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Alienated 
by C.G. Harris

Alienated Cover 13.jpg
Chapter 1 


 
Sea spray and hot sun were all that separated us as we slid along the ship’s rail. My thin shirt and swim trunks fluttered in the breeze while Wendy’s skirt flipped and rolled, threatening to reveal far more than her father would have liked. I ran out of deck, and we were alone at the rear of the ship. My heart pounded as Wendy moved in close, using her body to press me into the corner where the railing hooked around toward the stern. 

 

“I thought you should know something, Zander.” Wendy licked her lips. “I haven’t really had time to brush my teeth this morning—and I think I feel a cold sore coming on.” She touched a spot on her upper lip. “Right about there.”  


I stared down at her in horror. The bad thing about long time arch-enemies, especially since elementary school? They know your every little weakness.  
 

“Get that fungus culture away from me. I didn’t do anything to you.”  
Wendy leaned in closer. “No? Who told my father about the cell phone I snuck on board?” 

 

I glanced to the side and tried to look innocent. “So … did your dad say when they’ll get the boat going again? I’ll bet some of the passengers are pretty freaked out, being stuck out in the middle of the ocean like this, huh.”


Wendy glared. “Dad said the captain’s working on a computer glitch or something. Don’t change the subject. I saw you talking to him earlier.” 


I dropped the act and threw my hands in the air. “How was I supposed to know he’d throw it overboard? Besides, it’s not my fault. This was a no electronics vacation, remember?”  


Wendy shot me a tight-lipped grin and nodded. “That’s why I’m here. To thank you for showing me the error of my ways.”  


“Well then—you’re welcome.” I tried to scoot away but Wendy clamped a hand on the rail and blocked me in. 


“No, I think this deserves a real thank you.” She paused.  
“You don’t need to do that …” 


Wendy ignored my objection. “Do you know how many germs there are in the human mouth? It’s a slimy, bacteria-infested minefield right on the front of our faces.” Wendy exhaled a hot breath into my nose. It smelled like feet and an onion bagel. “I’ll bet there are billions of little infections and viruses and old rotted food particles just itching to get at you.” 


She glanced at my hand as I thrust it into my pocket. “Thinking about your sanitary wipes, Zander? Do you want to get them out?” 


I winced, fingering the portable container I kept there. She knew me too well.  
“Here, maybe this will help.” In one swift move, Wendy licked her hand, slapped it to my face, and smeared it all the way down my cheek, twisting for maximum spread.  


My hand shot out of my pocket so fast it ejected the little packet of disinfectant wipes and sent them flying over the rail. Gravity didn’t take them down to the water, at least not right away. Instead they spun straight out, defying any reasonable law of physics, as if they had been skipped across an invisible sheet of ice, only to drop like a stone at the end. I gawked after the little packet for a second, my head tilted like a confused dog, but the horror of my predicament left me no time to wonder. I was left clutching only a single towelette. I slapped the tiny white tissue to my face and scrubbed for all I was worth.  


“What on earth is going on here?”  


Great. Mom. Things were getting better and better.  


“Oh, hi.” I faked a smile. “Wendy and I were just having a little chat.” 


The tiny towelette started to wear thin and tear, but I couldn’t stop scrubbing.

 
“So I saw.” Mom waved a martini in our direction. “A very friendly conversation … I drag you along on the company vacation because you can’t be trusted alone at home, and here I find you doing … what, with Evan Whitman’s daughter?” 


My eyes widened with horror. “Mom you don’t understand. She pushed me into the corner and told me she hadn’t brushed her teeth …” 


“Zander! I don’t want to hear it.”  


“Maybe I should excuse myself.” Wendy eyed me up and down, then shot me a wink and smiled. “Catch you later, Zander.” 


Wendy walked away and Mom turned her empty martini glass on me like the turret on a tank. “Evan Whitman is my boss. He is everyone’s boss. He owns the company, this boat, and he paid for this lavish vacation—and you thank him by canoodling with his daughter. I should have sent you to stay with your father, Lord knows it’s about time he put up with you for a while.” 


“Mom … please, never say canoodling again.” 


“Ms. Craig?” Mom turned around and a man in a black tux held out a fresh martini. 
“Oh, you’re a life saver, Charles.” Mom flashed her executive smile. “Have you met my youngest son, Zander?” 


Charles smiled and nodded to me. “He’s got your blue eyes,” he winked. “And your good looks.” 


