In a city that uses crystals to shut down parts of their brain, an analyst has to resort to a back alley installation, only for the crystal to break.
Jordan Meadows needs to get a promotion, but the only way she's going to is to get one of those fancy new crystals everyone's talking about. Her husband won't let her have one, but he's hardly home as it is and so she opts to get a back alley job, at a fraction of the normal price. Things go awry when the damn thing breaks and she finds she can no longer control her actions.
Meanwhile, Foster Evans knows there's something fishy about these crystals, and as part of the underground revolution, he's prepared to stir up some chaos to prove his point.
When Jordan is forced into a Sensory Hospital, she must figure out how to escape a colorless madhousemarked by the deathmasks of each doctor.
Written for the Vicious Novel Writing Month 2010, the project was a frenetic competition to write a novel in 30 days where the judges supplied the topic. It was "Crystals." I completed the story in 16 days with a week to revise. Unfortunately, it did not win the contest.
The Emotion Exchange has sat in the digital sock drawer since its completion. There are some interesting ideas, but other stories have taken precedence.
Top image by Wanbao