Fate Unexpected (Earth Defender Book 1)

BOOK: Fate Unexpected (Earth Defender Book 1)
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Fate Unexpected

 

Marisa Chenery

 

 

Edited by Marisa
Chenery

Cover design by
April Martinez

 

 

Copyright 2015
Marisa Chenery. Published by Forever More Publishing, 31 Wycliffe Place,
Kitchener, Ontario, N2M 5J6, Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the author.

 

ISBN:
978-1-92785-971-1

 

 

This ebook is
licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or
given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re
reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use
only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of this author.

 

This is a work
of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the
author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.

A summer storm of red rain changed life as Kylah
knew it, and her in ways she couldn't imagine. Humans around the world sickened
and died, or turned into wild creatures with red eyes that hungered for flesh.
Her planet was on the verge of extinction, and there was nothing anybody could
do about it.

Rune, a Dracan mercenary, had signed on with the
Xphens to fight for them during the Earth conquest. Having Kylah capture him
changed everything. She had him questioning which side he wanted to be on.

Kylah finds herself drawn to the large cat-eyed
alien. Fleeing with Rune to the Cascade mountain range, she lets her feelings
for him cloud her judgment. From two different planets, theirs is a
relationship that could end before it had a chance to start.

Chapter One

 

Kylah sped down the main street of the small town of Republic,
Washington, where she’d lived for all of her twenty-three years of life. She
was late for her job at the local drugstore. Her damn alarm clock hadn’t gone
off. She’d slept in twenty minutes longer than she should have, and she usually
cut it pretty close when she woke up when she was supposed to.

She parked her older-model compact car behind the building of the
drugstore, turned off the engine and quickly climbed out. Kylah ran to the back
employee entrance and then used her key to open the door. She raced inside.

Her boss, Mary, met her once Kylah reached the backroom doorway.
Mary was in her fifties, and was the owner as well as the pharmacist. The older
woman smiled and shook her head.

“Had a slow morning, Kylah?”

Kylah nodded. “Sorry about being late. My alarm clock decided not to
go off. I swear I set it before I went to bed.”

Mary chuckled and waved her words away with a flick of her hand.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s not as if we’re overrun with customers. Besides,
you’re usually on time. Now that you’re here, you can take over the store while
I get to work on filling prescriptions.”

She nodded and walked past Mary into the main part of the drugstore.
While Kylah went toward the front, Mary headed to the back area where the
pharmacy counter was located.

Kylah did a walkthrough of the aisles to see which items needed to
be restocked. Republic had a population of slightly over a thousand. So the
store wasn’t large, by any means. Besides her, there was only one other
employee, a woman who worked the evening shift. Deidre was in her mid-thirties,
and was a single parent of two small children, a boy and a girl, ages two and
three.

After restocking the few shelves that needed it, Kylah went to the
very front of the store to the check-out counter. From there, much of her day passed
in its usual way in serving customers and anything else that needed doing. She
hadn’t aspired to work in the drugstore while going to school, but with so few
jobs in Republic, she’d counted herself lucky to have it, and she enjoyed
working with Mary.

It was a half hour before her shift ended that loud thunder boomed
outside. Kylah just about jumped out of her skin. She looked out the large
plate-glass window. Her brows drew together. That was weird. The sun shone brightly,
and when she peered at the sky, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. In a blink of
an eye that changed, though.

Kylah walked closer to the window as the clear blue sky turned to
thick, dark red clouds. Lightening streaked across them, followed by another
loud boom of thunder. She’d never seen the weather change so dramatically so
fast, or the clouds take on that color.

“They weren’t calling for rain today,” Mary said as she came to
stand beside Kylah and looked out the window.

“They weren’t,” Kylah replied. “What’s up with the red clouds?”

“I have no idea.”

The sky was split with more lightning, which was followed by thunder
that was louder than the other two. It rattled the window she and Mary stood in
front of. Kylah noticed they weren’t the only ones who were curious about the
weather conditions. People had stopped on the sidewalk or came out of other
businesses to stare at the sky. It grew darker with a funny reddish tinge to
the remaining light.

After one more flash of lightning and crack of thunder, the clouds
opened up. The rain didn’t start off in a light shower. It came down in
buckets. People scattered, running to any spot where they’d be sheltered and
wouldn’t get drenched. The water quickly gathered in the street, forming large
puddles. Just like the clouds, the rain was tinged red. Even those people who
hadn’t gotten out of the storm were spotted with red wetness. Kylah couldn’t
help feeling this was no ordinary summer rainfall.

Deidre came running through the drugstore entrance, looking like a
drowned rat. She only lived a block away and walked to work every day. Red
water dripped down her face and had plastered her short, brown hair to her
skull. Her clothes were also drenched.

“Holy crap, that storm came up fast,” Deidre said as she wiped the
wetness from her face. She looked down at her hands. “I’ve never seen rain this
color.”

“Nobody has,” Mary replied. “You’d better dry off in the backroom.”

“And wash up.” Deidre scratched her forearm. “It’s itchy. It’s a
good thing I keep a spare set of clothes in my locker.” She looked at Kylah. “I
won’t take too long.”

“Take your time. I’m in no hurry to go out in that. I’ll end up
soaked to the skin just making the short walk from the store to my car. I’ll
wait for it to stop.”

Kylah turned back to the window. The rain came down even harder. The
street was now flooded. It looked as if a light red river ran down it. She
hoped it ended soon. The sewers wouldn’t be able to keep up with the runoff at
this rate.

It continued to rain for another fifteen minutes, then as if someone
had turned off a faucet, it completely stopped. In seconds, the sun came out as
the red-tinged clouds quickly dissipated. It was a little bit freaky.

Deidre stepped out of the backroom and came to stand in front of
them. She was in dry clothes, and she must have used the hot air hand drier in
the washroom to dry her hair. Since she wore a t-shirt, red marks, almost like
hives, were visible on her forearms. They looked itchy. As if to prove her
correct, the other woman scratched the ones on her left arm.

“I can’t believe how itchy these are,” Deidre said. “I washed them
with soap and everything, but it won’t go away. Even my face is itchy. I wonder
if acid rain had to do with that weird storm.”

“Stop scratching,” Mary said. “You’ll give yourself an infection if
you break the skin. Come on, I’ll get you some cortisone cream to put on it.”

As the other two women walked toward the pharmacy counter, Kylah
went to the backroom to head out. She expected to find a flooded parking lot at
the back of the building as she stepped through the employee entrance. Much to
her surprise, it wasn’t. The rain had dried up as if it’d been hours since the
water had been there. Her car was no longer wet either.

Kylah slipped into the driver’s side, started the engine and backed
out of the parking spot. As she drove home, she noticed groups of people
standing outside, talking and gesturing toward the sky. Some scratched exposed
skin just as Deidre had. Could acid rain give someone a rash like that, and so
quickly?

She arrived at the two-story house where she lived with her parents.
Kylah had moved out for a year with a roommate, but that had ended when her
friend had decided to relocate to Washington, D.C., in search of better job
opportunities. Kylah hadn’t been able to afford the rent on her own. And since
there weren’t a lot of rental places available, back home she’d had to go. That
had been over six months ago.

Kylah parked her car in the double driveway, then went inside the
house. “Mom, I’m home,” she called as she closed the door behind her.

“I’m upstairs,” her mom called back.

She hung her ring of keys on the rack next to the front door before
she went up the stairs to the second level. Kylah found her mother in the
bathroom, rubbing her hair with a towel.

“Did you get caught out in the rain?” Kylah asked.

Her mom chuckled. “How could you tell? Yes, I did. I’d decided to go
for a walk for exercise. I was about a block away when the sky opened up and
wanted to drown me. I’ve never seen anything like that storm.” She shook her
head. “Red rain. That will have all the environmental activists shouting, ‘I
told you so.’ They’ll blame it on global warming.”

Her mother put the towel on the counter, then scratched her neck.
There was the same bumpy rash-like hives on her skin Kylah had seen on Deidre.

“Don’t scratch,” Kylah said as she tugged her mom’s hand away.

“I know I shouldn’t, but it’s really itchy.”

“Deidre had the same reaction to the rain. She was caught in it as
she walked to work. Mary was going to give her some cortisone cream to put on
it when I left the drugstore.”

“Good idea. I have some that’s over the counter. While I’m busy with
that, do you mind getting the chicken breasts ready to go into the oven for
dinner? They’re in the fridge. You know what seasonings I use.”

“Sure.”

Kylah headed downstairs to the kitchen. She’d just finished with the
chicken and had put it into the oven when her dad came into the room with a
long, slim box tucked under his arm.

“What do you have there?” she asked as she dried her hands from
washing them.

He smiled and placed the box onto the table. “Remember that sword I
told you about? I broke down and ordered it. I had to pick it up at the post
office.”

She came to stand next to him as he took a pocket knife out of the
front pocket of his pants and then proceeded to cut open the box. He looked
like a kid opening his presents on Christmas day. Her dad was nuts about
swords. He had a pretty impressive collection, ranging from different sizes to
different types from around the world and many eras. So far, he’d only
purchased replicas with the edges blunted. Kylah had inherited some of his
interest in the antiquated weapons, especially since he’d been getting her to
practice using them with him since her early teens.

This new sword was a bit different from the others. It wasn’t
blunted, and could have been used by a long-ago knight on a battlefield. Her
dad had paid a pretty penny for it. She wondered if her mom knew he’d ordered it.
Kylah had a feeling he hadn’t told her.

Her dad opened the flaps on the box and almost reverently took the
sword out of the packing material. He pulled it out of the black leather,
hand-tooled scabbard that was attached to a wide matching belt. The blade shone
in the sunlight that filtered in through the window.

He took a few steps back, then swung it. Even though they’d taught
themselves the art of sword play, Kylah thought they were pretty good at it.
And it was a great workout.

“It’s beautiful, Dad.”

“It sure is. Here, you give it a go.”

Her dad passed her the sword. Kylah hefted it a couple times. The
balance was really good. It was a broadsword, but no larger than some of the
other replicas in her father’s collection. It had a little more weight to it,
though. She swung it in front of her from side to side and up and down.

Her mom stepped into the kitchen right at that moment. She came to a
stop when her gaze landed on them. “Is that another new sword?” she asked as
she turned her full attention on to her husband.

He gave her a guilty-looking smile. “Yes. I picked it up at the post
office on the way home from work.”

Her mother shook her head. “How much did this one cost?” She held up
her hand. “Wait. I don’t want to know.”

He went to her and gave her a kiss. “I promise this is the last one,
for now.” Her dad looked closer at her mom. “When did you get the rash?”

“After I got caught out in that weird rain.” She held her arms out.
“Wherever it hit, I broke out in hives. Did you get stuck in it?”

Her dad shook his head. “No. I was at the post office when it
started, and I stayed in there until it let up. I didn’t want to get the box
wet. And it was weird. Hopefully we don’t get another storm like that one.”

Kylah picked up the scabbard where her father had left it on the
table and sheathed the sword in it. This one she wouldn’t have mind having as
her own. There was fat chance of that happening. Her dad wouldn’t let this one
go anytime soon.

 

* * * *

 

Kylah woke up to the sound of her mom coughing. She glanced at her
alarm clock. It was four in the morning. She closed her eyes. It was too early
to get up.

She lurched upright as her mom continued to cough and then her
father called Kylah’s name in an anxious voice. She threw back the covers on
her bed before she ran out of her room and then to her parents’ bedroom.

The sight that met her eyes made her breath catch. Her mom sat up in
bed, almost doubled over, as a deep, racking cough held her in its grip. What
worried Kylah more was the blood that ran from her mother’s eyes like tears.
Her cheeks were stained with it, and the tissue she held to her mouth was
saturated with the same fluid.

Kylah rushed to her mom’s side. “Mom!” As her mother continued to
cough, she looked at her father. “We have to do something, Dad.”

“I want you to call for an ambulance. Now!” her dad shouted as he
rubbed her mom’s back.

She picked up the cordless phone that sat on the nightstand next to
her mom’s side of the bed and dialed 9-1-1. The other end was picked up after
the second ring.

“Please state your emergency,” the woman said.

“I need an ambulance right away. It’s my mom. She’s coughing up
blood and having a hard time breathing. And blood is running out of her eyes.”

“We’ll get one there as soon as we can, but all the ambulances are
already out on calls for the same condition. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest this,
but it’ll be faster if you can drive your mother to the hospital.”

BOOK: Fate Unexpected (Earth Defender Book 1)
5.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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