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First pages

Chapter 1

When They saw I was willing to go without resistance, the story then continued, They should have known something was wrong. They should have known that after everything I had gone through, after all the trials I had endured—losing my mother, sister, Jason, and home—I would have never gone willingly or without a fight.

But They didn’t care.

No.

All They wanted was me.

Being lifted into that Harvester ship was undoubtedly the most terrifying thing that ever could have happened to me. My body tingled as what felt like thousands of bugs crawled over my skin, and my brain was alight with sensory overload as I struggled to comprehend everything around me. The noise was deafening, the light blinding, and the sensation of being lifted incomparable to anything I had felt before. I was a calculator without a final value, a computer who could not run without the proper software, a camera who could not use its flash to capture the portraiture that was in front of it. I was blind, yet at the same time wasn’t—and realized we were insignificant compared to the beings that had come to claim our world.

It was then, and only then, that I began to see the interior of the Harvester ship for what it truly was.

Bright lights lit the dome of the spherical structure, and holographic computer layouts displayed information in a language I could not comprehend. Around Them stood the little gray beings I had seen in my visions. Five-foot at the largest, with long, spindly limbs, bulbous skulls, and giant black eyes, They tapped into processors with three-fingered hands. They turned to acknowledge me only briefly before a voice beckoned—not audibly, but mentally, one which instantly made me cower from the strength of it.

The girl has been found, this voice said, androgynous in that it did not resemble anything male or female, but both at the same time. Homosapien. Earthling. American.

How did it know so much information, let alone my nationality? Had it gleaned it from the people They’d taken before—from the people They’d abducted and did only God knew what to Them?

I trembled as I lay on the floor, trying my hardest not to falter in the face of my greatest nightmare. At first it appeared as though They didn’t care about my presence—that They had simply brought me aboard for examination and nothing else—so when I stood to take in my surroundings, I thought that maybe I was safe.

Then I saw it—lurking in the darkness, watching, waiting for its commands.

The Coyote, with its glowing yellow eyes and its snarl of teeth, stepped forward, and laughed as it looked upon me.

Take her to the holding bay, the same androgynous voice said.

I was forcibly grabbed and made to walk from the spherical center of the ship, down a winding hall. There were a multitude of glowing lights to mark our way. The Coyote’s grip was sure, its strength immense. I squirmed, trying to free myself, but it only laughed and leaned forward to breathe down the back of my neck, as if to say, you cannot get away, you cannot get away, you cannot get away.

“I cannot get away,” I said, only to receive a wicked laugh in response.

I grimaced as the being tightened its hold and tried not to panic when its fur scratched against my smooth skin. It continued to drag me up the hall at a pace I found hindering, considering it was nearly twice as tall as me, twice as strong as me, but somehow I managed to keep up.

When we finally reached a nondescript chrome doorway, I waited and watched as the Coyote reached out to touch a panel with its gangly hand.

Red light streamed from beneath its blue surface.

Access was granted, the door was opened.

Then I was thrown inside, into a dark, barely-lit room.

The door closed behind me, and for the first time since I arrived aboard the Harvester ship, I screamed.

Was this how it happened? Was this how it began? Was this how They prepared Their patients for Their dissections or experimentations or whatever it was They did to the people They took aboard Their ships? I threw myself at the door and pounded my fists against it, feeling only the chrome plating and what felt like millions of lines of braille beneath my fingers. I tried my hardest to stem my panic, but to no avail.

I’d been captured—Harvested—and only God knew what would happen to me.

“Please,” I whispered, tears streaming down my face as I fought for the only light I could find in the darkest of situations. “Don’t let anything happen to me.”

The panic spooling from my chest came forth in waves; crashing upon the shores of my person and making me feel as though I would succumb to it. Drowned, I would be, within the sea of sorrows, and forever lost I would be within the skies of torment, but never would I be found.

No.

Up there—in the skies, in the stars, in wherever I was—They would never find me. Not Captain Sin. Not Commander Dubois. Not Asha.

Asha.

I trembled as I thought of my friend and tried not to succumb to panic once more. I paced the room—from one small corner to the other—and eventually settled against the wall to try and rest. I couldn’t fight. I’d told Them I wouldn’t—that I would simply talk and try to see what it was They wanted with the people on Earth. But what if, in the end, They wanted something we couldn’t give?

