Entry Nickname: Strange Fruit
Word count: 70K
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy
All Dan wants is a juicer. Healthy, fresh juice every morning seems like a good way to start changing his life for the better. And maybe, just maybe, a new and improved Dan will be what Stephanie wants. What he doesn't anticipate is a juicer possessed by the spirit of an ancient, evil necromancer trying to escape into the world and turn us all into his personal playthings.
The first sign that something isn't right is the juicer's ability to extract knowledge and abilities from anything Dan puts into it. He soon learns what it is to be an orange, how to read newspapers without actually having to bother reading newspapers, and how to become an expert climber without all that tedious training malarkey. Incidentally, that last one wouldn't have worked nearly so well without a light dusting of ground-up Spiderman toy.
But every time Dan uses the juicer, the necromancer strengthens his evil influence. When Stephanie dies, Dan is driven by sorrow (and, don't forget, evil) to juice one of her fingers. The ghastly concoction siphons her final moments into Dan's brain where he experiences her death first-hand (well, first-finger). She was murdered. Now, as well as endangering the planet with the potential release of an unimaginably powerful foe, Dan has a murderer to catch. And it seems this murderer may have strange powers of his own.
Can Dan and his ever-dwindling supply of friends bring the murderer to justice without destroying the world along the way? Perhaps, but Dan can't help wondering whether his life would be easier if he'd just bought fresh juice from a supermarket.
First 250 Words:
The feeling, initially, was not unlike flying. Proper flying that is, not flying inside a pressurised metal cylinder on a long-haul flight. The sort of flying you can only manage in a dream, or perhaps for a short period if you were to fall off a cliff. Much like falling, Dan felt little control over his velocity.
With a jolt (not a splat), the flight ended, and Dan was no longer Dan. Or at least, he was still Dan, but some kind of origami Dan; he was folded in upon himself again and again, both mentally and (seemingly to fit into a much smaller perimeter) physically. Despite these contortions, he felt fine; in fact he was warm and comfortable. There was a cool breeze, but it was refreshing rather than chilling. He was at one with his environment, swaying slowly with the air as it brushed past. He was plump, ripe and ready. He was orange. He was… An orange? An orange. A sweet, juicy fruit of the Citrus sinensis variety, commonly found in tropical and subtropical climates or, more frequently to Dan’s mind, on the shelf in a supermarket. As far as he could remember, though, he hadn’t been an orange before, had he? And oranges weren’t conscious, were they? Dan knew some vegetarians who would be seriously pissed off if turned out he was wrong about that.
The sensations of orangeness, of orangicity or whatever you might call it, were very strange. As well they might be, considering that Dan was fairly sure he was human, and therefore had human senses that had no fruity analogue.