Sandra finished tying her hair in a ponytail, as she walked into the building where her sister worked. Her twin sister, actually, she corrected herself with an amused scowl.
“Hi, Jane, is my big sister still in her office?” she asked the receptionist on the ground floor.
“I haven’t seen her come through those doors,” the chubby fifty-year-old woman said, with her usual smile.
Sandra had met her when Shannon started working for Adams and Johnson Industries, three years ago, right out of MIT. She used to pick her up a couple of times a week to grab dinner. It was her way to make sure her sister had some fun away from what she personally called a very boring job.
They might be identical twins, but they definitely didn’t have the same taste in practically anything.
She entered the elevator and pressed the eleventh-floor button, using the few minutes she had inside the small box to check on her hair, on the mirrored wall. Perfect as usual. She loved her thick, straight chocolate hair. She believed it was one of her best traits.
Shannon, on the other hand, hated it. She used to complain about how straight it was. She would rather have curls.
A small bell warned she was on her sister’s floor, and she turned to walk out of the elevator. But the minute she walked out, she stopped. All the lights were off on that floor.
Frowning, she took a couple of steps towards her sister’s office, with a bad feeling about the darkness on the whole floor. Pulling her cell phone from her bag, she turned on its light and feeling a bit more confident, she walked straight to her sister’s office.
She opened the door without even knocking. “Shannon? Are you in here? What’s with the lights out?” she asked as she entered the room.
Her sister’s office was in the dark as well, and that startled her. She didn’t even turn off the lights when she left the office. Could it be possible there was an electrical fault on the whole floor?
That was hard to believe.
“Sis? Are you in here?” she lit the room with her cell phone, but her sister’s desk was empty, and she was nowhere to be found.
Deeply worried now, she noticed there was some light coming from underneath the conference room, right next to her sister’s office. Cautiously, she walked towards the door and slowly opened it.
What she saw on the other side of that door, momentarily knocked the air out of her lungs. Her sister was being held by two men… no, animals… no, creatures of some sort, and they were dragging her into what looked like an energy vortex.
What the hell…?
“Sandra… call the police,” her sister shouted as she struggled to free herself from the creatures’ clutches.
Sandra raised the phone to place the call, but before she could key in the number, a third creature she had missed, walked towards her and snapped the phone out of her hand.
She looked at her sister, torn between her desire to help and the need to escape what her brain was shouting was an impossible situation.
She didn’t get to decide. The creature next to her grabbed her by the arms and forcibly pushed her towards the vortex, as she watched the other two push her sister through it.
She put up a fight, kicking and scratching the disgusting creature, but it was way stronger than her. It had little trouble carrying her across the room and throwing her through the vortex.
Whatever it was, it felt terrible. As if her body had been torn into a million tiny pieces and reassembled in a split second. She landed on a metallic floor, at the other side, with her body aching as if she had been kicked by a football team, all at the same time.
Shannon was lying a few feet from her, apparently going through the same pain as she was.
One of the creatures picked Shannon up and disappeared down a hall. Sandra opened her mouth to protest, but only a low whimper came out. The beast that crossed after her picked her up and carried her out of the room, too, hopefully towards where the other thug had taken Shannon.
She struggled to free herself, but once again, his strength was out of her league. At least two and a half feet taller and three times her weight, it was more of a beast than anything else.
The creature carried her down a long, wide hallway, with stark white walls, brightly lit. They passed several closed doors, and she was starting to wonder where it was taking her. The beast finally stopped in front of a closed door and pressed his hand on a small screen to open it.
The door silently slid open to what looked like an infirmary, with several beds lined against a wall. There was a woman in each bed, and Sandra counted at least ten before she was dropped on one and strapped to it. Shannon was bound to the one next to her.
“Not a good day for a visit, sis,” she grumbled, as she struggled against her restraints.
“Yeah, talk about timing,” Sandra agreed, doing the same, but it was useless. The restraints wouldn’t budge an inch.
“Where do you think we are? Who are these creatures?” she asked, looking at the small group hanging on the other side of the room.
The women on the beds next to them seemed to be unconscious.
“They look as if they stepped out of a freaking sci-fi movie. Do you think they’re aliens?” Sandra asked, taking a good look at the creatures.
They were fearsome, with thick, dark threads, instead of hair, enormous round black eyes, bare, sharp teeth, and no signs of lips anywhere. They had jet black complexions, large powerful four-fingered hands that ended in lethal claws. Their massive, sturdy bodies had thick legs that looked like tree trunks. They wore barely any clothes except for a short kilt that might have been made of heavy canvas.