My life hung precariously in the balance—suspended on taut wires between the realm of Heaven and the lands of Earth—and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I tried to abate my panic by taking slow, deep breaths—through my nose and out my mouth—but even such common exercises taught by the psychiatrists of Fort Hope to the surviving children of humanity did little to help. My chest tightened, my lungs throbbed, and my ribcage struggled to expand within the cage that was my flesh. I wanted nothing more than to simply flee—to throw myself out the panel that should have been a window, but wasn’t, and onto the ground below—but couldn’t.

I was stuck there, for who knew how long, and I’d no idea what They’d do to me.

I tried to find something, anything, to defend myself with—to ensure that, if They did try to take me, and if They did try to experiment on me, that I wouldn’t go without a fight—but there was nothing in the room that could be removed. There were no bars to be broken, no floorboards to chip away. There was nothing but the smooth, chrome plating that made up the entirety of the ship, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to damage it.

I stomped my feet.

I punched with my fists.

I even, at one point, tried to latch my fingernails onto something and pull it away.

Still, nothing worked.

By the time my panic had begun to dissipate, I heard an electronic click, and then watched as the door opened to reveal one of Them.

Its eyes were darkness, its gray face the portraiture of horror. It stepped forward, then, and examined me with the huge eyes that sat within its bulbous head.

Then it reached out to me through thought—the sensation like tendrils swimming over the curvature of my skull.

Homosapien, it began, as it had before. Earthling. American. Girl from the land of Texas. What are you called?

“My nuh-name is Ah-Ana Mia,” I said as the creature—the largest of those I had seen—made its way toward me, its obsidian-black eyes watching me with a depth and intelligence I could have never anticipated from a creature of flesh and blood. “What do you want with me?”

We would like to understand why you have resisted.

What?

Why we had resisted?

Was it not obvious?

I stared at the creature—unsure what to call it, unaware of how to determine its emotions, and completely ignorant as to how to respond. Resisted? Why had—and have—we resisted? What kind of question was that?

“I,” I started, and then stopped before I could continue. So petrified was I by fear that I couldn’t think, could barely breathe, could hardly move. My chest seized and I began to hyperventilate as the creature drew forward, as I scrambled, crab-walking, toward the far wall.

It stared at me, its black eyes taking in every facet of my person, before it leaned forward and asked, Why have the people of Earth resisted?

“You… started abducting us,” I said.

Ab… ducting?

“Taking us into your ships,” I clarified. “Doing whatever it was you were doing to us.”

We simply wished to establish a protocol upon which to interact with those capable.

“Is that why you sent the Coyotes to watch us?” I asked. “To kill us?”

Casualties were not meant to happen unless resistance occurred. We grieve the loss of your people just as we do ours.

“What are you,” I stated.

I turned just in time to see a Coyote stalk out from a hallway, its scarred figure and blind eyes unable to determine anything physical. I sensed its presence as it attempted to make contact with my mind. When I shook my head, it snarled, only to be subdued a moment later by a pair of the small gray creatures whom had always been referred to as Overseers.

The Overseer before me extended a hand, but stopped as I squirmed away. Its flesh was much like mine in that it had pores, wrinkles, and slight grooves from where the digits split into separate bones. Something—something deep down, something I could not control—compelled me to reach out and touch it in turn, but I stopped before I could.

Between the mystique and awe over being in such close proximity, I felt rage and anger—rage for having been terrorized on our planet and, most importantly, anger for having been stripped of everything I had ever loved.

“Where is my father?” I asked after a short moment.

Father? the Overseer asked.

“The one who fathered me. The… male.”

Our subjects are not maintained past the initial observation period. They expire peacefully and without fear.

I screamed—wanting to lunge and grip its neck, to tear its throat, to stab its eyes with my fingers, and rip its placid tongue out with my hands—but knew there would be no use. They would overwhelm me. That, or set a Coyote upon me. So instead I simply slumped to the cool chrome floor and sobbed, unable to look at the creature for fear of seeing its dark eyes and the judgment They held.

I am sorry for your loss, it said, reaching down to tilt my head up.

The moment its flesh touched mine, I received a vision.

Black monoliths—

Dancing Coyotes—

A world scarred by the constantly-shining sun—

I watched as the orb of light which was Their lifeblood weakened and its star began to collapse in a brilliant pool of effervescent light.

I blinked to clear my vision and looked into the eyes of the creature that touched me, filled with both fear and awe over what I saw.

So, the creature said, its voice flowing over my mind like smooth waters over the lushest of fjords. You have seen our demise.

“Demise?” I asked, frowning. “What are you—”

Our star was dying, our planet fading. We could not remain for long. So we searched the galaxy for years upon years…

“Until you found Earth,” I whispered.

