My Stories

I write adventures for those in search of a good story. My novels fall in the Fantasy genre, but many people consider them Sci-fi too. Each story is written with what I look for when I read a book: action, adventure, twists and turns, love, heroes, vicious enemies, fighting (weapons and hand to hand combat). I write because I want to share the stories that are inside of me. I hope you enjoy the adventures as much as I love writing them!

Not Human

Prologue

After the Syntai arrived, everything changed on Earth - for the better it seemed.  The Syntai people had integrated into our society perfectly, and the planet as a whole became as peaceful as the Syntai seemed.  I personally hadn’t ever interacted with them, but they appeared to be like everyone else on this world.  They had families, their children went to school, the adults went to work, and for the most part they were upstanding citizens.  My father had said that the Syntai were an extremely intelligent race.  He had told me how they took high ranking positions in the military, the medical field, and some were even working with the government leaders.  Like us humans, some were amazingly gifted, while the others just lived a life that simply made them happy.  
It was after my sixteenth birthday when history began repeating itself.   Through the history of human life every so many years there would be a war waged against a certain type of people, claiming that they were dangerous and cruel.  This time, however, the general public was not as quick to jump on board.  We were not going to go up against a race just because they were different.  The media eagerly led us to believe that the Syntai were attacking our cities, but stories slowly began to leak out about government paranoids capturing the Syntai and killing them long before the first attack.  
The Global Government dished out propaganda and the media all too willingly fed it to us, lacing it with as much fear as they could.  They began blaming the Syntai for the sudden changes in the atmosphere, the weather, the growing deserts, the disappearance of people, and even the destruction of whole cities.  They argued that the Syntai had strategically placed themselves within our society to destroy the human race.  Not all of us bought into it, especially since we had another source of information, which took the government several years to find its origin and shut it down.  
This illegal feed of information was known as The Underground.  It had been around for years, but disappeared shortly after the awareness of the Syntai integration became peaceful among the nay-sayers.  It wasn’t until the government had begun weaving its web of lies did the Underground reconnect with the world.  According to the Underground, the Global Government was behind what had happened, that the cities which were destroyed - killing practically everyone who lived there - were actually war zones between the government and the Syntai.  The problem was that it was not clear who struck first.
After The Underground was silenced, the government began to openly strike down the Syntai and anyone who tried to help, causing the human race to divide.  Soon everything was in chaos.  No one knew who to trust.  It wasn’t long before people began trying to take matters into their own hands, and the hope for a peaceful resolution quickly disappeared.  
The Global Government had lost control and raised its ugly head.  It created fortresses known as Facilities - very few people who were forced to enter ever came back out.  The Global Government tightened its hold on civilization by sanctioning guidelines that you were to follow if you wanted to live.  These rules drew a very thin line which stated that if you did not meet their criteria then you were against them, if you challenged any of their rulings then you were against them, if you did anything that you were told not to do then you were against them.   Many died in the uprising that followed.  
There are now three sides you can pick from.  First, is the Iron Fist, formally known as the Global Government.  The second is the Syntai, which humans didn’t join because the Syntai had become impossible to find.  There were rumors that they hadn’t left the planet, but sightings were far and few between.  The third is the Family, a group of individuals that have bonded together out of necessity.  This is the group that humans who have any individuality and spirit left have accepted to be a part of - because the Iron Fist would destroy you for those two flaws.  


~~~~


CHAPTER  1


The ground was so cold that I yearned for shoes.  My old ones had seen their last day about a week ago, but shoes were hard to come by.   Everything was in short supply - some things had become almost non-existent, while other things were tangible if you were part of the right group.  My brother and I were not part of that group, but we were quite adept at getting into that group’s Facilities and siphoning off what we could. 
My brother, Fred, was a genius.   Not in the book smart, all A’s kind of way - not that there had been a school for us to go to in nine years - but he was the kind of smart that was always one step ahead of the others.  He was quite skilled at reading people, and knew the ins and outs of everything to keep us alive.  He continuously attempted to teach me how to fight, but unless I was fearing for my life, I wasn’t very good at it.  
