I have a new book out and I’m very excited! Join me, once more, as I venture into deep space with the crew of Flotilla. More aliens, more intrigue, more action than ever before! Look for Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book Two by Dellani Oakes on sale NOW from Second Wind Publishing.
The surface of Iyundo—0542 GMT
In the early morning, just after dawn, Wil and Matilda followed Felix out of the culvert and down to the marshy stream bed, where the going was fairly smooth. Although dangerous creatures lurked in the water, the thick, spongy turf was virtually devoid of plant or animal life.
The atmosphere was full of ash and smoke. Wil examined it with his cybereye. He could tell, even from nearly a mile away, the transporter explosion had taken a large amount of the city with it.
“It’s amazing that didn’t do more damage.”
Felix chittered anxiously. Matilda held out her hand, asking him to slow his thoughts. The pictures flashed before her too quickly to decode them.
She stiffened. “Trouble.”
“What kind?” Wil immediately scanned the horizon with his cybereye.
Matilda held up her hand again. Turning slowly, she looked down at their feet, eyes widening. “Move very slowly,” she said quietly.
Wil started to protest, but her concern transmitted itself to him. Felix leaped on Matilda’s shoulders, clinging to her hair. She handed him to Wil. The small Kindred male looped his arms through the straps on Wil’s backpack, perching on top of it.
“You thought the giant cat was bad?” Matilda whispered. “These are worse.”
Tiny, finger like stalks rose from the rocks around them, waving slightly as if a breeze passed by. The air was still, hot. One of the stalks leaned toward Wil. Matilda slapped it away. It retracted, then a blood red proboscis emerged, aiming at her. She swatted it again, breaking it this time.
“Run!” Matilda took off at full speed.
Wil hesitated. Felix tugged on his ears, turning him to follow her. Without further hesitation, he followed. He caught up with her easily, batting away annoying, stinging darts that suddenly filled the air. He tried to ask questions, but Felix urged him to move faster.
Matilda couldn’t keep up with the pace he set, so he picked her up, carrying her and Felix through the rocks to a grassy plain about a quarter mile away.
“Keep going,” Matilda gasped. “In range. . . .”
Her head lolled. Wil continued to the other side of the plain. The ship was in sight. He set Matilda on her feet. Several of the darts had found their mark, injecting her with a sedative. She was a bit groggy, but kept her balance. A quick perimeter check showed that the area was clear. Picking her up again, Wil carried her into the ship.
Felix stood at the base of the ramp, shaking hard. Bright red darts fell out of his fur. A few more shakes and he joined Wil and Matilda inside. Kneeling by Matilda, who lay on the floor of the hold, he plucked the darts from her skin, motioning Wil to do the same for himself. Once he got them all from her skin, Felix started on her thick hair.
Wil shook himself, feeling slightly drowsy. If the toxin in the darts affected him, he could only imagine what what happening to his wife. He helped Felix with Matilda, knowing his own body already formulated an antitoxin.
“What are those things?” He asked Felix.
A picture flashed in his mind of one of the creatures. One word accompanied it, whispered, vague—Lurker. Even as innocuous as the word sounded, it made Wil shiver.
“Did we get them all?”
Felix closed his eyes, holding his hands over Matilda. Moments later, he nodded. He tugged on the zipper to her stasuit. Wil lifted her, carrying her to the medical section of the ship. He laid her on the table and removed her suit.
Felix motioned and chittered, telling him to sit down. He did so without arguing. The Kindred male plucked darts from Wil’s scalp, neck and shoulders, dropping them on the floor.
“Thank you,” he said when Felix had finished. “Can we do anything for her?” He nodded to Matilda.
Felix shook his head. He sat on the floor, folding his arms.
Felix nodded, smiling. A feeling of warmth and confidence filled Wil and he knew his wife was going to be alright.