The creature nodded, the slight tilt of its head ominous in that it had confirmed the suspicions I’d had all along.

They didn’t want us.

They wanted the planet.

Your home world was the closest habitable planet we found, the creature continued, withdrawing its three-fingered hand and allowing it to fall slack at its side. We merely wished to learn, observe, and make peace. You—humanity—are the ones who began to fight back.

“How could you not expect us to?” I drew away from the creature whose naked flesh was devoid of clothing. It bore upon its body no sex or differentiation from its fellow Overseers. “You invaded our planet, kidnapped our people, and killed our friends and family.”

We would not have resorted to such measures had you not attacked.

Who, I wondered, had attacked first? Had it been the military, sending missiles against what they had perceived was a threat, or had it been a civilian, terrified out of his or her mind over having seen one of Their scouting agents within the fields? The Coyotes were horrifying—monstrous with Their dagger-like claws and twin rows of teeth—and haunting in that They only wanted one thing: humanity. That alone would have given people reason to fight back, but for Them to present us with violence when They had not even attempted communication?

Or had They?

There was so much I didn’t know—so much I wanted to know—but I knew I could not stay there forever. I had been given a primary objective, and for that reason had to ask the one question I knew Commander Dubois would have wanted me to.

With that in mind, I asked, with as pure a mind and heart as possible, “What is your reason for making contact with our planet?”

To make subservient the dominant lifeforms and integrate onto the planet’s surface.

To make subservient Earth’s dominant lifeforms? What did that mean?

“Will you let me go?” I asked. “So I can relay the message back to the people of Earth?”

You will be released, Ana Mia Sofia Berrios, but be forewarned: this was but the first stage of our infiltration. We seek to assimilate now that we have gathered the intelligence we need. Do not resist. Comply, or be destroyed.

The creature turned and headed out the door.

“Wait,” I said. “What about—”

The floor beneath me opened.

White light spilled out.

Once again, I was blinded.

Then everything went dark.

Chapter 2

I opened my eyes to darkness.

At first I thought I was simply dreaming—that none of the events of the previous twenty-four hours had occurred and that they had been some great nightmare: that Asha and I had fallen asleep on the porch outside of Austin and we had never reached Burgundy hospital, that we had never found Jason’s body, that I had never been forced to comply with an insane commander’s ridiculous demands. When I felt not a mattress or wood beneath my person, however, and instead scraped my hands along cold asphalt, I began to realize it had not been a dream—and that I had, in fact, been witness to the Overseers and Their advanced alien technology.

“Hello?” a voice called.

“Is she even still alive?” another asked.

“She just… fell.”

“No one could’ve survived a fall like that.”

“I’m okay!” I called, struggling to push myself off the ground. It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me, though what had happened after my initial blackout I couldn’t be sure. For that reason, I simply pushed myself to my feet and turned just in time to see my companions’ guns trained upon me.

“You are… you?” Cindy Ramirez asked. “Right?”

“I’m me,” I replied. “Why?”

“You fell from the sky,” Easton Wells said, reaching up to brush a hand through his thick mustache. “We thought you’d be dead when you hit the ground.”

“Are you hurt?” Cindy frowned.

“No,” I said, surprised that I wasn’t after hearing what they had to say. “I feel fine.”

Of course, what I neglected to mention was that I was absolutely terrified. The memories were slowly coming back, inching into my mind like worms intent on scouring the deepest aspects of the earth. I thought first of the Coyote, blind and decrepit, then of the creature whom I once thought I would never comprehend in my wildest dreams.

Captain Sin—whom I hadn’t seen until that moment—drew forward, lowered his hand, and said, “At ease,” which prompted the men and women in his troop to stop aiming their weapons at me.

“But sir,” Easton said. “How do we know it’s… well… her?”

“Do I look any different?” I asked with a frown.

“Well, no, but—”

“I think Ana Mia is still the same person she was when she went up into that ship,” Captain Sin interrupted. “Albeit one with more information than she had before.”

Once the rifles were lowered, I pushed myself to my feet and stood without so much as a second thought as to what they might do. Rather, I approached Captain Sin with steadfast confidence and said, “I need to speak to Dubois as soon as possible.”

“Understood,” the man said. He then turned and barked, “Return to base! Our mission is over!”

 

I had no sooner passed through the front doors when I was greeted by Commander Dubois. “Ana Mia,” she said, her normally-clipped voice filled with a sense of wonder. “You’re… back.”