Defeating those brutes wouldn’t be an easy task. No wonder one of them had picked her up as if she weighed nothing.
“Aliens don’t exist,” Shannon recited, a well-learned lesson from their childhood when their mom made her repeat the sentence a few times after a particularly bad nightmare.
Sandra chuckled. “I think mom would admit she was wrong if she saw them,” she said, signaling the creatures still at the door.
“Right…” Shannon admitted. “We need to find a way out of here,” she added, with a deep frown.
“We don’t even know where ‘here’ is. This looks like a damn spaceship,” Sandra pointed out.
“I know… just be on the lookout for anything that might be of use later on,” she whispered as she watched one of the creatures walking towards them. “And don’t cause any trouble,” she warned her, just in time.
The creature approached them, holding what looked like a syringe, and before they were even able to utter more than a whimper of shock, it had injected them both with whatever the damn thing contained.
When Sandra came back to her senses, she no longer was on the bed. The surface beneath her was cold and metallic. Though she tried to open her eyes, they weighed so much; it took her a while to crack them enough to realize she was lying on the floor of some sort of cell.
The place was barely lit, so she couldn’t distinguish much of her surroundings. She could tell there was a small bunker bed to her right and what looked like a toilet in the corner of the small cell, but not much more, other than the metallic bars locking the whole place.
Damn… she rolled to her side, her head pounding like hell, as if she had been drinking the whole night, her mouth and throat as dry as a desert.
Slowly, gingerly, she sat up and looked around, trying to get a better sense of her surroundings. She quickly realized she was practically naked, only covered by a short, flimsy, white tunic that left nothing to the imagination. Her whole body shuddered in disgust as she imagined the horrible creatures that had brought them here touching her and taking her clothes off.
Pushing her long hair away from her face, she groaned, as she wondered where they were keeping Shannon.
“Hello? Is there anybody else in here?” she asked aloud, but she only got silence from the walls surrounding her.
Wherever she was, she was alone.
Sandra got up and walked to what she thought was the toilet, with an acute need to empty her bladder. She had lost track of time, so she had no idea how much time had passed since she had left the gym where she worked as a Yoga and Pilate’s instructor.
Praying she wasn’t making a mistake, she used the piece of furniture, letting out a loud sigh of relief. Lamenting the lack of water or toilet paper, she got up and walked towards the bars to check them out. Shannon’s last words to her still resonated in Sandra’s mind, and she planned to follow it to the letter: she would stay out of trouble and on the lookout for any chance at getting out of that place.
The bars were locked. Sandra couldn’t see the locking mechanism, but they didn’t move an inch when she shook them.
She checked every inch of the cell, but there wasn’t anything beyond what she had noted at first sight.
Frustrated, she lay
on the bed, staring at the ceiling worried about her sister and what the future
held for them.
Sandra must have dozed, probably still under the effect of whatever drug they had used on her earlier because when she woke up, she could hear distinctive footsteps coming closer.
She sat in bed, swinging her legs out of it and waited.
A few moments later, one of the creatures showed up, carrying a tray.
“Food, eat,” he ordered in a husky tone as he slid the tray under the bars after they slid a few inches up.
Startled, she jumped out of bed and walked towards him. “You can speak English?” she asked.
“No… a translator was implanted in your ears. Now you can understand most of the languages on this side of the galaxy,” he explained, clearly not pleased with her curiosity.
She touched her ears instinctively. No wonder her head was still pounding. “What do you want from us? Where are you taking us?” she demanded to know.
He huffed his displeasure. “No more questions,” he grumbled as the bars slid back down with a loud thump as he walked away.
Sandra looked at the tray with a scowl. She wasn’t hungry, and the food, if you could call the brownish paste food, he had brought her, looked disgusting, to say the least.
She picked up the tray and took it to the bed, grabbing the small bottle with what she hoped was water.
It was, or something very close to it. Sandra drank half of it in a single gulp and saved the rest for later, but she didn’t even touch the food.
A few hours later, the lights went out, and she assumed it was time to sleep. By then, she had finished her water but still hadn’t touched the food. She placed the tray on the floor, near the bars, and lay in bed, wishing Shannon was with her.
Her sister’s presence wherever they were was a bit of comfort for her, though she admitted she was selfish in that thought. She couldn’t imagine spending the rest of her life without her twin. They were two parts of a whole, and despite their differences, she would die of sorrow if she was separated from her.
