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PW #302: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+): THROUGH GILDED VEINS

Friday, 4 November 2016  |  Posted by Nikki Roberti

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Linsey Miller
Mentee: Rosiee Thor
Category/Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+)
Word Count: 80,000


When Anna, an outlaw-mechanic, and Nathaniel, the nobleman hunting her, discover the government is behind an epidemic of heart defects like theirs, they must work together to overthrow Nathaniel’s father before he stops all their hearts.


There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart.

The TICCER stuttered to life in Anna’s palm. Its pendulum swung back and forth, a metronome moving in time with her own clockwork heart.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

“Damn.” Grandpa Thatcher threw down his instruments with a clatter.

Anna’s gaze snapped to the surgical table where their young patient lay prone, chest open. “What is it?”

“His condition is more severe than I thought.” Thatcher leaned forward to get a better look. “Glasses.”

Hands shaking, Anna pushed his spectacles back up his nose. Complications in surgery were more common than not, but Thatcher’s desperate tone still hit her at her core. She set her teeth against the memory of the last time the one-armed boy had gone under her knife.

Thatcher pointed with a gloved finger into the boy’s chest cavity. “Tell me what you see.”

Thatcher’s wheelchair demanded a short operating table, so Anna, who was taller even than the boys her age, had to stoop to see properly, struggling to look past the bouncy hair and upturned lips that made the boy more human than patient. She squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them on rigid, calcified valves and a thickened heart muscle.

“It’s enormous!”

“We’re surgeons, Deirdre-Anne. ‘Enormous’ isn’t an appropriate medical term.”

Anna inhaled through her teeth. “It’s hypertrophic.”

“Good. And what does that mean?” Thatcher’s fingers danced across the instrument tray.

“He needs a TICCER, as you thought.”

Thatcher grabbed the cauterizer in acknowledgement of her correct answer.

He wouldn’t ask her to help.

She didn’t want him to.

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