“Yes, well, at least at 16 he doesn’t have to get that shade of blonde from the beauty salon the way I do.” 


They both laughed and I turned my back on them to lean on the rail. It didn’t matter. Nothing I said would matter. I did my best to tune out their chitchat, and let my head hang and watched the waves roll past the boat below. You knew things had gone seriously wrong when staying in bed seemed better than standing on the sunlit deck of a luxury yacht. 


Glass shattered behind me. An olive rolled past my feet and into the water, trailed by a stream of clear liquid. Great. Dropping her martini would put Mom in an even better mood. Just one more topper on a horrific day. I turned, hoping to escape under the guise of finding someone to clean up the mess—then a scream cut through the air. 
People began to shout from other areas of the boat. I snapped my head back toward the water, searching for the threat. The bright blue ocean was calm and clear. Another scream made the flesh on my arms prickle. I turned back to see Mom staring up at the sky, face stricken with horror … and wonder. Before I could look up, a woman I didn’t recognize rocketed between us with a toddler bobbing on her hip, forcing me back a step. She held her arm outstretched to meet a man on the other side of the deck. He swept them both into his arms and stood there, as if he knew these were the last precious seconds of their lives. I shook my head, and forced myself to look away. Hot wind assaulted my skin and a pulsing roar crashed into my ears.  
I followed my mother’s gaze up to see a sleek silver-blue craft descend from the clouds. The enormous spacecraft blocked out the sun, easily ten to fifteen times the size of our two-hundred-foot ship. Its shadow cast a chill over my skin and replaced the warm yellow light with a blue glow emanating from its hull. The thing had the vague shape of a stingray and didn’t have any visible jets or engines, but it slowed and turned to align above us, revealing an opening where a stingray’s tail would be—some sort of cargo hold, open and waiting—waiting for us.  


The sleek spacecraft shimmered again. Our boat lurched, and I staggered forward, grabbing the rail to keep myself from falling. There was a groan of wood and steel, then the hull began to rise out of the water. Passenger screams redoubled as the deck tilted at an odd upward angle. Slowly, the huge ship rose free of the ocean and ascended toward the open maw at the back of the spacecraft. 


I turned toward Mom, wondering what to do, and saw movement from the corner of my eye.  


“Move!” I felt her hands on my shoulder.  


I’m not sure she meant to push me toward the rail, but I was already off balance. I reached out, trying to find something to hold onto. I saw someone holding my mom back, keeping her from jumping overboard with me. She watched me go, reached for me, but she was too far away.  


I fell over the rail and in the water, then everything went dark, and I couldn’t breathe. 
 
 

 


Chapter 2 

 
The shock of hitting the water drew every bit of breath from my lungs. I wasn’t a swimmer—at all. My eyes burned and water churned up my nose, making me want to choke. I noticed light above my head, so I kicked my feet and flailed my arms, doing my best to head for it. My lungs screamed for air, burning, begging me to breathe. They got their wish.  


My head broke the surface. I took in a lungful of air and seawater, before I went back down in the churning waves. I kicked harder, bobbed up, took another soggy breath, and slipped back under.  


My hand brushed something above my head. I reached for it and felt a rough rope, just wide enough for me to get hold of. 


I pulled, and my body rose. My face broke the surface once more and I gulped in air, pulling an orange and white life preserver to my chest. I looked for the ship and saw it hovering about a foot above the water. I didn’t know who threw the life preserver, but there were several others around me. They must have gone with a shotgun tactic which I was thankful for. It was a minor miracle one had landed close enough for me to grab. 
My floatation device carried me away from the roaring spacecraft, the ship, my mom, and any vestige of humanity for hundreds of miles. I didn’t know if I was escaping or being left to die. All around me, as far as my stinging red eyes could see, was seawater. It was beyond overwhelming. Undrinkable, unswimmable, unsurvivable. A death sentence.  
Even a bad choice was better than no choice at all. I flailed my feet and headed back toward the ship. 


Overhead, the spacecraft turned a deeper shade of blue. The pulsing roar of its engines grew louder. The ship continued to rise, already halfway to the cargo hold. I kicked my feet harder and scooped one arm into the water, clutching my life preserver with the other. Another life preserver, floating several feet in front of me, began to levitate toward the spacecraft. The beam still stretched all the way to the water, which meant I had a chance. 


But what would happen when the boat was inside the hold?  


