Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Hand of Fate

So… last day of April is here and I'm finally starting to realize I have a kid graduating in a month. It's my second experience, my oldest graduated five years ago, but, wow, reality hits in weird ways. LOL I've got a party to plan and things to make happen.

Thank goodness for television when I need a reality break. Gotham came back with a vengeance and delivered a very fun hour of TV. While the whole owl society thing makes me roll my eyes, I have a feeling the payoff will end up being worth it.

The Flash returned with a great episode. I'm not feeling as much love for this season's overall arc, but I do enjoy this show so much. I have two working theories for who revealed themselves to Kaitlyn and either makes me very excited.

Arrow continues to be my favorite show. Having Felicity go dark side is an interesting twist, even if it feels a little forced sometimes. Throwing ARGUS in and creating tension and conflict with John makes me happy. Looking forward to seeing how the season ends.

Riverdale upped the stakes again. My twitter feed is half and half on the love / hate for the show. Personally, I love it. There are some terrific little twists that make me happy. And I thoroughly enjoy the grown-ups getting caught up in their own drama and how that plays out between the kids.

I haven't really mentioned Doctor Who. There's a reason for that. While I really like the new companion and the sidekick, I'm just not excited about this season. I'll be happy to get through and see who Thirteen will be. Hopefully we'll get a new Master, too.

Class isn't bad. It's not quite the same as Sarah Jane's adventures, but it's got a good vibe and I like the interactions with the characters.

I've been busy enough to not really have time to catch up on my binge watch shows. With nicer weather, my cleaning gene kicks in and I start mini-projects that tend to last the entire summer. LOL

That's it for TV this week. Tonight's post is from Hand of Fate, a novella that explores what happens when the usual roles are reversed and the main characters have to follow an unexpected path while dealing with the feelings they have.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Ada Kurtz and Clark Wellington are great at their jobs, and either could pull off an upcoming mission. But when Ada gets injured, she's relegated to the sidelines, planning the operation and calling the shots for Clark. He has to take out an enemy satellite which won't be easy without Ada flying his wing.

And a sneaky peek…

Clark heard the crash and loud curse that followed. He rose from behind the desk and poked his head out the door. Ada sprawled in a misshapen heap on the floor, a fitrep clutched in her hand.
Well, hell. "I knew she'd get pissed, but…" Causing injury hadn't been his intent.
A medic bumped into Clark from behind. "What's that, captain?" He paused, his eyebrows raised.
Clark shook his head. "Nothing, corpsman. You'd better see to her."
Clark hadn't quite figured Ada would come charging for him… but he should have. And he had no doubt he'd been the reason she took a spill. Going to the commander to plead her case—so not her style. Instead, she'd hit directly at the source. Him.
He heaved a sigh. If she thought he enjoyed taking her down a peg or two, she'd be so damn wrong. But the pranks and jokes had to stop and putting her on notice seemed the only way to get her to chill out with them.
The latest one tipped the scales. "The senior command staff, along with a contingent of reporters, did not need to see me naked."
His decision to write up the incident and put her on report hadn't been made lightly. In fact, he would rather not have the official details anywhere in print. Too bad his state of undress got a brief, albeit veiled, mention in the press. Clark had orders to put a stop to any more foolishness, hence the decision for the permanent notation in her file.
Ada seemed to beg for him to use her as an example. And he could go either way… with condemnation or praise. If she'd behave, he could always hold her up as the shining example what to do… instead of not to do.
He stepped out into the corridor, ready to help, but two members of the deck crew already had her up and headed for sickbay, the corpsman following hot on their heels. She shot a venom filled look over her shoulder and Clark winced.
He'd get an earful in the very near future.

And boy does he ever get an earful. LOL Ada is not happy about injuring her leg.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Gut-Punch Feeling

Well, my youngest attended our local prom last night and she looked so beautiful. I'm always amazed I had a hand in creating my kids. They're good people. J

Gotham returns Monday! I'm pretty excited for the final half of this season. Also looking forward to having my CW shows back with new episodes. And the summer TV fare isn't looking too bad either.

