Exercising the craft—July 4, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: Technology has advanced so much that having a regular body is boring. Your parents are old school and refuse to let you get “enhancements” like all your friends until you’re 18.



Kyla stomped into her bedroom and threw herself on the bed. Ever since the last tech update to the software of the house, she no longer had the satisfaction of slamming her door shut. Her parents had programmed all of the doors to close softly, no matter how hard a person shoved them.

Her parents. Kyla huffed in frustration. What were they hoping to prove, just how old they were?

No doubt there. They win the all-time Prude Award.

The wall next to her bed shimmered, and Kyla shot up. She ran her fingers through her hair. She didn’t know who might be contacting her, but her walls only allowed communication from people she’d approved and that list was long enough to make her hopeful.

Maybe Petra decided he wanted to reach out after all.

After a moment her best friend’s face appeared on the wall.

“Hey, Ky,” Afreen said with a bright smile.

Kyla slumped back against the multitude of pillows. “Hey.”

Afreen cocked her head in sympathy. “So I guess that’s a no, huh?”

Kyle rolled her eyes. “Is it that obvious? I swear, my parents are older than PCs. What’s their problem?”

“What happened?”

She reached behind her for one of the smaller pillows and plopped it in her lap.

“All I asked for was the eyes. ‘Just let me get my irises calibrated, and I promise I won’t bug you about anything else.’”


“And what?” Kyla repeated. “My mother just stared at me for a minute. Then she starts pulling some crap about how I should be happy with the color of the eyes I was born with. ‘Why does a girl need to change her eye color?’ she asks. As if she doesn’t know that the dance is coming up! How am I supposed to find something to wear if I’m limited in the colors I can shop for?”

“You know you can always borrow something of mine,” Afreen said. “Do you want to see what I’ve got?”

The wall went blank for a couple of moments, and then Kyla saw the inside of Afreen’s closet. Some of the images were hazy, but that tended to happen with memory images. Clearly Afreen didn’t recall every item of clothing she owned. Kyla wished that her friend had taken the time to get off her butt and actually walk to her closet so she could actually see everything, but seconds later she regretted the thought.

At least she’s trying to help me solve this problem. There’s no way I can wear any of my own clothes in front of Petra!

“So what do you think?”

Kyla sighed. “I don’t know. The sparkly blue one maybe?”

The wall shimmered and Afreen’s face filled it once again. “Sure. Do you want to come over this weekend to try it on? Then we can have it zip fitted if it’s not right.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Are you sure?”

“What, about the blue dress? Yeah, I am.”

“No, I mean that you’re okay.”

Tears filled Kyla’s eyes then, but she did what she could to fight them back.

“I just don’t get it,” she said, her voice wavering. “They act like they’ve never been sixteen before. I mean, yeah, sure, we hear on the news all the time about the kids who got enhancements and ended up half dead. But don’t they trust me? Don’t they know I’d never get anything too wild done? I’m not begging for steel inserts to adjust my height—although that would save me a fortune on conventional shoes.”

Afreen chuckled. “Yeah, once you go steel tall you don’t go back.”

“I know, right? But I’m not asking for anything like that. I just want my eyes to change color. That’s it.”

“What did your dad say?”

Kyla swallowed. “You know him. He started going off on how this was just the start of me trying to break their rules and how I could do what I wanted once I went to the Tech in two years. Until then I’m stuck doing what he and my mother want.”

“Sorry, Ky. But it’s just two years, right?”

Two—years. That’s forever! What if Petra ends up with Bane? She’s such a little slut, going around and flashing the latest model in front of any guy who’s lame enough to follow her into her four-wheeler.”

“If Petra is that kind of guy, you don’t want him anyway.”

Kyla paused. Afreen was right. But…it was Petra. Kyla had loved Petra since they were five.

“I think he’ll love you in the blue,” Afreen added in a soft voice. She smiled, and the hurt in Kyla’s heart began to lessen. This was why she loved her best friend.

Well, this and for her fabulous wardrobe.

“So, wanna watch a movie?” Afreen asked, clearly on a mission to change the mood.

Kyla tucked a few strands of hair behind her ears and nodded.