Authors: Sara Page
Tags: #Claimed by the Savage
Copyright © 2015 by Sara Page
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Published by Sara Page
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
Cover designed and created by Aria
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I’m going to die!
I scream inside my head as the escape pod I’m currently riding in touches down, somewhere.
The impact rocks me to the core. Thankfully, I’m strapped into a very elaborate, very effective safety harness. Right now I can’t move if I wanted to.
The dashboard in front of me flashes white and red with warning. Then a loud siren starts to blare.
As if I didn’t know I was in deep shit!
The pod starts to roll.
The shocks and protections of my harness and seat have kept me safe, thus far. My brain hasn’t slipped around in my head. I didn’t end up on the console as a splat. My body seems to still be in one piece instead of pieces. But now I’m trapped, helpless as the pod rolls and I roll along with it.
My stomach lurches as I go up and down, over and over. The escape pod must be rolling down a hill or something.
Stop, please stop. I’m going to be sick!
My blood rushes to my head as I roll. My vision blurs, darkness is creeping in. Then it drops and I feel like I’m free falling.
There’s another impact. The metal of the pod groans now with stress. The pod rolls once, twice. It pauses while I’m upside down. Figures just figures it would stop like this. Then one last rotation and I end up upright. The whole thing shudders then settles.
It’s over. Bless the stars, it’s over. I made it.
It takes several long minutes for my body to stop violently trembling. My lips are pressed together and my eyes are clenched shut as I hold back the sickness. If I throw up, it’s going all over me. So I focus all of my energy in holding the sickness back.
Deep breath in, deep breath out.
Deep breath in, deep breath out.
I’m not dead.
Slowly, I peek one eye open. The red and white warning lights are still flashing. My stomach gives a threatening lurch. I swallow the bile back.
I let my eyes adjust to seeing. After some time, I think my body can handle processing multiple senses. I feel safe enough to peek my other eye open.
The screen connected to the console is going crazy. All kinds of weird symbols and words are flashing, but to me, none of it makes any sense. All that I can think is that red must be bad. Something must be wrong with the pod, but even if I figure out what it is, I won’t be able to fix it.
This is why princesses are not supposed to leave the planet.
My head starts to throb in tune with the rhythm of the blaring siren. If I want the noise to stop, I’m going to have free myself from my seat and do it.
I hold my breath for a moment. The rumbling in my stomach continues to ebb. Slowly, I release the breath and my fingers begin to slide across the straps of the harness, searching for the release.
Logically, I know the sound of the siren has remained steady, but as my fingers fail to find the harness release, and the throbbing in my head pounds harder and harder, it feels as if the siren grows louder and louder until I fear my ears themselves are about to explode.
Damn it all, how did I get myself into this thing?
The sickness is forgotten now as I frantically twist and turn, seeking out the magical button that will free me from the thing that just a few minutes ago kept me safe and whole. The button is nowhere to be found. My fingers search fruitlessly until I’m so frustrated, I end up screaming out.
“Just let me out! Please!”
Nothing happens. It would be too much to ask for voice activated control in such an outdated vessel. But I still hoped. My head drops forward in defeat. I cover my ears with my hands, but it’s in vain. The siren is so loud I can feel it rattling my bones. I start to cry. I survived the crash only to die pathetically.
I’m so pathetic. I don’t know how to operate an escape pod. I’m worthless. If they ever find me, I’ll go down in history as the first princess to die by safety harness.
I let my tears flow freely but as my nose starts to drip, I instinctually wipe at it. Princesses don’t drip snot all over themselves. What would the people think?
I wipe the snot hand on the skirt of my gown and then I use the back of my other hand to wipe at my eyes. I peek my eyes open for a moment, to try and clear them, and that’s when I see it sitting right between my eyes: the harness release.
I press the release and then tear myself free of the safety belts. Stumbling forward, I almost fall, my knees unsteady, but I manage to get myself the four feet to the console.
I stare, stupidly, for too long at all the different buttons that make up the console. There’s so much variety, so many sizes, and colors and none of them are labeled. I have no clue how to stop the siren, but there’s one button that stands out. One giant red button that keeps blinking. That must be the button. It’s red, all the strange letters scrolling across the screen are red. I bet it’s blinking because that’s the beat of the siren. It looks like an emergency button. It’s the biggest.
I push the giant red button and the siren stops.
My ears are still ringing. It will probably be days before I can hear normally again. At first, I don’t believe my ears as the ominous sound of air pressure releasing reaches them. I don’t want to believe I heard that sound, I don’t. But then I look up and sure enough, the pod is starting to open. There’s a sky to be seen between the cracks.
No, no, no, no!
I thought dying trapped in the harness was bad, now it looks like I’m going to die from asphyxiation.
I don’t know where I am. I don’t know if there’s any oxygen. The only way to tell would be to run a safety check before even daring to open the pod. Anything can be out there but now out there is coming in.
I inflate my lungs with air and hold it. I jam the button. I press it over and over again, trying to stop the process. Nothing happens. Desperately I consider the other buttons. There has to be a way to stop it, there has to be. There’s another red button, though not quite as big. I push it.
The siren starts up again.
The walls of the pod shrink lower and lower. Bright rays of light beam inside, I squint my eyes against them.
I pound the smaller red button. Thankfully the siren stops. My lungs are burning. Spots are dancing in front of my eyes. Even if I can get the pod to close up again, I’ll probably pass out.
This is it.
I can’t keep it in. The air I was holding in my lungs bursts from me and I gasp in a shrill breath. It feels strangely good, the breath of fresh air. I expel and suck another mouthful in. The air tastes sweet…
Whoever thought air could be sweet?
How strange yet delightful.
The walls of the escape pod are fully down now. Now that I’m not dead, I realize very quickly that I’m fully exposed and very vulnerable. I look up to the sky, it’s blue, just like home. And for a moment, I hope that somehow I am home.
This isn’t home
, I remind myself. But maybe this planet, wherever it is, is like home. And maybe if it is like home, maybe there are people that can help me.
I walk to the edge of the pod’s floor and poke my head out where once there was a wall... There’s green grass covering the ground. That too is just like home yet there’s also patches of blue. We don’t have blue grass where I come from.
I look off to the distance. There are hills upon hills, and vibrant vegetation. It looks like something out of the fairy tales I used to love to watch on the holovid when I was little. I peek a glance behind me. Yep, there are hills back there too, that’s why I was rolling so much. You can clearly see the path the escape pod took, it left a huge swath of squished grass and colorful pressed plants. Even though the pod is resting at the base of a very tall hill, there’s no hiding where it is.
I can hear the buzzing and hums of insects, so there’s life besides the veggies. Thankfully I don’t hear or see any animals.
To leave or not to leave?
I hesitate before stepping out.
Leaving is probably not a good idea. I’m not dressed or remotely prepared for exploring. I have no weapons to defend myself, nor any tools or instruments to give me direction. I’m wearing a pink party gown and satin slippers. I have no business stumbling about.
On the other hand, it’s painfully obvious where my escape pod is, and I am escaping, I don’t want to be found. If other ships are following me, they’ll find me in an instant. I’m a sitting duck if I stay where I am right now.
I need supplies. There have to be supplies somewhere around here. Yet the escape pod is so ancient, it must be at least 50 years old. I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever supplies there are supposed to be are rotted away by now.
The escape pod is a perfect circle. In the center of the circle is the safety seat. Four feet in front of the seat is the dashboard. You can’t reach the dashboard or its console from the safety seat, which means once you’re strapped in, you have no way to access the controls. In old escape pods, such as this one, it makes sense because those most likely to use the pods wouldn’t understand the controls. The pods are programmed to automatically follow and steer a preprogrammed destination using advanced UPS. The technology is limited to automatic, though, unless you’re a programmer and can overwrite the code. There’s no way to manually pilot the vehicle, as far as I know.
To the right of the seat, I discover a box that serves as a type of portable potty and to the left of the seat I discover the bigger box that holds all of the emergency survival supplies. Among the supplies I find about a dozen hard things the size of bricks wrapped in foil, they’re labeled as ration bars. There’s also a sealed jug of water, two cups, a small first aid kit, a portable light, and a thin blanket.
All useful items, I’m sure, if you only need to survive in space while the pod autopilots you home, but there’s nothing to help me survive in an alien wilderness.
It’s probably best if I stick with the pod for a while.
Beneath the blanket I discover some paper. Thinking it’s a manual or something that may help me with the console, I pull the pack of paper out. Lovely, just lovely. Some perverted soul left a vintage nudie mag. I put that back where I found it then move on to the front of the pod and start prodding around the dashboard.
Now that the siren isn’t driving me to distraction, I explore the different buttons on the console.
I’m bent over, squinting at some faint lettering scratched above a black button when the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I suddenly feel like I’m being watched. I whip around, with my heart thundering in my chest, and at first, I think I’m just being paranoid.
My eyes scan the horizon, everything looks as it did before. I don’t see anything at first, then something moves in the corner of my vision. I turn my head and then I see it. It’s the shape of a person, off in the far distance, coming around a hill.
I can’t tell what kind of person it is at first, they’re so far away, but they’re moving fast. And I just have this feeling, this irrational fear or maybe it’s a perfectly functioning instinct, that they mean to do me harm.
There’s only one thing to do. I push the giant red button and hope with all my heart that the walls will go back up.
The shape of the person grows bigger and bigger. There’s something oddly familiar about them yet something also very wrong. I squint my eyes and use my hand to shield them from the sun. I think it’s a man, a huge giant of a man. He might be naked, he’s definitely humanoid, but he’s not the right color.
For several long seconds, nothing happens. I start jamming the button as if that could make it work.
Please go up walls.
If I had the guts to do it, I’d start pounding the other buttons as well but after the siren incident, I’m afraid I’ll somehow make my situation worse.
Please, giant naked man running for me, please be a mirage.
I can’t tear my eyes away from him, and it is definitely a him. I can see what makes it a male and not a female flopping as he runs. Holy shit, it’s like a third leg.
I hear the screen behind me make several beeps. The sound of air pressure hissing in release this time is like music to my ears. The walls start to go up, but I’m not sure they’re going up fast enough.
Giant man is coming closer and closer. He’s purple and he’s built like one of the elite soldiers in my father’s personal squad. He could crush me like a puny lesser being and by the ferocious look on his face and his narrowed, glowing eyes, it looks like that’s exactly what he means to do.
The walls reach my shoulders and then they go up and up until I can no longer see my approaching threat. He’s so close, if he can jump, he can still get in. I’m so overcome with crippling fear, I feel paralyzed. I can’t move my head, I can’t look up and watch. I can only wait and hope he doesn’t beat the walls.
Something slams into the side of the pod. I jump involuntarily and let out a startled scream. The pod rocks precariously. I look up. The walls are closed, he didn’t make it in.
It must have been him crashing into the pod
, I think at first. But then something slams into the side again
. He’s doing it on purpose. What the hell? Does he think he can go through flexible steel?
He crashes into the side again. I almost expect to see a cartoonish imprint of his body. The pod rocks and almost rolls.
Oh, no. Not again.
I leap for the safety seat. I spent so much time trying to get out of the blasted thing, now all I want to do is get back in. My fingers shake, I’m operating on an overdose of adrenaline. My fumbling fingers manage to get half of my straps secured but then he slams and this time the pod rocks then starts to roll.
“No!” I scream out in terror as I’m forced upside down with only my left side secured in the harness.
I hold on for dear life, feeling gravity do everything in its power to pull me out of the seat as I’m forced upside down. My arms are crossed, my fingers dig into my own skin and it takes every bit of strength I have left to keep myself from falling.
As the pod rotates into its natural upright position, I feel myself drop against my seat. Franticly, I work on securing my right side. Just as I get the last strap secured, there’s another crash and then I roll. This time the pod starts rolling and doesn’t stop.
Growing up as a princess and the sole heir of the Terrea Kingdom and all that it encompasses, I was never permitted to ride amusement rides. They were deemed too risky and unnecessarily dangerous by my personal protection force. I’ve been to many amusement parks during my youth and often watched others of my age enjoy their experience. I never could quite understand how they found being thrown about or flipped upside down to be so fun. I especially couldn’t understand how they could want to do it again and again.
Right now, being rolled over and over again is not my idea of fun. All I want is for it to stop because seriously, I’m about to throw up. But my luck must have run out. I keep rolling and rolling. Darkness creeps into the corners of my vision. I want to pass out. Oh, how I want to pass out. I want to wake up and have this all be over with but for some crazy reason my consciousness hangs on. By the time the pod finally stops, I can’t even tell it has stopped at first. My brain keeps rotating, and my stomach is churning, stuck in the cycle, but my butt is no longer dropping.
I finally catch on.
This time it’s a quick press of the release button and I’m out. I lurch to the side, throw open the portable potty box, and proceed to throw up my guts.
Everything comes out of me. I hack, gag, and heave until it feels like I’m expelling bits of my insides into the box. When I’m done, I slam the lid shut. I hope the biodegradable process in the box still functions. I’ll know for sure the next time I open it up.
I stumble my way back to the dashboard. Déjà vu. Then I bend back over and double check the scratching I was reading above the black button before the charging purple alien man so rudely interrupted me.
The scratching above the button spells
. It could very well be a cry for help, but it’s more likely that it’s the button that accesses the pod’s internal help system.
I hate buttons. Oh, my stars how I hate buttons now. I want to push it. I want to access the help system. I need to access the system. Accessing the system is the only way I’m going to be able to access the door so I can leave the pod without bringing all the walls down. It would also be nice to access any detection systems the pod may have. Maybe it can give me a UPS location, or a general idea of where I am. Or maybe there’s a surveillance system that will allow me to see outside.
But I’m so scared. I’m so scared of what’s going to happen. But what’s the alternative? I can sit in here, in the dark, unable to see or know what’s going on outside. The alien is most likely still outside. He could have tools, he could have a way to get in. He could have friends. I need to see. I need to access any systems the pod may have that I could use to scare him off or worse yet, defend myself.
I touch the button with my finger. Something so small, so normally insignificant, is now very much the difference between my life and death. I close my eyes and push the button.
The system beeps. I open my eyes and words I can actually understand flash across the screen. I navigate through the help system, pushing the buttons it indicates to cycle through the various options. I find the control for the door, the inside climate control, the current information on the outside conditions, and finally the pods exterior monitoring and surveillance system. I cycle the surveillance system to
and then half of the console’s screen fills up with two pictures of outside.
The two pictures show either side of the pod. On the left side there appear to be trees. It’s darker outside and becoming harder to see. The only lighting on the outside of the pod is its flashing built in lights and reflectors. They’re used mainly so other ships can see and avoid collision with the vessel. The lights are not nearly strong enough to illuminate more than a few inches.
On the right side of the pod is the mean purple alien. He looks even more frightening bathed in the pod’s glowing red lights.
Like a space demon.
He’s staring at the pod as if he’s perplexed. His arms are crossed over his broad chest and his brow is furrowed. No doubt he’s trying to figure out a way in.
I start cycling through the pod’s system options. I go through audio, discover the siren controls and quickly toggle them off. After some more digging around in the menus, I finally unearth an intercom system.
I press the blue button that resembles the one mirrored on the screen and say, “Hey.”
The alien jumps, startled. His reaction is very satisfying.
I push the button again and say, “Go away.”
This time he cocks his head to the side.
I push the button and say, “Go away,” again, so he understands.
The alien starts to smack the side of his head. I’m not sure what to make of that.
Being able to talk to him and him not being able to get to me gives me a false sense of security. I take the opportunity to really check him out.
He’s big, oh yes, he’s big. I can’t help but stare there, at the thing that dangles between his legs. I’ve never really seen one before, a man’s penis. I’ve seen animals and I’ve seen drawings but never seen a real life one in high definition. It’s a lot uglier than I imagined, yet, there’s something about it I find strangely appealing.
My eyes slide up, over the v of his hips and then up the rippled expanse of his chest. Every inch of him appears to be solid muscle. From the bulges in his arms to the thick meat of his thighs, he’s hard and sculpted all over.