I swear by my life and the life of my mother and father and my little sister. And should I lie, then may the Lord strike me down right here and now. Satisfied now? I nodded. I was satisfied. And if the thought that Cody might be lying just to get me to lift my skirt ever entered my mind, I quickly pushed it away.
But sometimes, the Lord only needed a little more time. And a little bit of help…. There are flashes. My organdy skirt hitched up, the stiff petticoat sticking up like a halo. My panties tangled between my legs. Cody on top of me, huffing and panting. His hand on my breast, squeezing as if I were a grapefruit. My bare skin sticking to the vinyl car seat. The knob of the gearshift digging into my back. A flash of pain and a bit of wet, as Cody entered me, huffing and puffing like a ramrod. Cody crying out incoherently and shooting a load of hot and wet into my body.
This is what everybody is so excited about? Two home runs only, one by Mickey Mantle and one by Jackie Robinson. And when it was over, Cody just collapsed on top of me and lay there, heavy like a sack of flour. After a minute or two, he started snoring. And still I lay there, vinyl sticking to my skin, gearshift digging into my back, Cody snoring on top of me and Mickey Mantle scoring home run after home run on the radio.
I lay there and looked through the car windows up at the stars above and wondered whether this was all, whether this bumpy fumble in the dark truly was what love was all about. I was a hussy now, I realised with a pang, a hussy and a shameless slut, just like Judy Burns. Briefly, I wondered whether this meant that I, too, could wear pencil skirts and too tight sweaters now and smoke in public and hang out with the boys in black leather on their motorcycles.
I was a good girl, after all. I was going to go to college and get married and have a lot of babies and a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. And besides, Cody loved me. Or may the Lord strike him down…. And everyone would know…. He suddenly jerked upright, banging against the steering wheel in the process, and stared out of the car window, blinking against the lights. He shifted aside, so I could finally sit up, could finally see.
For there, hanging in the night sky above the town, was a flying saucer, a bonafide flying saucer. It was enormous, its diameter easily eclipsing the entire town, and lit up like a Christmas tree all over. On its bottom, there were more lights, gigantic spotlights brighter than the floodlights at the Yankee Stadium in far off New York City, where Mickey Mantle was probably still scoring home runs. And all of those lights were trained on the town, lighting up the streets brighter than the sun on a midsummer noon.
We both scrambled out of the car. I pulled up my panties and smoothed down my skirt or rather I tried, for my best dress was hopelessly wrinkled by now. Even worse, the once pristine white organdy skirt was now marred by an ugly bloodstain. I swore under my breath. Of all the stupid times to get my period.
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Together, we stepped up right to the very edge of Sighing Pine Ridge and looked out across the town below and the saucer hovering above. Occasionally, beams of red light would stab down from the underside of the saucer. They looked quite beautiful really, surprisingly beautiful. When one of those beams hit the street, it would explode in a shower of gravel and dust. But should they hit a building instead, that building would suddenly burst into flames. They were doing their job, too, for several houses in town were already in flames. The general store was burning, the first Baptist church, the movie theatre and the bank as well as several homes.
Another beam stabbed down from the saucer and the gas station exploded in a shower of sparks and flames, hurling cars all over the street. Instead, it looked as if all of Cypress Avenue and Cherry Crescent were burning. And Cody lived on Cypress Avenue. It was that sight more than anything else that brought back the reality of what was happening. Our town, our homes, our whole way of life was on fire and all because of an alien invasion.
Cody was still staring helplessly out at the town and at the quiet little street where his house was burning. Wordlessly, Cody turned around and marched back towards the parked Chevy , back towards salvation. I followed and barely even noticed, let alone cared that the full skirt of my pretty polka dot organdy dress got caught on a bramble and tore. I assumed Cody and I would get into his Chevy and drive away, away from the town and the saucer and the horror.
Instead, he opened the trunk and took out a flashlight and a tire iron. Cody marched back towards the edge of Sighing Pines Ridge, flashlight in one hand and tire iron in the other. And God alone knows what he hoped to achieve wielding a tire iron of all things against a flying saucer equipped with death rays. Cody pointed his flashlight up at the saucer. Look at me, damn it. Then one of the familiar ruby-red death rays stabbed out of the saucer, so blindingly bright that I had to close my eyes against the glare.
When I opened my eyes again, Cody was gone. And where he had just stood, there was only a pair of smoking shoes and a discarded tire iron glowing red hot. I stared at the smoking shoes and the glowing tire iron. I stared and remembered what Cody had said to me in the car, barely an hour before. But sometimes, even the good Lord needed a little help.
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I kicked the ground where Cody had stood. I hit one of his still smoking shoes. It went over the edge of Sighing Pines Ridge and tumbled into the valley below. Far above me, the saucer was still spinning, occasionally shooting death rays down at the town. The Saucermen paid no attention to me. I ran away then. And so I just ran. I know that I stumbled blindly through the undergrowth. Once or twice I fell and landed face first in the dirt.