I kicked and thrashed, trying to go faster, wiggling my body like an epileptic porpoise. Water from the ship’s hull rained down on my face as my body became weightless and I started to ascend. It felt strange. Not like something had grabbed me. More like something had been taken away. The sensation made me twitch and kick, trying to right myself in the air, but it was no use.  


My stomach flopped end over end with weightless nausea … I wondered if anyone had ever thrown up in a gravity beam before. I closed my eyes. That made things worse. I opened my eyes and tried to find something to focus on. Something small and blue rose through the air to my left.  


It drifted closer, and my nausea drained away. I squinted at the object, thinking it looked familiar, and reached out with a laugh as I recognized my travel pack of sanitary wet wipes. What were the odds they would find me here? Such a little thing, yet it gave me hope. The impossible made possible. 


I shifted my focus back to the ship and tried to think. Nothing I did made me move any faster. My body was at the mercy of the beam, at least for now. I needed to relax, conserve my energy. I was close to the boat, within a few feet. If the spacecraft pulled our ship far enough into the cargo hold, I could slip in right behind it. No reason to panic—at least not until I was inside the glowing blue kidnapping spaceship of death.  


Something hissed and gears began to grind above me. The sound made me spasm like a newborn baby, but I took a deep breath, reentering my resolve to accept the situation until I could do something about it. I cocked my head to the side, doing my best to see around our bloated cruise ship.  


The cargo bay doors were closing. 


My Zen like tranquility detonated in a thrashing fit arms and legs, as I tried in vain to propel myself through the zero-gravity atmosphere.  


The ship passed through the cargo doors with just enough room to get by. The doors kept closing like a sleek, bomb bay guillotine.  


Just when I thought my nether regions couldn’t twist any tighter, I saw one of the life preservers caught in the outer edges of the gravity beam drop past me like a comet. The beam contracted as the ship moved into the bay.  


I read somewhere that water is as hard as concrete when you hit it from a certain height. I decided I didn’t want to see what happened to the life preserver when it hit.  


The ship stopped rising above me. I could only see about half of it now. The doors were closing fast, but I was almost there—just a few more inches. I reached out and touched the cool material of the spacecraft with my hand. It felt like ultra-smooth metal or ice-cold epoxy. Super slick. Nothing to get a handhold on.

 

I reached over the edge and felt a ridge just inside the door. I pulled, thinking I was home free—just as gravity returned to my left leg. 
 

 


Chapter 3 


 
Weight returned to my hanging left arm, then gravity slowly returned to my head and torso as the beam shrank and retreated into the cargo bay with the ship.  


All my weight hung from my tenuis handhold inside the door. The package of wet wipes was still in my free hand so I jammed it between my teeth and swung up, reaching for anything I could grip onto. If I couldn’t pull myself inside, there would be two of me for mother to love … or hate. Two pieces of me, anyway. 


My left hand touched something rough and solid. It held my weight, so I pulled. My muscles groaned but I got my shoulder up over the edge. The doors began to close, hitting my back and stopping my momentum every time I tried to swing in. I strained. harderand pulled my torso over the ledge. The outside light began to disappear as I scissored my legs, frantic for a last bit of leverage. My hips were up, and the door just clipped the back of my thigh as I rolled my body inside.  


I gasped with relief and reached for the back of my swim trunks, worried I might have left some fabric trapped in the doors. That, and for the first time in my life I thought I had soiled my underwear.  


I let my head fall back and I caught my breath while I looked around. Everything inside the hold looked incredibly clean. Bright, sleek, and shiny, like an ice cave polished into a perfect dome. The walls had a faint blue cast, similar to the outside hull, and there were rows of black cylindrical containers strapped to the floor. One of those straps had been the handhold I used to pull myself inside.  


Above me, some sort of observation deck extended out from the wall, like a balcony, but no one seemed to be up there. Thank goodness.  


The spacecraft had an enormous hold, large enough to fit eight more of our cruise ships within its shining cavity. Another, smaller, boat listed on its side in the far corner. It looked like a fishing vessel, white with a bright blue stripe and lots of nets and rigging.  
Our ship hovered several feet above the icy-looking floor, held aloft by the gravity beam. It rocked in slow lazy turns, like a toy hung from a string.  


Some of the passengers on the deck looked down at me, waving and screaming, but I couldn’t hear them. I pointed to my ears and shook my head, hoping they would get the message.  


