When you're a janitor, life can get a little routine. When you are a janitor at Area 51, life can be a bit more interesting. When you're a janitor at Area 51 and everything goes wrong, life can get downright terrifying.
Join Jose as he attempts to be the last line of defense for Earth as this lowly janitor and his friends take on aliens and killer houseplants in Janitor 51.
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They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and an ancient evil stalks them? An assassination attempt on the head of the American Meta Association guild sends adept Peter Branton looking for who wants him and his leader dead. Finding the beautiful, shape-shifting assassin leads him to his real enemy, an enemy that is much worse and much more dangerous: living gods of Atlantis. Branton must team with up with his would-be killer and a mysterious warrior to defeat the gods of strife that are intent on starting a war that could devastate all mankind.
In the future, the only solution to mass overcrowding and dwindling resources is the lottery. A game where people are paid to play but, if they win, they legally become food. Two such lottery-winners, a suicidal teenager named Sammie and an impoverished middle-aged woman named Kim, find themselves 'purchased' by the upscale Bistro Viande which is run by celebrity Chef Nick Delano and his jaded sous-chef, Anne. In the few remaining days of their lives, Kim decides to make the best of her life in enjoying what few pleasures remain for her, while Sammie decides to make the best of her death in ensuring she is at her tastiest. Little does anyone else know, however, that Sammie hides a dark secret, one that could both save her life and destroy the Bistro.
Anne stalked in and shouted “What the hell are you doing!?” Sammie and Kim looked at each other. Sammie stammered and Kim said “What do you mean? We just did as you told us. We weren’t trying to escape or anything like that. Just sitting here.” Anne pointed at them and said “You took that shower and then put your grungy, dirty clothing back on!?”
Sammie nodded quietly “Yes ma’am.” Kim squinted at first, but then smiled. Kim said “Wait, you’re so pissed, that you’re going to send us back into that hot shower.” Kim chuckled and said “We should piss you off more often.”
Anne stared at her coldly and replied “It’s not cheap!” Sammie pulled off her shirt and said “…or legal.” Anne shot her a look and Sammie held up a hand “Not that I’m complaining at all. We really enjoy and appreciate it.” Anne smiled wryly “It’s a perk of being food. The law says using hot water to wash a person is an illegally wasteful practice.” Anne cocked her head to the side lightly and continued “But… you aren’t people anymore and the use of hot water in cleansing of food in its preparation is legally allowed.” Sammie’s jaw dropped “That’s freaking genius!” Kim started to unbutton her pants and said “But, you’re not allowed in, Anne, are you?” Anne shrugged “The only time I’m ever in there is when I’m force-shaving a runner chained to the wall. Trust me, I’m not enjoying the water during those times.”
Sammie said “But, you never, you know… when no one is looking, or maybe between shipments ever want to hop inside this thing and get an actual, nice shower as opposed to those two-minute ice-bucket pieces of crap we’re allowed to have?” Anne shook her head “Never.” Sammie cocked her head to the side and said “Really? I mean, aren’t you even tempted.” Anne replied darkly “It’s an instrument for cleaning food. All the women who shower in there, they die.”
Kim pursed her lips and asked “Is it because of too many bad memories?” Anne’s gaze softened, but only for a second. She shook her head and it was gone “Just rinse off and get ready.”
They both disappeared in while Anne waited outside. In a few minutes, giggles and splashing could be heard coming from the shower. Anne shouted “Hurry up!” Sammie called back, laughing, “I suddenly feel like running, Anne. Maybe you should take off your clothes and come in here to hold me down. Why don’t you bring a bar of soap in for yourself while you’re at it?”
Anne threw a hand to her mouth to stifle the laughter that yearned to raise from her mouth. She clenched her jaw tight and squinted her eyes hard. She whispered to herself “They’re food, not friends. Food, not friends.” She leaned her head back against the wall and whispered to herself “Come on, Anne. Don’t make the Mary Jenson mistake again.”
