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SpreadAn Epic, in the Telling Alone!
By Alotta Monks
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Alotta Monks
All right reserved.
Chapter OneStrange Reality
Jill wakes with a start, already standing. She's in shock from the sudden brilliance. For a split second, time stands still. She is caught in a warm glowing starburst. Then, as quickly as it happens, it is gone.
Her head is pounding, sounds are echoing all around her. There seems to be a problem with her equilibrium, her stomach turns summersaults. For a moment or two, she cannot see anything. She can barely focus on anything, in the half-darkness, until her eyes start to adjust.
Shadows dance with noises and voices echoing all around her. A buzzing sound reverberates with the voices, until slowly fading to more clarity in the sounds around her. It takes time to adapt her eyes to the dimness. Her confusion remains about what just happened.
A smooth stone cold surface spreads, unending before her. Things move in the distant shadows. Fear rushes through her, like a tide of emotion. Where is this place? What is going on? She remembers nothing before this!
Chilling observations reveal she is naked! Silent panic begins from deep within, convulsing to tremors outwardly. She wants desperately to scream! She fights to remember how!
A woman's voice speaks softly behind her. "Don't make any noise, or they'll hear you!" Before Jill could answer, a shaking hand cups her mouth. "Shhh ..., please, be quiet! They'll hear! They'll come for you!" The same voice speaks again, closer, more firmly. "Do you want to live?"
Jill, too terrified to do anything else, agrees. She shakes her head quietly, in tremulous aftershocks. Too scared to even think of anything, she will agree to all of their demands.
Turning quickly, she sees another woman. She is not human. Cupping a hand over her own mouth, gasping inwardly, Jill remembers not to scream. More women that are non-human toil to wrap her bareness.
After closer inspection, the woman nearest looks like she could be part human. Except for the oversized, gorgeous dark blue eyes. Despite the light blue skin-tone, she actually looks quite beautiful.
She is adorned in gold silk throws, with light green linens underneath. Her head and body features look human. She is only a few inches taller than Jill. Her silky dark blue hair is long, with greenish blond highlights.
The woman's skin has a perfect complexion, being blemish free. What looks to be natural purple hues around the eyelids, also blush her cheeks. Her beauty is absolutely, undeniably, stunning.
There are five others around her, also possibly part human. All are just as equally stunning in their own hues from purplish blues to greens. All of them looking horrified, wanting to huddle together as one group, clinging to Jill as well.
Behind them are other groups, all clumping together for support, mostly with their own. There are literally hundreds of them in the vast expanse around her. Their skin tones range from total white, to brilliant hues of blue, green, turquoise, orange, yellows and reds. Hair tones are just as colorful.
There are other human women scattered in amongst them. They seem so insignificant to the multicolored rainbow of women. All of them are equally beautiful. Most of them look just as scared. The ones not scared, just hollow shells, void of emotion.
Suddenly she feels a new fear. Now, there are more of her senses starting to register. She knows she needs to find out what is going on here. This new fear is in understanding only half of what is being said. As more of her vocabulary returns, in the next few moments, her fear rises. So much is happening, all around her, all at once.
Something worse than fear grabs her like never before. Now it starts to match what she can see, in most of them. She still is not certain why they're looking scared. This makes the feeling even worse. Chills start to set in, paralyzing her.
Too petrified to even move, she listens like she never listened before. Not missing a single word, she listens. With every ear shattering heartbeat, she listens. Her very life depends on it. The words, only whispers, echo shouts in her mind. She still remembers nothing but her name.
She knows there must be a somewhere she used to be. It is not here, or now. This must be a nightmare, only she isn't dreaming. Tears race as she listens, trying hard to absorb what is happening at this moment. What the Hell is happening?
In one distant group, a light flashes, a woman screams. Before the contagion starts there, it is dealt with in haste. Voices echo, blows are exchanged in a short melee. A servant girl is sent flying. She quickly rejoins the fight, motioning for security to stay their hand.
Human and half human guards are close by, ready to take swift action. They are awaiting orders from a dark cloaked and hooded figure. He watches the entire operation, from his perch. In case of trouble, his elite force can deal with it promptly.
The lead woman of the scuffling group barks demands. "Careful with her!" She is quite specific. "Don't bruise or mark her!" "Hold her!" The others are quick to act, quelling the fracas. Holding the woman's arms at length, they keep her from escape.
For now, to quail the woman, a warning finger in her face. "Lucky for us all, you are not damaged." The woman leader's voice is clearer and more ominous, without the scuffle. Her manner of speech sounds odd. She turns Jill's direction, showing her face.
She too, has beautiful eyes. They are a yellowish green, with vertical apertures. Her head, more of a triangle shape. Different hues of green and turquoise, accolade her facial features. A sharp looking chin sports horn like ripples along her jaw line. Her lips and nose look rigid, yet oddly sexy. Long flowing hair compliments the tall, slender shape.
