Here is the first chapter of my next novel I’m working on. Hopefully this will give you the full picture of the story that my editor’s choice novel “One Day, Forty Nights” gave you. Remember, this is a work in progress. But on that note, I’m open to suggestions.
Chapter One: A Little Girl Amongst the Violence
I didn’t really know how to start this. I was never the writing type; I was more of an action kind of girl. I thought about starting with what his happening around me today, but these are dark times. But then I got to thinking, I should start at the beginning for those were the real dark times.
I don’t have many memories of my childhood. Many of them have been repressed, forgotten, and banished into a hiding place somewhere inside my troubled soul. That is where they all go. They go into that deep, dark, locked away lair where the running through darken alleys, the restless and petrified nights, the images of splattered blood, the dismembered and decapitated bodies, and all the fear I had did reside. Calling my younger years something of a “rough childhood” would be an understatement to say the least. The only fond memories I do have of it are of my mother. She raised me the best she could; even with the hellish and dark life she chose. I can almost remember her nowadays. It seems like so long ago when she was with me last. I can still remember the night I finally came to grasp her plight.
It was a stormy night if I remember it correctly. I was six – or maybe I was nine – at the time. Either way, I was just a mere little girl in a galaxy full of them. I wasn’t a princess in some castle on a heavenly, blissful planet somewhere, waiting for my prince to come sweep me off my feet. Nor was I a little girl that resided in the gutters of rock of tyranny. I was just a little girl, trying to find my rightful place in this universe. At the time, my place was usually at my mother’s left side; while she held her rapier tightly against her right. I never could understand why she carried that blade with her at all times when I was young. She’d never let me touch its shiny metal – it looked so pretty to me at the time. I didn’t know how dangerous and powerful it truly was.
There I was: curled up in the tiniest ball possible in the bed of a cheap motel room. I clutched my dolly with an unbreakable grip. I tried to sleep, but every clash of lightning and the following roar of thunder would startle me awake. I was such a scared little girl at the time. Mother couldn’t – wouldn’t – sleep either that night. Most nights, I’d be in her arms, cradled like a baby; not that night however. It was one of the few nights I wasn’t in her arms. It was one of the worst nights. It was one of the bloody nights.
A flash of lightning lit up the room for an instant. At the foot of the bed, my mother sat silently in the dark. Her back was to me. She sat in the direction of the lone door of the room. She was like a statue made of stone. Other than the door, a small window in the wall was the only accessible entrance to our room. There was another flash of lightning. The howl of the following thunder rumbled the room and stirred me again from my delicate, light slumber. I sobbed out softly, showing my disliking and fear of the storm outside.
“Mama?” I whimpered out from under the sheets, trying not to cry.
She answered me in usual comforting voice before turning her head around to show me her kind face. “What is it baby?”
When I looked into my mother’s face, especially those kind eyes of hers, I immediately felt safer. It was like looking up at an angel and having her aura instantly cure me of my fear. She pushed the brown locks of her hair out of her face and gave me a small smile. Her smile could freeze the fieriest of rages, and warm the coldest hearts. I always felt better when she smiled at me. Slowly she climbed out of her chair and crawled across the bed on her hands and knees. She let out a soft giggle as she sat down next to me. I immediately shifted up against her side. She kissed the top of my forehead as I barely peeked my head out from under the blanket.
“It’s alright my princess,” she cooed into my ear. “It is only thunder.”
“But mama, I…I hate the thunder,” I whimpered as I hid under the sheets with only the top of my head exposed.
“I know you do sweetie, I know.”
Outside the room and down the hallway, a door opened. Footsteps began to echo through the narrow corridor of the motel. My mother’s eyebrows twitched as her ears picked up the approaching footsteps. She looked over at the door with a look of concern growing across her angel-like face. The footsteps grew louder and louder. Mom’s frame grew stiff. Footsteps again; right outside the door. Silence – horrific silence – followed. I whimpered out in fright. Mom instantly placed her hand over my mouth to keep me from whimpering out more. Almost immediately, there was a rattle at the door.
