Authors: Jessica Frances
By Jessica Frances
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 Jessica Frances
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover Design by MGBookcovers
Editing by C&D Editing
Earth– Book 1
Roth – Book 2
Oden – Book 3
Time is a strange thing. Each minute never feels the same as the last. Time stretches, stills, and speeds up constantly. For my whole life, moments have shifted how time felt to me. I am nineteen-years-old, and as of right now, I feel like I have lived a hundred years. I left everything behind when I moved to America to attend college. I made new friends, and my whole life back home changed to just conversations through email and Skype. I was still close to my parents, but things were changing.
Nothing changed as drastically as the day Earth was invaded. Those weeks, after the invasion—after Hank, Lisa, and I went on the run—feel like a lifetime ago. So much happened in those weeks, making it feel more like we were on the run for months.
We found amongst the chaos Marduke, a stranger, whom we watched risk his life to save a little girl. We then saved him from the machines, and he joined us on our search to find somewhere safe from the invasion. I think, from that first moment I saw him, I began to deeply care for him.
The conversation we had together, when he told me he was actually part of the race who invaded Earth, was not a nice one. It was already too late by then, though. I had fallen in love with him.
We picked up three small children while we were on the run from the machines attacking us. Logan—a five-year-old boy, whom Marduke and I became close to—and his two young neighbours, Hope and Marie. I was devastated when he was taken away from me.
Ival, Marduke’s brother, had sent Lisa, Marie, and Hope back to Oden, their home planet, while Hank was taken away to Roth. Weeks later, Ival shot and almost killed Logan. In the fight that broke out afterwards, Marduke was able to send me away to Roth, but it took him weeks to find me again.
Every second on Roth before Marduke arrived felt twice as long as it was. The days dragged, and the only thing that kept me moving was Hank’s plan to exact revenge for Earth. I focused on getting my revenge on Ival.
Since Marduke turned up on Roth, everything now feels as though it has sped up until this moment right now. The creatures that attacked Roth, finding out my parents had been killed during the invasion on Earth, running for our lives in that forest fire, and losing sight of Hank—everything has happened in what feels like the blink of an eye. I have barely had time to comprehend our new situation, let alone everything that has happened to me the past few weeks.
Marduke, Ival, and I have been captured and taken off Roth. We are currently in a spaceship hovering over Oden, and we have two new foes to face. The creatures that are attacking every planet Marduke’s people own—including Oden—and the men and women who control them, Jeprow and his people. They want to kill Marduke and his family, and because I am important to Marduke and carrying his child, I have also made this kill list.
I am not sure how I feel about any of that. I haven’t even had time to process what we are going to find when we get to Oden. Will Hannah, my sister, be okay? Is she with Lisa, Logan, and the girls? What has happened to them since I last saw them all? What have they been through now that the creatures are attacking Oden? However, instead of thinking about these important questions, I’m bombarded by one thing.
I am sitting on the bottom level of a spaceship, which is incredibly high up in the air. My legs are dangling over the open hatch, and I am preparing to let myself fall out.
I am only wearing a strange jumpsuit to protect me, one that is using alien technology that possibly won’t work on me. It is meant to slow my descent down, but because I’m human, it won’t work on me, but hopefully Riley—the baby that is growing inside of me that has half Marduke’s DNA—will be enough to make it work.
Ival has already jumped and I can no longer see him. I’m not even brave enough to look down for more than a few seconds, instead I’m staring at Marduke, who mirrors my position.
He appears terrified and frustrated. I know he doesn’t want us to be in this position. He hates that he’s going to have to take a huge risk with my life and our baby’s. I know, if there was another way, he would be pursuing that instead. However, there is no other way. We are stuck, and as lights flash over us, I know our time is up.
I feel numb as I tell him how much I love him, wishing I had more time to say goodbye. He’s holding my hands, squeezing them painfully, as he leans forward. As foreign hands brush my back, we push away from the edge and drop from the sky.