I was always more irritated during these training sessions than he was.  He believed that if we kept walking through what I needed to know, then I would know it when it mattered.  I didn’t argue with him since he was the reason I was still alive.  He had taught me how to survive, showed me how to observe the way people behaved, the non-verbal cues in people, the sounds in the environment - how they changed or didn’t change when other things were going on.  The more amazing feat was that he had the patience to work with me until I could see the little things the way he did.   
I wasn’t useless though.  While Fred was smarter than the rest, I was faster, stealthier, and more agile.  No one ever knew I was there until I was gone.  Together he and I were a dangerous pair.  My brother and I were notorious among the humans in this region.  We were saviors to some, and wanted - dead - by others.   
Fred was older than me by six years, but had there not been the age difference we could have been twins.  We had the same brown hair, the same ice blue eyes, and athletic build.  Fred was the oldest boy, and I was the youngest girl in our family - we were the only ones left.  Fred was my world, the only one I needed, the only one I would ever trust. 
Fred believed it wasn’t wise to stay with the same Family for long, unless we wanted to end up dead.   He trusted no one.  At first I thought it was ridiculous, but as the years passed I saw that he was right.  Everyone watched out for themselves before thinking about helping someone else, which in some cases included allowing others to be caught by the Iron Fist.   It had been proven that the Iron fist could reach anywhere at any time.  
Fred had several theories as to why the Iron Fist hadn’t killed off the Families.  The most unsettling was that the Iron Fist left us alive for experimental purposes and testing their newest inventions.  He believed that our freedom kept us strong and our minds alert, giving the Iron Fist a plethora of options to choose from.  It made me sick to think that this was true, but I didn’t argue with him.  I just figured that the Families gave too much credit to the Iron Fist.  I didn’t want to imagine the possibilities that Fred felt confident about.  For these reason, Fred kept us on the move, staying with some Families longer than others, but never committing ourselves to anything.  
We had joined up with our newest Family about a month ago.  This group was made up of mostly young people, those in their late teens to early thirties, so we fit right in.  However, this Family made Fred really anxious, which was never a good thing.  They were short on all kinds of supplies - a normal thing for Families. What bothered Fred was that their encampment was so close to a Facility and they were so low on everything.   We had already done two jobs for them and they were extremely grateful, but they still needed more.
Please they begged, but Fred did not care until the Iron Fist attacked a small group on the outskirts, leaving the Family in desperate need of medical supplies.  Fred and I would have left them in need, but we couldn’t turn our backs on them.  Fred agreed to get the medical supplies, but this was our last job for them.  We would get them what they needed with a little extra to spare, give it to the Family, and then we were going to head north.  

***

I had watched the Iron Fist for weeks without fail, memorizing their idiosyncrasies around the clock.  Three weeks earlier the Iron Fist had what Fred called a panic attack.  They began firing into the woods around the Facility, and sent out a small battalion.  In an attempt to lead them away from me and our home base, Fred was captured.   
We both knew that anyone who was ever captured by the Iron Fist was never seen again. We didn’t know exactly what happened to those who were caught, but there were rumors that you were given a choice, either join them or die.   That the Iron Fist had made clear.  If you’re not with them, then you’re against them - there was no gray area of leniency.  Fred feared that they did something worse than kill those that were captured, and I was confident that Fred would tell them exactly what he thought of them so that they would not hesitate to kill him.  
It took me two days to pull myself together.  When it sunk in that Fred was not coming back, I shut myself off emotionally, and focused on the Facility.  They took Fred from me, so I was going to take more than just medical supplies from the Iron Fist.  For the next three weeks I studied their every movement.  I watched their training sessions absorbing everything they did until I began dreaming about it.  The store houses were on the outside edges of the buildings, but today I was going to slip in and get some of their tech supplies.  They were going to pay dearly for taking Fred.

***

My meticulous planning had paid off until the moment that they had brought a captured Syntai into the Facility, which was crazy because no one had seen a Syntai in at least a year.  Because of their newest prisoner, the Iron Fist had made unexpected movements.   I had done well to circumvent their random actions, and stumbled into a room that was filled with computer-type devices.  I guess I should be thankful for the Syntai distraction - it actually helped me get inside and find exactly what I was looking for.  At the moment everyone was disorganized and oblivious to my presence, leaving me time to look over the assortment of technology they had stored in this room.