“Did you not to expect me to return?” I asked, trembling as I considered the fact that I could’ve easily died aboard that ship and she wouldn’t have cared less.

“I… no, it…” She paused, then, and stared at me with her cold eyes, as if contemplating my every move and every aspect of my person. “Come. Now.”

I did, and followed her through the winding halls, up the infamous flight of stairs and then toward the office she had deemed as her own. Once inside, we settled down at seats opposite one another and stared, like two gunmen who’d drawn and was awaiting the other to pull the trigger.

It was she who spoke first. “Tell me,” she said, “everything.”

“They wish to begin phase two of Their assimilation onto the planet Earth,” I said, my voice weak as I recounted staring into its eyes, as I’d felt its presence along my conscience and its mind meld with my own.

“You mean to say that all of this—” she spread her arms “—was just phase one?”

“They wished to gather information about the human population,” I said. “I think, from what I gathered, that They learned our history, our cultures, our every weakness and every strength, from the people They abducted. They were just waiting for a messenger. Me.”

“Did They say what They were going to do?” Dubois asked.

“Assimilate,” I repeated. “And that we need to comply or else be destroyed.”

“So it begins,” the commander said, her voice weak in light of the new information. “War.”

It was a word I could’ve never imagined hearing from a person in comparison to the extraterrestrial entities that inhabited the upper atmosphere of our planet. War. It seemed so fickle, so simple a word to use when we were so heavily outnumbered, so vastly overpowered and so technologically inferior. Why, from everything I’d seen, we couldn’t take a Harvester ship down, such was Their superior power. We were like ants when compared to Them, simply meandering the Earth and trying to make our way in the great and utter cosmos that was life. But They… They were like Gods who had come to life: who, with a touch of Their hand, could destroy any and everything They wished to without a second thought.

In sitting there, facing Commander Dubois and knowing that was what the world had come to, I realized I had just become a pawn in what could potentially be the third World War.

“Can I,” I started, then stopped—strangled, suddenly, by the inexplicable notion of it all. “Leave?”

“You mean return to your room?” she asked. “Yes. You may.”

“I want to see Asha.”

“Your friend is fine.”

“I said—”

“I heard what you said, Berrios. I said, Return to your room.”

“But—”

She silenced me with a single stare.

Standing, I pushed the chair aside and started for the door, but stopped when I heard her clear her throat.

“Berrios,” she said, not even bothering to wait for me to turn before continuing. “Don’t even think about leaving. You are the closest connection we have to these creatures—and, undoubtedly, the most important person in this entire war.”

“I understand,” I said, then made my way out of the office and into the hallway.

War.

How I could not get that word out of my mind.

 

I remained awake that night listening to the sound of Coyotes, Their laughter, and the Harvester ships as They buzzed overhead. It was likely They were scouting the area to see if They could determine the key positions we held in Burgundy Hospital, though whether or not They were able to locate me specifically I couldn’t be sure. I knew nothing about Their understanding of my situation—whether They knew I was just as much humanity’s prisoner as I was Theirs. I could still feel Their presences reaching out to me—grasping, fumbling for some sort of understanding of my consciousness. Always I batted Them away, trying desperately to erect walls around my mind so They would not discover my innermost thoughts, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. If They truly wished to break me, They would.

To Them, I was nothing—an insect that could be squashed at the exact moment I wasn’t needed.

So how, I wondered, were we to ever win a war against Them?

If this truly was only the first phase—and if They, after all this time, had only been seeking reconnaissance about the human species—what would happen when They truly fought to take control of the planet? Did we even have a chance at that point?

“Maybe,” I whispered, sinking into the array of blankets that covered the stretcher I lay upon.

There was no telling what would happen in the coming days, weeks, months, maybe even years. Maybe the Harvesters weren’t even Their war ships. Maybe…

I swallowed.

I dreaded to think this—hated, with all my heart, to even believe it was true—but I knew I couldn’t push the thought away once it had entered my mind. It was like a scarlet letter burned upon my consciousness with an iron brand—one that could not be pushed away, hidden, or healed even with the greatest technology in the world.

Maybe, I dreaded to think, these were just the simplest of Their peoples.

Maybe, I then thought, there were greater threats I’d yet to see.

And maybe, I thought with terror beyond what I could even begin to imagine, this truly was the end of the world.

As I closed my eyes, I felt an impression of something else’s consciousness attempt to break entry into my mind.

It was then that I realized I would likely not sleep that night.

 

Chaos—

Nightmares—

Fire.

