Good morning everyone! Some of you might remember that I’ve been working on a novel for about six years now. It is named “Two Lives, One Soul” and is about a race against time to save planet Earth.
While I am still in the middle of my first round of edits, I believe I’ve finally solved the issues preventing me from finishing the book and as soon as I finish with a basic idea to start from, I’ll be able to write the other half. Woohoo!
I wanted to give you guys a little spoiler, the first chapter, of what is to come and what I have been working on for so long. This chapter is still subject to some changes but even through the first editing process has stayed pretty steady. Enjoy!
Everything was happening so fast. The sounds of gunfire, the feeling of the cold hard ground underneath my feet, small scratches appearing across my scales as I tore through the bushes, all of it was happening at once in a dizzying combination of sound and mayhem coming together in one chaotic cascade. It was nearly pitch black in front of me. The only things I could see were the shadows being cast by the search lights behind me. Suddenly there was mud. It was slick and slippery. I fell face first into the ground, sinking a little bit as my muzzle permeated the slippery mush. I could hear the voices and gunfire behind me growing closer to my current location. Instead of standing and continuing to run away from an enemy that was faster than I was, I did the only other thing I could do: I hid.
I drug myself underneath a nearby bush and pulled my legs in, scrunching myself up as small as I could. My lips screwed themselves shut so not a single sound could escape. My teeth clamped tight and held fast from a tensed jaw as an added security measure. As I sat there I began to hear footsteps approach and I realized my tail was poking out from under the bush. I held my breath and slowly pulled it in hoping my scaled wouldn’t scratch against a rock.
The Invaders were uneducated in the ways of my race. They were aliens from an outside and vastly distant solar system coming to our planet for the resources we possessed. We weren’t very creative and just called them Invaders. But then again, that’s exactly what they were, and they didn’t deserve a more creative name.
We had been trained in strategy and fighting techniques and plans ever since we first heard of their interest in us and it had, for the most part, been successful. There were still deaths every day, but it was very few. The Elders did a great job training us. These creatures were here to kill and to kill only. It wasn’t the whole population that came to my planet, just the extermination force. Luckily for us they were only able to do just that, exterminate, not make thoughtful decisions such as checking the bushes for people who may be hiding. They were used to their prey running from them and our camouflage was something we utilized heavily. We had learned how to remain calm in this new face of death. We were a determined species.
What we knew about the way they operated was that they first sent an exterminating force down to kill off the creatures that were indigenous to the planet. Then they would suck the planet dry of its resources. Once the planet was completely dead they would move on to the next one, hoping to not starve before then. Their population was too large for them to inhabit a single planet and it was unknown if each planet they destroyed was enough for their vast numbers. Their actions were all in the name of survival but as the new target, we didn’t really care.
They slowly picked their way through the unfamiliar terrain. As they passed by, I waited very patiently. I focused on keeping my breathing quiet. As the stress of the current situation slowly sunk in, my mind drifted a bit, remembering the way it had been before the Invaders. I remembered the clear blue sky and the peaceful ways of my people. The biggest issue we had faced was what to hunt for dinner. We had evolved past war between each other and had learned to live in harmony with our environment instead of eating away at it at a rate much faster than it could revitalize itself. Unlike other planets, we chose to live in harmony with nature and life itself. We had closed our society off from the rest of the universe generations ago.
I kept in my crouched position and allowed my mind to continue wandering. My personal belief was that worrying was useless. Either I would die, or I wouldn’t. I continued to wait.
I hadn’t heard anything from them for a while, but it never hurts to be completely sure. I pulled myself from the bush as silently as possible, using the slick cold mud as a means of literally sliding from under the bush. It was starting to become daylight now. I stood and stretched my aching muscles. I tilted my head from side to side to try and listen for them by allowing noise to travel to both earholes. I heard nothing at all and so I was certain they had passed by.
Then it hit me. I heard nothing at all. No chirping and buzzing from other creatures that lived in the forest, even the wind that was usually so prevalent in this area seemed to have died with the passing of the Invaders. A chill went down my spine as picked up the pace, wanting to get away from the area as quickly as possible.
I headed towards base camp, hidden deep within the crystal caves of this region that were known for their powerful energy and beauty. The caves made a wonderful location for a stronghold due to the crystals easily transmitting sound of those entering and yet disguising the noises within due to their shape. The way sound bounced off them made the caves perfect for hiding in. As I approached the gaping mouth of the cave I tapped rhythmically onto the crystals, the sound travelled down the mouth of the cave and to the ears of the guards waiting below just out of sight. A few minutes later two of my own approached, heavily armed just in case one of the Invaders had cracked our code. The extermination force wasn’t very smart, but we remained cautious nonetheless.
When the guards saw me they visibly relaxed and waved me inside. I followed happily behind. As the entrance to the cave went down and beyond the opening crystals you could begin to hear the sounds of music and laughter, a welcome distraction in this dark time. As we rounded the last corner a blinding light filled my eyes, much different from the dark passages we had just walked down to get here. Inside the large cavern space was a whole population. Masses of Terrari had gathered in the generously spaced cave to stay safe from the Invaders. Make-shift shelters, markets, and entertainment centers all created a very warm and happy feeling. It was hard to believe we were witnessing our planet’s last days. At that thought I shook my head, no time for negative thoughts. The two guards shook my claws and left, allowing me to do as I wished. I headed straight for the Elders who were hidden in a make-shift tent of their own. The only things making their tent distinct from the others were their canes leaned up against the tent. We looked up to them as wise and knowing leaders.