My work schedule is jammed and I love it! I like to stay busy, even when it cuts into my writing time. I could live with about four more hours each day, but I'm getting a lot better at managing personal with professional.

Tonight's post is from Gut-Punch Feeling, a novella that got a start with a writing community prompt of "one character is revealed to be an enemy after they're rescued by a main protagonist". I love scenarios featuring a betrayal of some sort.

Here's the tagline:

Evie Roth, a soldier explorer, keeps her promises. But when a sinister plot threatens those she loves, especially Parr Romanoff, she'll break a vow she made long ago… to herself.

And a sneaky peek…

Evie resisted the urge to rub the phantom pain again. "I just can't understand why you'd want anything reproductive from me. I'm such a screw up." Hell, she could show him the documentation of her many mistakes.
Cavelle tilted his head to the side. "Ah, but your pattern for self-destructive tendencies is part of the reason we chose you. Your emotions run deep." He shrugged. "We needed to test our theory."
Evie narrowed her eyes. "Go on, fill me in. What was the working theory?"
Cavelle leaned forward. "Personal connection. We don't have those among our race. We took your ovary to create life with someone you cared for." He met her gaze. "Loved."
Lifting a brow, she casually asked. "And did it work?" She bit back the bile rising in her throat. Plenty of time later to expel the rage building inside her.
Cavelle's shoulders slumped. "It didn't, no."
Relief flooded her and a victorious vibe followed.
Evie snorted. "Guess you overestimated my feelings for Steven, didn't you." She had what she needed now.
Cavelle realized he'd lost the advantage. "You loved him. We know you did." But he couldn't deny or take back the information.
She started for the exit. "Apparently that's not enough." And they were so mistaken. Parr always held her heart, whether she'd known it or not. "Or… you're wrong."
Cavelle didn't accept total defeat. "But you came back for him."
Evie paused, her hand on the doorknob. "Yeah, I did." But not because I love him. "I made a promise to return… so I did." She glanced back over her shoulder. "Something we lowly humans do… keep our word. I said I'd get everyone off that planet and I did. End of story." She exited, head held high.
She managed to keep her composure until she hit the first juncture. Leaning back against the wall, she gave free rein to the emotions slamming into her. Sliding down, her butt hit the floor and she bent forward, resting her forehead on her knees.
She'd bested Cavelle, but at a price. All illusion stripped away, Evie owned her love for Parr. Steven worked as a pleasant substitute but didn't touch her soul the way Parr did—and always had—which made her as bad as the simulates, maybe worse. At least they had an excuse for their behavior, all in the programming, but she had no defense for playacting at being in love with Steven.
Heaving a sigh, her head snapped up when footsteps approached.
Parr rounded the corner and stopped short, hovering in position for a second before relaxing his stance and slowly making his way toward her.
He dropped down beside her and draped an arm around her shoulder. "Evie…"
She shook her head. "It figures you'd show up. Is this the moment where you tear me apart and tell me what a failure I am."
He huffed out a harsh breath. "I can if you want me to, but that wasn't the plan."
She angled her head around and met his gaze. "Then what? Why are you here?"
He leaned in close, nudging her head. "Just wanted to say, nice work. That's all."
She opened her mouth. Closed it. What could she possibly say? She never expected kindness and his praise disarmed her, stripped her bare, and she didn't know how to respond. Her shoulders slumped, then shook, and tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Parr gathered her close, cupping the nape of her neck to rest her head on his shoulder.
He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "Let it out, Evie." His hand smoothed her hair. "Purge the past and let everything go."
She truly didn't deserve his support, but if possible, she loved him even more than five minutes ago.

I'm very fond of Evie and Parr. Their story is coming together in ways I didn't expect.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Guarded Chance

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. I'm always down for baked ham, mashed potatoes, and noodles. Also, the weather couldn't be more beautiful today.

Thoroughly enjoyed Talking with Chris Hardwick last week. I truly enjoy his casual approach to interviewing. He's such a fan of everything and it shows.

Not much on television this week. I'm looking forward to the return of my lineup.

