Natalie Le Roux
A deep chuckle filled the space as the connection to the Decagon Council ended.
Bor looked up from the screen, meeting his second’s deep, dark brown eyes.
“You are amused, Korom?” Bor asked, feeling the tension melt from his shoulders.
Korom shook his head. “Funny, don’t you think? Only moments ago, you were saying we all needed a good fight to ease some of the tension growing in the warriors. Now, this call comes in.”
Bor chuckled at his second in command and lifelong friend. If anyone knew how to see the humor in a situation when many of the warriors would no doubt die, it was Korom.
Shaking his head at the male sprawled in the seat in front of his desk, Bor stood and moved to the drinks stand behind him.
“Pull up the information about the planet called Earth. The council has asked we save the inhabitants of this world. I want to know what we are dealing with.”
Korom didn’t hesitate in snapping to the order. That was one thing Bor appreciated about his second. He could make Bor laugh but was still one of the deadliest warriors in his entire army.
Even Bor had to appreciate the male’s tenacity to kill. He was not just skilled in the art of taking a life. Korom was a master at it. No other could take a life the way Korom did.
But as much as the male radiated deadly danger, he was also one of the most loyal and honorable males Bor had ever met.
Bor handed his friend a drink as he sat back down at his desk. It had been a while since the Decagon Council asked the Torian warriors for assistance.
But as the scared female council member had mentioned, all the funding the Torian warriors got to keep not just their home world safe, but all the planets under the Decagon rule, it would be very unwise to not do as they asked.
“It looks like this Earth is inhabited by a small race of male and female beings. They are not much different from us, brother,” Korom stated, lifting his drink to his lips.
Bor sipped the dark amber liquid, watching the information run over the screens.
Humans. That is what this race called itself. Small, frail, and weak. He growled low, his annoyance at helping yet another weak race flaring.
“They are not part of the Decagon Council’s rule. Why would the council get involved with a planet so primitive?” Korom asked, eyeing Bor with a raised brow.
“It is not the council that has asked for our assistance. It is the watcher, Commander Kurmar.”
“Watchers? They are only rumors…right?”
Bor shook his head. They’d had this conversation many times in the past. Stories of the watchers and the observatory called the Eye had spread through the universe for hundreds of years.
But to hear the male on the communication speak the words brought truth to the stories that bothered Bor more than it should.
“Not any longer. Commander Kurmar is the head watcher. The only place I have heard that title being used is when spoken of the Eye.”
A deep, dangerous growl came from Korom, making Bor jerk up to look at his friend.
The heavy, dark fog vibrating around his massive body spoke of the barely controlled rage the male felt for the ones that watched suffering and death and did nothing about it.
“It is changing, my friend,” Bor said in a soft voice. “The watchers are getting involved with this world. Perhaps it is a sign of what is to come in the future.”
“I do not understand the need to watch over undeveloped worlds. For what? Knowledge? How much can those kisak learn from simply observing a race from so far away?”
Bor knew where the male’s rage came from. His planet had also suffered the unrelenting force of the spinners many years ago.
Only the watchers and the Decagon Council did not think them ready to join the other planets for many more years. It was only by fate that his friend sat before him now.
Abandoned on a freight vessel to die alone in the dark, Korom was saved by Bor’s father on a mission to find the pirates that had attacked and plundered the vessel, killing anyone that was on board.
Korom’s mother had hidden the infant child in the floor gratings, saving his life.
It was only after the vessel had drifted into Decagon territory that the Torians were sent to investigate.
“Questioning the reasons for the Eye and the dishonorable behavior of the watchers is not in the best interest of our people, my friend.
“Our world is finally thriving once again. If we allow ourselves to dwell on the past, it will never release us from its infuriating hold.
“I gave you my word many years ago, Korom, and I still stand by it. We will find the ones that killed your family, and you will have your revenge. For now, we have a new mission.”
Lilly stayed as still as possible underneath the massive truck parked on the side of the field. She tried to keep her breathing as quiet as possible, not wanting to make even the slightest sound.
A small group of the ugly ass aliens that had attacked Earth three weeks ago was moving in her direction. The cross between a lizard and a spider was something right out of a nightmare.
But, as Lilly learned over the last few weeks, they had one tiny disadvantage. They were completely blind. As long as she didn’t make a sound, they should move right past her.
At least, she hoped they would. If she had any hope of getting back to her sisters, she needed to escape this field and get back to the small town of Sikes, Louisiana.
It was only a pit stop for them, having traveled from Monroe over the weeks.
Her breath caught in her chest when the scraping sound of the claws drew closer.
Tilting her head to the side, Lilly held her breath as she watched the swarm move past her, heading in the direction she had just come from.
She had no idea why there were so many of them out here. From what she saw of the alien monsters, they liked to eat anything that moved or had a pulse.
There wasn’t much of that out in the sticks of Louisiana, so the massive numbers of the creatures confused her.
Hundreds of legs tore up the asphalt as they moved past the truck, making the heavy piece of machinery shake and groan with the force of their almost impenetrable bodies hitting it as they passed.
Lilly closed her eyes, taking in slow, silent breaths, and thought about her sisters waiting in the old farm house they had found the night before.
Her heart wrenched at the memory of how sick Violet was.
Her loud, wheezing coughs almost got them killed a few days ago, but thanks to Tulip’s fast thinking, they had managed to get out of the small gas station alive.
The only one of the four sisters that wasn’t doing too well with all this end-of-the-world stuff was Rose.