Apparently my sign language meant cup your hands around your mouth and yell louder.  
I pointed above the boat and made a scissor motion with my fingers, telling them I would try to find a way to cut off the beam. That message seemed to get through. The passengers nodded, wide-eyed and helpless.  


I wanted to know where Mom was. If she was all right. I wondered if she had jumped off the boat to try and help me.  


But for now, I had to get the ship free of the gravity beam, preferably before our hosts arrived. 


I jogged to one of the walls and ran my hand along the cool surface. There appeared to be a few doors, or at least door-like seams, in the smooth surface. There were also small access grates on the floor, but no latches to release them. The one thing I couldn't find was a way out.  


The spacecraft wasn’t built like anything I’d seen before. Not much of an epiphany there. It wasn’t built like anything anyone had seen before. There were no levers, buttons, or switches. Not even a microphone or speaker to announce when it was time to fasten your seat-belts and put trays into an upright position. The walls were just a smooth blue-white glass from top to bottom.  


I looked up toward the observation deck again. Maybe the beam controls were up there—not that it mattered. Unless I figured how to levitate myself, I wasn’t getting anywhere near that either.  


A new set of people stood at the railing of the ship. This group was busy trying to find their own way off. Mom wasn’t with them. , I worried more and more that she was floating all alone in the middle of the ocean. The thought twisted my stomach. We may have our issues, but she was still my mom. 


I turned back toward the door and smacked the wall in frustration. Lights began to illuminate around my hand soI held it there, and watched as a series of symbols appeared on the icy blue surface. Some sort of instructions. To me they looked like a preschooler got bored with a blue marker during nap time. Even so, it had to be what I was looking for. 


I was rewarded with blips and beeps with every touch and swish of my fingers. At first it was encouraging, but when nothing useful happened, it got annoying. I tried to push the symbols in a row, in patterns, randomly, everything I could think of, but I didn’t understand the system. The door wouldn’t open; the gravity beam would not shut off. 


I turned and threw my hands in the air, looking up at the boat for guidance. When I did, I spotted Mom at the rail. Relief washed over me. She was there. Not safe, precisely, but not shark bait either. I took a step forward and tears welled up in my eyes. I smiled, and lifted my arms toward her, not knowing what else to do.  


She looked down and mouthed something. I squinted. She said it again.  


What we were sinking?  


No, that wasn’t it. Thinking. What were you thinking? 


I stepped back. What was I thinking?  


I shrugged and looked back up at her. She shook her head and put her face in her hands. Was she crying?  


I leaned back against the wall, trying to decide what she meant, but my thoughts were interrupted by new activity at the panel.  


The wall turned green and flashed, then the ship’s lazy spin slowed to a stop, and it descended to the deck.  


My heart leaped. I still had time.  


I sprinted toward the open cargo area to peer up at the ship. It looked so much taller out of the water. There was no way I couldreach the deck from the ground. Unfortunately, that problem began to resolve itself by causing a much bigger one.  


The ship touched down, then it began listing to the side, falling like a narcoleptic giant.  
I sprinted in the opposite direction and dove out of the way as the rail hit the floor behind my sandals. One second later and that same railing would have cut me off at the knees. I looked back, frantic to see what had happened to everyone on board. The ship hadn’t come down easy. It didn’t shatter on impact or anything, but the whip-crack stop was enough to rocket anyone off the deck and splat them on the hard, cargo hold floor. 
I scanned the carnage but saw no one. Then movement above caught my eye. It was the passengers and crew. They were hovering in the air. Balls of light blue energy had encapsulated them and they were moving toward one another—but not by choice. 
The balls converged and joined together as they settled on the cargo deck. Then the bubble changed shape again. The passengers and crew scrambled to their feet as the energy bubble elongated, forcing them into a single file line inside. 


I scrambled forward, determined to find a way to break through the field. My efforts were foiled seconds later by another unforeseen adversary. A puddle of water. I slipped and went down in a skidding mass of slapping skin.  


I slid to a stop, hiddenbehind one of the big black cylinder pallets then every door in the cargo area flashed open. Two enormous … things walked in, carrying weapons that would make an Abrams tank jealous. Not that the creatures looked like they needed weapons. They seemed to be carved from seven-foot pillars of black granite … with a jack-hammer. Every crack and crevice of their jagged skin glowed blue as if from an inner light , and their chest and shoulders bore a strange insignia. Small pointed ears topped their heads, and their mouths were jagged openings with crags of rock for teeth. Worst of all, their eyes blazed with the same blue light as their bodies, but brighter and more intense, like a furnace that couldn’t quite contain the sapphire flame. They moved like armored giants, and despite the size of their spacecraft, I felt the rumble of their steps on the floor.  
I would rather face down the unholy spawn of a grizzly bear and a tyrannosaurus rex than one of these terrifying aliens. 