Riverdale had a great episode. Secrets and sins run deep in the small town and it's so cool to see the interesting ways both get exposed. It'll be fun to see how Archie's mom mixes it up with everyone.

Had a busy work week but had some time to look forward to some returning shows. It looks like Syfy on Fridays will be awesome this summer. Killjoys, Dark Matter, and Wynonna Earp all in one block? Doesn't get much better.

And that's it for television. Tonight's post is from Guarded Chance, a novella that started out as a "what it" scenario between two of my favorite characters. It kind of grew from there and became its own story.

Here's the tagline:

Echo Dart, a brilliant soldier but hot mess of a woman, becomes a captive of the enemy who try to recondition her for their purposes. During the process she realizes there's only one person who has every touched her soul, Race Markinton. But she's already burned the relationship bridge with Race and once she's free, she has to figure out how to make amends or lose him for good.

And a sneaky peek…

"Gah! We've been over this before, Wilson. We're not revisiting the topic." Echo Dart squared off with her significant other for the thousandth time.
Wilson Prewitt crossed his arms over his chest, his face stony. "Yes, we are. You have to stop working for the rebel alliance." His mouthed thinned to a slash across his face.
Echo heaved a sigh. "I'm not working for them, Wilson. Showing them tactical maneuvers and helping them plan raids puts me firmly in the camp of working with them." Why the hell didn't he get that?
Wilson blew out a slow breath. "And you know how I feel about that. We're in a good place here, Echo. They leave us alone."
"They" referred to the coalition occupying the rock of a moon they lived on. How Wilson thought she'd ever fall in and play nice with enemy combatants never failed to spike her ire. Now proved no different. The urge to bolt and run as fast and as far as possible boiled in her gut. She sure could pick the worst possible men. Not always. You had a good one once and blew it to hell. Right. Inner voice needed to shut the hell up.
Echo rolled her eyes heavenward. "Wilson, we're done here." Possibly for good this time. "I'm going out. Don't wait up for me." She grabbed her coat from the hook and started for the door.
Wilson, his voice desperate, spoke up. "I have a solution to our dilemma." He pushed away from the wall and strode toward her.
Echo paused then turned to face him. "What dilemma? This"—she gestured to him then her—"between you and me? It's not working out. And I'm sorry for it, because I wanted it to, but you're not what I need." One person fit that bill and he'd never come near Echo again.
Wilson's voice went eerily soft. "Not yet. But I will be." He grasped her shoulder, halting her progress toward the door.
Echo shook him off, not in the mood for crap. "What, exactly, is that supposed to mean?" He rarely got aggressive, not even when she'd prefer it over the calm efficiency he loved to throw at her.
Wilson's lips twisted in a sad smile. "I'm sorry, Echo. But I can't lose you." He wrapped an arm around her, hauling her close, pinning her to his side. "I won't."
She didn't see or hear it coming… the jab of a needle in her upper arm and the fuzzy, gray haze that immediately followed. But she should have. Son of a bitch. A trained soldier had a sixth sense about danger. Or they should. She'd burnt the wick at both ends lately and her instincts were off kilter. Not a very good excuse, but lack of sleep and self-induced emotional turmoil had her tied up in knots. Race and the old man would take her to task for letting her reflexes go dull.
Well, the old man would. Race… would probably shake his head, curl his lip in a sneer, and walk away.
Two men moved into her blurry line of vision. Whatever they'd loaded the syringe with worked fast. Echo couldn't even put up a fight when they zip-corded her hands behind her back and threw a black hood over her head. But she caught the insignia on the shoulder of her captor. Coalition dogs. Enemy hands. Didn't that just fucking figure.
She resisted the pull of unconsciousness. Physically incapable, her body burned with a need to rebel. Her brain focused on using her other senses; hearing being the only one of use.
"You won't hurt her. I have your word on that, right?" Wilson's tone hovered between concerned and bitchy.
A gruff voice answered. "We said we wouldn't. Now get out of the way." Rough hands grabbed her shoulders and another set lifted her legs.
Oh, Wilson, you asshat. Only a truly stupid idiot would take the enemy's word on anything.
Movement followed and the sensation of drowning in darkness came close to overwhelming her. Outside, the sound of traffic greeted her ears. The scratchy fabric of the hood chafed at her cheeks and forehead. Shadows with brief patches of light were the only thing she could make out, her vision blurring further.
Echo would have never believed Wilson could betray her in any way. Another black stain on her current roster. Desperate men did stupid things, and handing her over to the enemy counted as supremely moronic. But the blame didn't belong solely to Wilson. Nope. Echo's self-destructive tendencies had finally reared up to bite her on the ass.
And she had no one in her corner, which rested squarely on her shoulders, too.
Unable to fight her captors, the inky blackness overcoming her, or the sluggish pull of the drug coursing through her veins, Echo's last thought went out to Race, asking forgiveness and apologizing for being such a constant screw up.
Darkness descended and, with no other choice, Echo gave in.