“Quickly baby, under the bed,” my mother whispered as she pulled me out from under the sheets.
She pulled up the sheets along the side of the bed. I scurried under it – she almost stuffed me under. I squirmed all I could until I was finally under the bed. A thunderous knock came from the door. Mom froze. I froze – not moving a single muscle – and tried to hold back the tears that swelled in my eyes. My mother slowly and silently took my doll from the top of the bed and slid it to me. I needed my doll, but she wouldn’t help stop my tears. Mom swiftly moved to the side of the door and parted her cloak open. The gleam from her sword blinded my eyes for a sec.
“Crystalline, we know you are in there you fucking whore!” a scratchy voice came from the other side of the door.
My mother didn’t say a word. I held back my tears the best I could. A large bang came from the door. My mother jumped back from the wall as another bang rattled the door. She readied herself for whatever wanted to come through that door. I was on the verge of crying, clutching my dolly tightly. My mom’s head turned to me, and her soothing eyes took their affect on me. I looked right back through my squinting eyes and tears. Somehow, everything was going to be okay; I just knew it.
“It’s going to be alright baby. It always is…”
Suddenly, the window shattered into a million pieces. Glass flew to all corners of the room and caused my mother to cover her face. Some even found its way under the bed in front of me. A large piece slid across the floor and came to a stop in front of me. It gave me the reflection of the action above me. I hadn’t seen what came through the window, but my eyes grew wide with fright when I looked onto the piece of glass.
“Time to die bitch!” a crisp, deep voice filled the air.
I saw him. A large, ugly alien, wearing only black, had come through the window. Before my mother had anytime to react, he dashed forward and threw her against the wall. Mom tried her best to push the assassin away, but he easily overpowered her. His clawed hands slipped through her guard and clutched her throat. He growled into her face and spew saliva across her cheeks. Mom didn’t like that. She ran her hand across his cheek and scratched at him. He tightened his grip around her throat. She squirmed against the wall, and started struggling to break the hold of his large hands around her neck. He laughed at her futile struggles and raised her higher on the wall. My mother gasped for breath, but the assassin’s claws were so tight. No air entered her windpipe. Her face grew red with her struggles becoming more and more desperate.
My mother’s flailing legs kicked against the man’s thighs. He laughed more. I couldn’t hold it back; I screamed. He looked to the bed and then gave my mom a slap across the face. He let go of her throat and threw her down to the floor. She landed with a thud and clutched at her throat. She gasped for air, inhaling heavily, and tried to pick herself up. The man raised her to her feet by her brown hair. She groaned out in pain as he tugged on her hair and then slapped her across the face again. Her head whipped back from the slap and she fell to her knees. Blood started to trickle out from her lip. She caressed the reddening blemish her cheek. Mom was getting angry.
The assassin growled in a low voice. “Come on you stupid bitch! I thought you were going to put up something that resembled a fight. I guess you are just a dumb, stupid whore like my boss –”
His voice went silent while my mother knelt in front of him.
“If you are going to kill someone, you better do it. It’s no good standing above them talking about it when they have can hack off your little prick in two seconds,” my mother said as she twisted her blade that was firmly in the assassin’s pelvis.
“Why… you… little…”
“Now get the fuck away from me you scumball!” she shouted before slashed her blade down into his groin.
The assassin gasped for air as mother’s sword cut through him easily. He toppled over with a thump that shook the floor under me. Blood began to spill from the gash across his lower regions. His eyes – bitter and black – locked onto my wide, fright-filled eyes. He groaned out his last breath and went still. A steady stream of thick, red blood spread out from him. It pooled underneath him and spread across the wooden tiled floor. Sobs came from under the bed as the red tide crept toward me.
