Aliens Match: Chapter Two


I blinked, trying to focus on the massive figure looming over me in the darkness. A chiseled face emerged from the shadows, all sharp angles and hard planes. What was he doing in my bedroom?

Had I gotten lucky? I squinted, giving him another once-over. Had I ever gotten that lucky?

Or was this an intruder? My body tensed as I realized he cradled me in his arms, the heat of his body seeping through my thin nightgown. Oh god, was I about to be assaulted? Fragments of a long-ago self-defense class flashed through my mind. Rape was about control, not sex. Sometimes, going along with it was the best way to throw off a stranger rapist.

“I’m ready to go if you are,” I heard myself say, my voice wavering slightly. “Why don’t you put me down on the bed and we can get it on?”

He jerked as if I’d slapped him, his arms tightening reflexively around me. “Bed?”

I glanced around, a sinking feeling in my gut. No familiar glow of the streetlight through my window shade. No comforting red numbers on my bedside clock. In fact, no window or clock at all. Just rough, craggy walls and a ceiling that looked suspiciously like…rock?

The man set me down abruptly and I had to crane my neck to look up at him. Good gravy, he was massive. Seven feet tall, at least, and built like a tank. He strode away, his heavy footfalls echoing in the confined space.

“Damn my fate!” he growled, the words laced with frustration and something else I couldn’t quite pinpoint.

Seeing no obvious escape route, I trailed after him, my bare feet kicking up puffs of dust with each step. The air felt thick and stale, heavy with the scent of earth and something metallic. I sneezed, the sound startlingly loud.

The giant waved a hand, somehow triggering tiny beams of light that sliced through the hazy air. “Your pod caused a cave-in,” he said, gesturing toward a wall of tumbled stone and debris.

I blinked. “My what?”

He turned, his eyes catching the light and reflecting it back at me, twin points of eerie luminescence in the gloom. Like an animal. Or something else entirely.

“The escape craft,” he clarified, eyeing me intently. “When it crashed in the tunnel…” He cocked his head, the movement oddly reminiscent of a puzzled dog. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

A glint of metal drew my gaze to a band encircling his left wrist. He glared at it, shaking his arm and tapping at the device in clear agitation.

“What’s that?” I asked, curiosity temporarily overriding my growing unease.

“My broken communicator. I think the rock is blocking the signal.”

“Signal?” I echoed. “Who are you trying to talk to?”

He ignored me, his attention focused on the uncooperative gadget as he stalked deeper into the cave. A bright beam flared to life from the wrist-thing, illuminating our surroundings in stark relief.

And that’s when I saw them. The scales. Tiny, iridescent, and decidedly not human. They covered every inch of his exposed skin, catching the light and throwing it back in a mesmerizing dance of color.

“You’re an outer space alien, aren’t you?” I breathed, the pieces clicking into place. My roommate was obsessed with sci-fi shows, but I’d never seen a character quite like this. Then again, what else could he possibly be?

“No,” he retorted, his tone clipped. “You are the outer space alien.” He snorted. “Actually, I guess we’re both strangers to this planet.”

I frowned. “Earth?”

“Reazus Prime.”

“Oh.” I digested that for a moment. “So I’m on an alien planet? How did that happen? Did you bring me here? Why?” A sudden, terrifying thought occurred to me and I took an involuntary step back. “Am I your captive? Are you going to…to have your way with me?”

I couldn’t quite keep the tremble from my voice, even as some reckless part of my brain whispered that it might not be so bad, being ravished by a gorgeous space giant.

Stupid brain.

But I couldn’t seem to get any further than that. The whole idea was too much to absorb all at once, so I’d just have to pretend this was fine.

Kinda fine.

Not at all.

He shot me a look that could have melted steel.

“I guess you don’t want me to take you to my leader, then,” I babbled, the words spilling out unchecked. “But what do you want?”

“I want you,” he growled, advancing on me with predatory grace, “to stop. Asking. Questions.”

“Sorry,” I squeaked, holding up my hands in surrender. “I kind of babble when I’m nervous. Is that irritating?”

If looks could kill, I’d have been vaporized on the spot. Mercifully, he whirled and stalked off without another word.

Since he was the one with the light, I had no choice but to follow. The beam played over the uneven ground, throwing monstrous shadows on the cave walls. He stopped abruptly and I nearly plowed into his back, catching myself at the last second.

When I peered around his imposing frame, my stomach dropped. A massive crevasse split the earth mere inches from his boots, a wound in the planet’s surface that seemed to have no bottom. I thought I caught the distant whisper of rushing water, but it was hard to tell over the sudden roaring in my ears.

“This place seems prone to seismic activity,” he mused, his voice a low rumble.

Then he was moving again, picking his way along the edge of the chasm with the ease of someone who’d done it a thousand times. I had no choice but to fall into step behind him, my heart lodged firmly in my throat.

After what felt like an eternity, the gaping maw fell away, replaced by a rickety-looking suspension bridge that spanned the rift. The giant strode across without so much as a backward glance. I gripped the rope railings until my knuckles turned white, my feet finding the weathered planks as if of their own volition. Don’t look down, don’t look down…

On the other side, the giant dropped to one knee, running a hand over the stone. “Mine cart tracks,” he said, tracing the trio of rusty rails with a fingertip. “These might lead us out.”

“Oh, good,” I replied, trying for nonchalance and failing miserably. “I wouldn’t want to be late for my shift. Mrs. Hannigan kind of depends on me, you know?”

He turned to stare at me, his expression unreadable in the half-light. Slowly, deliberately, he shook his head.

“You’re going to be late for that shift,” he said, an undercurrent of something I couldn’t identify threading through his words.

“I am?” I asked, a sinking feeling in my stomach. “How late?”

But he had already turned away, following the tracks deeper into the mine.

I stood there for a long moment, my mind reeling. What the actual heck was going on? The last thing I remembered was going to bed after the eleven o’clock news. No, wait…there had been a light. An intense, blinding blue light that seared itself into my retinas. The kind of light you’d expect to see in a Spielberg flick, not boring old reality.

But try as I might, I couldn’t dredge up a single memory after that. It was as if my brain had been wiped clean, a slate left blank and waiting. Waiting for what? I had no idea. But I had a sinking suspicion I was about to find out, whether I wanted to or not.

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