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Alien Savior: 3rd Edition (The Arathians Book 1) by Nicole Krizek (1)

CHAPTER 1

 

 

“Where in the hell am I?” Lacy Woods wondered aloud as she squinted to see through the snow falling on her windshield.

She’d been driving in circles for the past half hour trying to follow her roommate (Becky)’s handwritten directions. Lacy wasn’t sure if she was lost because Becky was directionally challenged, or because a sudden snowstorm had covered most landmarks. But no matter the reason, she couldn’t find the turnoff she needed. The fact that it was eight-o’clock at night and pitch-dark didn’t help matters.

Lacy turned up her car’s heater and huddled down into her thick coat as she drove. She should be home, curled up in her pajamas on the sofa, cradling a hot cup of tea while she caught up on her latest Netflix binge. Instead, she was at the base of Mount Rainier trying to follow incoherent directions to a New Year’s party that she’d been convinced to attend.

“You have to get out of this funk you’re in,” Becky—her roommate/best friend—had lectured Lacy earlier that week. “You’ll never meet a man and have wild sex if you don’t go out among real people!”

Becky had unfortunately been right: Lacy’s multi-month dry spell wasn’t going to be doused by her sitting at home avoiding people. She knew that she’d been in a funk, and had sadly thought that the party was a step in the right direction—if she ever found the damn place.

When she went another few miles and still couldn’t find the turn-off she needed, Lacy threw the directions aside with a mumbled, “Useless,” then picked up her cell phone to call and ask Becky for help. No bars.

Of course, she lamented to herself. Of course there isn’t any service.

It was just her luck. With no way to call for better directions or to use the map app on her phone, Lacy finally threw in the towel. She didn’t want to keep driving in circles on mountain roads in a snowstorm. It was a miracle her Prius had gotten her this far.

“Oh, to hell with it,” Lacy sighed in frustration, as she turned her car around in the middle of the deserted road and headed back down the mountain.

Even with her windshield wipers on high, the snow was unrelenting, and her headlights almost made her trek more difficult as they brightly illuminated the falling flakes. She turned up the music to keep her mind sharp, and focused on the narrow portion of road she could see. She didn’t want to add “hitting an innocent animal with her car” to the night’s list of epic failures.

The trip downhill was slow, and for a couple of miles Lacy saw nothing but snow, asphalt, and trees—until she came around a turn and suddenly caught sight of something lying in the middle of the road. She hit the brakes a little too hard, and skated to a stop several feet from the object. Lacy leaned forward and stared through her windshield wipers in an attempt to make sense of what sat in her path.

The front of the shape was vaguely similar to a motorcycle, with a seat, a single wheel, and handlebars; but the back end was elongated, and looked like a platform with two wheels to keep it balanced. The vehicle glinted in the car’s headlights as if it was made of metal, but (if the wear on it could be trusted) it looked old.

Lacy had never seen anything like it. But as unique as the vehicle was, what concerned her was the fact that it sat perpendicular to the road, effectively blocking both lanes. There were two other concerns, as well: Lacy didn’t see a driver to move it out of the way, and she was positive that it hadn’t been there a few minutes ago when she’d driven this road from the other direction.

Obviously other people drove the mountain road she was on, but it seemed odd that someone would drive a motorcycle in a snowstorm. And why park it randomly in the middle of the road? Where was the driver?

Someone must have left it here, she thought. Maybe they’d had to pee, and they’re standing just inside the line of trees?

Lacy turned off her music, then honked her horn as politely as she could. There was no movement or sound to answer her.

Crap. What was she supposed to do now? The damn thing was blocking both lanes, and there was no way her Prius could go off-roading into the ditch to get around it.

Someone drove it up here, Lacy mused to herself. They couldn’t have gotten far.

But why hadn’t they responded to her horn? Maybe they were attacked by a wild animal? That thought had Lacy’s heartbeat kicking up a few notches, and she nervously looked to the forest lining either side of the road. Was there something lying in wait just beyond the first line of trees?

Oh, stop imagining things! she chastised herself. Inducing panic was no way to handle the situation—neither was sitting there talking to herself.

Lacy zipped up her down-filled coat all the way to her chin, then rummaged through her purse on the seat beside her until her fingers landed on her trusty can of pepper spray. Holding it with her finger on the trigger, she unlocked and opened the car door before slowly getting out. Her eyes darted around, but she saw nothing out of place.

“Hello?” she called.

Silence. Not even an owl or the rustle of the wind met her call. It was eerily quiet. The only sound was a tree limb snapping from the weight of the snow. In other circumstances the scenery would have been lovely, but at that moment, Lacy would have loved for a biker to come traipsing from the woods, hollering an apology before starting his vehicle and parting ways.

“Hello!” she called again, louder this time. “I need you to come move your motorcycle. It’s blocking the whole road.” Her words were met with more silence, and unease slid down her spine.

Lacy tried to calm her nerves so that she could reasonably think through her options: (1) she could go searching for the owners (yeah right, no way I’m hiking into the woods!); (2) try to push the weird motorcycle out of her lane (which would involve her leaving the relative-safety of her car); (3) attempt to drive on the side of the road through unknown feet of snow and risk getting stuck; or (4) she could get back into her car and use it to give the motorcycle a “love tap” in the hopes of moving it far enough so she could drive around it.

Ding-ding-ding! I think we’ve found a winner, she thought as she opened her car door to get back inside. But before she could swing her right leg into the vehicle, she felt a pinch in the middle of her back. The slight pain startled her, but the sensation quickly morphed into a burn that radiated out through her torso. Before Lacy knew what was happening—or could react—her entire body had become paralyzed.