My mother stepped over the body and got down to eye level with me. She grabbed a hold of my arm and carefully pulled me toward her; also made sure to pull me away from the blood. Tears were streaming down my face when I rolled out from under the bed. I clutched my doll tighter in my hands. It was surprising her head hadn’t fallen off from how many times I’ve squeezed her to death. My mother looked down at me with her soft eyes. Her hands slowly slid up my face and ran through my hair.
“It’s alright hon; everything is alright…,” she said in her comforting tone.
“Mommy, I’m scared…” I lightly sobbed in her arms.
“Don’t cry baby; it’s all over. It’s all over.” My mother said after she wrapped her arms around me.
I continued to sob and trembled. “Mommy?”
“It’s alright princ–” she started.
Before my mom could finish, she was cut off by the sudden shattering of the door. The door splintered into dozens of wood chunks and revealed two other large, ugly aliens. Their long, green snouts stuck out at least a foot, and both had an evil grin that revealed a row of yellow teeth. They rushed into the room with their pistols drawn. My mom spun me around in her arms to position me behind her. The two men growled – drool was seeping from their jaws – with their pistols aimed at us. My mother stands up with her bloodied blade held out in front of her. I wrapped my arms around her waist, scared to death that this was the end.
Without warning, laser blasts tore through both side walls of the room. My mother dove to the ground and dragged me down under her. I held onto her tight; however, lost my grip on my doll. Chips of paint from the wall rained down onto us. The blasts screamed over us and smashed into the two men. They were ripped apart by the crossfire of blaster bolts that easily cut through their flesh. The male on the left collapsed onto the bed, while the other slammed back against the wall. Green blood splattered around the room in all directions. It was a sickening sight.
Quickly, two cloaked men, all in white, stormed into the room. My mother raised her sword to attack, but she then saw the face of one of the men; she knew him. He bowed his head in respect. He was a young man with rather large arms. His hands were huge, and his skin looked like tan leather. The other man bowed his head as he reloaded his weapon, and then he ran back into the hallway. Mom scooped me up into her arms and grabbed what she had backed in a bag. She carried me over to the dresser and grabbed my small backpack. I cried out and reached out for my doll, which was lying in a pool of blood, but a burst of gunfire from the hallway silenced me. Tears streamed from my eyes; I knew my doll was getting left behind. My only friend – the one who was with me through all those nights – was left behind.
“Your highness, we have to get you out of here,” the man declared and reloaded his weapon as the other man returned.
“Sir, the speeder is out front, but there are still enemy units all over the sector.”
“Mack, tell the others to clear the stairs. We need to get out of here before we attract any more attention.”
“Corporal Carl, lead the way. We are in your hands,” my mom answered and held me close.
Two more men in cloaks appeared at the door to join the other one. The corporal gave them a hand signal, and the three of them moved back into the hallway. My mother took out a small pistol from her bag and slowly followed Carl out of the room. She ushered me forward, holding me close with her free arm. We moved down the hallway, trying to be as quiet as possible. Two of the men waited at the stairwell and made sure the path was clear ahead for us. Our group slowly started down the stairs, with Carl and Mack leading the way.
“Where is the Aurora?” my mother softly spoke.
“She is docked at the docking bay a few streets over. She’s ready for her maiden voyage. She’ll suit you well madam,” Carl whispered back as we entered the lobby of the motel.
I could see through the front glass doors and saw a small black speeder pull up. The two other men took point and ran across the lobby to met the speeder outside. We quickly started to run for the speeder, but suddenly gunfire erupted in the street. The two men took cover and returned fire to an enemy we could not see. My mom pulled me and ordered me to duck down behind a couch. I did what I was told, still holding her arm. A rocket slammed into the side of the speeder, causing the floor to shake under my feet. I tightened my grip on my mom’s arm when the screams filled my ears. The rocket had taken out the speeder and the two men that were with Carl and Mack.
“Damn-it! Out the back! Out the back!” Carl shouted to my mom and Mack.