Honestly? This one is turning out to be more than I'd hoped for. I'm excited to finish it up and put it out for everyone's entertainment.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Good for the Soul

Ugh. This has been a rough week. A nasty stomach virus worked its way through the entire family. So glad we're all back to being semi-normal.

Looking forward to catching Talking with Chris Hardwick tonight. I'm excited to see what he brings to the screen each week.

Legends of Tomorrow had a solid finale. I look forward to seeing how the team deals with the time quakes. Awesome to see Mick pretty much choose his side.

Riverdale keeps getting better and better. I love this show. Watching Archie screw things up makes me happy. It's nice to have a character who gets to grow and change… as long as he actually gets to do both.

Finished up season three of City Homicide and got a start on season four. I'd forgotten how much I didn't like Rhys. Can't remember if he ended up growing on me or not. Took a small break to rewatch Pitch Perfect and do my happy chair dance while viewing.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Good for the Soul, a novella where my main characters realize love is good for the soul.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Dex Thurgood has ideals he upholds and wants to keep it that way. But when he's forced to confront a sinister underground trade leader, he has to face his darker nature to bust up the extortion racket, which won't be easy because Ramsey Markum knows one of Dex's deeply buried secrets. Lana Denman steps up to help Dex deal with the fallout of not being perfect.

And a sneaky peek…

With his past staring him in the face, Dex dug in and refused to bend. Ramsey could do what he wanted with the information. Dex couldn't give a shit anymore. The guilt nearly ate him alive anyway. If Ramsey shared the information, maybe Dex could move the fuck on and put that dark decision in the past. He and Erica started out great. They had fun and enjoyed each other's company. And the sex couldn't be better.
Until Erica used it as a weapon.
By the time Dex realized he and Erica did not make a good fit, she told him about the pregnancy. He reacted to the news with stone-cold silence. A baby wouldn't fit in his life, and he couldn't be the type of father he'd want to be. Erica knew. They'd talked about it. She'd heard his deepest concerns about trying to raise a child, yet not being there due to deployment or getting stationed somewhere a family wouldn't thrive. Did Erica think he'd be overjoyed? Far from it, Dex had the horrible thought she'd done it on purpose, to bind them, and keep him in her life. Had she known he'd lost interest? That he'd found someone he wanted more? Did her instincts warn her or had he given her some kind of indication about his swiftly changing feelings?
Erica interrupted his stream of consciousness. "Dex? What do you want to do? About the baby?"
He honestly couldn't answer. He didn't have one. Erica laid a hand on his knee and he felt trapped. Smothered. Penned in.
"Dex? Did you hear me?" She punched his leg. "The baby? What should we do?"
Disentangling himself, he put some space between them. "I, uh, I don't know." He wanted to bolt. Run. Hop a transport off planet.
Erica frowned. "What do you mean, you don't know? You don't seem very happy."
His eyes widened. "Did you think I would be? I've got four more years in the service. You know how I feel about trying to raise a child when I'm active military."
Erica shrugged. "But, Dex, you could muster out. You don't have to stay in the service."
Her utter lack of comprehension made his head hurt. "Erica, you don't just leave the military. You have to have a reason, a damned good one, and a pregnant girlfriend does not qualify."
She frowned again. "But I thought—" She stopped, her gaze flying up to meet his.
She couldn't quite cover the flash of guilt.
Dex saw red. "Oh, hell no. You did it on purpose, didn't you?" How had he missed the manipulative side to her?
Erica tried to play her maneuver down. "Well, not really on purpose. I might've missed my birth control shot by a week, but I didn't plan it."
