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Just because Chevelle wanted to remain cooped up in the apartment all day, didn’t mean I did. Now that I knew we had a world to explore, it was great to be able to get out there and actually explore it. If I couldn’t do anything around the apartment, then I would go out for a run. I needed to move. I needed to do. Sitting around was not something I ever enjoyed.

In the closet were some sweatpants and a T-shirt I could work out in. Once I changed, I headed to the balcony.

“You’re going out?” Lara asked from the couch.

“For a little while. Like I said, there’s fresh air, might as well enjoy it.” I made sure to shoot a pointed look at Chevelle when I said it. She scoffed, but I think she was getting the idea. I couldn’t push her to leave the apartment, but we both knew that if she stayed inside every time she was upset that she was wasting time. Doing nothing. Giving up. Quitting.

Not like going for a jog would free us from our fancy prison. At least I was moving and seeing the world around me, trying to understand it. When I first dove into the Hollywood scene I experienced a lot of the same feelings: confusion, overwhelmed, anxiety, and determination. It was a lot like going to an alien world. And I learned fast that the only way to survive a new surrounding like this one, was to become a part of it. There were a lot of ways of making it appear as though you have adapted to new surroundings without actually changing anything about who you are. I’ve always likened myself to an iguana in that regard.

I stretched in the elevator on the way down, or started to. After taking a few minutes in the grass to finish my stretches, I started down the paved path around the garden. Moving was a release. I got lost in the air blowing past me and how it cooled my sweat. Refreshing. All I needed was my music, but that was in my backpack down in the basement of the mall still, no doubt. Unless the police found it and gave it to my parents or sold it to the media, of course.

Music. I loved getting lost in it. Instead, I had to make due with singing my favorite songs in my head, hoping I could remember the lyrics right. Anytime I sing a song in my head, I tend to repeat the same lines over and over again while forgetting the rest. It never quite sounds the same. Eventually, the words spill out of my brain through my mouth. It’s hard for me to think about music without singing along.

“I haven’t heard that one for a while,” a female voice called out from inside the garden.

Startled, I tripped over my own two feet. Thankfully, I was able to catch myself before eating the pavement, so to speak. Walking toward me was a tall, blonde, woman who had to be in her late teens or early twenties. Close to my age. Pretty, but not what I would call a super model. Yet, something about the way she moved suggested she had more confidence than one. There was power in her strides and in the sway of her narrow hips.

I kept my legs moving, not wanting to lose the feel of the burn in them or let them rest for too long. “Huh?” I asked.

“You were singing a song I haven’t heard in a while,” she repeated. “It was nice. You have a nice voice, too.”

I offered a weak smile. I’d been hoping nobody was around to listen. She wasn’t just blowing smoke when she said I had a nice singing voice, I did, but it wasn’t a talent I enjoyed broadcasting. Mostly because I wanted to keep it for myself. Only my family and Talia knew that I liked to do it, that I craved to do more with music in general. At the same time, I didn’t want to be one of those actors who tried to break out into more than one realm and then fail. Not too many people could make the crossover and be successful in both areas. And I’ll admit, it was nice to have something for myself. There are few things in life that are just mine.

My silence must have surprised the woman because she arched a finely plucked eyebrow. “You’re not even going to thank me for the compliment?”

“Sorry,” I mumbled. “Yes, thank you. I just haven’t heard it often, I guess. Wasn’t expecting anyone to be around in general.”

She laughed in a condescending tone that I knew all too well. Then she asked the question I was dreading to hear. “Do I know you from somewhere? You’re awfully familiar.”

“Can’t say that we’ve met before. I definitely wouldn’t forget you,” I said, trying to remain coy.

Perhaps the charm was laid on a little too thick because she was smirking at me and giving me the bedroom eyes. She was undressing me with them. I could tell because her gaze wandered over my chest and she probably noticed my T-shirt was a little too small. The sweat on it made it cling to me and it was uncomfortable as hell, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let her get a free show. Then her gaze went lower, like down there, lower. I understand all too well sometimes why girls don’t like guys oogling over them all the time. Women could be just as degrading. My horror stories are plentiful.