My mother lifted me up to my feet and we took off running down the main hall. Mack took point ahead of us, and Carl stayed right behind us, firing toward the main entrance of the motel. Carl barked into his com-link requesting new orders, but only received static. Mack stormed into the kitchen. The staff ran out into the lobby. Gunfire flew over our heads as two uniformed soldiers fired at us. Carl dove behind a pillar and returned fire. The exchange of blaster fire between them was so intense; many of the staff members were caught in the firefight.
Shots screamed past me and caused me to scream out in horror. My mom fired off a few shots from her pistol and pushed me into the kitchen. Mack kicked open the door leading to the back alley and went out to check if the way was clear. My mom stopped for a moment and knelt down in front of me. She slowly pushed my hair out of my face and looked down into my bloodshot eyes. I was shaking; I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. Small streams of dried up tears rested on my red cheeks. My mother cracked a smile while she wiped away my tears.
“It’s going to be alright baby,” my mother finally spoke as she rubbed my cheek. “You have to be strong for me okay?”
“Mommy, I’m scared…,” I gasped in between sobs.
“I know baby, I know you are. I’m scared too. It’s going to get better, I promise.” She spoke in her comforting voice.
“I want daddy…”
“We’ll find daddy baby. We’ll find him with our new home,” she said, assuring me.
More gunfire echoed from the lobby; it was closer and louder than before.
“Yeah baby, a new home. No more running, no more hiding. A place we can call home,” She said and hugged me. “I know you have waited for so long to have a home darling. We have one that you will love…”
I took in some deep breathes, and my shaking slowed.
“That’s my girl… be strong for mommy now.”
“I love you mommy,” I squeaked out in a whisper.
Before my mom could finish telling me she loved me, the kitchen was filled with gunfire. I immediately screamed out in terror. My scream echoed off the metal cabinets and mixed with the shrieks of blaster fire. My mom shouted to me to get down, but I was petrified. The blaster bolts tore through the metal cabinets all around me, and ricocheted off the countless pots and pans dangling above me. My mom frantically fired her pistol in the direction of the incoming blasts. The pots and pans started toppling down around me.
“Get down baby!” Mom yelled at me in fright.
Suddenly Carl came sliding out of no where and knocked me off my feet. He wrapped his muscular arms around me and pulled me down to the cold tile floor. Mack returned from the alley and started firing. The exchange of gunfire was intense. A large boiling pot took a hit and came crashing down. Carl rolled us out of the way just before it landed with a thud. Loud growls came from outside the kitchen as the gunfire was suddenly silenced.
Carl ordered Mack to take point, and we quickly rushed into the back alley. My mom was right behind him. Carl lifted me to my feet and led me slowly into the dark alley. He held onto my hand tight – he probably could crush it easily. I did my best not to cry, but it was a struggle. My chest was in so much pain from the gasping for breath. Mack and my mom marched quickly down the alley, weaving through the trash cans and dumpsters. Trash littered the ground; it made it difficult for my little feet. It was such a filthy place.
Mack went ahead of my mom at the front of the alley. He moved up cautiously and knelt down next to a trash can. He scanned the windows and catwalks of the adjacent buildings and then gave the sign for the rest of us to move up. My mom quickly joined him by the trash can. Carl and I went to join them. A rocket screamed from a window. It skidded against the curb and flew out of control into the alley, just missing Mack and my mom. I screamed out as it slammed into concrete wall near us. The explosion rattled the alley and caused me to trip. The wall came crumbling down in front of us. More gunfire erupted on the street. My path to mom was blocked.
“Baby! Baby! Are you alright?” my mom shouted from the other side of the rubble as the gunfire had subsided again.
“Mommy!” I shrieked out in between coughs while standing in a cloud of dust.
“I’m here baby, it’s alright!” she shouted back. “Carl, are you still there?”
“Yeah… yeah I’m here…,” he answered while hacking. “We’re alright. Mack, take the princess and meet up with the rest of the squad. I’ll take the little girl and meet you at the ship. Get her out of here now!”
