.
The Regiment—the elitist mega-city where she lives—raises inhabitants to believe those like Ophi, the Visvolo, are a lawless people. As the daughter of the city’s ruler, Ophi is spared from overt scorn though she still has to deal with snotty looks and underhanded comments.
When Ophi discovers her adoptive father kidnapped her as a baby, she realizes it’s not his affection that’s kept her on the upper floors of the mega-city. Ophi’s father has been experimenting on her and using her abilities as a means to power his city. Uncovering the extent of his betrayal and her abuse, Ophi decides she must stand up for herself and the other Visvolo, even it means going against both her father and the Regiment.
In Ophi’s hunt for truth, she also unearths evidence her adoptive father stole the Cornerstone—the artifact which connects all Visvolo to the moon and provides a perpetual energy source for Visvolo powers—as a means to enact final destruction of the Visvolo people. Ophi decides the best way to overcome her father’s plans of mass extinction is to return the missing cornerstone to her people.
Ophi must face her father and his army, brave the unrestrained fury of the mistreated wilderness, and confront the emotional trauma that's haunted her for years if she has any hope of returning the cornerstone to its rightful altar before time runs out.
THE BODY ELECTRIC is a stand-alone 70,000 word futuristic YA-SFF with series potential. It’s perfect for fans of Marie Lu’s LEGEND but with an electro-kinetic fantasy element.
As a high school teacher, I spend most of my days with teenagers, trying to match them with books they’ll fall in love with, and pushing them to see the world from multiple perspectives. Outside of school, I am an avid outdoors enthusiast and am part of the Twitter writers group called the #Llamasquad.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
FIRST TEN PAGES:
The spark pushed through Ophelia Zeller’s fingertips, the electric blue light pulsed beneath her skin. She stared down at the wisps of pure energy emanating from the ends of each of her fingers, swallowing as she renewed her concentration.
“Push, Ophelia! Stay focused, child,” Master Dickerson’s voice boomed, sounding heavy in the old man’s chest. “We practiced this last week. I should see progress from you.”
Ophelia nodded, her inky black curls swaying across her flushed cheek. Squinting her green eyes, she focused on her center: the core sparking within her. She willed the power to rocket through her body. In a blaze of blue-hot light, ropes of pure energy shot from her hands.
Her whole body clenched. She held onto the raw power that welled up inside of her, as the heat and wind she created whirled around them. Master Dickerson took a few steps back in anticipation for what they both knew was coming.
Her rippling cobalt waves collided with the training target, blasting it apart. As soon as Ophi destroyed the first, she stifled the flow of destructive force and scanned the combat area. Her father created the room to hone her powers. Only for her. It contained an array of devices to keep her guessing during every training session.
Ophi turned to the right, scanning the walls and empty space above her, waiting. A creak sounded where a trapdoor opened high on the metal gray wall. A robotic archer peeped out of the hole and took aim. Ophi tucked and rolled gracefully over her right shoulder, hardly making a noise. She grasped a piece of metal piping that was laying off the side and absorbed the energy within the molecules of the metal until the material sagging noticeably.
A second later Ophi went down to one knee, expelled her own energy combined with that from the metal pipe. The energy shot from her, ripping through the air and echoing through the large training room as it barreled towards the robotic archer.
Her energy, now semi-solid thanks to what she absorbed from the metal, collided with the archer with the force of a small explosion. The robotic archer, now a decimated pile of dust, fell to the concrete floor, a light snowfall of destruction.
A noise sounded to her left.
She whirled around.
A training arrow slammed into her shoulder, and the force knocked her down. Pain seared through her, and she hissed through clenched teeth, clutching her shoulder. She rolled to her side.
“Get back up! You’re not done yet,” Master Dickerson barked out.
Ophi staggered back to her feet. She gritted her teeth, trying to ignore the bruise that must be blooming on her skin. Another trap door opened. But, this time, Ophi was ready for it.
