is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Quintina (Book 2 of the Starseed Series),
available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.
A steady, low pitched hum radiated from above
and pulled me out of the darkness. I rolled over to my side, buried one ear in
the soft pillow I laid on, covered the other with my hand, and prayed for it to
go away. Whatever it was – my brother, a neighbor – I didn’t care. All I wanted
was sleep. Lots of sleep.
But the sound didn’t go away. My attempts to
block it only seemed to make it louder, like voices echoing down a tunnel. I
tucked my hands under my head and told myself to ignore the sound, to focus on the
blissful feeling that came from being on the edge of slumber.
But I couldn’t. My senses were uncontrollable.
I tried to reign them back in, but it was too late. I became increasingly aware
of my surroundings.
An annoying chill stretched up my legs from my
feet. I promptly drew them toward me banging my knees against something cold
and hard. I gasped and squinted firmly against the pain, letting out a groan.
The room…it didn’t smell right. It smelled like a…shower curtain.
I rolled over and opened my eyes. Something
clear like glass hung low
and distorted the dark ceiling above me. Confused, I reached out and touched the
barrier, sliding my hand
across it from where it met the white padded bed I laid on to the slick curve
it made over me like the lid of a coffin. This wasn’t the thin, flat glass of a window
pane, but thick and molded. I followed it with my eyes to the foot of the bed
where it continued to surround me.
I twisted my body and looked behind me, toward
the source of the humming. It was coming from a large white case attached to
the head of the bed. When the doctor was trying to figure out the source of my
hallucinations, he put
me in an MRI machine about this size, but it wasn’t as large. I stared at it trying
to process what I was seeing, but the longer I lay there, the more it felt like
the glass was closing in around me.
As I reached up with both hands and gently
pushed on the glass, the
long sleeves of my plain white shirt slid down my forearms toward my shoulders.
It held firmly in place.
I ran my hands along the seam between the
barrier and bed trying to feel for a latch or button, but there was nothing. I
once again reached up with both hands and pushed, harder this time. The glass
refused to budge. My heartbeat quickened.
I looked down at my white pants and bare feet.
What am I doing here? I thought back
over the last 24 hours. It was fuzzy, but it was starting to come back to me –
stargazing, Jared, Doctor McCormick, Steve, the shadow man…some hazy images of
space. Is it true? Did I really travel to
The sound of a voice broke my train of
thought. The glass acted like a conductor, making it resonate around me. I
couldn’t understand exactly what was being said, because the language was none
I had ever heard before, but I could tell it belonged to a man and he was
Through the distortion of the glass at my
feet, I noticed something moving. Focusing on that end of the room, I could
just make out a gray door with a window. It was closed, but someone was
standing in front of it. Their body blocked part of the white light that was
passing through the window. I was sure they were the source of the voice. Their
shoulders rose at the climax of each angry sentence and it occurred to me,
whoever they were, there was a chance they were hostile.
With both hands, I hit the glass full force.
It lifted off the bed a little, which was just the encouragement I needed. I
hit it again. It gave a little bit more and fell back into place.
I hit it again and again and again. All my
emotions from the memories of Jared, Dr. McCormick, Steve, and my family came
flooding out of me.
I pounded the glass until my knuckles split
open and tears streamed down my face. Then, surprisingly, the glass slid back
behind me. When I blinked away the tears, someone was standing in front of me.
“Quintina?” It was the man with the blue eyes
I had seen when I first arrived. Now, fully awake, I saw I was wrong: he wasn’t
the man I had seen in my visions on Earth. He had the same blue eyes, thick
angular brow, and close-cut brown hair, even the same chiseled jaw, but the
mouth was wrong. It was smaller and carried a permanent hint of disapproval at
its corners, not the teasing of a playful grin. And the nose didn’t match. The
ridge was bowed, like it had been broken and never healed correctly, but it
seemed fitting for the 5 o’clock shadow and general ruggedness that he seemed
to encompass, a contrast to the man in my visions, who was more refined and
polished, like the gentleman you’d find in a Jane Austen book.
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