Welcome back for Day 4 of Fall Fantasy Conclave and our featured author, J.L.Hendricks. Yesterday, you got to learn a little about our Indie friend, but today, you get to read some of her stuff!
Let’s take a peek into Worlds Away:
My heart was still pumping an hour later, and my adrenaline seemed to be burning out. I was exhausted just sitting there holding tight to the laser gun as well as to the couch every time our ship was hit. I wanted to say that I could hear the laser cannons fire, or whatever they called them on this ship. But I knew it must be my imagination creating the sounds in order to keep track of the fighting somehow.
However, I really did hear some of the torpedoes going back and forth. It was a weird sound, almost like Superman flying super-fast through a tunnel and taking all sound with him through that tunnel. Then it was super quiet for less than half a second which was always followed by a loud bang and then the ship would jerk one way or another. At least there was a warning sound before the torpedoes hit. They packed the most punch.
The next hit, well, it was almost what killed us. The ship started to tilt, like it had lost its stabilizers or something, but we must have gotten a good hit on them as well because another hit didn’t come for a while. I could feel us limping along. Since we were slanted, Lisa and I had to hold on tight to the couch. I had never been so happy to see furniture tied to the ground before. Some of the knickknacks and loose items like chairs and pillows were flying around as we tried to get away from the enemy ship.
We turned and headed to something, at the time I didn’t know what. But at least we weren’t getting shot at any more. It seemed like days before we made it to the planet. The only reason I knew we were at the planet is because Venay called me, again.
“Venay, I am fine. No need to worry about me.”
“Thank the moons! But I am calling to warn you, this next bit is going to get very difficult. There should be a place in the quarters you are in where you can strap yourself to a fold down chair on the wall. Find that and get your butt in it now. We are going to try landing this ship on the planet before the enemy can catch up to us. But with the damage, re-entry is going to make for a very bumpy flight. Can you do that?”
“Yes, I can. Thank you Venay.”
He grunted and then hung up. “Lisa is there a set of fold down emergency chairs that we can lock ourselves in? You know, like the jump seats on a commercial flight?”
“Yes, in the back bedroom. There are two seats there. What’s going on?”
“Has Rotna called you yet?”
“Yes, he tried once but was told to focus on his task, not his mate.” Her cheeks actually turned a shade of pink. I wondered when they were planning their ceremony.
“Glad to know he is fine.”
“Why do we need to do this? Is the ship getting worse?” Lisa asked, with wide eyes.
“Yes, we are approaching the planet and going to attempt to land before the enemy ship can catch us. The re-entry is going to be tough.” We made it to the back room and found the seats. There were a few things that had blocked our way, but we moved them without much issue.
It was a good thing Venay called to warn me, because we weren’t even buckled in when I felt the ship jerking and shaking like an amusement park ride about to go off the rails.
My teeth hurt so bad within just the first two minutes, I thought they might all be cracked, first from the chattering they were doing with the way we jumbled around and then from the pressure I put on my mouth to stay closed. Somewhere along the way I had bit my tongue and it hurt.
I couldn’t say how long it took for us to get through the atmosphere, but it felt like forever. I could tell when we made it because we started to smooth out and the ship wasn’t jerking so badly. The loud noise that almost made me deaf had also quieted down, now it was more like a ball whistling through the air. Although, my head was pounding and my body ached from all of the jostling and clenching. I don’t think I have ever held on to anything as tightly as those restraints, ever!
“Lisa, you ok?”
“Did we make it?” She looked around the room wide eyed and I could see she had been crying. Her face was streaked with the paths her tears left. But I couldn’t blame her. I was pretty scared myself and if I hadn’t survived five years on the streets I would have probably been crying as well.
“So far. I don’t think we have landed yet. So stay seated until we are told we can move. I have a feeling we are going to feel the landing as well.”
The ship was still tilted and the seats were very uncomfortable, we were slanted to the left so the belts that made up the restraints were digging into my left side. It felt like one of those carnival rides where you went around in circles but you were hanging on one side and the ride seat was digging into your entire side. Like that, but worse.