Reflections in the dark, deep blue hair color resemble starlight. Absolutely gorgeous, she is alluringly pretty even for an alien lizard woman with a tail. She towers close to eight feet tall.
The sight is sharply mesmerizing and totally titillating. Jill is again shook into submissive listening. The echo of the voice speaking brings her back into focus.
"Don't look over there! Stand up straight! You need to focus! Do you hear me?" The barrage is unending and relentless.
The sequences of words, starts all over again. The sounds are fading intermittently with exhaustion. Mental fatigue is gaining ground quickly. Returning again with the realization of being bathed, all over.
Jill hardly feels a thing. Numbness consumes her, as everything begins to blend together. Some kind of surreal dream state takes over. She waits for time to wake up, but it does not come. It has to be a dream. This cannot be real.
Are there rose petals, in her bathwater? Did she walk here? What else is in this bath? She feels strange, watching bubbles of oil float by. They stick to her skin as she catches them. The girls rub it into her elbows and arms, before it can drip away.
She is massaged into bliss, as one of them washes and rubs her back. Next being gently dried, moisturized and scented. Fine linens are wrapping around her, warming her skin. The cascade of words, never ceasing the entire time, fade to a background noise. Letting the sensations take her away, she loses her sense of time. She is carried away by ecstasy, to a better comfort zone.
She awakens next in a room, filled with bed sized pillows. They are arranged, mostly around the walls. She lay in a larger one of them that is centered in the room. Flowing veils hang from the ceiling, offering partial divisions between them.
As she stretches, the room comes to life. Servants appear all around with the necessities to start her day. Fruit juice, some tart crêpes, and a delicious fruit/cream spread, grabs her appetite. A morning bath follows with additional pampering, dressing, and another feeding, all by the hands of servants.
Then she is rushed off to learning, followed by more great food, more bathing, more learning, more pampering, more being fed. Another bath comes again, before bed. It is a never ending cycle of daily routines. Except for the learning, this place is no prison. Maybe, the best Etiquette School she'll ever see. Even with her improving vocabulary, she is unable to recall another.
Cycle by cycle, time slowly passes before her. Blending together into one very long day, her time here is surreal, almost enjoyable at times. Except for the learning, of course there are no real demands on her. She does not seem to understand, what is happening or why she is here.
She is still stuck in some strange Dream World. Everything will be all right as soon as she wakes up. Then, where will she be? She still cannot remember where she was before. After time it blends with Fairytales and dreams from her childhood.
This is some kind of Grand Palace, with servants tending to her. What do these words mean? Vague shadows of memories, stir childhood storybook pictures. Early pretend princess moments and fairytale memories in rhymes, all mashed together into an indiscernible chaos.
She has her own personal entourage to do everything for her, except to learn this stuff. She needs someone, to help her understand what is going on. The words sound familiar to her, yet foreign. Language itself seems to elude her at times. She will just pretend to understand what they are saying, until things can make sense again.
* * *
Another job is considered well done. No complications this time, except it had taken longer than was first considered. That was due to Jill's first rule, never be alone with anyone until she wants to know them. Boy was she ever wrong about this one.
It was not her first time for being wrong, but it never got them very far. She has trust issues, quick reflexes and self-defense training. Now the only thing she will know is her first name. She will be marked, as one of the countless other missing.
All of them found alone with the wrong person, in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Another unsolved mystery, amongst hundreds of millions accumulating over the centuries. No one that matters would miss this Specimen. Except for her cat, which seems such a simple, affectionate, but temperamental creature.
She had actually been a stray, showing up on Jill's doorstep, insisting on Jill's affection. Consistently appearing just in time for Jill's arrival, each day. Bursting in every time the door would open, with Jill chasing her out again. For days this went on until one day, she caught a mouse in the process. That was three and a half years prior.
They have lived happily together since, mice and roach free. Jill decided on the name Orion. It sounded close enough to the word; she seemed to be trying to pronounce in her chatter, when Jill asked about her name. Jill told her friends that she chose her own name. It seemed she had chosen Jill, as well. An almost symbiotic relationship exists between them.
"Would you like to come along with us? There's always room for more!" Bob waits for the tailless black feline to respond. She would provide the perfect opportunity, for another quick profit to be made. She seems well natured and friendly enough. Besides the fact that no one else will ever believe it, that is without seeing it for themselves.
Orion makes circles around Bob's leg, mouthing her usual chatter in her own language. She hopes to go where Jill would be. She stays pestering, between his feet. She would rather be trampled, than to lose her Jill.
Her only job to do for Jill is to keep vermin away. They are everywhere, Jill might need her protection from them. Jill might be in danger. Orion continues her figure eight trip hazard, until she gets what she wants.