I gestured upward. “My eyes are up here you know.”

Bad joke, but hopefully the point got across. Anything above my waist I could handle. When a girl decides to check out the junk, well, that’s when it gets awkward.

She brought one her hands to her chin. “My turn to apologize. I hadn’t realized I was staring. Hard not to.”

“Thanks,” I said stiffly. Mostly because I was concerned she’d give me another scolding if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that she was hitting on me.

“I suppose you’re claimed,” she said.

“Claimed?” I asked. Then it dawned on me. Chevelle and the Achlivans crazy plan for us to breed. I quickly laughed. “Oh, yeah, I got someone.”

“Pity, because I don’t, or I won’t soon.”

Don’t show her that she intimidates you. I hate being weak. Something about her made me nervous. Okay, not something, the way she so openly disrespected me made me nervous.

Trying to stay polite, I simply nodded and smiled and nodded some more. “I’m gonna finish my run and head back. Got things to do. The lady hates it when I’m late.” I offered a small wave, hoping it would sell the whole performance in a believable way.

She folded her arms in front of her chest, still checking me out. “You don’t even want to know my name first? Who taught you, your manners?”

“Pardon me for saying this, miss, but you haven’t exactly been all too polite with me,” I said, trying my hardest to not show how much I was seething inside. Her jaw dropped, and I shrugged. “I’m just saying.”

Stepping forward, she thrust her hand out in front of her. “We obviously got off on the wrong foot. There haven’t been newcomers here for a while. I’m Rumor. Yes, my parents were a little weird when they decided to name me.” She rolled her eyes.

Cautiously, I shook her hand. “Tim…”

It wasn’t a lie. There are some people who call me that. It’s a nickname of mine, and the one I used back home for reservations so I didn’t get stalked all of the time.

Her grip was firm, a little too much for comfort. “You still look familiar Tim.”

“So long as you don’t accompany that with a cheesy pick-up line, I don’t mind.” I forced a smile, this time making no effort to hide that I was doing so. Boundaries needed to be established, pronto.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” She batted her long lashes. “But I will figure out why, you can be sure of that. Until then, I hope to see you again soon. Enjoy your run.”

“Thanks…”

I tugged myself free of her iron grip and pressed onward on my jog, adding more speed, and not looking back once.

 

 

 I don’t know what I was thinking when I chose to escape through the hallway instead of face my enemy. Was I afraid for my life? You bet, but it was more than that. I guess I would have rather been shot down trying to be free than taken hostage. In the end, my actions didn’t seem to make much of a difference in my fate.

First thing I had to do was push Chevelle out of my mind. Was I disappointed she decided to not come with me? Yes. Did I understand why? Definitely. She was scared. We all were. I had to respect her decision to stay behind and face whatever was ahead of her. Maybe she ended up making the better choice, maybe she didn’t. If I thought too much about her while I was trying to get away, I know I would have caved and gone back to her. I love her. Leaving her behind, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Somehow, I thought if I could get free, that would be the best way to help her.

The halls behind the stores at the mall would make a great setting for a horror movie. The ceiling wasn’t tiled over like the rest of the mall, so if you looked up, you saw all of the insulation and pipe work. Fascinating stuff, let me tell you. The halls themselves had some of the rust from the pipes overflowing onto them, so they have bizarre red tentacles splaying over the sheet rock. That’s not the scariest part, though. No, that award goes to the trash shoot. It’s about the size of an elevator and would be a fantastic place to dump bodies. I certainly was always extra aware of where I placed myself anytime I went to throw any garbage away for the store.

My plan was to see if I could get to a stairwell. I figured that since the power was off that meant the cargo elevator would be out of order. Stairs were always the best bet. From there I could get down to the garbage incinerator which was close to a massive truck loading center. Easy, right? Wrong.

The back halls are a lot like a maze. It’s hard to tell just where you’re going with the lights on. With the lights off, it’s even worse. My cellphone put off a good amount of glow for me to work with, but it didn’t hit the higher points of the halls where the signs were. This of course meant I had to work off of memory. I’d been back there enough times to have a good idea of what I was doing, but the adrenaline of the situation was more or less blocking my better judgment and memory. If anyone had asked me my name, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer, I was that freaked out.