Anne closed her eyes and remembered Mary. Over Mary’s short stay at Bistro Viande, her and Anne had grown incredibly close. She had a hard time remembering, between Mary and herself, who cried harder when she eventually loaded Mary into the oven. But, the end result lay seared in Anne’s mind…
Anne had to live on knowing herself to be Mary’s killer.
Anne took a deep breath to force the growing emotions away. Anne whispered “Die inside. Live outside.” She closed her eyes and pictured herself dead until the waves of memories and emotions passed. She reopened her eyes once more…
She remembered who she was. A consummate professional fully capable of a job that required her to kill two people per week.
Her face returned to its normal cold stare.
What if you were destined to leave Earth and take your place as the rightful ruler of a planet in a galaxy far away?
Destiny knows no boundaries in this explosive, epic space adventure of honor and deceit, love and loss and high-stakes battles with vicious foes. Will Aric save his home planet's people, who wait in peril for the young king to return and claim the empty throne? Will Jade prove to his people that she's worthy to be their royal queen?
QUEEN OF CEREN is April M. Reign's third futuristic science fiction romance novel in the Human Alien Species Hybrid (HASH) series.
Stowaway to the Stars tells the story of Larry, an undercover agent for the Interstellar Exploration Programme, who stumbles on a covert operation by Zilon, a ruthless member of the Galactic Union. He finds himself framed by the Ziloni and a fugitive from the Union.
Karen is seeking the man responsible for the death of her sister. But one simple case of mistaken identity and a reckless decision suddenly sees her life in turmoil. She discovers that she is a stowaway on Larry’s spacecraft and her future is now irrevocably linked to his.
Larry’s future looks bleak. His only chance of finding evidence that will clear his name entails a near-suicidal invasion of a Ziloni military base. Karen has no choice but to accompany Larry on his mission, where she is thrown into the strange environment of the Union. Together they face the ultimate test as they battle with the collective might of the Ziloni and the Galactic Union.
Larry eased the thrust stick most of the way forward and the speed began to build. The arc of the Earth moved backward across the canopy, slowly at first but progressively faster until it was out of view, the cabin lights brightening to compensate for the loss of Earthlight. He trimmed the stick to maintain the thrust and settled back for the ride out to the hyperspace boundary.
A few minutes passed peacefully, then a voice behind him shattered the silence. ‘Hello, Grant. I bet you didn’t expect to meet me again.’
He leapt up and spun round. It was the girl from the bar, now sitting in his rear seat and pointing a gun at his head.
Her face was expressionless as her eyes bored into his. ‘I’m going to make you pay for what you did to Rachel. I know you’re responsible for what happened.’
Larry’s jaw sagged as he stared back at her, dumbfounded. How in the name of the seven saints had this strange girl managed to get aboard his ship, why was she mightily pissed off, and why did she seem to think his name was Grant? Before he could frame a suitable reply, a siren on the control console blared.
His world turned upside down for the second time. One glance at the viewscreen told him the worst. He had an incoming missile! And no guard missiles deployed. Shit, he was in deep trouble.
Larry made a rapid decision. A girl waving a pistol at his head or the absolute certainty of death in a couple of seconds from the missile - it wasn’t a contest. He spun back to the controls and located the red trace warning of the incoming missile approaching from the right. He’d have seen it seconds earlier but for the distraction of the damned girl.
‘Hey, arsehole, I’m not finished with you. Listen –’
How could this be happening to him? It was like a nightmare. And the stupid Earth girl who was distracting him hadn’t the faintest concept of what was going on. ‘Lady, shut up and let me concentrate, or you’ll get us both killed.’
He slammed the stick hard left and back. The ship’s gravity compensator had masked the earlier manoeuvring and bone-crunching thrust of the fifty gee drive out toward the hyperspace boundary. But it whined as it struggled to cope with the rapid changes of direction, and the slight lag made him clutch the top of the instrument panel to avoid being thrown about. He was vaguely aware of clattering behind him as the girl was thrown off balance by the same uncompensated forces.
The missile overshot, but a second red trace appeared on the display and an instant later the siren went off again. He slammed the stick the other way, bracing himself again. That missile passed by on the left, but even closer. The girl shouted something else. Forget about her, she probably wouldn’t kill him, but those damned missiles would if he didn’t get his defence missiles deployed fast.