Lights were turned on before she could get some real rest. She was pacing the small cell as one creature came by with another tray. Sandra couldn’t determine if it was the same from last time, finding it impossible to distinguish the aliens. They all looked alike.
“Push the empty tray my way,” he ordered in a harsh tone.
Yeah, it was the same asshole.
She did as told, as he put down the tray he had brought, with the same food.
“If you don’t eat, food will be shoved down your throat. This is your last chance,” he warned her when he picked up the tray she sent his way.
“It looks disgusting,” she protested.
“Not my problem! Eat!” he ordered.
“Where’s my sister?” she shouted before he left. “You know, the one that looks exactly like me?”
But he didn’t answer. Of course, she hadn’t expected him to.
She grabbed the bottle of water and drank half of it. They were not giving her enough water. Grunting, she stared at the food for a few minutes, trying to decide if she could eat that stuff. The idea of being fed by force was unpleasant and she did have the whole day to finish it.
She picked up the tray and took it to the bed and sat down, sniffing it in the process. It didn’t smell that bad, so she picked up a bit with the strange spoon from the tray.
It tasted like nothing she had ever tried, not sweet, not salty, nor sour. It wasn’t as bad as it looked, but it wasn’t something she would eat by choice. Eating slowly, she finished the plate and put the tray where she had left the first one.
If she guessed right, she had the whole day to herself, with nothing to do other than think and worry about her sister.
Not willing to lose her mind, she decided to spend the day doing yoga and meditation. It would help her relax, and time might go by faster than she expected.
Despite all the yoga and meditation, her day lasted an eternity. At some point, when she was about to climb the walls of her cell, Mr. Nice Guy showed up to bring her dinner.
He looked at the empty plate but didn’t say a thing.
“Where are you guys taking us? Where are you from?” she asked, ignoring his sullen face.
He didn’t answer any of her questions, even when she asked a million of them, from the moment he walked into the moment he walked out throughout the next days.
She could tell he hated to bring her the food, but for some reason, they kept sending him to feed her and take her to the bathroom for a quick shower daily.
The bathroom was in the same room as her cell, but out of her view range. When the brute first took her there, on the third day of her stay, she almost kissed him. It had been glorious.
After the first week, she stopped asking questions and simply chatted with him. He kept ignoring her, but she found it stress relieving and it kept her sane.
Three weeks had gone by, more or less, when things changed. The door opened in the middle of the afternoon, and two males came in, stomping hard and looking menacing.
Sandra opened her mouth to ask them what was going on, but something in their attitude advised her not to.
The bars slid completely open, and one of them walked in and grabbed her by the arm.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked, with a deep frown.
“Silence, human!” he ordered as he dragged her out of the cell.
When they stepped out of the room, all the other women she had seen on day one, were being taken out of their rooms too, Shannon included.
It was a relief seeing her again. Sandra wanted to call out her name, but something told her that she should say nothing.
They were all led onto a stage and displayed in a row. Shannon was on the opposite side of the row, and she was wearing a golden tunic that perfectly matched her hazel eyes. Her hair had been artificially curled, and she had some makeup on.
Taking a thorough look at all the women, she realized she was the only one in white and with no makeup at all. They were deliberately making her different from the rest of the group. She wondered why.
One of the males stood in front of them and demanded silence, though none of the women had dared to speak.
“You will be auctioned today as life partners. Those who don’t get sold will be sold as sex slaves, either to any male or a brothel.” A loud protest came out from the women, and he quickly silenced them by just raising his hand. The look on his face was quite frightening. “I expect your best behavior during the auction. Any rebellious act from any of you will result in punishment for all of you. Selling you as life partners is more profitable for me, but selling you as a group to a brothel, wouldn’t be a loss. It’s your choice.”
His tone was ice cold and blatant. They could all see he didn’t give a damn to what might happen to them. They were just merchandise for them, nothing else.
The women stiffened and straightened, scared of the options presented but too afraid to do anything about it, Sandra included.
“I knew you would understand my point perfectly,” he said with a scornful smirk. “Let’s get this done.”
Hating the whole idea of being auctioned, Sandra watched as the first woman was sold after a hard-fought bid. They weren’t able to see who was bidding, and that was probably a good thing judging by the creatures that abducted them.
Though she had ended up seeing Mr. Nice Guy as a person rather than just a creature, she couldn’t picture herself as his or any of his friends’ life partner.
She would deal with that when the time came, not a moment sooner.
She hated watching the way her sister was auctioned. Shannon was furious, and Sandra knew she was biting her tongue to hold back the rant struggling to come out. If her fate was the only one at stake, Sandra knew she wouldn’t hold back.