The lead creature swung its weapon around to face the people in the energy field. The firearm looked like a six-barreled cross between a bazooka and a rail gun.  


My face and limbs went numb. He was going to fire. I opened my mouth to scream as the creature pulled the trigger. A short beam jumped from the barrels and attached to the energy field. The moment the beam connected, the group of people bumped and bobbled, then began to move. Some were talking, some were crying, and some appeared to be screaming, but I couldn’t hear a sound.  


Mom walked in the middle of the line, neither screaming nor crying. I watched her move along for a moment. If I knew my mother, she was considering her options. She would find the best one, and escape if she could.  


I would do the same. 


As soon as both creatures were through the door I rolled to my left and dove through one of the openings, keeping my ears peeled for giant footsteps. Ahead of me, I could feel as much as hear the huge creature’s footfalls. Thanks to the curved shape of the hull, I remained hidden from our captors. I followed as quietly as possible.  


The hall was just as stark and barren as the cargo area, with icy blue walls and floors. It smelled industrial and clean. Doors lined both sides of the hallway, and while the narrow, arced passage made it easier to stay out of sight, it also made it easy for someone to sneak up behind me. 


I followed the heavy footsteps around until I came to an area that looked like a waiting room. There were several sturdy looking chairs set into the wall with doors that could be closed for privacy. I paused when the footsteps ahead of me came to a halt. Thats when I heard something else. More footsteps, but these were coming from behind me. 


These footfalls seemed lighter—less defined than the heavy clomp of thealiens. But someone, or something was coming. The alien in the lead must have heard the footsteps too, because he turned back to clomp in my direction as well.  


Perfect. I was sandwiched between two aliens with nowhere to go.  


I looked around for somewhere to hide. There was only one choice. 
Rest and get a little privacy from your killer neighborhood alien in the Acme relaxation pod.  


I ran to one of the open chairs and stepped inside. The door swung closed with a soft swish, but I didn’t allow it to latch. Considering my earlier experience with the doors, I decided I’d rather not end up trapped in an alien chair pod.  


I glanced down at the big industrial looking seat and wondered how many alien butts had plopped down there and what sort of germs existed in outer space. War of the Worlds in reverse came to mind. 


I decided to stand and treat the pod like an outhouse restroom—which I wouldn’t be caught dead in—while I waited for the glowy blue granite aliens to find me and kill me. 

Chapter 4

 

 

The footsteps padding up behind me moved much faster than the ones I followed. I watched through the crack of the pod, staring back down the arced hall. A shadow grew on the slick blue wall. A moment later the owner of the plodding feet emerged around the bend. My stomach dropped. Wendy Whitman.

Of all people, why had she escaped? She should be trapped with the crowd or making friends with sharp-toothed creatures in the ocean, instead of flat-foot stomping down the aliens’ hall, advertising our position.

I could stay quiet. Wendy would never see me, and the aliens would return and toss her in with the rest of the prisoners—to be tortured and who knows what else while I wandered out here all alone, wondering what to do.

Wendy paused in the alcove outside the pod. I couldn’t hear the other footsteps anymore, thanks to Wendy’s snoring pig breaths, but the thing had to be getting close.

“Psst … Wendy … in here.”

Wendy let out a little eep and nearly jumped out of her shoes. She turned to face me, hands raised, ready to fight. When she recognized me, Wendy actually rolled her eyes and turned away.

My face felt hot, but I did my best to tamp down my rage. Wendy was too far away to grab, and I wasn’t about to expose myself for someone who rolled her eyes at a rescuer.

“Wendy,” I whispered, praying my voice wouldn’t carry, “quit acting like a rich brat and get in here. They’re coming. Get in … or beat it, one or the other.”

Wendy squinted at me with disgust and skepticism for a moment, then she bounded in my direction and squeezed into the pod.

The mini-room was made for a creature larger than a human, but only one of them, so the quarters were a little tight—especially when the door latched behind Wendy.

“Don’t let it close all the way, are you crazy?” The pitch of my whisper rose to the tone of a dog whistle. “What if it only opens from the outside?”

