(Song for the chapter: Leave The City Twenty One Pilots) *Note: Obviously these songs are inspiring to my writing process or fit well with chapters and in no way are mine or associated with my stories.
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Book 2 in this series is a stand alone novella called The Unknown; Running to You!
As my vessel plummets through the stars I wonder why my life will end before it has begun. What have I done to upset the Creator? All I’ve ever wanted was to be a warrior and a lover. By failing my mission I am neither.
My comms are down and my team is somewhere in the stars. When they reach Planet 9 they will begin their search for females to save our dying race. They will be wondering where I am. I am wondering the same.
An asteroid found my ship and clipped it. A freak accident has disabled me. I am flying, well, falling blind. Chosen for a special mission and here I am failing at that like I do everything else. I sigh in frustration.
I buckle in and brace for impact as I feel the silver ship push through the atmosphere. Out of my window, I see a planet colored a magnificent blue.Gravity pulls me toward the surface of the blue giant and the rest is a blur.
The ship begins to groan as it speeds hastily toward death. I keep my eyes open, I refuse to die a coward. With one last thud, I crash into the ground below.
My head hits the window and I try to stay awake but the throbbing pain in my head is blinding. Smoke fills my lungs and I give in to the darkness. I am pleasantly surprised at the darkness. It has a voice.
The voice is alert, clear, and bright. I can’t understand what the darkness says but I feel drawn to it. It calls to something deep within me.
I thought death was something to fear, something final and yet the voice that calls to me sounds like the beginning of something. It sounds strangely like home. With that final thought, I collapse into its rest and accept this place of the unknown.
One hundred and thirty-two days. That’s how long I’ve been alone. Five hundred and seventeen days ago Earth went into shambles. War broke out upon the earth a final time, killing most of the earth’s men and a third of our women. Famine and devastation followed the war.
I’m one of the lucky ones. If you can even call it that. As soon as word got out that America was joining the war I had a gut feeling. I jumped straight in my car, left the city, and drove back home to my little hometown in Ohio.
That night, bombs filled the sky, destroying L.A., New York City, and Houston. The world turned to violence, chaos, and destruction long ago. While the world was on fire my family and I stayed out of view in the little farmhouse I grew up in. Woods surrounded us and hid us from the dystopia around us.
I had been training under one of the best chefs in Ohio before the war. I was able to sustain my grandparents, my mother, and myself. My father died in a war when my mother was pregnant with me. War seems to be something we just can't get enough of.
My grandparents passed away within months of each other two years ago. My mother passed from whatever sickness took over her body one hundred and thirty-two days ago.
I had no way to save her. All I could do was watch her die, slowly and painfully. No doctor. No medicine. That broke me. To pass the long minutes of each day I tend to the small garden, my source of life. I contemplate letting it die and withering with it but I know my mother would ask me to continue. To be strong and look for a better tomorrow.
I dig my fingers into the dirt, ridding the plants of the weeds that threaten to choke them out. As the sun descends I stare up at the lone star in the sky. It’s an orange hue, shining brightly. It’s mesmerizing. I realize quickly that it is a falling star. It shoots across the sky and the earth trembles as it plummets into the woods.
My feet take off before my brain can catch up. I race toward the fallen star like it is calling my name. I fumble in the darkening forest passing branches and briars. When I find the hole in the ground I find something otherworldly.
This is no star. It is a… I don’t have a word for it. None of our warships or even space vehicles look like this. This is too advanced for any country on earth. Smoke rises and so does my curiosity. I swallow my nerves and peek into what seems to be a window. The smoke burns my eyes and throat.
A man lies unconscious in the seat. I scramble around the smoking vessel. I look for a door but don’t find one. I take my garden shears from my pocket and race back to the window. The glass is compromised from the impact. With a few hits, I think I can open it.
The glass gives but doesn’t shatter. I kick it in with my foot and climb into the foreign vehicle. There is a man in the seat, lying unconscious. He has a cut on his head. There is not much hair to obscure the nasty gash. He takes shallow breaths and I know he’s alive…for now. I have to get him out of here. I saw this thing fall from the sky and I know our rockets carry lots of dangerous fuel and this craft is likely the same.
I use the shears to cut the seatbelt and wonder how I’m going to get him through the window. He is a very large man and I’m not sure I can lift him. He wears a military outfit in an olive color. The metals on his shoulders are written in a language I don’t recognize. He groans and his eyes attempt to flutter as I adjust him in the seat.
“Hang in there. I’m going to get you out of here.” I tell him but he doesn’t respond.
“Come on Big Guy. I need you to help me out.” No response. My blood pumps through my veins as the vessel creaks and groans. The adrenaline rush gives me the boost needed to drag him out the window.
With a not-so-gentle shove, I am able to get him out. The maneuver makes me stumble into the glass and I create a gash in my thigh. I grit my teeth so I don’t scream in pain. The man groans as we tumble to the ground. I’m going to kill us both trying to save him.
I roll him into the canopy of the trees away from the crater in the ground just as it catches fire. I tremble from the closeness of the heat. How will I get him to the farmhouse? There are woods to walk through plus the fence… The mule!
He’s old and stubborn but I think I can hook the small wagon to him and pull the man. I thank God my grandpa kept that stubborn old thing all this time. I complained at the fact it was another mouth to feed but now he’s an asset. I leave the Big Guy in his spot and run toward the fence. I hastily grab some herbs to entice the old mule and hook him to the wagon, feeding and leading him through the darkening night.
Big Guy is still unconscious but I manage to drag him into the wagon. His legs are too tall and thick and hang over the side but it works. When we reach the farmhouse I am utterly exhausted, adrenaline wearing off. Still, I push through.
I assess the stranger and grab a first aid kit, cleaning his head wound and the abrasions from my not-so-graceful rescue. To my surprise none of the injuries are alarming. I assume he has a concussion but nothing else seems to be severely injured. I debate taking off his uniform to check for more injuries but I’m no doctor and it feels like I’m violating him so I decide to leave it.
As I look over the injury my eyes drift to the rest of him. This man has to be seven feet tall. His body doesn’t fit the full-size bed at all. He has a military-style hair cut with a dark chocolate-colored scruff on his face.
His biceps are so big I don’t think I could wrap my hands around them. He’s pretty human looking, just very large. Maybe they are injecting the men with steroids again because he is massive.
I begin to panic. This man is not from America. What will he do to me? There is so much war and violence on the earth that he could easily take one of what’s left of the few women and hurt me. Even if he were from here I couldn’t trust him. These men are crazed with bloodshed.
Just as I am finishing wrapping the head wound his eyes fly open and his hand grabs my wrist. I am frozen as I stare into sunset-colored eyes. The irises are golden and fade into orange just like the sunset I watched hours ago. Black pupils are mismatched and I know he must have a concussion.
“Lizulu eli eli?”
I am using Xhosa as my “alien” language because I like the way it sounds and because I like having something you can actually translate.
Thanks for reading! XO,