Bob, obliged to keep from tripping, picks her up. "Okay you can go, but you have to behave yourself." He slowly turns, rubbing his new extra earning, ready to leave the apartment.
His associates will never believe this. Animals mostly didn't like his kind. Here is a pet that did not run or fight to protect itself by a perceived danger. Animals usually have better instincts.
Preoccupied by his newest friend, he does not notice the person standing on the other side of the door when Bob pulls it open. The sound of the voice startles him, for only a moment. The sight of the Sheriff's uniform grabs his attention.
"I'm here for Jill. Is she here?" Ethan stands frozen, about to knock on the doorframe. He is also startled when the door suddenly opens before he could knock. He is embarrassed to find himself in an awkward situation, instead.
"I'm supposed to pick her up, to take her to her Mom's house for the summer." Ethan stares for a moment, hoping to remember the face of the man leaving Jill's apartment. Something about the look in his eyes looks familiar.
Bob thinks up something quick, at the last second. "Jill called me earlier this morning, asking if I could care for her cat while she's away. She said something about having to leave early this year." Remembering Sheriff Ethan Daniels from a previous meeting, Bob's confident that he won't be recognized. He is a different man, now.
"Jill never mentioned knowing anyone else here." Ethan was not convinced. Jill would not just leave without saying something. He has known her all his life, this all just doesn't make any sense.
"I'm sorry, my name is Bob ... Crow! You must be Officer Daniels. Jill said, in case I saw you, to tell you that she tried to call but there was some problem with dispatch." Bob just smiles as he speaks, knowing some things that the officer doesn't know.
The dispatcher, Charlene, was taken around midnight. She too had some value worth noticing. Every community is well cased beforehand. Special marks are planned to the last detail.
This one in particular took some extra time. There is an officer of the law possibly personally involved in both targets. This one was a two for one deal, three if he keeps persisting.
"Charlene didn't show up for work this morning, so it is possible that Jill tried to contact me. She does know how busy we've been, here lately." Ethan still wasn't certain but was too preoccupied with work to push.
He needed to check on some other things at the moment, like Charlene. With the rash of people disappearing lately, his entire department has been putting in extra hours. Now that his trip has been cancelled, he might have to get back to work himself.
Bob continues, to control the talk. "Jill's Mom came and picked her up ... or something like that." He steps out onto the porch, closing the door behind him. His confidence is almost brazen. "Is there anything I can help you with, Officer."
"No! I guess not, unless you might know something about these missing persons in the area." He meant it as a joke, though you never know.
Bob smiles even bigger, with his jest. "I heard it was Aliens! Everyone is talking about all the lights in the sky over the past week." Laughing, he walks past Ethan petting Orion.
Orion protests the delay. "Meow, reoww!" She is ready to go, now.
As Bob walks down the sidewalk, he is careful to be seen by as many eyes as possible. He even waves at Ethan, as his Sheriff's SUV drives away. He has just proven how well Bob's cover is working. It would not matter anyway, they could look for Bob all they wanted. As soon as necessary, he would be Bill, Frank or George.
He is a shape shifter, born and bred this way. As soon as no one can notice, he simply morphs into someone else. Now he will be, "Jim". He speaks the name aloud.
It isn't important, just another someone to just appear around another corner. Now, he is armed with a new visual aid, to be a lesser threat for another target. This is his job and he's very proficient at it. He is a proprietor of recently soon to be lost souls.
Another occasion to work is just up ahead. A brunette, with great assets and ripe for a snatching, another valuable pick-up. All alone with her hands full, fighting to unlock her door. She smiles, looking at the handful of short fur occupying Jim's cradle.
"A proper lady would ask a Gentleman, for some help with something." Jim smiles as always, looking non-threatening and innocent. He waits for her to respond.
"Are you sure you can stop petting your pussy, long enough to help?" She had to laugh to finish. "You look kind of into it there."
Jim lets Orion down gently. Standing up to reach, he speaks. "Let me take something, so I won't feel like such a cad." Moving forward, he acts out the part.
She hesitates before answering, not wanting to feel accusing. "How bad could you be, you have a cat. They can be picky, who they hang around." She hands Jim a sack of groceries, to unlock the door.
"Meow!" Orion speaks her mind. Only cats understand their chattering. She insists on speaking, as she bursts through the doorway.
"Yeah, just be my guest there." The woman enters, after looking for a place to dump her load. The apartment screams "single".
Jim wastes no time making his move, towards the counter. There he joins her gaze, allowing time for connection. "You have to excuse the cat, she has no manners. "My name is, Jim." Reaching a hand out in a friendly gesture, he smiles.
"I'm Susan." She reaches as well, yet she never acknowledges contact. Only the sound of her own name, being repeated back to her. "Susan!"
Excerpted from Spread by Alotta Monks Copyright © 2012 by Alotta Monks. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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