These were the things I dreamed about as I drifted off to sleep in the indeterminable hours of the morning. Of homes falling, of cities burning, of people dying and of entire countries being torn apart—it was without hesitation that ships drifted in from the highest parts of the atmosphere to lay waste upon the humanity that lay directly below Them. Among Them was a rectangular structure—which, at first, did not resemble a ship, as it had no visible thrusters or even wings that could have been used to guide it. This one was the size of a small island, and as it descended from the sky, the being commanding said ship directed those around it to destroy the people of the planet Earth. They were not those who were non-compliant, as I so desperately wished to think they were, nor were they people who raised arms against those laying siege upon their planet. Rather, they were people just like me—like Mama and Xiomara who wanted nothing more than to live our lives in peace without the constant burden of the alien overlords taking rule of our world.

Several times I awakened in feverish sweats, only to fall asleep again and to dream more horrible things.

I saw my mother cut down before me.

I saw my sister slaughtered in cold blood.

I saw Jason as he was shot in the abdomen by men who wished for nothing more than to survive and as he crawled into an alleyway to die.

I cried, in my sleep, and woke the following morning with dried tears on my face, and witnessed the rise of the sun—glorious in that it finally dispelled the terrors of night and brought with it the second chance of a new morning.

By the time my feet hit the floor in the early hours of dawn, my consciousness was a wreck.

I had to talk to someone—anyone—before I completely lost my mind.

After changing my clothes and taking note of my sour expression in the bathroom mirror, I made my way to the doorway, expecting resistance when I turned the door handle.

There was none.

Instead, I was offered simple passage into the hallway without so much as a guard standing at my door.

Now that I was free of what I’d thought had been my permanent prison, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had no idea where they’d be keeping Asha or even where I’d begin to look; and even if I did find her, how I would break her out of what would obviously be a locked room. They were using her as leverage for my obedience. For all I knew, she could be anywhere in this sprawling building, and I’d never have the chance to find her. She could even be locked in a broom closet and I’d be none the wiser.

I couldn’t yell to try and find her.

I couldn’t go door to door.

I couldn’t ask Captain Sin, the sniper named Josh, or even the fellow female soldier named Cindy if they knew where she was.

I was, without a doubt, completely and utterly screwed.

Rather than simply stand there and look like a complete idiot to anyone who might be wandering the halls, I turned and made my way toward the medical bay, where I knew I would find either Taylor McKinney or Doctor Kelly. Maybe they would have some advice on what I could do about the ever-present sensation of something attempting to break into my thoughts.

Though building walls seemed to work, I knew it wouldn’t keep Them out forever, especially if They decided to use force.

Once downstairs, and once in the near proximity of the medical bay, I raised my voice and asked, “Hello? Is anyone there?”

A curtain pared and out appeared none other than Doctor Kelly, closely flanked by his nurse, Taylor McKinney. “Ana Mia,” he said. “You’re up at an awfully early hour.”

“I had another vision,” I said. “After I felt as though something was attempting to breach entry into my mind.”

“Tell us more.”

So I did—detailing the previous day’s encounter, then the night’s confusions, followed by the dream which had left me trembling upon awakening. I then explained, in chilling detail, the feelings I continued to have—most particularly, of what felt like probing tendrils making their way along my skull.

By the time I finished, both Doctor Kelly and Taylor McKinney had perplexed looks on their faces, which immediately made me suspect the worst.

“You don’t,” I started.

“Know how to help you,” Doctor Kelly replied. “We don’t.”

“This isn’t some tinfoil-over-the-head-type shenanigans,” McKinney offered with a laugh, which did little to ease any of my concerns. Upon taking note of this, he frowned and, with a sigh, gestured for me to settle down on a nearby chair. He then pulled a penlight from his breast pocket and shined it into my eye. “Your iris is changing color at an alarming rate.”

“Which means?” I asked.

“It could mean any number of things,” Doctor Kelly said. “That your bond with Them is strengthening. That your understanding of your gift is increasing. That the infection—or whatever it is that’s occurring within your body—is accelerating. Why, I’d even suspect that this is in part due to the fact that you’ve established First Contact with Them. Why… what a wonder that must have been.”

More like terrifying, I wanted to say, but kept my mouth shut instead.

“Are you able to consciously keep Them out?” McKinney asked.

“I think so,” I replied. “I mean… I haven’t felt like I did when I was on the ship since I got back.”

“Which was?”

“Open. Exposed. Naked. Vulnerable.”