What the hell just happened to me?!

Lacy stood, completely unable to move, with one hand on her car door, the other still holding her pepper spray. Her mind barely registered her body’s new state before Lacy heard the sound of crunching snow coming from behind her. He heart kicked into overdrive as the sound got louder. Something approached her from behind.

Move! she willed her body. But although her mind was still sharp, her body was completely unresponsive. I can’t even move my eyes! she realized to her horror.

She couldn’t turn her head to see what approached, couldn’t raise the pepper spray, talk, scream, or even blink the gathering snowflakes out of her eyelashes. At least she could still see and hear, and whatever had happened to her hadn’t affected her autonomic functions. It was a small comfort.

Stay calm, stay calm, she told herself repeatedly. It didn’t work. She felt a presence behind her a moment before something wrapped around her waist and lifted her from the ground.

Lacy silently screamed as she was carried to the motorcycle and placed on her back onto the flat platform. In her peripheral vision she saw a dark-colored figure move to straddle the front seat. There was a whirring noise accompanied by things moving across her body. They tightened, holding her securely to the cold snow-covered surface of the platform.

This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, Lacy silently repeated over and over. She felt hot tears trek across her cheeks as she lay staring up at the snow falling upon her.

The noise of an engine cut through the silence right before the platform began to move. The exposed skin on Lacy’s hands and face was pelted by snow as they sped down the mountain road away from her car, quickly exceeding the reach of her headlights and engulfed by the blackness of the night. Over the whirl of the engines and wind, Lacy could hear a series of strange clicks that seemed to come from the driver.

Who is he? Where is he taking me? Lacy’s mind swirled with questions that she was unable to ask. Is he going to hurt me? Rape me?

The questions consumed her mind. To hell with staying calm—this seemed like a very appropriate time to completely lose her shit! Unfortunately, trapped in her body like she was, Lacy was unable to effectively cry, rant, rage, throw things, or try to escape. Complete unconsciousness might have been preferable to the fear of being paralyzed and kidnapped while still having all of her cognitive abilities.

They didn’t travel far before the motorcycle slowed, and through tears that clouded her vision (she was still unable to blink), Lacy could see lights coming from ahead glinting off of the falling snow above her. The light got steadily brighter until she was engulfed in a lit space, and found herself staring at a dirty ceiling. She had a moment to be disgusted at the sight before someone converged on her. He came within her sphere of vision, and for the first time she got a good look at her kidnapper.

Her panic reached the level of hysteria when she realized that her kidnapper was not a leather-clad hardcore biker, like she’d imagined, but a four-foot-tall cockroach-like insect.

Before Lacy could get a good look it and begin to panic for an entirely different reason, the roach—which was hundreds of times larger than should have been possible—sprayed a mist into her face, and her world went black.

 

*****

 

Lacy woke with a scream lodged in her throat. She’d been dreaming about a fantastical (and horrifying) insect-like beast that loomed over her bed, it’s many legs reaching towards her with claw-like hands. In the second between dream and wakefulness, she struggled to escape the monster in her nightmare, to bring her hands up to stop his unwanted touch, but something restricted her movements.

Her eyes opened wide and she saw a grungy-looking ceiling, the likes of which she’d seen before.

It hadn’t been a dream—it was a waking nightmare.

There was a cold unforgiving surface against Lacy’s back, and although she wasn’t paralyzed any longer, a mesh covered her entire naked body and held her securely in place.

Only able to rotate her head slightly, Lacy saw that she was alone inside a small dimly-lit room, lying on a table. The room’s metal walls were bare, but severely stained and discolored, as if the building was old and abused. The only furniture pieces were a few tables the same as the one she was lying upon, and smaller side tables where strange metallic objects occupied the surface. None of them looked like things she’d seen back home… even in horror films.

Oh my God, where am I?!

She didn’t have long to dwell on the question. A nearby door scraped open and two creatures entered the room. Lacy stared at them in complete shock. Looking like four-foot-tall cockroaches, the monsters had an exoskeleton, claw-like hands on multiple arms, several black eyes, antennae, and were a dull brown color. Clicking sounds came from them both, and Lacy guessed that they were talking to each other.

“What are you going to do to me?” she cried out, but the monsters didn’t acknowledge her question. She watched, engulfed by fear and unable to move, as they brought tables of instruments over to her. She cringed back as they approached, but the mesh prevented her from moving away from them. She was only able to stare in horror as the creatures picked up various instruments and brought them to her naked body. She screamed as the first injection pierced her skin.

“What are you doing to me?!” she asked helplessly. “What is that? Who are you?” When they ignored her questions she changed to demands.

“Let me go!” she cried in fury and fear, as she thrashed as best she could in her trapped state.

One of the creatures injected something into her neck, and she felt a familiar burn radiate out from the spot. Within seconds her entire body was paralyzed again, while her mind stayed sharp. Helpless sobs built in her mind and heart, but her body was unable to cry.

The two continued to work, sometimes talking to each other in series of clicks. Lacy was forced to lie and endure each scan, each needle that either injected or removed fluid from her, and every caress of their rough appendages. It was demeaning, degrading, and she felt defiled—used. A steady stream of tears fell from her eyes.

Lacy had no idea how much time passed when she realized that they’d stopped. One creature took away a tray of samples, while the other injected her once more in the neck. The last thing Lacy remembered was seeing the overgrown insect scuttle away as she slipped into inky blackness.