“Stay with Carl baby. Everything will be alright. Shit, more of them are coming. Carl! Keep her safe. We’ll be back together soon baby. I promise,” she said before their footsteps echoed off the walls.
I called out for my mom as Carl grabbed one of my arms and pulled me away. She didn’t answer me; for the first time I could remember, she didn’t answer me. She was always there for me, always had me by her side. She left me, just like I had left my doll. The world grew much scarier now. I was frightened.
“It’s going to be ok girl. It’s going to be ok… It’s going to be ok…,” Carl repeats over and over he while tried to calm me down and pull me away from the rubble.
“Mommy!” I continued to cry out.
“It’s going to be ok girl…”
I wouldn’t budge from the spot though. He tried and tried to get me to move, but all I did was cry and shout for mom.
“Mommy! Come back for me! Mom!”
He finally picked me up and started to carry me. I screamed and struggled in his arms, but it was no good; he easily overpowered me. I was just a squirming doll in his bulky arms. I left a trail of tears behind us as he ran with me in his arms. My howls bounced off the brink that was around us. I cried with all the air I had in my lungs as he carried me along.
We navigated the labyrinth of alleyways until they led us to a side street. Carl set me aside him, behind a parked speeder, and tried his best to calm me down again. He didn’t do a very good job. Tears continued to stream down my cheeks and I stomped my foot in front of him during my tantrum. I couldn’t scream out, even though I wanted to. All I could do was stamp my feet and show all the fright and anguish I was feeling in my face. Suddenly Carl’s hand covered my mouth.
A speeder came to a screeching halt near us. It flipped around and pulled up a few yards away from us to the sidewalk. Three men dressed like the assassins earlier stepped out. I instantly stopped crying and went silent. My straining, bloodshot eyes locked onto me. Carl lifted up his rifle and aimed it toward the group. They started checking their weapons while someone still inside the speeder barked out orders. I couldn’t hear anything they said, but it looked like Carl was tuned in on the conversation. Slowly, the group departed in different directions, and the speeder drove off. One of them marched down the alley we were just in, and the two others went different directions down the sidewalk.
“Stay still girl,” He whispered and let go of me. “I’ll be right back.”
“Carl?” I whimpered softly.
He put his finger to his lips and gave me the sign to hush. He then crept out from behind the parked speeder in a crouching stance. He stayed in the shadows as one of the assassins stood by a trash can. The assassin stood there, lighting up a cigarette. He took a long deep puff from it. Mom had always said cigarettes were bad for you; always lead to bad luck. Carl slowly crept up behind the man and pulled a small knife from his belt. He raised the knife into the air and prepared to strike. The blade shined from the street lamp above; it blinded me for an instant. There was a splatter of blood and a muffled groan. I turned away.
When I looked back, Carl had grabbed the man by his neck was squeezing it as tight as he could. The man tried to scream, but Carl was slamming the knife into the man’s chest. Again and again the knife sliced through the man’s flesh. Blood splattered with each strike. The man kicked and struggled, but his futile struggles weakened with each thrust. Soon, his body went limp and slipped from Carl’s grasp. It flopped onto the sidewalk in a bloody heap. I watched as Carl stood above the man for a moment. He sighed and looked down at the blood on his hands. I have seen mom slice up bad guys with her sword many a times before, but this time was different. It was more personal – more intimate – with a knife than it is with a swing of a sword. You had to get in very close. I know now it’s the best way to keep things quiet – quiet but messy too.
Suddenly, out of the alley, another one of the assassins came charging out. He tackled Carl and threw him into a parked speeder. Carl’s rifle fell to the ground. The men tussled, grappled, and wrestled with each other. The both of them tried to over power the other. Carl lunged forward with the knife, but a quick punch from assassin sent the knife flying. Both men toppled over onto the sidewalk. The knife ended up skidding to a stop right next to me.
