Round 4 Challenge: Weave an element of Fyor’s story into your passage. It should be no more than 450 words.
September 10, 2025 – Melanie has been working under the world’s top geneticists and scientists for three years. As a research associate at the Cambridge headquarters of CloneLife, which purchased Harvard during the depression of 2022, she holds one of the most coveted scientific research positions in the world. Only 28 years old, there is talk among her peers that she is a future contender for the Nobel. Her job, simply put, is to sort, arrange and store genome sequence information deposited daily at the CloneLife GenBank.
Melanie has a knack for sorting and arranging. Her peers joke it’s in her blood. Her grandfather, Lee Maxwell, holds the CloneLife World Record – what was then called the Guinness World Record – for the largest collection of washing machines in the world – 2,023 at the time of his death in 2019. Lee had a taste for the eclectic. His collection included a washing machine with an attached meat grinder and butter churner as well as the notorious front loader that first brought the Asphodel Fields gaming cult into the limelight when Bob Landers murdered his terrier in a wash cycle before a live online audience.
Melanie has every reason to be happy. She holds a prestigious position at the most profitable corporation in the world and belongs to an elite research team on the cusp of creating a new sexless human being liberated from the evolutionary scaffolding that has dictated the development of all previous life. Her research will not only make history; it will defy it.
Yet despite all this, Melanie is unhappy. She senses something is wrong. As a rationalist, she is suspicious of hunches, intuitions, and other unquantifiable processes. Her reason suggests the CloneLife research is moving in the direction of progress. As Hubczejak once murmured to her offhandedly, for the first time in history humankind would be free of its corruptible genes, its tortured sexuality, its conflicted constitution; in short, free of its flawed humanity. But what Melanie is beginning to suspect, although she has not yet been able to fully articulate the thought to herself, is that humankind’s efforts to immortalize itself by rebuilding the building blocks of life may ironically be spearheading its extinction.
When Melanie first hears the rumors that CloneLife is funding the dog kidnappers in the greater Boston area she dismisses it as competitors’ slander. Even when a friend confronts her with evidence that the dogs have been kidnapped and exterminated, she enters a denial phase and rationalizes the actions as a necessary means to a justifiable end. Only when Cambridge residents start vanishing does Melanie resign.