Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1)


by Ruby Dixon

PART ONE

GEORGIE

Up until yesterday, I Georgie Carruthers, never believed in aliens. Oh, sure, there were all kinds of possibilities out there in the universe, but if someone would have told me that little green men were hanging around Earth in flying saucers, just waiting to abduct people? I would have told them they were crazy.

But that was yesterday.

Today? Today’s a very different sort of story.

I suppose it all started last night. It was pretty ordinary, overall. I came home after a long day of working the drive-thru teller window at the bank, nuked a Lean Cuisine, ate it while watching TV, and dozed off on the couch before stumbling to bed. Not exactly the life of the party, but hey. It was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays were all work, no play. I went to sleep, and from there, shit got weird.

My dreams were messed up. Not the usual losing teeth or naked in front of the class dreams. These were far more sinister. Dreams of loss and abandonment. Dreams of pain and cold white rooms. Dreams of walking in a tunnel and seeing an oncoming train. In that dream, I tried to lift my hand to shield me from the light.

Except when I went to raise my hand, I couldn’t.

That had woken me up from my slumber. I squinted into the tiny light someone was shining in my eyes. Someone was . . . shining something in my eyes? I blinked, trying to focus, and realized that I wasn’t dreaming at all. I wasn’t home, either. I was . . . somewhere new.

Then the light clicked off and a bird chirped. I squinted, my eyes adjusting to the darkness, and I found myself surrounded by . . . things. Things with long black eyes and big heads and skinny pale arms. Little green men.

I’d screamed. I’d screamed bloody murder, actually.

One of the aliens tilted its head at me, and the bird chirping sound happened again, even though his mouth didn’t move. Something hot and dry wrapped over my mouth, choking me, and a noxious scent filled my nostrils. Oh shit. Was I going to die? Frantically, I worked my jaw, trying to breathe even as the world got dark around me.

Then, I went back to sleep, dreaming of work. I always dreamed of work when I was stressed. For hours on end, angry banking clients yelled at me as I kept trying to tear open packs of twenties that wouldn’t seem to come open. I’d try to count out change only to get distracted. Work dreams are the worst, usually, but this one was a relief. No trains. No aliens. Just banking. I could deal with banking.

And that brings me to . . . here.

I’m awake. Awake and not entirely sure where I am. My eyes slide open, and I gaze around me. It smells like I’m in a sewer, I can feel a wall behind me, and my body hurts all freaking over. My head feels blurry and slow, like all of me hasn’t quite woken up yet. My limbs feel heavy. Drugged, I realize. Someone’s drugged me.

Not someone. Something.

My breath quickens as a mental image of the dark-eyed aliens returns, and I look for them. Wherever I’m at, I’m alone.

Thank God.

I squint in the low light, trying to make out my surroundings. It seems to be a large, dark room. Faint orange light is emitted from small running tubes in the ceiling about twenty feet above. The walls themselves are black, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say this looks like a cargo bay from some weird science fiction movie. On the wall opposite me, I count six large six-foot metal tubes lined up against the wall like lockers. Orange and green lights run up and down the sides of the tubes in a variety of squiggles and dots that might be some sort of alien writing. On the far wall, there’s an oblong oval door. I can’t get to the door, though, because I’m behind a metal grid of some kind.

And there’s a god-awful smell. Actually, it’s not just one smell, it’s several of them. It’s like a piss-shit-vomit-sweat cocktail, and it makes me gag. I try to cover my mouth with my hand, but my arm is slow to respond and all I manage to do is flail a little. Ugh.

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