Dex shook his head. "Maybe you didn't plan to miss it, but you knew what could happen because you did. If you'd told me, I would've taken precautions." He shot her a look. "Or we could have skipped having sex until you were covered again."
Erica pouted. "But I didn't want to forego the sex." Her hand moved to his crotch. "I love your hard cock inside me."
Dex doubted it would ever get hard for her again. His dick certainly had no reaction to her current touch.
She jerked her hand away and he figured she realized the same. "I don't know why you're so pissy about it. It's a baby, Dex. You won't miss much. They don't do anything overly useful until they start school anyway."
Incredulous, Dex shook his head. A child amounted to a commodity to her. He'd rather not be involved at all.
Making a decision, he rose. "Do what you feel is best, Erica. If you continue the pregnancy, I'll support the decision and the kid."
Her lips thinned. "But you won't be around, will you?"
He held her gaze. "I'm deploying in two weeks. You knew that."
She stood up. "Not what I mean. You're not planning to be with me."
Dex gave a terse nod. "I'm sorry, but, no, I’m not."
Erica's eyes went cold and flat. "Nice. Knock me up and walk away. What a guy."
Dex didn't bother pointing out the flaw in her statement. He grabbed his hat and headed for the door. "Think what you want, Erica. I'll leave the base contact information with Smythe on my way out." He pushed the door open. "You can keep me informed via the main switchboard until I have a permanent post."
Erica lifted a slim shoulder. "Whatever, Dex. And by the way… your financial support won't be needed. You can't hold a stick to my father's money."
Dex snorted. "Never tried to, Erica. But I'll pay my fair share, either way."
She chose to ignore his assertion. Dex tucked his hat under his arm and left, wandering through the huge house to the butler's quarters. He left his military personnel details with the nonplussed man and took his leave.
Getting behind the wheel of his car, Dex breathed a resigned sigh. He hadn't expected the breakup to be easy, but the curve she'd thrown hadn't helped. By the time he pulled to the end of the drive, he questioned whether he'd made the right decision. A month after he deployed, he discovered he'd never find out. Erica had been killed in a car accident when she lost control of her vehicle. Smythe informed Dex she'd been driving at a high rate of speed and spun out around a sharp curve leading to the family's summer estate.

Dex's downward spiral will go out of control… unless someone checks his progress. Good thing there's a woman willing to do just that.

That's it for this week. Catch everybody of the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Snippet: A Gentle Valor

Well, the beginning of April is here and I've been bitten by the spring cleaning bug. This is not a bad thing. House, garage, and computer files are getting spiffed up and decluttered.

The Walking Dead finale is tonight and I'll be there. Not sure I'll pay a lot of attention, but I can't not watch.

The Flash introduced an irritating villain. Can't say I'm sad to see him go. Also really frustrated with the whole Savitar storyline at this point. I'm ready for the final end game and season finale.

Legends of Tomorrow rewrote reality and kept me entertained. Looking forward to the season finale to see how they resolve everything. Mick remains one of my favorite characters and it better stay that way.

Arrow's deft mastery of weaving Oliver's past into his present life will be missed. This isn't to say the writers won't continue churning out excellent fare. In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing how the story continues. Something tells me Oliver's past will still come back to haunt him in many other ways.

Riverdale had a new episode and, wow, I wanted to get a better read on Alice Cooper… I got it. A little sad it's at the expense of Hal, but the interesting wrinkle might be worth it. FP's playing a sly game. He doesn't get near enough credit for being a true mastermind. Come on, people. He's Jughead's dad. The kid had to get his smarts from someone. Just saying.