She listened carefully to all the details on her sister’s sale, the planet she was being taken to, and the name of the buyer, hoping she would ever get the chance to find her again.
She knew Shannon would do the same, and she was praying she would get the chance to talk to her before they were shipped to the planets where their buyers lived.
Sandra was left for last.
Though she couldn’t understand everything that was being said, she did hear some comments about Shannon’s resemblance to her.
Bad Guy had a hard time assuring the bidders he was not reselling the same female, that they just looked alike. At some point, he was forced to bring Shannon back to the stage, so they could see them, one next to the other.
“I knew you would cause trouble,” Bad Guy ranted, in a low tone, only meant for her ears. “Let’s start the bidding.”
Sandra felt as if it lasted an eternity. Though she stayed still, as ordered, her eyes showed all her animosity for the males participating in the auction, challenging them to buy her. She would make them regret it.
When Bad Guy announced she had been sold, she focused on the information he gave about her destination: it wasn’t the same planet. Shannon was being sent somewhere else.
She was taken off the stage and guided to a small room where all the other women were gathered. Sandra crossed the room immediately towards Shannon, hugging her tight.
“We’re being sent to different planets,” Sandra murmured in her ear.
“It would be too damn lucky if it weren’t so,” she pointed out, with her usual pragmatism.
“I don’t want to live away from you, especially not on a different planet. We’ll never see each other again,” Sandfra sobbed, her heart hurting as if squeezed by an iron fist.
“Don’t say that,” Shannon scolded her. “We’ll get through this. Have faith.”
She hugged her sister tighter. “I have, in you.”
“Good. I’ll find a way to get in touch with you, and we’ll plan our escape,” Shannon said.
“Do you think that’s even possible?” she asked, with doubt.
“I sure as hell will try, Sandra. I got my hands on what they call a communication device, AKA, a cell phone and I’ve been studying it. I have a pretty good idea how it works, so I want you to have it,” she explained.
“Shouldn’t you have it?” Sandra asked as she took the small device her sister was handing her.
“No. Your skills in technology are pretty bad,” she replied with a teasing smile. “Just keep it in a safe place and don’t let anyone find it. I’ll get in touch with you through it,” Shannon warned her.
Sandra nodded. “Please, don’t wait too long. I don’t know if I can live without you.”
“Of course, you can. But I won’t even let you try. Be strong, please, and stay out of trouble…” Shannon begged. “Play along with whoever bought you. Don’t make things harder on yourself.”
“I’ll do my best, I promise,” Sandra nodded.
“Just do it, Sandra. Don’t give them reasons to mistreat you. We have no idea what we’re up against,” Shannon pointed out.
“I hate this… they had no right to disrupt our lives this way,” she ranted in a low tone.
“I know that, but
there’s nothing we can do about it right now. We have to wait for our moment.”
Bad Guy entered the room, and they quickly stepped aside. “Your new owners will arrive in the next few days to pick you up. Until then, you will return to your cells,” he informed them before he exited, making way for the guards that would take them back to the cells.
Sandra hid the small device Shannon had given her under her armpit and followed the guys back to her solitary cell.
Though she couldn’t say she was happy, she certainly was glad she had had those few moments alone with her sister. She would keep that cell phone with her all the time and hope Shannon found a way to get another one and call her.
Computers and devices were Shannon’s thing. At the age of thirteen, she had transformed her common desktop computer into a powerful server she had used to hack into several of the government websites without ever being caught.
Biologically, Sandra was as intelligent as her twin sister, but she had chosen to use it in other ways finding computers programming and hacking boring. Few people knew more than her about nutrition, exercising, yoga and alternative medicine. She had spent a whole year in Asia learning all she could about their herbs and potions. It had been a great year. One she was planning to repeat.
She guessed that was a plan that would never leave her dreams. Even if they managed to escape, she doubted they would be able to go back to Earth.
That night, Mr. Nice Guy returned with her dinner. She had hidden the device under the mattress on her bed.
“So… did you have a good day today?” she asked him as he pushed the tray her way.
“If you don’t watch yourself, your new owner will cut out your tongue,” he mumbled through his teeth.
She chuckled. “I’m sure I can convince him that would be a bad idea,” she said with a naughty grin. A hint of a smile cracked his ugly face, and she smiled back. “How often do you guys do this? You know, go to Earth and abduct innocent women to sell throughout the galaxy?” she asked him, genuinely interested.
She wanted to know how much of the world’s missing women were their doing.