Twigs and brambles tore my dress, my beautiful polka dot organdy dress, but I was beyond caring. Eventually, I hit upon the road, the road that led from the town up to Sighing Pine Ridge. I followed the road until it met the highway and just kept walking, away from the town and the saucer. For behind me, the entire sky seemed to be on fire, lit up by the blazing town. And above it all floated the saucer like a vengeful god descended from heavens.
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But the sight of the burning sky brought it home more sharply than ever before. So I just kept walking. Somewhere along the way, the heel broke off one of my brand-new saddle shoes, so I just took off both shoes and continued to walk along the highway in my bobby socks. Whispering Palms Air Force Base was twenty-five miles away, much too far to go barefoot in a single night. For when I was maybe three miles from the town, I suddenly heard the roar of a car engine coming down the road behind me.
And not just any old engine either, but the rumbling whine of a hot rod. A few seconds later, a Deuce Coupe modded within an inch of its life skidded to a halt beside me. A door emblazoned with bright orange flames opened and out popped Judy Burns and her black bouffant. I barely hesitated, too. Judy, of course, looked like she always did, with her pencil skirt, too tight sweater, too red lips and black bouffant.
But then even the end of the world could not faze Judy Burns. Somehow, he made it all sound very exciting. Oh, what the hell! The world had just ended, flying saucers had attacked us, so there was really no reason to worry about my reputation anymore. Besides, this was Judy Burns, the town slut. If anybody had no right to judge me, it was her. How on Earth can this possibly be your fault? And who knew, maybe to her it was. Judy suddenly grabbed my hand. Or at least pulled out? He swore by the life of his family that he loved me. And if he was lying, then the good Lord should strike him down.
Apart from that American history class, of course. At this point, I finally burst into tears — hot, angry, long delayed tears. And Judy — bless her — actually put her arms around and tried to comfort me. The boy who was sitting next to Judy handed me a handkerchief. Beside me, Judy sighed. Now I did look up, though my vision was still blurry because of the tears. Damaged goods. Judy squeezed my hand. You had sex.
Helen Scott Taylor
Big deal. People do it all the time. Again, the boy in the backseat swatted him. I shook my head. Actually it was pretty uncomfortable. The driver briefly turned around before focussing on the road again. In the end, we never actually made it to Whispering Palms Air Force Base, because by the time we got there, it was a smoking ruin, since the saucers had gotten there first. But on the way there, we met some soldiers who had gotten out of Whispering Palms just in time and were headed for a command bunker they hoped was still safe.
So we joined them and picked up some other survivors along the way. Together, we were one of the seeds from which the resistance movement grew. Nine and a half months later, my daughter was born into a very different world. I always told her that her daddy was hero, that he had died fighting the Saucermen. Some truths are simply too cruel for a child to bear. Though I did tell her that she was conceived on June 9th, , the day the saucers came. And coincidentally, the day I lost my virginity to Cody Barrett, who turned out to be a lying cad.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of First Monday Free Fiction. This is the third in a loose series of posts about the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and how it was less monolithic and more diverse than most people think. Parts one and two may be found here. Spoilers for some very old science fiction stories behind the cut! The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon. Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. The Eye of the Gods by Odette C. Vivian Bond has a secret that could bring down the Milky Way.
For Vivian Bond has enemies. Now it will catch up. Vivian and Jake are thrown together in a fight for the Milky Way and beyond as an ancient power rises once more. Convict Fenix by Alan Brickett:. Exiled to the most secure prison in the realms for a crime he really, certainly, undoubtedly did commit, Fenix must overcome the amnesia all convicts are magically infected with to survive long enough to enact his forgotten plan for escape. All prisoners have their memory wiped when they arrive, no matter the being, creature or monster they may have been.
Most skills are lost and only instinct remains. The prison is an amalgamation of landscapes smacked together hodgepodge in its own pocket dimension, each piece of it floating around the giant creature that carries it through space and time. There is no escape because there is no way out. Fenix has a plan, or he did before he was imprisoned, the problem is that he must regain his memories quickly enough to make his plan work for him.
Shockwave by Lindsay Buroker:. Casmir Dabrowski would laugh if someone asked him that. After all, he had to build a robot to protect himself from bullies when he was in school. Fortunately, life is a little better these days. But he soon finds himself entangled with bounty hunters, mercenaries, and pirates, including the most feared criminal in the Star Kingdom: Captain Tenebris Rache. Rache could snap his spine with one cybernetically enhanced finger, but he may be the only person with the answer Casmir desperately needs:.