I'm still binge-watching City Homicide, working my way through season three. The first season is probably my absolute favorite but I do enjoy the later seasons also.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Gentle Valor, a novella that started as a sexy short but morphed into more.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Aggie Fyffe makes an impossible decision and survives a hellish experience. Haunted by her choice, she faces her demons with a little help from Zane Tetherson and earns a chance for redemption.

And a sneaky peek…

Aggie Fyffe stood, stunned, staring in horror at the sight in front of her. Women, so many women, hooked up to machines, tubes running to and fro like a spider's web. All in various stages of gestation, she had no idea if any could be saved. Swallowing down bile, she shuffled further into the lab on numb feet that tried to fight forward progress. She didn't blame them. Her brain might not be able to handle a closer look.
Give her a rifle, hell, any weapon, and she could shoot to defend, maim, or kill. The sight of blood didn't faze her. Gaping wounds, lost limbs, or severed arteries barely blipped in her mind. Combat had hardened her against it.
But the sight of the women?
Chilled her to her soul.
She edged closer to the first bed and bit back a curse. (Describe the visage. Unconscious, maybe comatose, her distended abdomen had to be in the final stages of pregnancy. Aggie had no idea how close to delivery the woman might be, but it couldn't be long off. What the hell happened to the infants? Aggie decided she probably didn't want to know.
Her eyes scanned the row of beds. Nine total. Logic suggested one for each month of pregnancy. Why? Again, her brain shied away from possible answers. Movement from the farthest bed caught her attention. Maybe she'd imagined it. She hoped so. Would be better for the women if they weren't awake and aware.
She slowly made her way to the last bed… oh, shit. The woman's eyes blinked, tears spilling out. Addie knew her, not well, but she ran one of the shops on their home world. Betsy Morehead, a nice lady who liked to sew.
Aggie eased up to the bed and Betsy's eyes met hers. Pain-filled and agonized, they beseeched Aggie to remove the tube so Betsy could speak. Aggie gingerly lifted the device and gently tore the tape away. Out of her element, she hoped she didn't cause harm. Putting a gun in the woman's hand would be easier.
Betsy gagged when the tube slid free, coughing and sputtering until her lungs filled with air. Aggie quickly loosened the wrist restraints, giving Betsy a little more freedom.
She grabbed hold of Aggie's hand, her grip weak. "Thank you." Her voice croaked, but she got the words out.
Aggie squeezed Betsy's fingers. "What's going on? Why are you here?" Stupid question, but if she didn't get Betsy talking, Aggie would freak out.
The machines and tubes pressed in on her like a weight, a sick feeling crawled up her spine, and her head didn't want to believe what her gut knew.
Betsy swallowed hard. "You have to know. Or guess." Her eyes slid shut and Aggie's heart went out to her.
"Why?" Aggie needed to hear it.
To have her suspicions confirmed. Aggie had been dragged from the battlefield wreckage of her downed hopper for a reason. She'd taken out a small outpost before enemy combatants shot her rotor up. Aggie should've hit intra-atmo as soon as the building blew, but she'd wanted to recon the area.
Stupid fucking mistake.
One that cost her lost time and brought her to the creeptastic, cluster fuck of a hellhole she'd woken up in. A shudder tore through her. Someone had patched up her wounds, but she had stitches she couldn't explain.
Her abdomen hadn't been affected by her crash-landing.
Betsy's mouth worked but only garbled mumbles came out. She pointed to the corner work station and Aggie made her way to the location and picked up a stack of lab notes. Neatly typed names filled the page and the roiling nausea returned when Aggie spotted hers at the bottom, the last entry.
Her gaze scanned the next several papers, words leaping out, punching her brain with trepidation. Experiment. The attempt to breed the perfect specimen.
"Dammit." Women were forcefully taken until they were with child.
When too many were lost due to abuse, insemination trials began. Once impregnated, the subjects ended up hooked up to machines that kept them nourished, sedated, and restrained so no attempt could be made to escape… or to abort the pregnancy.
Aggie read more, rage building with each new atrocity. Births were listed, results tallied, failures eliminated. Then the process started over again. And there were more. Lots more. At least a dozen facilities located across the country.
The freshly sewn area on her side throbbed. What the hell had they done to her? Flipping through the notes, she finally found her name. Something about her blood had no less than five doctors excited about using her as their next subject. She dropped the files.
Aggie bit back rising bile. "No fucking way." She whirled around, dizzy with dread and fatigue. "I'm not sticking around to let them have any piece of me." She went back to Betsy's side and grasped her hand. "I'm going to send help. As soon as I get back to base, we'll come with everything we have." Aggie turned to leave.
Betsy stopped her with a surprisingly firm grip. "Please, end this." Her voice croaked with agony. "None of us want to be here."
Other women were going through the same thing. A horrifying experience. No control, imprisoned, imperiled, dehumanized.
Betsy squeezed Aggie's hand again. "Disconnect the machine. I don't want to deliver this child into the world." Her voice wobbled and fresh tears leaked from her eyes.
Aggie recoiled from the idea. She couldn't kill nine women. They deserved a chance to live. She shook her head.
Betsy tightened her grip. "You have to. Please don't let them use us to further their cause. None of us want this." Her plea came out as a hoarse cry.
Aggie relented. She wouldn't want to contribute either. Had, in fact, decided not to.
She drew in a deep breath. "How?" A simple question with a terrible answer.
Betsy glanced across the room. "The big machine in the corner. Destroy it. It's the generator." A low moan sounded from one of the other women. "Please, hurry. Magda could start labor at any time."
Aggie made her way over to the corner and searched for a way to stop the monstrosity keeping the females prisoner. A carafe of coffee caught her attention and Aggie swiped it from the machine and threw it at the generator. The crash of glass followed by the sizzle and pop of the electrical reaction with the liquid made a booming sound in the otherwise quiet room. The lights went first, then finally, the respirators ceased their hissing noise. Aggie's action placed a heavy burden on her. It also made her determined to find the other locations and destroy them.
Aggie turned back toward the row of beds and gasped. Betsy had removed the tubes and wires and lay quickly bleeding out. Aggie made her way to the woman's side and waited until she no longer drew breath. Blinking away the sight, Aggie bit back a sob then paused at each bed, silently acknowledging her role in their deaths. She owed the victims that much.
Victims twice over. They'd become hers, too, dying by her hand. It hurt to breathe, but she dragged in a shaky breath. She had to focus… had to move… had to get out. An alarm would sound—soon—and she had to not be there, staring at the carnage she created.
The urge to heave overwhelmed her and Aggie made a slow dash for the door. She had to get out, get away before the need to expel her stomach contents couldn't be contained. Her head spinning, she weaved through the corridors. Her brain didn't want to wrap around everything she'd learned. Gah! The atrocities went way deeper than she'd thought. Than anyone thought.
The need to tell someone hit hard and Aggie used the adrenaline to wrench the heavy wooden door open and get outside. The cool, night breeze brought a chill to her skin, but filled her lungs with clean air, devoid of the stench and aroma of death. She slid her gaze sideways and scanned her surroundings. She had the cover of darkness and if she made the tree line before the alarm sounded, she'd never be caught.
Creeping stealthily toward the dense forest, Aggie decided she'd end her life like Betsy before going back to that place. Aggie would not be used as a breeding vessel.
She made it halfway to safety when the loud blare of klaxons screeched through the quiet. Her bare feel would pay for it later, but Aggie didn't care. She ran, as fast as her injuries would allow, and dived into the scraggy brush just when the flare of lights lit up the field. She rolled over brambles and briars, but dug her knees into the undergrowth and scurried until she felt safe among the tall pines.
When her body could go no further, she propped herself against fallen timber and scrubbed her hands over her face. Her fingertips came back wet and Aggie didn't know if blood or tears covered them. She'd find out at daybreak. For now, she had to keep going or risk discovery when they brought out the hounds.

A little longer than usual sneak peek but this scene ended up being so much more than I'd hoped.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye