July 10, 2007, 11:32 am

The Literary Project: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

It’s time for the Literary Project!

Thanks to Maria over at intueri, a group of medical bloggers have taken on the following challenge: write a story of no more than 1000 words using the photo below as inspiration.

I chose to go with a sort of sci-fi approach.

Isaac Asimov, eat your heart out!

(In my dreams!!!)

If you like it, I take all the credit. If not, I blame it on finishing the story after being up for 24 hours!

The title: ” A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”.



Alecta sat with her head in her hands as her husband paced.

“Malec, please stop. Come, sit with me. The waiting is unbearable.”

“Do you really think it would be any easier if I were to be still? When will they tell us?” Malec ran his hand through his dark hair. “Why would this happen to us, to our baby? What did we do to deserve such a child as this?

“Oh Malec, how am I to know these things? I am confused, as you are.” Alecta sat up in her chair.” There was no warning, no foretelling! Are we to question the ways of the Maker?”

“I said nothing of the Maker, Alecta. I would not presume to question It. ” Malec peered through the window. The atmosphere was thick with transport vehicles. “We’ve been waiting for over eight timespaces. It cannot take this long to know the truth.”


Alecta had spotted Malec across the vast conference space during her technology indoctrination. He was striking in appearance, impressive in knowledge. It wasn’t likely that she would match his social level, so Alecta was surprised to discover that Malec resided in her sector. She introduced herself during a rest period, under the guise of asking a question on class materials.

Alecta and Malec petitioned for a Committment Document soon after their meeting. Following Sector Council approval, they petitioned for a Child Selection slot at the Department of Genetic Reproduction, or DGR.

They had reviewed their options carefully. Many of the Committed were choosing android children. They could fashion their child’s appearance and aptitude, plus modify personality traits. Alecta felt that to be a cold, impersonal relationship. She wanted her child to be a part of her, connected to her biologically. Her family unit had expanded in that fashion for millennia. Malec’s family unit, also. They were agreed.


When they were formed, DNA samples were taken from both Alecta and Malec and stored in the Department of Genetic Reproduction. Now that they had been given a Child Selection slot, they petitioned the Maker for a biological child. Their request was granted.

Unlike the parents of android children, they would have no say in the characteristics of their child. The Maker would combine their biological material in a way It deemed appropriate.


Alecta visited her child almost daily. Malec accompanied her frequently. Mechanical wombs were transparent and Alecta could see the other children as they developed. Something was different about her child. Others who had petitioned for a bio-child would peek over and look away or pretend not to notice. Her child was marked on the right side of the face. Alecta had never seen anything like it before. The maternity workers did not know what it was. Malec did not understand.


The Maker had chosen to give them a daughter. Malec chose to name her Prenya, which meant “chosen one” in his language. He carried a pictoral representation of her in his personal folder. He would show it to colleagues and friends, even strangers on the transitway. No one mentioned the mark.

One day an older woman was sitting near Malec when Prenya’s picture was presented. She took a fleeting glance at the picture, blanched and then slowly pulled the photo over to herself for a better look.

“Do you understand the meaning of this mark?” she asked, looking at Malec.

“No,” Malec replied. “Unusual, is it not? We do not know the purpose. Perhaps it is a genetic mutation.”

“Genetic mutations were curtailed thousands of years ago.” The woman said sternly. “The Maker does not produce mutations. Do you not read the Book? The Maker has given your daughter this mark for a reason.”

“What might that be?” responded Malec, beginning to feel annoyed. She was one who treated the Book as though it were the ultimate truth. That was so 2560’s! He was glad that he and Alecta were of the enlightened segment of society.

“If you do not already know, you will not believe an old woman,” she said. “The ancients once said, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Perhaps the thousand words you seek are in the Book.”

Malec exited the transitway and promptly forgot the crazy woman’s words.


The time came for Prenya to be released from the mechanical womb that had been her home for thirty-nine weeks.

Alecta and Malec arrived at the Department for Genetic Reproduction ready to take their newly formed daughter to their habitat. They waited for their escort to the birthing chamber. Instead, they were introduced to two men in flowing robes. Alecta was stunned. She knew these were representatives of the Maker. Why were they talking to Malec in such serious tones? Why were they not taken to Prenya’s chamber?

“Malec, speak to me! What is happening?” she implored after the representatives had gone.

“Alecta, they think Prenya is the Chosen One,” Malec said quietly.

“The chosen wha……” Alecta stopped mid-sentence. The Book. The mark. The mark meant something, but what? She tried to recall passages memorized so many eras ago.

“The One chosen to lead, Alecta. The Queen. It was written that She would be known by Her mark. They are testing Prenya now.”


The door slid quietly open and the two representatives of the Maker stopped in front of Malec and Alecta.

“It has come to pass. The Queen has been formed by the Maker and is now claimed by the Maker as It’s successor. Your daughter bears the mark that was foretold in the Book. The Maker confirms her identity.”

“The mark will be seen as a sign of beauty throughout the ages and your daughter will be revered by our people. This is an honor bestowed upon you by the Maker. Queen Prenya is yours to raise and develop for eighteen time eras. She will then begin her reign as the Queen of the People.”


On the way to their habitat, Alecta and Malec tried to come to terms with what they had just learned.

“Raising Prenya is going to be such a responsibility,” noted Malec.

“Raising a child is always a large responsibility,” said Alecta. “But the old woman was right. Prenya’s picture was worth a thousand words. What we saw as a disfigurement was a sign of royalty.”

By the time Prenya was old enough to assume her role, it was also a sign of beauty.


  • Awesome Mom

    July 10, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    That was a great story!!! Not quite Issac Asimov, but he left huge shoes to fill.

  • tbtam

    July 10, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Beautifully written, I really enjoyed it!

  • Jessa

    July 10, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    ooo! great story! it took me a few lines to get the time era but i soon caught on. maybe i’ll write one too…

  • intueri: to contemplate

    July 10, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    […] Emergiblog […]

  • Maria

    July 10, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    This. Is. Cool.

    Thank you for participating, Kim. 🙂

  • DJS

    July 10, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    wonderful adaptation. Inspired. Parallel.

  • Sarah Lipman

    July 11, 2007 at 2:42 am

    I think the point you are making, about perceptions of beauty being guided by social status and perception, is absolutely wonderful and inspiring. The sci-fi approach fits perfectly.

  • Candy

    July 11, 2007 at 7:12 am

    This is part Asimov and a lot Rod Serling — and I love it! I keep telling you, this could be your day job!

  • […] Emergiblog […]

  • Terry

    July 11, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    What a fabulous perspective, Kim. Well-written and imaginative!

  • mumkeepingsane

    July 13, 2007 at 6:41 am

    That gave me shivers. I loved it!

  • mcewen

    July 28, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Beautiful minds.
    Best wishes

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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