Great Chief by Lindsay Buroker:. Even if his heart was elsewhere, Yanko always accepted his responsibility. Prince Zirabo tasks him with claiming a new land for their nation and keeping it out of the hands of all those who covet it. But securing the continent and turning it into a lush farmland may be the only way to end the civil war at home and bring peace to people who are hungry, beleaguered, and divided. Bounty Hunted by Ian Cannon:. After their efforts meet with failure, it seems the whole world is against them … until an old ally makes her appearance.
Enjoying their newfound freedom, they soon realize a mysterious new presence has arisen amongst the Solar Twin System, and it has one purpose: Destroy Tawny and Ben Dash. With no one to turn to and nowhere to hide, they find themselves in a race against time to discover what this new foe is and unravel its systematic plot to destroy everything they love … before it rips them apart.
Hell or High Water by G. Sere is forced to wonder if she should have heeded the warnings about Jennifer. Sere has plenty of other explanations to choose from. There are the lost souls of the damned that Marjory Laroque cast into hell in her attempt to raise a new devil. Monster by Karen Diem:. Never one to sit still, the sometime superhero and reluctant tax preparer will do whatever it takes to find him.
Even if the undead and line dances make her skin crawl. She needs to get her mask on and solve this fast—before things go from bad to hearse. Monster is the fourth book in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence. He needs to deal with his grief issues, residual anxiety from everything that happened to him in the last two books, and a blossoming substance problem. Which include more pliosaurs, explosions, avalanches, crowds, true love, assault, battery … the usual.
Blind into the Breach by Timothy Ellis:. As a fighter pilot on the old Ark Royal, on the very day all his wishes came true, fate took them away again. But the Imperium only has a small number of fighter pilots, with nearly half being rookies without a combat launch to their names.
And half of the veterans are flying a brand new untested carrier based fighter. How do you keep an outnumbered force of veterans and rookies alive, when the enemy has a new weapon no-one knows anything about?
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Liberation by Rachel Ford:. From the frozen prison planets to the glistening streets of Central, corruption and cruelty is tearing the Tribari Empire apart. Four unlikely heroes find themselves on a collision course as they work to save their worlds. He should have been more careful. To survive in Yngil-wode, the taxman must rely on a mysterious band of outlaws and tax thieves. But he risks getting drawn into a war with a tyrant.
He risks sacrificing every principle he holds sacred. How far will a man of the law go to save his own neck? How far will he go to save the woman he loves? Red Crystal Desert by Patty Jansen:. Cory and his association finally return to Asto on the invitation of his father-in-law, for his official induction ceremony into the Domiri clan. They are housed in a magnificent villa overlooking a valley, away from the hustle of cities or the military base.
Is it for security? Is it because their host fears upsetting his household? With Thayu heavily pregnant, Cory has no appetite for adventures. But something is brewing, and listening bugs, a nightly attack and invasion are all part of the deal. Sam is convinced she has what it takes to become a fighter pilot… to hunt down and destroy the enemy in deep space.
Flip the Witch Switch by Amanda M. Bay Winchester and Landon Michaels are looking for a romantic outing, revisiting the past now that they know they met as children. That trip leads them to the camp they visited back in the day … and to a new adventure. That means their day off becomes an official investigation. Once identification comes through, Bay starts digging … and hard … to find out why a young woman writing a book would go missing in Hemlock Cove.
The Winchester witches are in turmoil. Bay is on deck and has to figure it all out. Even then, with her team in place, she might not come out on the winning side. An alien invasion. A home-world destroyed. Can an embattled captain survive a daring fight to save the remnant of his colony? Incursion at Elea Station is the 17th standalone book in the epic Privateer Tales space opera saga.
A New Beginning by M. On a remote mining station, Nyalin hides a secret that would make her a hunted woman—she is a Crystal Keeper, a protector of a shard of the powerful Starfire crystal. However, when a strange shuttle falls through a portal near the mining station, she can no longer avoid her responsibilities. The human pilot, Vellin, is part of a research team that has developed gateways for instant travel anywhere in the universe without requiring a Starfire crystal, and he has been followed by an enemy through the portal.
To stop dangerous forces from possessing the gateways to spread destruction, Nya must team up with Vel and risk exposing her secret. In their race to destroy the gateways, they will find allies and enemies… and a new reason to worry. Conspiracy by Jenn Nixon:. Mari Yosoto has been keeping a dark and dangerous secret from everyone for the past three years. Instead of wallowing in misery, she stays busy, shuttling cargo to the Moon and back, enjoying the easy work and time alone. After trying and failing to find out what happened to her, Trevor makes the best of an odd situation, hoping he can remind Mari of their budding friendship and finally get some answers.
Together with their newly formed ragtag team, Mari and Trevor team up and undertake a mission unlike anything either of them has faced before with life-altering and possibly deadly consequences. Condor Rising by Jaxon Reed:. The Republic has a new type of ship. The Condor-class is huge, deadly, and carries a secret weapon. She sets the wheels in motion to get him to Lute, the pirate stronghold, where they can meet and freely transfer information.