They brawled with each other like a pair of fighting dogs. The assassin connected with a powerful punch to Carl’s jaw. The punch caused them to break apart next to me. The assassin hopped to his feet first and gave Carl a swift kick to the face. Carl let out a groan and fell back to the ground. The assassin chuckled to himself as he pulled out his pistol and took aim.
I had picked up the dagger while they were both tussling around on the ground. Its rubber grip felt soft against my fingers. It didn’t feel heavy at all in my grasp. Strangely enough, it didn’t feel foreign to me. I looked upward at the assassin while he pointed down his pistol down at Carl. Not even thinking, I slammed the knife into the back of the man’s knee. He let out a howl that sent chills down my spine. Carl pulled his spare weapon and fired on the man. The shots sent him backward. The man’s blood squirted down onto us as he flopped onto the parked speeder, dead. Carl slowly lifted himself up and then looked down to me. Blood had found its way onto my cheeks, into my hair, and across the front of my dress. A smile slowly grew across his face as he gently took the knife from my hand.
“Thanks a lot girl,” he said and patted me on my shoulder.
I kind of smiled back; I had done well.
After picking up his firearm, he took my hand in his again. We quickly made our way down the street and into another alley near the spaceport. Carl told me to wait by a trashcan for a moment. I did as I was told. I watched as he scouted ahead. At the end of the alley was the back entrance to the spaceport. There were two guards standing at the doors. Both of them stood smoking cigarettes and holding their rifles in their hands. Carl quietly returned to me and knelt down beside me.
“Alright hon. We are going to sit here for a couple of moments and wait for them to head off on a patrol,” He declared and sat down next to me.
I nodded as I curled up next to him. I was shivering a little; both from fear and the cooling night air. He looked down at me, gazed over me, and then slid his arm over my shoulders. He pulled me close. I instantly felt his warm frame against mine. I didn’t know him at all – it was the closest I had really gotten to anybody other than my mother. I didn’t know why at the time, but I felt like I could trust him – it was something I just sensed. There was good in him under that rough skin; I just knew it. We waited in silence; it felt like it lasted forever. I couldn’t take it any longer.
“Carl? What’s the ship like?” I softly whimpered.
“Well hon, it’s a ship that is top of the line. It has got everything you and your mom could ever ask for. Trust me; we built you a great ship,” Carl stated proudly.
“What do you mean why?”
“Why a ship?”
“Because your mom wanted something to keep her mobile and safe,” he answered. “It’s going to be a new home for you two. You won’t have to worry about finding places to sleep again.”
“Because you and your mom are very special.” Carl replied.
“Because you two are probably the last hope for this galaxy.”
“Because evil lurks on every planet and its time has come to be stopped,” He answered while he watched the guards.
“Because people are easily corrupted and they haven’t been challenged to do good for a long time. Evil has squashed hope for way too long,” he groaned in disgust. “It’s time to set things right.”
“Because hope has been missing for a long time, but now, we have a new hope,” He assured me.
“Because your mother is truly an angel.”
“Why?” I said again.
“Damn girl, you are just–” Carl started before blaster fire screamed past us.
I let out a yelp as blaster bolts deflect off the trashcans and into the walls. Carl leaned out and returned fire. The two guards had heard us and opened fire on our position. I crawled into the smallest ball possible next to Carl. He fired a wave of shots, but suddenly he stopped. He began barking out in anger as his weapon was jammed. I peered over the trash can and saw the two men running toward us. Carl slapped at the side of his weapon, trying to get it to respond. Another pair of men came around the corner and started firing. Carl scampered back next to me for cover. He slammed the gun against the concrete wall, and still it didn’t respond. A small ball rolled to a stop next to me. My eyes grew wide with fright.
Carl pulled me away from the trash can and pushed us over to another. The ball exploded with a giant flash and the alley was engulfed with a blue fire. Carl rolled us over and shielded me from the blast. Garbage went flying as the force of the explosion threw us against the wall. I rolled out of Carl’s grasp and looked up into the barrel of a rifle. I wanted to scream, but I was frozen in fright. The man laughed and cocked his weapon. Carl’s foot quickly swung up and kicked the gun out of the man’s hands.