“Lisa, tell me about the plans you and Rotna have made for your wedding. When do you want it to take place?” She looked like she might get hysterical any moment. Her eyes were all over the place and she was having trouble breathing. But she didn’t look injured, unless the belts did something internally.
“Huh? What? Oh, yea, wedding. Ummm, we spoke about it last night. We agreed that we wanted it to happen as soon as we could get some time on the Commander’s schedule. Do you think he will have time tomorrow?” She was dazed, I wasn’t sure she understood what was happening. How could she if she was thinking Venay could marry them tomorrow, after crash landing on a planet while in a firefight with a pretty heavily armed enemy ship?
“Lisa, do you know what just happened?” I wished at that moment I could get out of my seat, but I knew there was no way it would be safe until after we made landing.
“Yes, we are landing on a planet.”
“Because we just got our butts kicked in a firefight with an enemy ship. There won’t be time to get married, not at least for a while. I couldn’t even tell you how long it will take to fix our ship. Or if the Zateelians will come for us. Lisa, I need you to focus. Can you do that?” Her eyes were still glazed over and her mouth was hanging open. She kept moving her head like she was listening to some music somewhere.
Just then I got a communication from Venay, “Paris, are you ok?”
“Yes, both Lisa and I are ok. She might have some internal injuries, but I think she is ok. However, she appears to be in shock. How much longer before we land?”
“We came in too fast, so I have to keep her flying as long as possible to slow down, which means we won’t be close to the settlement here. But they will come for us and help us soon. Stay in your seats. Don’t move until I tell you, ok?”
“Of course, I am betting we will feel it when we land?”
“Yes, I am afraid you will. And Paris, don’t say anything, but Rotna is hurt, badly. Lisa might know. If he called her before he went unconscious then she knows. But don’t say anything until we land and you can check her out. Ok?”
“Ok, thank you. Um, any news about the enemy ship? Are they following us?”
He sighed and I knew it was bad, “Yes, they are heavily damaged, but they did make it through. However, they are not very close to us. They will have to crash land as well so we should have some time before they come looking for us or the settlement. I just hope that they aren’t able to crash very close to the settlement.”
“Thank you for being honest with me. You have no idea how much that means to me. I still have the gun Cazon gave me. Once we land, where should I take Lisa?”
“Stay where you are. I will let you know where to go once we land. Please don’t try to leave your room until you hear from me. The ship will be unstable and I still have no idea where the Zateelians will land.”
“Right, oh then I guess you better get back to work. And Venay, thank you for checking in on me so much. I know you have a huge responsibility with the entire ship.”
“You’re welcome Paris, see you soon.”
That man, or alien, was stealing my heart without even trying. All he had to do was show me love and attention and my stupid heart was falling for him. But I still can’t get over the slave issue. I don’t want to fall completely for him and then end up accepting slavery. It isn’t right. However, my heart won’t stop falling for him. I am truly afraid that I will end up head over heels in love with this great big warrior before this is all over with.
The ship started to lurch and leaned to the left and then to the right. We had begun the crash, I say begun because it took so long for it to finish. There was no way this ship was going to survive intact after this crash. We bumped up and then down and we even spun a bit. My stomach was not happy. It was a gurgling mess and I had never been so happy to have a mostly empty stomach before. It had to have been at least four or five hours since I ate breakfast, so not much in my stomach to worry about.
The noise was so loud and harsh that my ears started to ring. It sounded like the ship might be breaking apart. We were being jerked so harshly that I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke up in a couple of pieces. Just then the ship jumped up, the reason I knew we jumped up was because my stomach was all over the place, like in a roller coaster ride where when you get to the top of the highest point in the track and then go over the cliff and start to go down, you lose your stomach. Well, that was what it was like. We bounced up high, and then all of a sudden we dropped like a roller coaster ride.
When we hit the ground my whole body jarred and my teeth clicked together so harshly, I knew I had cracked a tooth this time. Thankfully I kept my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth so I didn’t bite it again.