My hands were shaking; my entire body was shaking, and sweating. So badly in fact, that my cell phone fell out of my hands and broke apart. The thing was always a piece of junk anyway.

I got down onto my knees and frantically started to search for the pieces, the darkness enveloping me, suffocating me, and making my isolation complete. If the battery had only popped out of the device, I could fix it and get moving again. My fingers had just wrapped around the casing of the phone when I heard solid footsteps coming my way from in front of me. Then I saw the glowing blue light and the ghostly thin face of its carrier.

Get up and run, or stay and forfeit. Neither option sounded all too great. I’m not a quitter, but I’m also not a coward. If I thought I stood a chance in a fight against the guy, I would have plowed through him, stolen his light, and bailed. The thing is, I’ve never been a fighter. Sure, I come across as tough, but I like to use my brain over my brawn any day. Why? Because it’ll keep me alive longer.

Plus the guy was pointing a gun at me.

As much as I want to say I’m a noble hero, willing to die for my cause, and all that poetic stuff, I’m not. People who aren’t afraid of death, really have a lot of guts, let me tell you. They also believe strongly for whatever they’re dying for. It wasn’t my time. There was a lot I still needed to do, and one of those things was protect Chevelle.

I placed my hands up, staring into the eyes of the man in front of me. There was a softness in his gaze, and that made me a little less afraid. But then I noticed how tall he was. Like, he had to be at least eight-foot-five, and skinny. Lean muscle covered his body, but I’m pretty sure I was wider than he was all the same. It wasn’t normal, natural or…human.

He flicked his fingers upward and I stood. Then he circled around me like some kind of bird of prey, nodding every so often. Cuffs appeared in his hands like magic. Yeah, those were for me.

If you like what you read, please consider funding the project.   

 

Chapter One

I want to say it’s a Thursday, and the middle of January. I’m not sure exactly because I haven’t seen a calendar since the end of October. The one we kept in the apartment ran out, and all of the others have been destroyed in the effort to make sure all of us poor, inferior, humans, submit to the ways of the Achlivan. We were able to draw one on our bathroom wall. It’s small, but it does the job.

It took some time, but I think I’m finally able to accurately document everything that’s happened in the past three months. For a while, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be ready. I’ve seen things I wish I could forget, and as much as I want to just go along with the way of these aliens, I can’t.

Letting go of my past life is not easy, and I’m terrified of forgetting it. Someday, the human race will be free from captivity, and when that day comes, they’ll need to know what happened and how life used to be. They’ll need to know that our species was once part of a thriving civilization.

That’s why I’m writing this.

I remember the day the Achlivans came, vividly. It was warm, which was something to cherish in late October in Minnesota. The weather there was always so temperamental, like mother nature had PMS. One day it’d be gorgeous, and the next there would be three feet of snow. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of July. That day, I want to say it was around sixty degrees. Jeans and a sweatshirt kind of weather.

Like most days before I had to open at work, I didn’t sleep the best the night before. Something about the anticipation of having to wake up with my alarm clock always messed with my ability to relax. I had the same problem during school too. Any time I had to wake up before my body actually wanted to, messed with my head. I don’t think I need to elaborate how going to bed at two in the morning on a regular basis didn’t make for waking up at a time before eleven often. It all comes with being a night owl. At school, I had the ability to schedule my classes around that. Work on the other hand left me at the mercy of my manager. Because I needed money – badly – opening was something I had to suck it up and deal with.

The store opens at ten, so it wasn’t like I had to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning or anything. Still, the morning of the attack, I was having a hard time wanting to get out of bed. I groaned several times and opted out of taking a shower just for the extra half an hour of sleep.

My alarm went off on my cellphone one last time. If I hit the snooze button and stayed in bed, I’d be on the chopping block at work. The fifty cents over minimum wage that I got an hour was almost enough for me to say screw it all and stay in bed. Unfortunately, it was still more money than I had in my bank account.

