The Return by Kelly St. Clare (Snippet #2 *UNEDITED*- copyright 2017)
He crouched in front of her, staring. He’d done a lot of that during the walk here. Stomach flipping, she turned her face to the side, breaking his view.
Moments passed before gentle fingertips touched the burnt skin at one temple.
“I’ll be back soon. Stay here.” He ordered.
He had her memories. She wasn’t going anywhere.
“Commander Atlas,” a female with a thick neck interrupted. “We need to leave.”
“The Orbito Four Commander is in the transmission dock?” he asked.
The female answered. “Yes, Sir.”
He was already striding away. “Five minutes. Get ready to launch.”
Romy craned her head to get a glimpse out the window of the vessel. The shuttle looked streamlined and powerful. Kind of like the man with the grey eyes. Had these invaders taken control of all the orbitos? She had no way of knowing. They had to be from another planet. Though they looked surprisingly human. Probably a trick.
She froze as a terrifying thought occurred to her. The invaders could be sent by the critamal; A new ploy to get past the stations and colonise earth. The parasitic aliens spoke telepathically, who knew what mind voodoo they could do.
She scrunched her nose, thinking. The critamal had beady yellow eyes. . .
Wouldn’t the man, Atlas, have yellow eyes if he were possessed by a critamal? And the aliens had gross, bulbous brains. Their heads were literally three times the size of a humans. How would you get a brain that size into a human skull? Romy was sure you couldn’t stuff a brain into a small space without damaging the important stuff. Still. It was best to be prepared. She’d keep the theory on the back thruster.
The man returned, directing the pilots with a few terse words. The pilot gave him a curt nod.
Atlas crossed to the seat next to her, strapping himself in before turning to her without warning. She swallowed a squeal, jerking to face forward. She shouldn’t look into his eyes.
Understanding dawned on her. That’s why he stared at her so intensely. He was trying to take over her brain!
The pilots exchanged commands, flicking switches. The engines began to climb in response, and quiet settled in the craft as the pilots went through their final checks. With a nod, one of the pilots began to count down from ten.
With a metallic clunk, the vessel disengaged from the docking station and drifted away from the huge white cylinder that was Orbito Four. Romy rocked inside her harness as they floated fifty metres away from the white space station.
Then, with a fire of the thrusters, the vessel rotated to face Earth.
. . . That’s odd.
With a second flare of the thrusters, the vessel propelled forward slamming Romy back into her seat. They. . .
. . . They were losing altitude. Romy could see the gauge. She turned wide eyes on the man beside her despite her earlier theory. He returned the look calmly.
These invaders couldn’t be going where she thought they were going. That was impossible.
“Where are you taking me?” she croaked, mouth dry.
He tilted his head to the rotating sphere of blues, whites, and greens far, far below, and Romy fixed her gaze on the glowing orb.
“Down there,” he replied. “To Earth.”