With another kick, Carl knocked the man to the ground and slammed the barrel of his own rifle onto the man’s chest. Carl pulled back on the trigger to shot him, but the weapon only responded with a click. The weapon was still jammed; Carl growled out in agony. He cursed the weapon before the man punched it out of Carl’s hand. The two men started to tussle. I scampered toward a waste container that had been knocked over. I cowered in fear as the two men fought in front of me. Another one of the guards came up to the two. He cocked his weapon. Instantly, Carl and the man stopped wrestling with each other and looked over to the weapon pointed at them. The guard grinned and opened fire on them both.
Carl rolled over and pulled the man on top of him; he used him as a shield. I let out another wailed out as I watched the blaster bolts tear into the man. Blood gushed with each bolt that cut through his body. The man was dead in seconds as there wasn’t much left as the weapon’s clip was emptied. Carl pushed the shot-up body into the other guard and scampered away. He yelped out in pain as a bolt ripped through his shoulder before he made it to the cover of a ruined speeder. He pulled out his pistol and fired a few blind shots in the direction of the group.
Carl leaned out to have a more accurate shot at the guards, but another blaster bolt smacked into his chest. He cried out in pain and flopped backward into a puddle. The muddy water splashed onto me – as did some of his blood. His pistol fell from his hand. The guards quickly ran over to him. One of them gave Carl a swift boot to his side and jammed his weapon into Carl’s face. The other kicked away his pistol; it skidded through the water and stopped a few feet away from me
“Where’s the girl?” the guard shouted down to Carl.
I curled up inside the container as tight as I could. I tried to make myself as small as possible in the dark. The man asked again, and all Carl did was groan out in pain. The other guard walked up behind Carl and kicked Carl’s back. Carl spat up at them. The guard that talked demanded to know where I was. Carl wouldn’t tell him. The man cocked his weapon; his patience was running thin. I had to do something. I mustered all the strength I could. I leaned out from the shadows to face the fear. My hands gripped the handle; I lifted the gun into the air. My arms shook; I aimed the weapon unsteadily. My fingers slide over the trigger and pulled back on it.
I fired one shot toward the two men. The recoil from the pistol was a shock to my hands; it was so violent the pistol was propelled backwards out of my hands. The shot tore through the neck of the talking guard and threw him against the wall. His finger must have been on the trigger because his weapon misfired doing his fall. The other guard took hits from his partner’s weapon. He fell over dead instantly. The other guard collapsed to the ground, grasping at his neck. He twitched on the ground for a moment as the blood seeped from the wound across his throat. I crawled over to Carl after he went still. I stayed kneeling down beside him as he looked up to me and took my hand in his.
“Damn good shooting girl…,” he chuckled softly with blood oozing from his lip. “Damn good shooting…”
Footsteps started to echo through the alley. I looked up and over to the dark shadows that dashed toward us. My heart began to pound in my chest. Flashes of dim light reflected off their weapons. Carl groaned out under me and reached for the pistol. He unsteadily held the weapon into the air and aimed it toward the shadows. He pulled me behind him as he propped himself up against a box. He was ready to take a stand to protect me. He might have been even ready to die for me – ready to die for a little girl he didn’t even know. One of their faces became visible to me as they approached. Carl soothed a sigh of relief. My heart immediately stopped its violent pounding when my mother’s face came into view.
She ran up to me with tears in her eyes and pulled me into her arms. Her arms wrapped around me so tightly. She began ravaging my cheeks with kisses. Her lips pecked me so hard her lipstick smeared all over them. She pushed the strands of dirty, hair out of my face and gave me a smile that was ear to ear. After one last kiss on the cheek, she took my hand and we quickly ran down the alley. I looked back to Carl as we ran down the alley. He winked at me as they lifted him onto a stretcher. He was going to be okay.
