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I wanted to continue to move, but my body seemed to be rooted to the floor. I opened my mouth to cry out. No sound came. Why couldn’t I move? Had I hit the case that hard? Or…oh my god. It’s the aliens. They are making it so I can’t fight back.
Tears pricked my eyes. A sob got stuck in my throat. An unidentifiable sound escaped. Think, Addison!
I looked at the alien in front of me more closely. It was slender and taller than I expected. It stood at least a foot over me. Its blood-red eyes bore into me, and its voice spoke in my mind again.
“Tell me, how many of you are there?” the alien asked.
His voice raced through my mind. My mouth opened, ready to tell him everything. No. I clamped my mouth shut. I’m not telling him anything.
Coercion swept over me, but I maintained my silence. The longer I fought, the greater chance the kids and the others had to get away. Every second counted.
The alien reached out and touched my cheek, trailing his long, scaly finger down my face. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to run away. Move. Vomit. Something. His mind pressed against mine. My head seared like someone took a hammer to my temple. I screamed. I lifted my arm and tried to jab the glass into the alien’s chest. He caught my wrist, wrenching it to the side, causing the glass to fall to the floor. I tried to tug my hand free of his grasp, but he held tight.
“It’s been a long time since I found someone so defiant,” he told me as he grasped my chin. “I shall enjoy breaking you.” He dug his fingers into my skin. My jaw ached as he squeezed tighter. I tried to wiggle free. Blood flooded my mouth. “Tell me, how many of you are there?”
I gathered spittle and spat it at the alien. He flinched as it trickled down his face.
Gazing up at him defiantly, I noticed a lime green goo oozing from his chest. Is that blood? Yes, yes, it is. This is the one I stabbed. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear to be phasing him at all. If a blade to the chest didn’t hurt them, what would?
Faster than I could see, the hand holding my chin whipped up and struck me across the cheek. I toppled to the floor. Pain sliced through my skull. Sticky warmth coated my cheek and my vision darkened. No. No. No. Don’t you dare black out!
“Stop! Please. I’ll tell you what you need to know. Just leave her alone, please!” Marcus pleaded, his voice sounding miles away even though I was sure he was still in the room with me.
“No,” I said, forcing my gaze to focus. I wobbled and tried to sit up. The ground seemed to be vibrating. Everything was spinning. How hard had he hit me? I needed to focus and fast.
The alien turned, trudging away from me.
“Marcus, no,” I said, my voice coming out weaker than I’d intended. My arms trembled as I tried to get to my hands and knees so I could crawl across the floor toward him.
Marcus met my apprehensive gaze and shook his head. “I’m sorry, Addison. I can’t let them hurt you.”
“No…you…don’t understand,” I said, fighting for a breath. The more I moved, the worse my head hurt.
“Tell me. How many of you are there?” the alien asked Marcus.
“Twenty adults and sixty-two children,” his monotone voice echoed throughout the room.
“Very good.” The alien nodded at his men.
All the other aliens darted out the door while the lead creature glanced back at me, a wide smile on his face, and his black teeth gleaming. He turned to Marcus, raised his hand, and placed it on Marcus’ brow. I scrambled across the floor to help. Whatever invisible force holding me back seemed to be gone, at least temporarily. Marcus seemed to be miles away, even though I was sure it was just a few feet.
Marcus howled as a white light encompassed him. The light permeated his body. His skin began to flake away, like leaves blowing in the wind.
“No! Stop!” I cried out. My heart pounded. I pushed to my feet. It was too late. Marcus’ body was nothing more than a pile of white ash on the floor. I covered my mouth. Tears welled in my eyes. He was gone.
The alien turned back to me; the wide smile still plastered on his face. He took a step toward me.
Oh my God. I’m next.
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Bethany Shaw writes paranormal, science fiction and contemporary romance. Vampires, shapeshifters, and good old-fashioned romances are her favorites. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she enjoys creating fun and imaginative characters and worlds.