She sent another bolt of rippling lightening towards the robotic archer and decimated it in seconds. She reeled her energy back in, fighting to extinguish it from within her entirely.
She studied her hands once more, the energy now dormant but still clearly visible on her skin. Disappointment rocked through her.
Master Dickerson clapped. “Well done. That was more powerful than last time . . . even if you took longer to focus. I am sure that bruise will be a good reminder for you of what failure means.” The genial, old man tread towards his student with a smile on his weathered face.
“How can you give me such a hard time about how long I take?” Ophi dared to ask, rubbing her shoulder. “It’s not like you even know what the Vis is like.” She lowered her arm and made sure her long sleeve covered her hands, the blue lines of lightning running down her fingers.
Dickerson motioned for her to join him off to the side where two squashy looking armchairs sat. “Ophelia,” Master Dickerson’s voice came, low and tired. He settled into the comfort of the upholstery. “You realize this wouldn’t be so hard for you if you embraced it, right?”
Ophi brought her right foot up to scratch the back of her left calf. She smoothed out a nonexistent wrinkle on her utility pants before resting her arms on the sides of the chair, willing them to keep still. “I don’t want it to be easier. Why do I still have to train with you, anyway? It’s not like I’ll accidentally light the place on fire anymore.”
She plastered a smirk on her face as she remembered a time when she was around six. According to her father, she had been so stubborn that she refused to eat the broccoli on her plate—to the point of losing control of her energy and lighting the kitchen table on fire: broccoli and all.
The corners of Dickerson’s eyes crinkled even more as love emanated from his expression. “Is it that bad to spend time with me?”
Ophi shook her head and smiled, “No, you know what I meant.”
With a weathered hand, Dickerson patted Ophi’s right arm. “I understand what you meant, child. I may be an old man but I comprehend things now and again.”
Ophi looked away. Exhausted from the exercise, the sparkle of care in her teacher’s eyes overwhelmed her.
“Come now, you and I have spent too much time training for you to be shy.”
“You know how it is for me,” Ophi said, avoiding the topic.
Dickerson nodded, his gray beard grazing the top of his slightly protruding belly. “You're not made to fit in, Ophelia. You, my darling, stand out. Embrace it, all of it. For this world needs you.”
“I don’t want to stand out,” Ophi mumbled. Her sinking mood caused an energy flare within her. The hair on her forearms stood upright before slowly relaxing once more.
Dickerson pursed his lips. “You and I both know thinking and wishing for things to be different does nothing. Why dwell on something you cannot change?”
“How am I supposed to forget about it?” Ophi sighed. “It’s a fact that slaps me in the face every day of my life.”
Dickerson opened his mouth to reply but a loud knock interrupted him instead. He leaned forward towards the control panel and hit the button to open the exterior door.
A harried-looking intern ran through the door as soon as it unlatched. But a glance at the disapproving look on the elder man’s face brought the intern up short.
He cleared his throat and turned to Ophelia. “Sorry to interrupt you, Madam, but your father is requesting your presence in his office. Immediately.”
Ophelia leaned back against the chair. “Tell him I’m coming. I’ll be right behind you.”
The intern paused and bit his lip before nodding. He turned and left.
Ophi looked over her teacher once more and gave him another smile. “Thank you, sir. I’m sorry I was slow today.”
“No matter. I’ll see you in two days, and I am sure you will improve. You never cease to amaze me, Ophelia Zeller,” Dickerson said as he stood up and patted her shoulder.
“See you Wednesday.” Ophi turned towards the door, her mind churning with curiosity.
Ophi reached her father’s office just as members of his command team were also walking through the large oak entrance. One of his advisers opened the door for her and she stepped through.
Ophi’s brow furrowed. Why were government officials here?
Her father didn’t mean for her to be a part of … whatever this was, did he?