My mom guided me through the spaceport and into the docking bay. My eyes grew wide as I saw our new home for the first time. The light shined off the freshly polished hull. It was almost like looking into a set of mirrors. The large engines on her tail hummed and dimly lit the docking bay a hazy blue. As we approached the ship, something started to hiss. I hopped back as a large pair of doors opened wide. Amongst the steam, I looked toward the two figures standing inside.
“What kept you?” a woman’s voice called out to us.
“Oh you know the usual. Bombs, assassins, and guards,” my mom chuckled. “Hopefully we’ll be leaving those behind us.”
“I see. Well, now you are trading up to fighters and battleships.” The woman returned an uneasy laugh.
“Right you are. Good to see you too Jessie.”
“Good to see you too Crystal.”
“Honey, meet my sister: Captain Jessie Holden.”
The woman finally stepped forward, away from the steam, so I could see her. She wasn’t much older than my mom from her appearance. Her black hair was short and rested gently on her shoulders. She stood up straight and wore an orderly uniform much like an officer.
“You’re my mom’s sister?” I slowly crept forward.
“Well, not her literal sister, but a sister in arms,” she answered with a smile.
I noticed next to her was a small boy. His long orange hair swirled around his head like a flame. Most of it covered his face until he pushed it off his face. He was very young, probably the same age of me. My eyes gazed up to his, and our eyes were instantly locked. He cowered behind Jessie; he must have been shy. I couldn’t look away from him. I was drawn to his hair and face; it was nothing like I had seen before.
“Oh my, what is wrong with me,” Jessie giggled. “Your majesty, let me introduce our other young guest; Mikela.”
“Umm… hi…,” Mikela softly said.
“I figured young Nysa could use a playmate on board,” Jessie said in a sweet voice. “Hopefully she likes him.”
“Uh, hi…” After a second or two of silence, I finally replied.
“Hee-hee, it looks like my little princess has herself a little prince to be with,” my mother laughed.
I tried to speak again, but all I could muster was a happy sigh. I was such a little girl back then. It was as if I was love struck with a schoolboy crush right off the bat. I was just awestruck by his curly, locks of flame. I had never seen such a cute boy – I had been sheltered by my mom, and I have never met a lot of kids. This was my first real experience with a boy; especially a cute one. My mother chuckled once more and ushered me into the docking bay. I followed my mother as the woman lead us up a ramp and into a hallway. The hallway was brightly lit, the carpet was freshly vacuumed, and the walls were freshly painted. The air was cool and crisp as it was recycled through the ship. She sure was a marvel.
“Mikela, how about you take Nysa for a tour of the ship? I’m sure she’d appreciate it,” Jessie softly ordered.
“Ummm… No problem,” He replied and took my hand.
We started down the hallway, leaving Jessie and my mom to head off to the command deck and the bridge. We wandered through the ship for a bit before we stopped in the mess hall. The chairs and tables were stacked around the hall. Much of the open kitchen was covered in protective plastic, waiting to be used. Mikela asked me if I wanted anything, and I admitted I was a bit hungry. He quickly ran to the back of the kitchen and started to prepare me a small salad. I giggled and watched him juggle the various fruits and vegetables. He had a knack for cooking; even when he was that young. My eyes continued their stare at him, entranced by him. I had a real crush on him.
Minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days, and days turned to years. Living on the ship – I soon learned her name: the Aurora – was closest thing to I home I had at the time. It took a while to get used to the crew and to life on a ship, but within the year, I felt right at home. I hadn’t seen my mother that happy – that full of joy – ever before. She smiled more, she had fun more, and she wasn’t as stressed out. There wasn’t as much pain on that ship. Everything was almost perfect. The only thing that was missing was dad. I would keep asking mom about him, and she’d keep telling me that we would find him. We went from one system to another, doing my mother’s biding, and all the time, we were looking for him. But we never found him.