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August 21 , 2010

The Cure

A Tale of Nora Watson


Sixteen year-old Nora Watson wants nothing more than to become a scientist like her mother was before her. Even though she’s two years shy of reaching adulthood and being assigned an official work-task, she’s been studying for the examination since her mother’s death six years ago. She dreams of finding a cure for the degenerative disease that killed her mother and has plagued the adults the planet over. For now, she works in the compound greenhouse, attends classes, and studies from her mother’s old lab books.

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Often lost in whatever task is at hand, Nora frequently runs late. One afternoon this tendency lands her into trouble when in her rush, she slams the door of the greenhouse change room into another child. Already embarrassed by her blunder, Nora is mortified to discover she has hit the most desired boy in the compound, Tomas Classen, and possibly broken his nose. Propelled by fear, Nora bolts from the scene, but knows full well that sooner or later her blunder is going to come back to haunt her. The other compound children revel in any chance they get to torment her.

Meanwhile, a flamboyant stranger by the name of Mr. Manners arrives in the compound, and is proclaimed a savior when he announces that he possesses a cure to the disease, but this revelation doesn’t sit right with Nora. Her mother taught her to question anything that sounds too good to be true and she resolves to not fall under Mr. Manners’ spell. Nora’s skepticism drives her to ignore the norms of politeness in the child-adult relationship and all but openly calls Mr. Manners a liar to his face.

As Nora marches full-steam ahead on her crusade against the stranger, she alienates almost everyone in the compound. This includes her friend, Ms. Amatrist, who is as ready as everyone else to believe in the miracle cure. The only person she doesn’t succeed in driving away is Tomas, although not for a lack of trying. Nora is as weary of him as she is of Mr. Manners. What does a cute, older boy want with her? There must be some kind of angle lurking behind his smiles and friendly conversation.

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