As if he could read my mind, my Chihuahua, Burrito, jumped up onto my chest and started to lick my face until I couldn’t breathe. Dog breath filled my nostrils, slobber covered my mouth and nose, and tiny paws scratched my neck and shoulders.

“Ugh, okay, I’m awake, I’m awake!” I carefully picked Burrito up and put him next to me. Then I reluctantly got out of my warm, cozy, bed. Getting dressed took all of five minutes since I threw on my jeans from the day before which were still lying on the floor, my navy Toy Tech t-shirt that I needed for work, the first pair of socks and necessary undergarments I could find in my top dresser drawer, and my amazing comfortable work shoes. All that was left to do was pull my long, dark, straight, boring, dark hair back into a ponytail.

I was halfway up the stairs when my Mom called down to me. “Chevelle, if you don’t get up here soon you’re going to be late! Breakfast is ready for you!”

“I’m right here, relax,” I said, meeting her at the top of the steps. “You cooked? Wait, of course you cooked. You’re always cooking.”

“Someone has to make sure you’re eating right. I figured you’d be thanking me so you didn’t have to eat all of that cafeteria college food.” Mom threw up her hands and shook her head. “All right honey, I can take a hint. You’re an adult now and you don’t need me to baby you.”

I gave her a big hug. “Baby me all you want. I just don’t have a lot of time to eat a big breakfast. Like you said, I’m going to be late. Besides, do the words freshmen fifteen mean anything to you?”

She laughed. “If you’ve gained fifteen pounds already, you’re hiding it well.”

Truth was, I’d gained five pounds, and it all went to my hips. For the time being, I didn’t look all too different but I could feel the changes in my body every time I had to put on my jeans in the morning. The typical five minute struggle gradually increased every day. Once I hit ten minutes, I was going to have to invest in a new, larger, pair. Pants should not be such a chore to get on. Would my mother have understood this? Over time, but not until I lost control over my weight gain and it became painfully obvious it was there. I didn’t want to go there and, like most American teenage girls, I believed I already needed to lose ten pounds as it was just to feel good about myself.

Ignoring her comment, I took a cold toaster pastry from out of the box and rushed to grab my purse and hoodie from school. “I’ll be back for dinner! Love you!” I called out before I headed out the door. Those were the last words I spoke to my mother.

Embarrassed!

Gosh, I haven’t posted here in forever. I’m sorry. I’ve been working so hard at writing and setting things up over at the other blog, this one got abandoned no matter how many times I said it wasn’t.

 

The good news is, I’ve found a purpose for this space that will be beneficial to all of us. This is where I’m going to talk about writing in general, the process, and all of my non-clean writing projects. Fantastic, yeah?

 

Over the next few days, I’ll have an excerpt or two of my new project for you to enjoy.

 

I am also going to be cleaning up the blog some more.

:/

I haven’t written in here and I know I said a revamp was coming. I got stuck with what to do here. So I think it’s officially safe to say I’ve migrated over to:

 

http://adragonslove.blogspot.com

 

Head over, follow, and enjoy. I enjoy the layouts of blogger much more than I do wordpress. Sorry for the confusion.

I know I haven…

I know I haven’t written much over here. I’m putting this up so that you all know: a revamp of this blog IS coming soon. You can count on it. ;) Keep your eyes peeled and thank you for staying faithful with my adventures!

July

I’ll admit I’ve been neglecting this blog for my Dragons one. If you haven’t gone there yet: http://adragonslove.blogspot.com. 

 

It’s probably because I haven’t had a whole lot to say here. Another book has released. “Control” Book 2 in the Battlefield series. I love that book. It’s a lot of fun. I’m very excited to have it out for sale.

 

As usual, I don’t have a lot to say at the moment that’s insightful or wonderful in terms of the writing world. I am writing. That’s about all I can say. I have new projects and old ones. I am writing. And I need to keep focusing on that so I don’t lose sight of my goals. Unfortunately, that leads to a lack of interaction with my fans, and that bums me out.

 

I will always reply to what comments I can, tweets and facebook stuff especially. And definitely always emails. I appreciate and love you all. Thank you.

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