Ophi did her best to make herself invisible, a skill she used often, as she waited at the back of the large office. With a look of longing, she glanced through the large window to the outside world. The sky was always gray, the sun’s rays always had to fight through a perpetual layer of smoke and smog causing the world to appear in sepia, and the air almost always smelled burnt but outside felt free. Ophi only managed to sneak onto the roof every once in a while, but it was better than never stepping a foot outside of the Regiment like so many others were content to do.
She leaned against the paneled wood and lowered her head slightly, allowing a lock of hair to fall across her face, blocking her eyes.
Her father’s desk sat in front of a large window and a conference table stood in the room's center. Despite the ample furniture, the room was big enough to still feel empty. No less than twenty advisers milled the space. Each one carried folders and files, though some were already sitting and scribbling on their notepads at the conference table.
Near the head of the conference table, her father met her gaze, and she turned back towards the door but he motioned for her to sit off to the side with a slight wave of his hand. She found a small chair in the corner and sat down, pulling her long sleeve shirt further down over her hands. Lightning bolt tendrils of energy visible underneath her skin were now half hidden beneath the cotton layers.
Commander Rutherford Zeller cleared his throat, and the voices quieted. “Thank you for coming on short notice. We all know why we are here so let’s begin with the report. And make it brief, I have other things I need to attend to,” Rutherford said as he winked a bluish gray eye towards his daughter.
Ophelia smiled yet shifted in her seat as others in the room glanced her way. Clearly, the attendees thought her presence was odd as well.
“Let’s start with Sattern. What are our energy levels looking like?” Rutherford’s voice demanded.
Sattern stood, the buttons on his formal shirt off-center and he made a brief attempt at fixing them. “Yes, sir. Last week our energy levels were at a 1.2 billion joules per hour, and now they have dropped to 0.9. This level shows we will deplete our energy stores within the next three months at this rate.”
Rutherford nodded his head once. “So what can we do about the power glitches? We have been dealing with them on and off for the last two weeks.” He looked around at the team in front of him. “Surely there is something we can do to replenish our stores. We have the best and the brightest right here in this room.”
Ophi’s eyes trailed around the room. She also noticed the occasionally flickering of the lights and the power lag across the entire Regiment. This was not a new occurrence, but it was the first time she could remember when it was this frequent.
Ophi snagged her bottom lip between her teeth and resisted the urge to squirm in her chair again. While being in her father’s office with one or two advisers present was not an unusual occurrence, sitting in on a meeting as large as this one was a novel experience.
Taryn Maudson stood and cleared her throat. “Sir, we’ve already been over what we are doing to remedy this situation. I assure you, we have exhausted all possible solutions. The problem lies with our energy resources, which are not providing as much output as in the past and—” Her voice echoed through the room like a high-pitched tea kettle set to burst.
Off to the side, Zander Williams, Rutherford’s right-hand man scoffed with a disparaging shake of his head. Ophi glared at him.
When he caught her eye, he returned the glare with a cold fierceness. Disgust filled Ophi, and she barely restrained from rolling her eyes at him.
Rutherford narrowed his gray eyes and turned towards Maudson. “Never say anything is impossible. Look at where we are, everything that has happened to this earth. We have survived and, dare I say it, we have thrived.”
Rutherford paused for a long moment. “And we will continue to thrive as long as I am commander of this city. You will send teams farther out this time. Lengthen the supply lines. Do what you must.” He crossed his arms.
Ophi sat still, her mind wandering.
Her father had always been kind to her. She took a deep breath in, the memory of the day he rescued her flashed through her mind.
She was outside, failing miserably to pull some weeds that had sprouted up in the garden. Her mother yelled at her to do her chores. She remembered how much pain she had been in from the beating the previous night …
“How many times have I told you I don’t want to hear that despicable whining of yours! Crying is not something I will stand for! You are hell-bent on breaking every goddam rule we have set for you out of spite, so let me show you again what happens to ungrateful, sniveling children in this house!” He yanked his belt from its loops, the noise had become associated with the intense pain that always followed.