As the League gathers an overwhelming force to take Gotha Mu, the tiny golden planet in the Seychar system, Captain Christopher Raleigh and his crew race to prevent League spies from leaking the surprise in store for them. Action, thrills, spies, gadgets, and deception await in this third installment of the Pirates of the Milky Way saga! He needs all the help he can get—even from a sassy vampire. Barnaby the vampire is kind of hot for a twink , and not nearly as badass as he likes to think.
Between the three of them, they might just have what it takes to save the day. When a slightly tricky art theft takes place in an upscale Upper East Side neighborhood, Mandy and Rick are called in to crack the case. The only witness: a talking teacup. Can Mandy coax the spirit of an ancient Samurai with a fuzzy memory to spill the tea on who nabbed the Shino while wrangling a demanding toddler and wrestling with worry about taking a baby to a crime scene?
Join the Rowling clan as they attempt to literally save the Day in the latest adventure of the Manhattan Mystery series. Running Start by J. A Quiet Rebellion: Posterity by M. In a land where paranormal powers are transmissible, but their recipients condemned as a threat to society, Queen Eleanor struggles to improve life for all her subjects including the afflicted.
Her ploy meets with initial success, easing her guilt about misleading the entire realm.
However, evidence comes from an unlikely source that the threat is real. The realm must prepare for war, and Eleanor stands to lose everything she has fought for. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core. Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady—especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task.
The Tide of War by Lori A. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect. Our new releases cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, animal mysteries, historical mysteries, hard boiled mysteries, paranormal mysteries, crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, paranormal thrillers, romantic suspense, noir fiction, private investigators, amateur sleuths, ex-cons, precognitives, serial killers, missing persons, heists, crime-busting witches, crime-busting fashion photographers, crime-busting cats and crime-busting ghosts, a surfeit of puppies, murders in small towns and big cities, on theatre stages and aboard cruise ships, in 18th century Venice, contemporary New York City, Glasgow, New Orleans, Las Vegas, North Carolina, New Mexico and much more.
Cold Steele by Kimberly Amato:. Jasmine, or Jazz, to her friends, gets a rude awakening when a 3-year-old cold case comes back hot.
Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.
The calling card? On the creep spectrum, Jazz puts this killer somewhere between Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer. And her veteran right-hand man is on medical leave. Just as Jazz is finally ready to be happy, her bone-chilling trauma comes rushing back. And the Carnation Killer is still out there. Out of Options by Dianne Ashcroft:. Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats. A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person.
What has happened to her friend? Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois.
Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend. And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.
To appease his parole officer, Leonidas works at a local church doing general cleaning maintenance. He learns that five million dollars in diamonds will be stored into a safe at the church. The heist should be simple. However, complications ensue, and Leonidas is soon on the run, trying to elude Russian gangsters, including a psychotic enforcer.
Can Leonidas trust the sultry woman he met in a bar? Can he trust an old friend with whom he shared time in prison? Can he trust anyone? Is there any way that Leonidas can escape with the diamonds to a tropical island? Murders in Seattle, Frankfurt, Venice and London all point to one common killer — and the chief suspect has just been in her house. The evidence is compelling, the body count is rising, but as news emerges of a corrupt business network that reaches into the heart of the police, nothing can be taken for granted — especially the promises of the person who offers to protect her.
Read it now. Bula Bridge by J. Drew Brumbaugh:. What can he do? Hairless Harassment by Molly Fitz:. Especially considering a prominent politician was murdered pretty much right in my backyard. Surprisingly enough, my own partner in crime, Octo-Cat, actually wants to help this time, but he can barely understand our two prime suspects because of their strange Sphynx accents.
And I thought speaking tabby was hard! Is it too late to go back and pick another career? Murder at Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin:. When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates. As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.
Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…. Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…. The Devil and Ms. Devlin by Hannah Howe:. In her heyday, the critics regarded Dana Devlin as the most beautiful actress in movies. They also regarded her as shallow, lacking emotion.
And now she was making a comeback, in a gothic romance, Demon Seed. However, the death threats were covered in hearts, flowers and angels. What was going on? As the cameras rolled, I opened a can of worms, which led to the spilling of secrets and murder. And Dana Devlin? She was about to play her greatest role, a role that would reshape her life.
Jake of All Trades by A. Jake is not long out of prison for violence and takes on any job he can get. Mrs Carson, his ex-teacher, hires him. They despise each other, but they forego their animosities for the sake of the job in hand. She wants him to find a missing schoolgirl by any means possible. In doing so, he comes face to face with perverts, rapists and gangsters. Serene by David Neilson:.
Serene is the third in a series of novels from the era of Mozart and Maria Theresia. Roots of Misfortune by Seth Pevey:.