I poked my head and shoulders through the flap and kneeled, looking down towards the ground and waiting permission to enter completely.
“Come in, young lady, come in!” I heard a gleeful voice answer.
I promptly stood and walked inside the tent, making note of their happy faces. They were glad for the distraction this cave afforded their community.
“Elders, there has been a search party a few miles from here. They chased me and my crew from the Southern encampment. We broke it down as best we could and left in time, but we were separated.” I said.
“Oh dear…how did you survive?” One Elder asked, his scales were gray and his teeth were visibly worn. He had the kindest eyes out of all of them and his voice shook as he asked me this.
“I happened to slip in the mud, as you can see, and crawled under a bush. They didn’t think to check the bushes as everything was running from them. They passed through the area and I waited a long time before crawling out.” I couldn’t help feeling proud of myself as I told my new story, I had never been so close to the Invaders, it made me wish I had been brave enough to try to see what they looked like.
The Elders nodded in satisfaction.
“I’m so glad you’re alright. The rest of your crew should turn up shortly! We have had a few stragglers in here but none that have come to visit us. Perhaps they were part of your crew?” The female chimed in. Her voice was strong, that of a leader, her eyes were a little harder than the other male and her scales had just a small tint of gray to them. She spoke strongly and I felt relieved I had reported to them.
I nodded to them, “Thank you so much, Elders, I will be sure to keep an eye out for my team.” I said. I then crossed my arm over my chest, my fist resting over my heart, and I bowed to them formally.
When I left the tent, there was a man waiting for me. “Hello! You are new here, might you be needing a place to stay for the night?” The man asked. Obviously, he was the one making sure everything was organized so everyone would have a place to sleep in relative peace. It made me swell with pride for my race that we would help each other out in such a way.
“Yes please.” I replied.
He nodded, his eyes sparkling with happiness and joy. It was a nice refreshment after all that I had been through recently. “Please follow me, miss!” He chirped. His walk, however, gave away how tired he was. I wondered if he had slept recently. Seeing the masses of people that were gathered made me realize he was the single Terrari making sure everyone settled in. We had a prideful streak to our personalities. He had chosen that job for himself, and the others let him. When he was ready to turn it over to another, he would ask. That was our way. We respected the decisions of others and treated each individual as their own.
-When my unit shows up I’ll have to volunteer us.- I thought to myself as I followed behind him.
He led me to an area with empty tents. There was a cot and a table on the inside with an oil lamp as well as a long mirror that was leaned against the wooden pole in the middle of the tent holding it up. He lit it so that I could see. The cave around us was lit with oil lamps that bounced off of crystal structures attached to the walls. It was beautiful but the canvas covering that the tent was made out of blocked out the light. I took the lamp he offered gratefully and looked around. My thoughts went back to the Invaders, I wondered what they looked like. I felt my cheeks get hot as I mentally kicked myself for not looking when I had the chance.
Lost in my musings, I felt a tap on my shoulder, “Miss?” The man asked.
I shook my head a bit and smiled at him, “Yes?”
“Will this do?” He asked tentatively. I wasn’t quite sure why he was asking me this, seeing as how the tent was the best we could manage.
I nodded, “Yes this will be wonderful, thank you so much!” I replied. His smile lit his face once more and he bowed before exiting the tent.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I wished that my life was as calm as the life in my dreams. I took a second to compare my waking self to my dream self. My dream self had wild brown hair that stuck out in several places. She had bright green eyes and a very proportionate body and stood a little over five and a half feet tall. She was always covered with something I called clothing. The word just popped into my head. Clothing was a different concept to me; my body was naturally covered with scales, I kept warm by soaking up the sunlight and allowing my body to store the heat in my scales for later when the sun was gone. The most peculiar thing of all about my dream self is that she was a species known as human, I had heard the name many times over the years.
-Kind of strange considering we are going to Earth and the aliens there are called human…I wonder if they look anything like they do in my dream? – I thought to myself.
I then stared at my body. I was a Terrari. A tall reptilian race of humanoid that was covered in scales. My head was like the species called ‘snake’ in my dreams, but with long scale covered bones coming from both sides of the back of my head and arching downwards. Most of the Terrari’s skull horns looked like this, some of them curled upwards at the end, others would swirl. Mine dipped down and curled upwards like a large and backwards S. My scales were blue/purple and were very shiny. I prided myself on staying clean and healthy. I had a strong tail that had no spikes, other Terrari had spikes, mostly those that identified as males, our species could change genders in order to procreate if need be. I had long claws on my hands and feet and strong muscular legs. I thought myself to be very beautiful both as my waking and dream self.
I sighed heavily and decided it was probably time to head to sleep, I felt the tugging of sleep pulling me to bed. I never could stay awake for barely more than twelve hours, times that I had too I was violently tugged into sleep. I would always immediately begin dreaming. My sleeping habits were strange in comparison to the sleeping habits and dreams that other Terrari had. I talked about my dreams to my close friends often.
Another tug came in a heavy wave and I felt my eyes begin to close. I shook my head and crawled onto the cot, pulling the blanket provided over myself. I closed my eyes and fell asleep. Hopefully when I woke up in the morning my unit would have made it here and we could volunteer to help around the cave.