The physical discomfort had been one thing. Yet the agony of knowing that the one person the universe set up to love and protect at all cost was actually the person who hurts her the most in life was a torment deeper and more lasting.
Ophi sat out in that hot sun, pulling weeds until her small hands were raw and chapped.
Then the sounds of frantic hoof beats.
Rutherford and a group of sentries.
Yelling, fighting …
It scared Ophi so she crawled into a bush as deep as she could squeeze her small body.
Rutherford had pulled her out.
With tenderness in his eyes, he spoke softly. He promised her he wouldn’t ever hurt her like those people. Ophi was so desperate for a kind touch it didn’t take too much convincing for her to want to leave with him.
Sitting in front of him on that horse, Rutherford’s strong arms holding the reins, he took the weight of survival off of her small shoulders. There was nothing more for her to worry about—and her eyes drooped heavily, and that, coupled with the feeling of safety, lulled her into a deep sleep.
Ophi owed him so much for saving her when she was little, and she would probably live the rest of her life attempting to repay him.
But sometimes he was also very intimidating, as she was reminded of while she snapped back to reality in her father’s office. She guessed that it kind of comes with the job description though. To be in charge of a mega-city home to thousands of people—especially after the world has already gone to the dumps—was no small feat.
Ophi listened as more people reported on their findings regarding the energy stores that the Regiment rely on to run their day-to-day lives. Her father invented this type of energy store when the need arose for a more reliable form of energy. He was so young when he came across an energy alternative the Regiment could mine, and ever since then he has been in charge of the entire Regiment.
It was something that Ophi always admired about her father: his ingenuity and determination. He loved the Regiment and the people who lived within the protection he provided, and he would do anything to provide it.
The meeting was still droning on, statistics and percentages, facts and figures only glanced across Ophi’s mind before she tuned out again.
The citizens of The Regiment had an insatiable appetite for consumption, in all of its forms, and her father stepped up to offer a way to power their lives. Other types of energy, such as wind power and solar, were far too unreliable—for the weather was too unpredictable—and the overwhelming amount of power citizens desired was too much for these types of energy to handle.
Ophi’s attention wandered again to the large window. It was nearing mid-afternoon and she couldn’t help her desire to get outside.
It was something that she had to do in secret. Most citizens of The Regiment, and her father in particular, did not think venturing outside the buildings and interconnected transport tunnels of the city was a good idea. Only lawless wastrels lived out there. They’d kill you as soon as look at you.
People rose and started to leave, jostling her from her thoughts. She made a point of avoiding eye contact with anyone, for she knew the looks they would send her way. Commander’s daughter or not, she was an outsider—a Vis. An Outlier. An unwelcome guest.
Rutherford held Trenton back with an imperious wave of his hand.
“Mr. McNabb. Your statistics were quite alarming. When do you think you can get me the results of the tests I requested?”
Trenton, a younger recruit, positively beamed under the commander’s attention. “Thank you, sir. I can get those to you by the end of the week.”
Rutherford’s face twitched. “Get those test results done by mid-week. Wednesday at noon to be precise. Failure to do so will result in your immediate removal from this team. You wouldn’t want to work in the laundry facility for the rest of your career would you, McNabb?”
Trenton’s face turned comical and Ophi swallowed a laugh. His eyes were wide, and he opened and closed his mouth a few times before stuttering out something incoherent which Ophelia took to mean he agreed.
Once everyone left the large office, Rutherford gave a sigh and turned towards his desk. Ophi wasn’t sure if he remembered she was sitting there or not until he spoke, his back turned to her.
He turned toward his adoptive daughter. “Ophelia, I had anticipated your arrival before that meeting, which is why, if I recall correctly, I told that useless intern to relay the fact that I needed you urgently.”
Ophi’s stomach squirmed. She stood up and moved behind one of the chairs facing his desk, her right hand coming to scratch subconsciously on her eyebrow.
“I… well, I was just finishing up my training session and I got a little distracted on the way here,” she said, hoping her excuse didn’t sound as lame as she thought.