My head was throbbing, not just an ache, but an actual throb. I could feel my pulse through my head and it was going a mile a minute. I couldn’t feel my body at first, and I didn’t know exactly what happened, like in a car accident, it all happens so fast. But my seat had come loose from the wall and I was on top of the bed in a very uncomfortable position with the seat on my back. I tried to roll to my side but it took me a couple of tries.
Once I was on my side I looked around the room. Even though most of the furniture was locked down, it looked like a tornado ripped through here. The dresser had come undone and was right next to the bed I was on. Anything that had been loose, was spread all over the room. From my angle I couldn’t see Lisa, and I didn’t hear her either.
My hands hurt so badly from holding on so tightly to the straps that it was an effort to get my hands to open. I had to stretch them out a bit before I tried to undo the straps. Once they were undone, I fell to my stomach on the edge of the bed.
“Lisa? Lisa you ok?” I called out but got no response.
I hoped she was alright. The first thing I needed to do was get up and stretch my tightly constricted muscles. They had tightened up and some locked in place while I was being thrown about like a rag doll during the crash. I wanted nothing more than to have Venay come and get me and hold me. But that couldn’t happen anytime soon. He had the entire ship to think about. And besides, chances were pretty good that our ship had broken apart. I had no idea how long it would take him to get here, or even if he could.
After about a minute or two of stretching on the bed, everything seemed to work fine, no broken bones at least. So I stood up and I looked over towards the wall were my seat had been and Lisa’s seat was barely hanging on. She appeared to be passed out, at least that was what I was going with. Her eyes were closed, not open with a vacant stare, so I assumed she was still alive. Living on the streets you come across quite a few dead bodies. The one thing they all had in common, was the vacant stare in their eyes. Sure a few died in their sleep and their eyes were closed, but most didn’t. That stare is what you remember for the rest of your life. Not how nice or how mean that person was, just how they looked when you found them dead.
“Lisa, answer me if you can.” I climbed over a few things to make my way to her.
I felt her neck for a pulse. It was weak, but there. Then I started to feel her body for broken bones. Her arms and legs seemed alright. But there was a place on her stomach that worried me. It was where the seatbelt was digging in and I lifted her shirt to see a huge bruise already forming. I didn’t know what that meant, but pretty sure she had some internal damage.
I looked around for something soft to put below her. She was going to fall off that seat once I unlocked her restraints. I didn’t want her falling on the ground.
There really wasn’t anything, so I grabbed the bedding and pulled hard. The seat I was in was pretty heavy and still atop the bed so I had to work hard to get the sheets and blankets off. Then I found the pillows on the other side of the room and put them all below her. I slowly undid her buckles. My hands were still quite sore from holding onto my belts.
Before I undid the last buckle, I reached around her chest to try to hold her a bit before she fell like a lump to the ground. I wasn’t very strong so once I got that last belt, we both fell, but I cushioned her fall a with my own body. “Lisa, are you awake?” I asked as I move the hair from her face.
I whispered in her ear, “Lisa, Rotna is alive but he needs you. Please wake up, I can’t carry you.”
I dragged her closer to the dresser so that I could hold her head in my lap while I leaded back against it.
She wasn’t awake, but at least she was alive. I sat there thinking about what I should do when I heard a beep in my ear. It was an incoming communication! “Venay, is that you? Are you ok?”
“Yes sweetheart, I am fine. How are you? Are you hurt?” I could hear the relief in his voice as it went lower and softer.
“Oh thank the stars! I am ok, a bit sore and a few scrapes but I am fine. Lisa is another story. She is alive, but passed out and injured. I don’t know what to do for her.”
“There should be a med kit somewhere in her quarters, most warriors keep them in their bathrooms. Check there or the kitchen, but please be careful. We have stopped but I don’t know if the ship will stay steady or not. She broke up as we crashed.”
“I figured as much, how long before you can get to me?”
A BIG thanks to J.L.Hendricks for stopping by and sharing some of her work!!
Tomorrow and Friday, help me welcome Gabrielle Messina as the third featured author for Fall Fantasy Conclave!