“What do you mean it only opens from the outside? How was I supposed to know?”

Wendy turned around, squishing me into the back of the pod. I was forced into the seat with every part of my body touching either Wendy or the pod. Visions of a roadside outhouse came back to mind; I tried not to think about who—or what had been in here before me.

Wendy ran her hands over the door but, like the cargo area, she found no handle. “Are you kidding me?”

She started to slap the wall of the pod, but I caught her arm and whipped the packet of wet-wipes out of my pocket and shoved it over her mouth just in time to stop another noisy objection. Wendy fought me for a moment. I was afraid my fingers might slip and touch her cold-sore infested lip, but then she peered through the small port window in front of her and froze.

Our alien visitor had returned, and was searching the area. Not that he had much to search: a hall, the sitting area, and the pods. In hindsight, I felt like I had put us on a platter. We were just missing the apple in our mouth. Where else could we be but in the pods?

The alien looked around, casting a soft blue glow on the walls with its inner light. Its blazing eyes passed over the pods. I pulled Wendy back, doing my best to melt us into the shadows. Wendy had her hand wrapped around mine, squeezing it tight but I was too scared to care.

The alien paused for only a moment, then continued on without giving the pods a second glance. When it disappeared around the corner, I realized I wasn’t breathing. I let out my breath in a rush, blowing it into Wendy’s long black hair.

She apparently came to the realization that she was touching me and tried to wrench herself away—not an easy task with less than twelve inches of spare space between us.

“Why would you jump into a box that locks from the outside, you idiot?”

I squished my body around her to reach the door. “It’s not like I knew when I came in. Besides, did you see anywhere else to hide?”

I ran my palm along the door, hoping to activate the controls the way I had in the cargo area. Halfway down the door, the space around my hand turned blue and the list of cryptic commands appeared.

“How did you do that?” Wendy pointed to the alien symbols.

“I played around a little in the cargo bay. How did you get out, anyway?” I ran my fingers over the panel, hoping to find the open command.

“Dad hid me in a secret compartment in the engine room. How did you get away?”

“Mom shoved me overboard.”

Wendy let out a cruel laugh.

Something beeped and hummed behind me. I turned to see Wendy punching random commands on another panel, opposite mine.

“Stop doing that. We don’t know what that stuff does.”

“What’s the worst that could happen?” she asked. “We have to open the doors before big, glowing and ugly comes back. Just keep pushing buttons.”

“What’s the worst that could happen?” I repeated. “We’re trapped on an alien ship. In space. I’d say the possibilities are limitless.”

Wendy rolled her eyes again and went back to pushing random buttons. I reached out to stop her, but the pod shuddered and some sort of locks clunked into place. I pushed on the door, hoping it was the sound of freedom. Somehow, I knew it wasn’t.

The lights inside the pod changed from blue to red and the option lists on the walls disappeared, replaced by one large character that transformed into something different about every second.

“Nice work,” I said.

Wendy shrugged. “How was I supposed to know that would happen? You weren’t doing any better.”

I felt my face getting red again. I hated when that happened, because it always let Wendy know she’d gotten under my skin.

“I was trying to think through a solution,” I said.

The symbol swirled and transformed again.

“If you hadn’t pulled me in here, we wouldn’t need to find a solution.”

“True,” I said. “You’d be an alien captive, and I’d be happy. Looks like we both screwed up.”

 

The figure on the wall changed three more times, beeping now with each new change.

“Should we worry about this?” Wendy pointed to the bright red cryptograph.

“I don’t know. It looks like it’s counting down to something. You figured out how to turn it on, you turn it off.”

I sat down in the seat again, giving up all hope of steering clear of the E.T. germ factory. The second my butt hit the chair, the pod shifted, throwing Wendy into my lap.

“What did you do?” Wendy scrambled up as if she had fallen into a vat of sewage. “Get off me.”

“I didn’t do anything, and you were on me.”

Red lights started blinking inside the pod and the beeping became faster and more constant. Then everything went quiet. The pod jerked and tumbled, eerily silent. Wendy and I stared out the small port window. The sleek spacecraft that had pulled us out of the ocean moved away, leaving us in something far more vast and empty. The emptiness of space.

The pod wasn’t just a place to sit and relax. It was an escape pod.

Lost in space … with Wendy Whitman. I should have taken my chances with the aliens.

To Be Continued...

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 1
Chapter 4
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