“Twice every sun rotation,” he replied, incredibly chatty that day. “But we’re not the only ones hunting on your planet. Human females sell pretty well, and everybody wants one.”
“Wow… that’s incredible…” she mused, astounded. “Most people on Earth still think we’re alone in this galaxy.”
He laughed aloud this time. “Yeah… sure…”
“How many women do you take on your trips?”
“It depends. From ten to twenty, depending on what we’re looking for,” he said, shrugging. “We usually do a survey amongst our buyers and determine how many blonds, brunettes, or redheads we will need for our next auction.”
“You weren’t in our plans, especially because you are a copy of the other female, but we prefer not to leave any witnesses behind,” he added, with a mocking tone. “It was a good thing, though. After the initial confusion, we managed to get a good price for you.”
She grumbled, and he walked away laughing. “Enjoy your last moments alone, human,” he said before he closed the door behind him.
She stuck out her tongue to his back before she took her tray and started eating. After all that time, she had grown used to the paste they gave them as food. But that night, she was having more trouble than ever swallowing the sticky stuff. His last words played in her head, over and over again, torturing her.
What waited for her at the end of her journey? Would she ever see her sister again? Despite Shannon’s hopeful spirit, she knew it was a very long shot.
Traveling across the galaxy was not something anyone could do, especially not someone with no credits or ways of making some.
It took her ‘new owner’ two days to come and pick her up. When Mr. Nice Guy came to pick her up in the middle of the day, she had been doing some yoga, her cell phone safely tucked underneath her.
“Time’s up,” he told her when he reached the bars, pressing the button that opened them.
Sandra let out a long sigh. “So, he’s finally here?” she asked, with a faint smile.
She untangled her body and sat up for a moment staring at him. “Is my sister still here?” she asked, in a low tone, hoping she would get a straight answer from him, this time.
“She’s to leave in a couple of hours,” he replied, a hint of compassion in his words. “How come you two look alike?”
“We were conceived by the same egg, we share the same genetic pool,” she explained.
“Have you ever been apart?” he asked, with a slight frown.
She gave him a sad smile. “No, never… not even when she went to MIT, a university back on Earth. I searched for a school near hers so that we could be together.”
His wrinkled face seemed to become a bit more lined than before, but he didn’t say a word.
“Do you think we could go by her cell so that I can say goodbye?” she dared to ask, having little to lose.
He stared at her for a few moments before he nodded. “No, let’s go. You don’t want to keep the male waiting.”
She slowly got up, careful to conceal the device with her body. She was almost up when the damn thing slid down her thigh, and she had to sit down again to hide it, though she was sure he had seen it.
With her heart thumping in her chest, she looked up at him, just to see him turn his head and walk to the exit. He was ignoring what he had just seen.
“Hurry up, I don’t have all day,” he grumbled.
With a deep sigh and shaking hands, she picked the cell phone and hid it on her body before she walked out of her cell for the last time.
They walked down the corridor for a few moments before he stopped and opened a door. “Hurry up,” he muttered, in a harsh tone.
With a thankful look, she entered the room and walked towards the cell where her sister was being held.
“Shannon!” she called out to her.
“Sandra! What are you doing here?”
“I’m leaving now. My jailor allowed me to come and say goodbye to you,” she said, getting as close as she could to the bars.
Shannon walked towards her, and they hugged despite the bars between them. “I’ve got a new device, so I’ll be calling you soon,” she whispered in her ear. “I need you to keep yourself out of trouble and keep your device always on you. When I’m sure I can call you, I’ll send you a message first to make sure you can take the call.”
Sandra nodded. “I’ll do my best,” she said, not a bit surprised with her sister’s resolution. “Just be careful, please,” she asked.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” Shannon assured her.
A raspy sound startled them. “Time to go,” Mr. Nice Guy called Sandra.
She glanced at the door and nodded. “I have to go now, sis. We’ll see each other soon,” she said, with a final hug.
“You can count on that,” Shannon assured her.
She said goodbye to her sister and walked out of the room. “Thank you,” she murmured to him as he locked the door after she exited.
He grumbled some gibberish as he grabbed her by the arm and dragged her down the hall to the docking area of the massive vessel.
Sandra wasn’t sure what she was expecting from the man who had bought her. Nothing good, of course. You had to be a deficient life form to buy a life partner. But, physically, she hadn’t given it much thought. One thing, though, she knew for sure. She wasn’t expecting the male standing in front of her.
That’s All For Now. Order your copy at Amazon
Copyright © 2019 by T.J. Quinn