There is nothing freeing about falling. Cold wind pounds against my face, causing my skin to wobble and my hair to fly upwards. The sensation of falling is petrifying, but what is worse is when, not only do I lose my grip on Marduke’s hand, I drop through the air faster than he does, as though I have weights tied to me. I leave him far above me, shooting through the air at an alarmingly fast rate, one that suggests this jumpsuit is not working for me.
I scream, never actually hearing my voice, as the ground approaches me quickly. I start crying, or at least attempting to, since crying while I’m struck by strong winds isn’t easy. I feel helpless, and after everything I’ve been through, after all the fighting I’ve done to survive, I can’t believe it’s all about to end here.
My arms are flapping aimlessly, but as my mind shifts to Riley, I bring them downwards and hold my stomach, fearful that not only am I about to be killed, but so is the baby.
I close my eyes, not wanting to see what is coming.
Then, unbelievably, I begin to feel myself slowing down. I open one eye, afraid I will find that I am wrong and I am still hurtling to certain death. Instead, I discover I am, in fact, slowing down.
I see the tops of buildings and fires burning in the distance. I make out those awful creatures, destroying buildings and small ants scurrying away. The ants are people, either Marduke’s people or humans, running for their lives. I’m about to land into another warzone.
The buildings are at my eye-level now, and I look below me, grateful there is nothing deadly I am about to land on. No sharp objects or a creature ready to eat me.
My feet hit the ground first, harder than I’ve expected, and I lose my footing. I collapse to my knees, jolting my body harshly. The only thing stopping me from landing face down on the ground are my arms holding me up and steadying me.
The sudden noise from my surroundings presses into me. I have gone from the rushing of air to screams and the sounds of buildings collapsing.
I try to catch my breath, but I can’t. My body shakes, and I am sure I am going into shock. It’s pushing away my adrenaline from the fall. I sit back fully so I am resting on the ground and glance upwards into the sky, searching for Marduke or Ival. Ival jumped well before Marduke and I did, as a result, chances are, he has already landed. Marduke wasn’t dropping as fast as I was, so I have no idea where he is.
I see nothing in the sky, either.
I just intentionally fell out of a spaceship without a parachute. What the hell!
I breathe in the air, grateful it doesn’t taste like the metallic air on Roth. The air here is smoky, no doubt from the fires I saw in the distance.
I glance around at my surroundings. There are buildings all around me, all different in size and colour, yet I can’t tell how old they are. In some ways, they appear faded and abandoned, except there is no real decay. Everything appears immaculate and eerily silent. It’s the lack of movement or life that gives this place an abandoned feel.
There aren’t any roads here, or at least not ones made from asphalt. I’ve never asked Marduke what transport they use on Oden. Do they have a need for vehicles?
I blame the shock for my drifting thoughts. I have just fallen out of the sky, and I am wondering about roads and cars. Definitely shock. Therefore, it is no wonder I’m caught completely off guard when a hand reaches out and grabs me.
I scream, half expecting it to be Jeprow. I scramble to my feet, backing away immediately, before I turn to face the person. Instead of Jeprow, I find Ival. I’m not sure he is any better, though.
“You survived, I see. Let’s go.” He nods his head to the side, already turning away from me and jogging towards the taller buildings. His arm hugs his side and I have the distinct feeling he has injured his ribs, perhaps even broken a few. His current appearance is similar to Marduke’s—bloody and bruised. I hate to think what Marduke has gone through over the past week with Jeprow and his men. How is it that he was being tortured that entire time while I apparently slept peacefully?
My hand grazes over my jumpsuit covered vest, fearful that, while I slumbered, something might have happened to Riley. Obviously a person doesn’t just fall asleep for a week naturally. I had been given something to keep me unconscious. I just don’t know if that was all that happened, or if what they gave me changed me at all. I wish I could physically see if Riley is okay, feel a movement to prove that he or she is still in my stomach, healthy and growing. The fact that the jumpsuit eventually worked proves that Riley is still alive, which is the only confirmation I’m likely to get that he or she hasn’t been taken away from me. I’ll have to wait to find out if there is anything wrong.
I tear the opening of the jumpsuit until my front is exposed and see the vest. I’m desperate to see my bare stomach, but without Marduke’s touch, that won’t be happening.
Ival calls something out in his own language, clearly directed at me. I can guess that he is not yelling out something flattering.
I step forward, finally finding control of my feet, even if I am a little shaky, and jog towards him.
“Where is Marduke?” I call out, following him easily.
Already he’s slowing down. Why? Then he stops completely and crouches over, a permanent wince over his expression.
“I’m not sure. Haven’t found him, yet,” he hisses out.
“Where are we?” I watch him uncaringly as he struggles. If it had been a stranger or someone I liked, I would have offered to help them; but I hate Ival, consequently I’m fine with watching him suffer.
“We’re in Edael.”
“You do realise that doesn’t actually clear anything up for me, right? Where is everyone? Where are your people or whatever?”
He glares at me, attempting to stand up straight but unable to manage it. Instead, he leans forward slightly, his arm unmoving from his side.
“This is an island where my… people lived hundreds of years ago. It used… to be Oden’s capital, but we since have… moved on to Jyin. Our people mostly reside... there now,” he gasps out, struggling to speak properly.
“So we landed in a part of Oden which is void of anyone?” Even as I say the words, I quickly recall the machines, creatures, and “small ants,” which were people on my way down.
“This is where we stored… the humans that made it back to Oden,” he says impatiently. “We converted most of the buildings here to be more…
,” he sneers the term.
“You mean humans are stuck here with the machines and creatures which are killing each other and destroying everything in their way? This place is a warzone. No wonder you ran away. I bet you weren’t even ordered to find Marduke. It was probably a convenient excuse to flee,” I taunt, unsure of why I am basically poking an angry bear.
As Ival looks furious, I smile, feeling a small amount of satisfaction that my words have angered him enough so that he’s breathing heavily, something that is apparently very painful for him, going by the sweat that is dripping down his forehead and the wince he can’t hide from me.
“I didn’t leave Oden in such dire circumstances. My… father did demand I find Marduke and bring him back. Oden has never… been attacked like this, so we had no reason to… assume Oden would fall. The only coward you’ll find on this planet… is my brother.” His rant at me has cost him, and now he’s back to crouching over himself, his breath coming out shallow. I almost feel sorry for him, but then I think back over every awful thing he has ever done to me, and that feeling vanishes instantly.
“Are you like, dying or something?” I’m proud of how nonchalant my question comes out sounding. I don’t want him to know how angry he has made me by calling Marduke a coward. I know Marduke is the bravest person I’ve ever met, and Ival is too stubborn to ever hear a word I would say to prove that to him. It’s not worth it.
“I would feel a lot better… if you would shut up!” he snaps, his wince morphing into a glare directed at me.
“Well, now that I know I’m annoying you, I’ll keep talking!” I growl at him. “So because your family is being slaughtered, or whatever, you’re suddenly willing to forget that, when we were on Earth, you were hunting Marduke and wanted to kill him. If you manage to get out of this alive, what happens then? You’ll try to kill him again? Try to kill me and our baby?” I’m not sure why I bring this up now. Do I really want the answer to it?
It’s already obvious how Ival feels about Marduke, his own flesh and blood. He just, a second ago, called him a coward. Hearing the words from Ival’s mouth that, if we can survive this war, we’ll still be facing a huge obstacle isn’t what I need to hear. Yet, I still hold my breath, waiting for confirmation that my future with Marduke is only going to get harder.
Ival stares at me, his eyes drifting over me and then landing behind me. He appears thoughtful, and a hope begins to build inside me. Maybe this won’t be as bad as I feared? Maybe Ival will be reasonable. Maybe he will take into account that Marduke saved him from Jeprow when he insisted we free him. What if the only obstacle Marduke and I have will be Jeprow and the creatures? What if Marduke’s family won’t bother us after everything?