Every night, Jade is rattled by a recurring dream—a dream that’s as real as the research institute where she lives. When flames fall from the sky and an alien ship crashes into Earth, Jade becomes government property and at the mercy of scientists. After all, she’s imprinted with an intelligent alien metal that could be the answer to all of Earth’s problems.
However, in the wrong hands, the metal implant could become the deadliest weapon known to humankind.
Kept underground for sixteen years, Jade fights to keep her sanity and understand the intelligent organism that is wrapped around her spine. When a new company takes over the science institute, Jade’s alien symbiont warns her of imminent danger.
Then Jade meets Aric, the lone survivor from the spaceship. They form an alliance that will change their personal destiny and they put a plan into motion that will alter the future of mankind.
Book One of THE IMPRINT TRILOGY.
The year is 2319. Lt. Comm Roy O’Hara leads his squadron against the enemy’s latest Super Destroyer and is shot down over an unexplored planet. The planet holds secrets to a long lost alien weapon and the key to Roy’s own destiny. Near death Roy is found by Katreena, a beautiful and mysterious woman. When she finds Roy, he’s broken and battered, and saves his life with the Boto Stone. She is unaware that by doing so she will create a deep bond and awaken an affect not seen for hundreds of years; the ability to communicate to each other in dreams. An unguarded moment leads to a forbidden night of intimacy; an act of betrayal to the crown, an act that will put both their lives in jeopardy. Katreena flees to save them both. Danger increases as their secret may be discovered and war erupts on their planet.
I quickly flagged down one of the casino workers—I swear to you that it seemed to be a requirement for employment at this hotel that the women all had to look like they’d just stepped off the photoshoot for the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue—and the platinum blond pixie cut, would make any man quickly forget the throaty beauty in the café, whose name I didn’t bother to read smiled and pointed in the direction of the blackjack tables.
I hurried over, hoping to find Charlie, and grab onto the one lifeline I could count on to help drag me back from the edge and make some sense out of whatever the hell was going on. It wasn’t hard to find him at all once I got to the area; his booming laugh at some joke he’d just heard was a welcoming beacon to my ears.
When I got to his table, the first thing I noticed was a ridiculous number of chips piled up around his area of the table. Much like I had seen at the baccarat table earlier, it looked like everyone at the table was doing well but Charlie’s stack was approaching Mount Olympus in size. He was good at this game, I easily admit, but not that good. No one was.
The second thing I noticed was the enchanting young Carrie—still in her hotel uniform but her nametag was now gone—draped on Charlie’s right arm and looking like she was there to stay. That wasn’t the least bit ridiculous at all. He was good at that too, as I’ve mentioned before, and he really was that good in that arena.
“Hey, Pete,” he exclaimed when he saw me. “Pull up a chair and join us.”
“Not right now thanks,” I said. “Hey, I think they got our bags mixed up and one of mine is in your room. I was hoping you could let me in so I could get it.”
That seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable explanation to get Charlie out of the casino where I could talk to him without any unwanted eavesdroppers. Unfortunately, my lifeline went and threw me the anchor and sank my plan in less than a heartbeat.
“No problem, buddy, here’s the key.” He flipped his room card in my direction with one of those Friday night goofy grins of his face that I knew all too well. “Just leave it in my room. I don’t think I’ll be needing it.”
Somehow, Carrie managed to snuggle even closer to Charlie than she had before. Even as I snagged the tumbling card out of the air, I tried to come up with some excuse, some pretense to get Charlie up and moving. But something in both of their expressions told me that it wouldn’t matter one bit what I said or did next. Charlie wasn’t moving from that chair anytime soon and when he did, he wasn’t doing it just to go off somewhere with me.
I’d lost my wingman, my lifeline and maybe my only hope of figuring out what had happened to us. Charlie turned back to the table, and his new girlfriend, without so much as another word in my direction and I stumbled away without any direction in mind other than to get away from the creature who’d once been my best friend.
Before I realized it, I found myself in an abandoned area of the casino, empty chairs stacked around a few unused card tables and standing face to face with Liz. How long she had been watching me, how much she had seen, I simply did not know. But there she stood with an odd, sad look in her eyes.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how you can be of service?” And I am sure there was more than a hint of bitterness in my voice, certainly more than she deserved to be on the receiving end of.
“No,” she replied without reproach for my tone. “At this moment, Mr. Childress, you are looking for any exit that will lead you back to the outside world. I simply can’t help you with that. All I can suggest to you is this—perhaps you are looking for the way out of here in the wrong direction.”
“What does that mean?” I asked in confusion.
Something from behind me suddenly caught her attention at that moment. Her eyes quickly flickered to whatever it was for a brief moment before returning to meet mine.
“Your room opens up to the central park,” she said after a moment’s pause. “We see so very few of our guests ever bother to go out and fully explore it. Perhaps you should visit it. You may find it to be peaceful and relaxing.”
She moved suddenly then, as if to walk past me without another word. But just as she drew even with me, her lips just inches from my right ear, I heard her whisper in a tone almost too soft for me to hear.
“You might even find it very enlightening, Mr. Childress.”
Then she was gone, moving on into the casino to engage some of the other guests in conversation. As I turned to watch her walk away, I noticed what it was that had distracted her earlier, what had appeared to make her suddenly cautious not only in what she said but how she appeared while saying it.
Standing out there in the middle of the casino, clearly scanning the crowd for someone in particular, was the hotel’s manager. But before he could look over in my direction and take notice of me, I darted toward a much darker area of the casino and eventually made my way back around to the entrance without him seeing me at all. For a reason that I could not put a logical explanation to, I suddenly had a very strong urge to be as far away from that man as I could possibly get myself and do it as quickly as I could.
Even within the seemingly limited, but very gilded, confines of this nightmarish trap that I found myself in.
Four people in Brooklyn N.Y. who know little about each other and backgrounds that could not be any more different. A normal winter day for these four regular joes will turn into a full-fledged adventure that will determine the fate of the Earth with one twist. That twist is that there is a virtual world that looks, smells and feels like Earth and whatever happens in this virtual world happens on Earth, A great evil has decided to use this world for its purpose to take over Earth for himself.
These four regular joes will turn from normal everyday joes into Earth's only hope as they try to prevent an alien race called the gloobas from taking over the world using virtual reality as a weapon. Get ready for an action-packed adventure where the enemies are not human and watch our heroes explore a virtual world that will break the rules of nature and science. Little do our heroes know they will fight in a war that was once fought over one thousand years ago and the time has come again for the war to commence once again between good and evil. These four distinctive people (Angel, Maria, Dayvon and Luis) will have to put aside their differences as they will travel to places including New York, Hollywood, the Arctic Core and even outer space. To raise the stakes even higher our heroes will only have 10 days to reverse the effects of the virtual world to Earth otherwise, the world may not survive or be under alien rule.
Is this what World War 3 has in store for the people on Earth. Is Earth due for another dark age similar to the fall of the Roman Empire? If our heroes fail Earth will fall and nobody will know why or how. Prepare for an adventure where anything can happen will happen, along with plenty of Romance, time traveling and our heroes will even see paranormal forces that will either hurt or help them and an ending that will make you cry!
Sewer-rat children screamed obscenities at one another and laughed. Somewhere far away, a siren wailed. Late-afternoon faces gloated down at the spectacle and faded from my view. I felt her claw my hand and heard her weep. I never did learn her name. My breath whistled through red-stained nostrils. Warm blood lazily oozed out of holes somewhere in my chest. Useless arms and legs lazily stretched out to enjoy the last of the sidewalk’s heat. Death straddled me and hummed a playful tune. I half closed my eyes and smiled back. Everything was going to be OK.
■ ■ ■
Even in a Sarjeta (the Gutter), there is always somebody lower than you.
If you’re faster or stronger, someone else pays a price. Could be money. Or favors. Could be that someone weaker pays the ultimate price: his or her life. I’m better than most people stuck here because I dream big. And dreams will show me how to escape this shithole.
The wind scattered dirt and grit, biting my face and the window’s ledge that faced out at Canto do Diabo (Devil’s Corner). The streets of the Gutter dead-ended here, where wall graffiti and littered garbage stopped and the Prodigal Son resided. I was lucky to be this close to the charity’s main building.
Lank curtains hid the waiting room. Several coffee-colored men, coughing up throaty words and inhaling Turkish cigarettes, stood outside by a front door painted red, the dark color of worried eyes. One of them looked at me as I approached. I tried not to fidget with the waxy pouch in my hand. He signaled something, and I was quickly surrounded by four pairs of uncertain eyes.
“Você fala inglês?” the one man said. He grinned, and I spotted gold bordering three missing teeth.
“Yes, sure,” I said.
His greasy thumb gestured at the other three. “These clowns don’t. So you talk to me, OK?” His accent wasn’t Portuguese. Or English.
“Sure,” I said.
I glanced at his face, spotting a tattooed circle on his left cheek. Despite his smile, I sensed something darker hiding behind the mask he now wore.
“A delivery. For him.” I placed the pouch into the gold-toothed man’s hand. My fingers touched his slimy palm, causing me to shiver for a moment.
“Come back next week.”
“What about my money?” I asked.
“Next week. You’ll get another package and your money.”
All four men stared at me. I couldn’t read their alien faces. The tattooed guy jabbed his finger at me.
“You know, I see something in you. Maybe something great, huh?”
I didn’t ask what he saw and quickly left. I decided that Devil’s Corner was not a part of the Gutter where I wanted to be alone after sunset.
■ ■ ■
I stood on Amélia’s concrete balcony and gagged. Inside her apartment, sickly sweet beans, dumped out of dented cans, cooked on a hotplate. Two half-naked children with swollen bellies rubbed messy fingers on my sister’s worn-down apron as they cried for dinner. They didn’t know anything else. This was the same meal served at breakfast. At yesterday’s dinner. And the day before. But I’ve walked by the açougue (butcher shop) and seen real meat. I’ve smelled the bloody flesh. Steak and hamburger and food that people with money could buy. I don’t want to eat beans anymore.
Scraps of faded sunlight crawled down the balcony rails, exposing lag bolts desperately grabbing at the block wall. It was a miracle I didn’t fall into the darkened alley below. I could see someone down there licking at the emptied tins we’d thrown out with the rest of the garbage. I shouted at him to get some self-respect, but he just laughed. I kept shouting.
Amélia looked out at me with worried, dark eyes. “You don’t know that man out there. You don’t know what he could do to us. Come back inside.” Both children clung quietly to her, sensing their mother’s fear. My sister tightly gripped the plastic spoon she used to stir the beans. Her eyes pleaded, seeming to say, “At least we eat.”
“I don’t need to be afraid. I don’t need this shit,” I said.
“Please, the children.”
“I’ll be a famous artist. I’ll escape. And you’ll be forgotten.”
Amélia started to cry. I stormed back to my room and locked the door. An hour later, I ignored her knock when she came to ask if I was hungry. Sleep came soon, and I dreamed that the man in the alley chased me. Then my dreams went black, and I tossed and turned the rest of the night.
■ ■ ■
I didn’t know his real name, so I called him Ben. He didn’t mind. Ben dropped my money and this week’s package onto my sister’s flimsy coffee table. I tried to figure him out. I guessed that he was about ten, only two years younger than me. I asked him where he lived.
He didn’t answer my questions. Ben just looked nervously around.
How does someone so young become a collector?
“You alone?” Ben asked.
“My sister is sewing today. She takes the babies.”
Ben wiped his nose. “That’s good. I guess I’ll come back next week at the same time.”
I pointed at the waxy paper. “What’s inside?”
“Don’t ask. And don’t steal anything.”
He looked down at my drawing pad. I had been sketching from memory a park I once saw in the middle of Avenida da Liberdade. His wide eyes studied every penciled line, every cross-hatched tree as if it were the fucking Mona Lisa or something. Ben held his breath, and for a moment he seemed to have transported himself somewhere a million miles away from the Gutter. I bet he had never seen the avenue or anything else like it.
“I take art classes. The church gives them for free,” I said.
“I couldn’t do that.”
“How do you know? Have you tried?”
“I couldn’t do it.”
“I’ll take you. Come back tomorrow.”
Ben looked over the pad once more. He blinked his eyes and swallowed hard. “Don’t steal anything,” he said. And he left without saying good-bye.
Banan clamped her hands over her mouth to forcibly hold her silence lest she draw the Americans to them with her screams. She re-steadied herself back to her feet and turned to Sammie. Sammie hoarsely mouthed to her “are you ok?”
Banan nodded lightly. She removed her hands from her mouth and surveyed the room. A scream rose in her throat at the shear carnage which surrounded them. Up close, it felt infinitely more real than it did from the ceiling above. Sammie could see the scream rising in Banan’s throat and so she leapt out from her hiding spot and clamped her hands around Banan’s mouth. She whispered in Banan’s ear “Shhhh…. If you scream, the Americans will kill us both.” Banan swallowed down her terror and Sammie released her grip. Sammie frowned as she surveyed the carnage. Dozens of dead bodies, lay piled about the room but Sammie could not see Megan readily. Sammie said “We have to find them. I’m sure you’re worried about Scarlet, Steve, and Jerry. It looks like a lot of people from the dance floor tried hiding in here. There may still be hope. Maybe one of them played dead to trick the Americans and is hiding underneath the bodies.”
Silently, they both began the grisly task of sifting through the bodies. Sammie recognized several people from the bar as well as some of some of ‘Snow White’s’ dwarves. She heard Banan whisper sadly “Scarlett.” Sammie turned to look. Banan held on to Scarlett’s arm as it protruded out from underneath the dead body of the bartender. Banan grabbed hold of Scarlett’s wrist for a second and then turned to Sammie and shook her head sadly. Sammie nodded and said “We’ll keep looking.”
As they dug through, a slight coughing sound came from the back. Sammie sprinted to it and pulled away some bodies revealing Steve. He grimaced and coughed up some blood as he labored to breath. Sammie knelt down saying “Steve, Steve…” He looked up into her eyes and gasped. He said “They …” A fit of coughs stopped him. Sammie looked down across his body. Large punctures pierced almost every part of him. Banan ran up alongside her and knelt next to him as well. Sammie surveyed the room for something, anything they could use to plug his wounds even though a part of her knew it was already too late for that. The spreading puddle of blood flowing from behind Steve told her that the exit wounds were much larger than the small punctures that covered his front. Steve hoarsely whispered “They took…” Sammie knelt close and asked “Took who?” Steve drew in a deep breath. The blood gurgling from his chest bubbled as he said “Took… Megan…” Banan asked “You mean they killed her?” Steve shook his head. His head slumped for a while and he closed his eyes. Sammie almost began to stand back up when he said “No… they drag Megan away… then kill everyone. They take her… on purpose.”
Sammie’s blood froze in her veins. She asked “Why?” Steve shuddered and looked up at her. He grasped her arm and replied, as if giving some dire warning, “Bistro!” With that said, his grip released. His eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped over silently. The pool of blood spreading from beneath him began to cool as the last whispers of life escaped his body. Both women stood there, blood-soaked and shivering in shock and terror. Sammie’s mind felt as though it moved through water as the world around her spun slowly. It seemed as if everything began to tunnel in on Steve’s lifeless face. Scarcely a few minutes prior, he had been the first guy to buy her a drink at a bar and now he was dead. Megan was the first woman to show Sammie any form of kindness, well somewhat kindness in a drunken-party sense of the word, and now she had been kidnapped by Americans. All of the conflicting emotions boiled back and forth within Sammie but none over whelmed the burning question which exploded in her mind above all the rest…
“Why did the American’s take Megan alive?”
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Relic Tech (Crax War Chronicles) by Terry W. Ervin II Narrator: James Conlan Series: Crax War Chronicles #1 Published by Gryphonwood Press on 03-03-14 Genres: