Beneath the Scars - Book cover

Beneath the Scars

Natalie Le Roux

Chapter 2


Present day


Lake District, UK

Drunk, pissed-off, and fed up with everyone: that was the mood I was in.

My boyfriend was being a dick. My so-called best friend had her eye set on my dick of a boyfriend.

And the countless shots of tequila I had washed down with beer made this late-night pity party even more pitiful.

A loner by choice, I have never had a problem with being on my own.

My friends were more like acquaintances, and my so-called boyfriend was my mother’s poor attempt to get me to live a normal life.

At the age of thirty-one, I don’t blame her.

But what’s a girl to do when every man she meets is a useless, stupid, self-centered asshole with no idea about what life is really like?

I didn’t bother telling anyone I was leaving. I felt sick watching the two of them swoon and flirt with each other right in my face.

It was 3 a.m., or around then. I had no idea. I tried, several times, to gauge the time on my small wristwatch, but my eyes couldn’t focus on anything.

A warm, dry summer night, for a change, in the Lake District of the United Kingdom. A rarity for this part of the British countryside and this time of year.

I held my high heels in my hands as I stumbled down the winding, narrow country roads.

It was dark. No street lamps, no cars, and the closest house was a farm in the distance of a sprawling field.

My feet hurt from the hard, rough surface of the road, but the pain from walking three miles to my little cottage in stilettos would be far worse.

Not just that, but in my state, and in four-inch heels in the dark, I was bound to end up flat on my face more than once.

The fresh clean air made my head spin as I watched my bare feet slap on the black road, thanks to the dim light of the moon.

I wanted to feel sorry for myself, to feel sad or upset about this inevitable breakup, but I couldn’t. I was glad it was over.

Tom wasn’t a bad guy, and I’m sure he would make someone happy one day, but it wasn’t me.

Maybe my standards were set too high, or my expectations were unrealistic, but what I felt for Tom was not love.

He was an “Okay, Mom, I will go out with him to make you happy” kind of boyfriend.

I wanted a guy that had something to him; a strength, a force to be reckoned with. One that made me weak in the knees.

Someone who stood fast for his values, and who had no problem fighting for those he cared about.

Someone who loved you so powerfully that you felt it in every moment, even when you were not together.

Someone you could trust, and rely on, and know that no matter what, he will be there for you. Not some asshole who flirts with your friend in front of you.

I contemplated all of this as I walked slowly home. I still had another two miles to go, but it was a pleasant walk this late at night. It was warm, quiet, and peaceful.

My favorite time of the day was late at night. If not for the tequila, and the date, I would have been at home, watching sci-fi films with Samson curled up on my lap.

I was in no rush to get to my little two-bedroom cottage in the country. No one except my ginger cat was waiting for me.

My nosy mother, the only living member of my family, lived in London, over two hundred and fifty miles away.

My job was as boring as they came. I sold contact lenses over the phone. A total fail of any career goals I once had.

I could say that this was a low point in my life. No kids, no husband, or boyfriend anymore. Not many friends that I could call my besties, and no real goals in life.

I had no idea how it happened, or when, or how long I was asleep before I opened my eyes.

One second, I was walking, thinking about how pathetic my life was, and the next I was lying on my back, in a freezing cold room, in the dark.

The metal table beneath me sent a shiver through my body and the smell of a strange metallic but faintly sweet aroma filled my nose—like vanilla mixed with stainless steel.

I sat up, my head still spinning, and tried to look around. I couldn’t see anything. The room was big, that much I could tell.

A few tiny lights twinkled in the distance and a dull humming came from somewhere above.

I slid off the table, and, as my butt screeched across the metal, I realized I was naked. Everything was gone.

My dress, my underwear, even my necklace and earrings. I checked my wrist, and my watch was gone too.

In a panic, I tried to cover my slightly overweight body with my hands, but it was no use.

I scanned the darkness for anything to use as a cover, but the room looked as bare as my ass. Great, now what?

A door opened behind me, and a bright light flooded the room.

I squinted, trying to focus on the two figures coming toward me. They were tall and inhumanly thin as they moved toward me with a strange gliding walk.

As they approached, I noticed their skin was a light-blue color that had a gentle glow to it. Their faces were covered by a smooth mask.

Their unnaturally long arms swayed at their sides with a delicate grace, and when they were closer, I noticed they were well over seven feet tall.

My panic about these guys seeing me naked was immediately replaced with fear for who—what—the hell they were. My instincts told me to run.

But where to? I was stark naked in a dark room I had no memory of entering. The being on the left lifted his hands slowly, as if surrendering, and stepped closer to me.

I stepped back without thinking, and it stopped.

It lowered its hands and looked back at his companion. As though speaking to each other silently, they both nodded, and turned back to me.

The first one turned to the left and glided to the wall on the other side of the room.

I tried to watch them both, my head flicking back and forth between them, but that only made my drunk mind even dizzier.

It stopped by the wall and placed its three-fingered hand on it. A light came on under its palm and the wall opened. It took out what looked like a long white sheet.

It came toward me again, its arm extended out with the white cloth hanging from its bony fingers.

I stood there, torn between running away, screaming out the million questions I had running through my mind, and accepting the fabric to cover my exposed body.

I finally settled on the most logical of the choices. I slowly edged forward and reached out for the material.

The figure leaned forward, and when it was close enough, I grabbed the sheet and wrapped it around myself.

With my body finally covered, and my confidence creeping back, I stood tall and glared at the being closest to me.

“Where am I?”

It didn’t say anything, only turned its head to the side, staring at me. I glanced around the dark room, measuring up my options.

Run? To where? I had no idea where I was.

What if I’m in a bunker underground, or on a plane, or, by the look of these two things in front of me, in space?

Fight? Yeah, right. I could barely run for the bus without getting out of breath, let alone hold up in a brawl with two tall, skinny, but fit-looking creatures.

I was going to have to talk my way out of this. Or at least try my best.

“Do you understand me?”

The figures turned to each other, and with the silent conversation, they nodded again.

This time, the second one turned to walk out and left me alone with the generous sheet giver.

“Who are you?” I asked, pointlessly. They didn’t understand me, or at least they weren’t speaking if they did.

I waited patiently. The other one returned a moment later. It held a small screen with two metal orbs on it in its hand.

It nodded at me as though wanting me to do something, but I just said, “I don’t know what you want from me.”

As I finished speaking, they glanced at the screen, waited a moment, and then picked up the orbs.

They each slid one of their long, thin fingers along the edge of their masks, which hissed open. They pulled on the screen in front of their faces and pulled off the cover.

Underneath, I saw their faces: large, oval-shaped, endless black eyes; no nose; tiny, thin mouths; and pale, translucent skin.

They placed the silver orbs to their temples and as the metal melted into their skin, I couldn’t hold back the scream that escaped my lips.

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