I didn’t have a lot of space left in my pack, and part of me wanted to dump the medical supplies out, but I knew the Family needed them.  After a few minutes of debate, I reached up and grabbed two devices that were almost out of my reach.  I secured them in my pack, and began maneuvering myself back through the halls the way I had come.  I slipped into another room as I heard men talking around the corner. 
The room looked like a clothing store with all the shirts and pants hanging on racks on one side of the room, but the other side had lockers.  I quickly moved over to the clothing side and hid myself in a rack of pants like a five year old.  I had just hid myself from view when six men walked in.  I held my breath, hoping that they weren’t in here for clothes.
“I can’t believe this isn’t a drill.  I assumed those aliens left Earth.  They…” a man began in disbelief as he set his gun down.  He began shuffling things around by the lockers, making it impossible to hear what was being said.
I can’t believe we’re still waiting on you,” another said irritably when the room became quiet again.
“I’m ready now, so let’s get going,” the first man responded, oblivious to the other’s annoyance.   
They all left and the door closed behind them.  I waited a minute before I headed for the door, relieved that I hadn’t been caught.  My heart was racing and my adrenaline was pumping.  I had to get out of here now.  I listened by the door until the chaos in the hallway had quieted before I decided to make my escape.
I reached for the door, but it opened before I touched it.  The guard looked at me in complete surprise and I froze.  He glanced at his weapon to the right of us and then at me.   At that moment, my brain kicked back in and I swung at him.  His surprise allowed me to shove him out of the room.  I could outrun him, I knew I could.  I just needed out of this room.  He grabbed at me and somehow our scuffle ended with him unconscious.  I didn’t have time to figure out what just happened, my need to get out of the Facility now had just become imperative.   However, before I let go of him, four guards turned the corner, complaining how he was going to take all of the punishment for their tardiness.  
Before their comrade hit the floor, they were firing their guns at me and I was running the opposite way.  I turned the first chance I could and raced down the hall, wondering how I was going to survive.  I suddenly stopped as air rushed past me.  I looked at the open rectangle and without any hesitation I climbed into the vent that the outside air was entering through.   
The Family was going to be angry at me since they would have to move their location now that the Iron Fist would be searching the surrounding area for the intruder.  Luckily, the Family wouldn’t stay angry though, because not only had I stole the medical supplies they needed but the small computer-type devices I took might just be the turning point for the Family’s rebellion and survival against the Iron Fist.  
I tumbled onto the cold, hard ground as I fell out of the vent.  My mind was in chaos at how horribly wrong this was all going.  I needed Fred, he…  The blaring sirens brought me back to focus.  Bright lights turned on and began searching the premises, at least I knew the route that would keep me in the darkness.  There were men yelling among themselves as they tried to find me, but they were searching in the wrong areas.  I still couldn’t believe this was happening to me.  I had been so careful, planned so well.  I never should have gone inside!  
I shook off my frustration and concentrated on getting off the Iron Fist’s grounds.  I knew the paths that the guards followed by heart.  It was a great tactic to capture anyone who attempted to escape without doing extensive homework, but I did my homework, which allowed me to not fear the guards seeing me.  I knew that the chaos around me was the least of my worries at the moment because there was a bigger obstacle ahead, and if I didn’t focus I was dead.
It was a cold summer’s night, if we had any precipitation it probably would have been snow.  However, the freezing air temperature, my aching feet, and shivering body were insignificant.  Fred had warned me every time we took from the Facilities that I would only have a one minute opportunity to get off the premises after the search began.  When the sirens blared an electrified fence kicked on.  After twenty seconds it would begin to pulse as it warmed up.  Once it was warmed up, there was nothing that would survive going through it.
I could see my exit.  My timing had to be perfect, or the pulses of energy that ran through the fence would kill me.  I tightened my backpack on my shoulders as I ran faster.  I began counting to myself to get my feet into the rhythm that would be my salvation.  
Ten, nine…eight…seven, six…five…
I heard the men behind me, but I focused on the rhythm, they would not attempt this.  
four, three…
I leapt into the air and my body crashed on its side with another body lying on top of me.  I struggled to get free.   I heard the constant hum of the fence and panic immediately raced through me. 
It was impossible!  There was no way that they could have figured out my plan, let alone knew that I would exit here!  I didn’t even know I was going to exit here!  I should be on the other side of that fence!  I continued to struggle, trying to get free until the man on top of me whispered in my ear. 
“It’s going to be okay,” Fred said.
As I stopped fighting, he moved off of me.  I sat up staring at him in disbelief.  Before I could be happy that he had survived the Iron Fist, four guns were in my face.  They were aiming at me, not him.  They ripped my pack off my back and grabbed my arms.  I began fighting again, but I was not the fighter...Fred was, and he wasn’t even trying to help me.  
“It’s okay, sis.  Everything is going to be okay,” he stated mechanically. 
I stopped fighting and looked up.  He was standing in front of me, staring as if nothing was going on, as if the Iron Fist hadn’t captured me, as if…   I did not see any life in his eyes.  
“FRED!” I yelled.  How could he not see what was going on?!
“It’s going to be…” he stopped talking, all his muscles tightened and he clenched his fists.   “Don’t.trust… Don’t.give.up.  You.have.to.be…” he said as though he had to force the words from his mouth, as though the words pained him.  He shook his head once, his eyes shifting to the ground for a few seconds before he looked back up at me.  “…okay,” he finished.  I watched as a tear rolled down his tense face.
Tears stung my eyes.  What had they done to him?!  The men surrounding me lowered their guns.  Without a thought I quickly moved towards Fred and swung my fist into him.  He didn’t defend himself and the impact of my fist knocked him to the ground, making me angrier. 
“GET UP!!  Get up and fight!!” I yelled with tears streaming down my cheeks. 
I turned and began to fight off each guy who attempted to re-capture me.  I had learned a lot about surviving from Fred, but I was never a fighter until now - it was just as Fred had hoped, his persistent encouragement to practice had seeped into me.  
There were four of them and they had guns, but they were not using them.  I had put two down on the ground, one was holding his nose and the other was screaming in pain.  The other two worked together, and it wasn’t long until they pinned me to the ground with a gun to my head.
I didn’t stop struggling though.  I would much rather be dead, than allow them to do to me what they did to Fred.
Fred…  More tears surged to my eyes.  He was the last of my real family, the family that I loved.  
“She’s a feisty one,” the man with his knee in my back said.
I closed my eyes as a light shined brightly in my face.  “Yes, she is,” a familiar voice stated, sounding a tad disappointed.  
I did not know his name, but over the years he and I had a few run-ins.  Instead of capturing me, he would look the other way or trip and fall taking a few others down with him.  I remembered his face from the first time he caught me, when he had his hands tightly around my biceps.  I looked up at him and he immediately let go, staring ruefully at me.  I had mentioned this to Fred, but Fred wasn’t the least bit interested in the fact that maybe not everyone in the Iron Fist was against us.  Fred was sure that this man was just baiting me - that he had some horrid plan up his sleeve, especially since he was everywhere we were.   
Painful, pulsing cuffs were placed around my wrists, and a moment later I was yanked to my feet.
“Take a good look,” the man I didn’t know growled as he forced me to look at Fred.  
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion.  The cocking of the gun, the pulling of the trigger, the bullet moving through the air, Fred’s eyes focusing on me, completely unaware, and then blood.   He never even had time to scream.  I guess that was okay, since I was screaming enough for the both of us.  
“That is something you get to remember for as long as we allow you to live,” said the man I didn’t recognize.
I couldn’t even react.  This wasn’t real.  People were cruel, but not… no no no…
“Adam is going to be pissed you just killed three weeks of work,” the familiar voice remarked irritably.
“He’s not going to care when he sees her.”
The man began pulling me away from Fred and reality kicked in.  My rage seared through my veins and I shoved my shoulder into the man.  The pulsing around my wrists should have made me stop, but I was totally numb.  I slammed my foot down on his, and then slammed my head back as I felt him bend forward.  The man released me, and I ran to Fred.  I should have run for the fence, but I couldn’t see through my tears to make it that far, and I couldn’t leave Fred.
“Fred,” I cried, leaning over him with my head against his quiet chest, wanting his arms to come around me.  “You can’t be…”
“Dead!” the man yelled angrily from behind me.  “I killed him, and I’ll kill you too!”
I didn’t acknowledge that I heard him.  I continued to strain to hear Fred’s heartbeat.  How could I ever continue on without Fred?
“And Adam will do worse than kill you,” the familiar voice growled from above me.

The other man let out a frustrated breath.  An instant later I felt the impact on my head...

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