Not that any of them were reveling in it, but the spoiled young woman was used to a more luxurious lifestyle.
Lilly grinned at the memory of her sister having to relieve herself in the bushes for the first time.
The string of creative curses that came out of her perfectly painted red lips was enough to make any sailor proud.
Once the horde had passed, Lilly lay for a few moments longer, the backpack she had used to collect the medicine gripped tightly in her hand.
Her mind fought to think about all the medication she had found in the small pharmacy on the edge of town.
As a medical student, she should know what all of it was, but her field didn’t involve pharmaceuticals. She was a surgical intern with only one year of residency left.
Then the planet went to shit, and she and her sisters went on the run.
The one thing she would be eternally grateful for was that she had gone home to visit their father for his seventieth birthday.
All the girls had gone home to spend the weekend with their father. That was when the first ball of black terror fell from the sky.
No one could have expected the meteors to erupt into the horrid creatures that now devoured everything in their path.
With one last glance around her, Lilly moved as quietly as she could over the hard, damp ground.
She shuffled out from under the truck, scanning the area for the smallest of movements, before she got to her feet.
In the distance, she could see the dark swarm of the creatures rushing back to the town she had just picked clean of any supplies she could find.
With a silent rage of defiance, Lilly thrust up her middle finger at the departing mass, holding it up for a few seconds, then dropped her hand to her side.
With a long breath to calm her nerves, Lilly spun around and moved fast toward the farmhouse only a mile away.
She needed to get to Violet and the others. Her baby sister needed the medication desperately, and none of them had eaten in over two days.
With all the death happening around them, Lilly expected to find an abundance of food in every house.
But, as fate or some other sick force would have it, the creatures either ate anything that was not in a can or simply covered it in the disgusting slime that dripped from their mouths.
As she ran up to the house, eyes scanning the open fields around her, Lilly couldn’t help the smile that spread on her face. She had made it.
She pushed open the door, not saying a word as she moved to the back room. Rose met her at the door to what once was a lovely country living room.
“Did you find anything?” Rose whispered, her eyes hopeful.
Lilly nodded with a wide smile, slipping the bag off her back.
Tulip came up to her, giving her a tight hug, and Lilly didn’t miss the glint of tears in her younger sister’s eyes.
“What took you so long?” Tulip asked in a quiet voice, her small, stick-thin frame shivering.
“I had to wait for a horde of those things to pass. I don’t know what’s got them all riled up, but they were in a hell of a hurry to get somewhere.”
Rose’s eyes narrowed, and Lilly could already see the words forming in her sister by gazing into her eyes. She stopped her before she could speak.
“I had no choice, Rose. I’m fine. I found meds for Violet and food for all of us.”
That stopped the reprimand she could see building in her sister. With a wink, Lilly leaned down and pulled the four cans of beef stew she had found, as well as a small bag of rice out of her bag.
It was enough to feed them for at least three days if they were careful with the portions. She pulled out the three boxes of medication and stood.
“I need to get these to Violet. Rose, you and Tulip prepare dinner. We will stay here one more night, but we need to move. Those things were heading somewhere and there were a lot of them.
“I don’t like it. There could be more, and I really don’t want to hang around here to find out.”
Rose nodded, taking the cans from Lilly, and motioned to Tulip to go with her.
Lilly entered the room, where Violet lay on a sofa. She was so pale, her skin a sickly shade of gray, and the thin layer of sweat on her skin worried Lilly.
She knelt by the baby of the siblings and placed a hand on her forehead. She was burning. A rush of panic-filled Lilly at the thought that even as a doctor, she could not help her little sister.
The problem was, Violet had picked an apple from a tree on the way out of Monroe. An apple that had the slime of the creatures all over it.
It had dried in the mid-August Louisiana sun, but that didn’t stop her from getting violently sick and weak.
Tears burned her eyes at the realization that she had no idea what she was dealing with here. For all she knew, none of the medication she found could help the sweet, loving sixteen-year-old.
Shaking off the fear of losing another member of her family, Lilly pulled out the medication and scanned the labels. A box of antibiotics, a box of pain medication, and a box of birth control. Great.
In her haste to get out of the pharmacy, she didn’t take the time to read the labels.
She had shoved the two boxes into her bag, almost leaving the pharmacy, until she ducked down to hide from a creature and spotted the antibiotics underneath the shelf.
Violet’s eyes fluttered open, her deep blue eyes looking blindly up at the ceiling. All the sisters had the same genetics. They were all dark-haired, with striking blue eyes.
Something their father had been extremely proud of all their lives.
“Hey,” Lilly whispered, stroking Violet’s cheek, “I have some meds for you. Can you sit up?”
Violet gave her a weak nod, but choked and began coughing as soon as she tried to move. Panic flashed in Lilly at the loud sound filling the silent house.
Violet turned her face into the pillow, muffling the sound as best she could as her body racked from the coughing.
After a few minutes, Violet eased back, her eyes closing again, and Lilly blinked back tears at the sight of blood on the pillow next to Violet’s head.
“Oh God, no,” Lilly mumbled to herself, stroking her little sister’s hair back from her face.
“I will not let you die, Vi. I swear, I will do whatever it takes, but you are not going to die. You hear me?”
Violet moaned, her eyes remaining closed. Lilly let a tear fall, a helpless, defeated feeling creeping into her body. There was nowhere left to run.
Nowhere to hide from the creatures, and her body and mind were slowly beginning to give up on the fight that was still to come.