Authors: LM. Preston
CopyrightÂ© 2009 Lanita Preston
All rights reserved
Published by: Phenomenal One Press
P.O. Box 8231, Elkridge MD 21075
Cover Artist: Shoshana Epsilon (
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file.
For my children and my husband, who helped me dream the impossible and gave me the support to achieve it.
More Releases from LM. Preston
BANDITS, Spring 2011
Daniel's father has gotten himself killed, and left another mess for Daniel to clean up. Saving his world from destruction, he must fight off his father's killers while discovering a way to save his world. Time is running out, and Daniel must choose to either walk in his father's footsteps or to re-invent himself into the one to save his world.
EXPLORER X - Alpha, Feb 2010
For most kids, a trip to space camp is a trip of a lifetime, for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. Lucky for him, he was engineered to survive, thrive, and dominate. Without realizing he is being trained to conquer worlds, and manipulated under the guise of a camp, he unfolds the plot too late for a change of fate.
EXPLORER X - Beta, Summer 2011
Determined to save his friends, Aadi and Eirena prepare to leave the planet Shrenas, but not before they immobilize the evil race of Femoh's from attacking the innocent Nutah. After their final confrontation with the species that tortured them, they race to save Dakota and Carter who is dying. Time is slipping and the possibility of losing a friend is not an option, but the foe that awaits them may be worst than the one they left.
Thanks to God for giving me a tenacious spirit of positivity with an active imagination and the energy to do it all. To my devoted Beta Readers, Marie Williams, Samantha White, and Jenny McDiarmid, Willow (Missy), Amanda and Jesse, who helped me create a better story. To my daughter, who challenged me to write another awesome story in which I have come to love the characters just as much as I loved the characters of my previous novel. To all the kids that have gone missing â you are the inspiration for this story and I pray that you all get home safe. To my kids, who continue to give me true and honest feedback for all of my work. I thank you.
She often walked this way home, listening for all the familiar sounds. Adjusting the handle of her small bag across her chest, she strolled slowly on the long suburban block that stretched quietly in front of her. It was night out, but it made no difference to Shamira, for she lived in the dark for most her life. She heard the quietness of the evening while she walked a comfortable pace on her journey homeward. There were no birds, no rustling trees, and no one walking the streets. Only the slight hum of the generators could be heard in the quiet of the late evening while it pumped fresh oxygen into the air.
Suddenly, out of the stillness, she heard someone approach, and she turned slightly to judge who it was. Shamira could tell the footsteps weren't friendly, but then again, neither was Shamira. A mischievous smile crossed her face that some would mistake for innocence, the furthest thing from her mind. The footsteps continued to fall quickly toward her, and Shamira slowed down to lure them closer. She knew that
Only one scum for my trap today
. She had dealt with others before, but tonight, she only had time for one.
He grabbed her by the neck.
Typical. Why do they always go for my neck? This is too easy.
She smiled to herself again, and figuring she wouldn't work too hard to bring him down, she swallowed in preparation for the attack. Restlessness rose in her in anticipation of the fight. Time was slipping away, and she had to get home before her mother did.
This has to go quickly,
she thought regrettably, for she hated to rush things. She waited to see what her captor had planned for her, and she stood seemingly docile with his thick arm circled around her neck.
“So, what do I have here? Ooh, I've hit the jackpot tonight, baby!” He shoved his nose in her hair and sniffed, “A pretty, sweet-smelling girl all alone. You have no choice, you know. You're coming with me. I have got plans for you, sweet thing,” he growled in her ear. She inhaled the smell of his putrid breath. The coarse hair on his arms scratched her neck. She squirmed away from him a bit, and his bulging belly pushed against her back.
“Hey! Stop, dude! Let her go!” She heard a voice in the distance.
she said to herself, knowing she would have to play helpless now. She had traced this creep for weeks, and now some goofball would-be hero would mess it up for her.
Dang it! No one must know,
she reminded herself, for no one could know what she did when she was alone.
Great, I won't get any information out of this creep tonight,
She felt her attacker slack up just a little, but couldn't resist the urge to hurt him, like she knew he had hurt others. She lifted her leg high and stomped down on his foot with all her might, cracking his bones on impact. He instantly let up his tight hold. She turned precisely enough to step out of his reach. He yanked her long braid, a move she didn't anticipate, but she smiled at his obvious feeling of superiority over a girl he knew was blind and helpless. A smile slipped to her face at the knowledge that he'd been tracking her for sometime. She thought to herself,
I may be blind, but I'm definitely not helpless, you filthy son of a bastard.
Letting him think he had the upper hand, she allowed him to pull her back into his grasp by her hair. Her back was bent back like a bow, and she sensed his jaw was unprotected just above her nose.
Not surprising. It's always this way. They all get cocky in the end.
She braced herself to head-butt her captor in the chin, hopeful that he would bite off his hanging tongue that dripped a disgusting stream of spittle on her nose.
Then, she heard it. The guy that yelled out in hopes of stopping the attack had run up behind the oaf that was too dumb to
realize that the gig was up. Just then, her self-appointed savior stepped in to save the day and snatched her target away by his neck. She heard him drag the scum slightly away. There was a grunt and rustling, and with a
the fat, smelly attacker was dealt a kick to his head after he crashed to the pavement.
Hum, that sounds familiar, only I kick harder. It appears the kid has some skill. He's sloppy, of course, but skillful enough to do the deed.
She heard the boy land one last kick for good measure, and her self-imposed hero walked over to her rescue. “Great. Now I have to play grateful,” she muttered to herself.
“Thanks,” she spat out most unconvincingly. She couldn't help it. This was her only set-up for the night, and now she had to find another way to control the rage inside her and solve the mystery of the missing kids on Mars.
It looks like another night in the training room. So freaking unfulfilling.
She rolled her eyes.
“I guess you're welcome,” the boy said, “but you don't really sound too grateful.” He tried to take her hand just like all the others who thought she was a poor, blind, invalid little girl. Disgusted, Shamira jerked away. She didn't need his help or want him there. He'd disrupted her planned attack, and the last thing she needed was for him to touch or pity her.
“I had it handled,” she said and then started to walk toward home. As she headed off, the temperature changed. It was getting late. She could always tell. She tried to ignore him and hoped he would get the message. The last thing she needed was a nosey
“You could've fooled me,” the boy pressed. “He had his arm around your neck!” He made the fatal mistake of touching her again. She didn't think, only reacted as she grabbed his hand and held it steady, yet firmly before he made more than a whisper of contact. Shamira did not like to be touched. It angered her immensely. Many people touched her freely, like they had a right to simply because her eyes appeared unseeing. They always assumed she needed their help, but they were all mistaken; she didn't need anyone's help. Shamira always fought her own battlesâsome of which she even created because she hungered to fight. There was an urge inside her, something she barely controlled. She breathed deeply and tried to hold it back, but it was barely at bay.
Nevertheless, he wouldn't stop. He didn't get the message and decided to stick around. He moved a distance away, but she knew exactly where he was. She had to breathe deeply to avoid doing something they'd both regret. She was getting angry again, just like she always did when someone treated her like she was helpless. They didn't know about this rage inside of her, this burning, this constant hunger for a challenge, someone deserving of justiceâsomething she could barely hold in. She stood down, calmed down, and waited, relaxing enough to drop his hand. She knew exactly how this was going to go. First, there would be his concern, then pity, and then his hand again as he tried to help.
I don't have time for this today. I'm already late.
“Look, don't touch me, okay? I don't like it, and you don't have the right.” She moved past him to walk home.
“Hey, I'm sorry, but it's obvious that you need somebody to walk you home,” he said then reached out to touch her shoulder just like she knew he would.
The dam inside her broke.
I was angry before, but now I've had enough playing with this self-righteous imitation hero!
She slid out from under his outstretched hand, smoothly ducked, and then turned around to land a solid punch to the boy's face. She didn't stop, either, but instead punched him again and again in the chest to make him backoff.
He took the battering, but yelled, “I won't fight you back! I don't hit girls.”
“Err! Leave me alone! Go away! I can take care of myself! I will hurt you, so just leave! Leave!” Dismissing him, she turned away and ran all the way home. She ran quickly and smelled the sweet aroma of manufactured air and the quiet
that was Mars.
Whoever he was, she would remember himâhis voice, his smell, and her dislike for him.
He dares to pity me.
She would teach him to pity alright. They would meet again, and when they did, she would not hold back. She'd make him stay out of her way.
Shamira's run home was warmer than usual. The Martian summer day that marked the end of school made a smile slip quietly across her face while her light jacket flapped behind her.
I hate school!
It only brought her grief and greatly tested the control of her temper, which could cause terrible things to happen if she were to ever let it go unchecked. The wind blew with the smell of dirt and dryness. She loved the smells here. They weren't overpowering and allowed her time to ponder over them. The smell of that boy had
been somewhat musky with a touch of spice, like he had recently washed.
Unfortunately, my captor smelled like he hadn âthad a hath in weeks,
she reflected, cringing a bit when the memory filled her nostrils.
On her run home, she took time to calm down and put out the fire of power that threatened to spill over inside her, to go deep, deep inside. She didn't want her parents to know this part of her. They tried so hard to help her control it, but even they didn't know she had her own ways.
She hated being late. When her mom got home from work with her younger brother in tow, she liked to start on dinner right away. She knew her mom's job was demanding and took a lot of the kindness out of her, but Shamira didn't care. Her mom was perfect to her. But Shamira's mom didn't feel the same about her. It was clear that Shamira's brother was the favorite. Her mom adored her brother, and Shamira admitted to herself that she adored him too. He was the only one she truly loved to touch. He loved her just the way she was, even with her imperfections.