“You must be doing something to establish some sort of barrier then, otherwise They’d’ve been able to do what They wanted by now.”

“I suppose so,” I sighed, then reached up to cup my face in my hands.

Neither of the men said a word—likely due to the fact that neither of them had anything to say. Here I was, a seventeen-year-old girl, going through life with the knowledge that I was the world’s greatest messiah—their ‘missing link’ to contact with extraterrestrial life—and I had no idea what to do about it. I’d lost my family, my only friends, my sense of independence, and freedom. The fact that I hadn’t been guarded was somewhat of a miracle, but with Asha incarcerated, they knew I wouldn’t leave. I was as bound to her as I was myself—as if connected by a silver thread which, if cut, would kill us both.

As I sighed, expelling the breath from my mouth slowly and with enough effort to satiate my lungs of their rampant desire for release, I opened my eyes to look at the two men and found that they were doing little more than staring. Their eyes—normal as they were—bothered me, to the point where I felt as though I wanted to hide and simply retreat into myself.

Knowing that I couldn’t, however, and that it would do little to aid me in the grand scheme of things, I stood and started to leave.

“Ana Mia,” Doctor Kelly said.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Commander Dubois will want to know about this dream—most particularly: the ships you saw.”

“I understand,” I said, and resigned myself to what would come.

I turned and walked back toward the stairwell.

I had no choice.

I had to visit Dubois.

 

She instructed me to draw, in as crude and elementary detail as possible, the unusual ship that I had witnessed in what the commander was convinced was a ‘vision.’ Given that I’d at least a rudimentary understanding of art, shading, and enjoyed the process, I sketched the rectangular-shaped object with its irregularities where I imagined guns and other weaponry must have been and did so with finesse I found surprising considering my hand was shaking. By the time I was finished, I passed the sketch over to Dubois and said, point-blank, “This is what I saw.”

“To what scale?” she asked.

“I can’t say,” I replied.

“If you had to guess.”

“One of the smaller Hawaiian Islands.”

She dropped the sketch and lifted her head. “What?” she asked.

“It hovered over several islands as it made its way through the atmosphere,” I said. “The centrifugal force—or whatever you’d call it—was enough to part the waters like Moses did the Red Sea.”

“So this ship—or series of ships—is of awesome power,” she said, then lifted the sketch again, nodding as she continued to observe it. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Ana Mia. This will be useful when I forward this intelligence to the local dispatch of the United States Military.”

“You mean you’re not the main dispatch?” I frowned.

“We are but one squad tasked to guard the scientists who wish to engineer safeguards against these creatures. Though if you ask me, I’ve likely already said too much.” She lowered the sketch and stared at me with her stone-cold eyes. “I want you to understand something, Ana Mia—and when I say this, I’m not trying to be rude, or cold, or insensitive, or even barbaric. You are, without a doubt, the greatest military asset that currently exists—the sole conduit between us and the peoples that dwell within our skies. Though I may have treated you poorly—”

“Which you did,” I said.

“—I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for us, the United States Military, and the world.” Dubois leaned forward, her decorated breast shining in the light streaming from the nearby window. She gazed at me with eyes that no longer appeared to be completely hateful. “To answer the question you asked before: yes. I did lose people. And that’s why I am so ruthless in wanting to eradicate these cretins from the face of the Earth.”

“What if we can’t do it?” I asked. “What if we have to barter? Or what if They simply decide to take everything with force, like I saw in my dream?”

“Any military power does not wish to expend unnecessary resources on combat,” the commander said. “As you are already aware, the Grays are more advanced than we can ever hope to be, but that does not mean we do not have our advantages. We are weak. Small. Bound to land except for the planes very few people can truly operate. They could outmaneuver us in any aerial combat situation. But what can They say for Their abilities on land?”

“They employ the Coyotes,” I said.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

After being born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye moved to Texas to pursue his love of writing. His novels--which feature strong independent characters who must survive under tense situations--run the gambit from horror, to science fiction, to urban fantasy. He currently lives and writes in the Dallas, Texas area.

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
The WHEN THEY CAME trilogy follows a young woman named Anna Mia Sophia Berrios -- who, in the shadow of her father's death, must learn to cope with an ever-changing and hostile world while living within the presence of supreme alien lifeforms.
Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
The inspiration for this story came to me on the last night I lived in Austin, Texas (where I spent the first five years of my adult life.) The opening line for book 1 came to my mind and it was all uphill from there.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
Readers can find out more about me by visiting my website, www.kodyboye.com.

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