Pedro stepped in first, using the Kuljik staffer as a shield. The nose of Pedro’s sub-machinegun was planted firmly in the beast’s back. Carina followed in as well, shutting the door quietly. Although the Kuljik was remaining silent, Carina could see that it was still laughing at both of them beneath its breath. There must be other Kuljik guards inside, Carina thought to herself as she gripped her assault rifle. The inside hallway of the nursery made it seem like just a normal school. The walls were painted in rainbow colors and children drawings were pinned up. As they trudged forward slowly with their Kuljik hostage, Carina could see classrooms on both sides. Of course, the classrooms were all unoccupied. There were rows of empty chairs. Vacant and rocking baby cradles. It was obvious to her now that the nursery was just a bizarre cover for a sadistic operation.
Carina was searching around cautiously for any Kuljik guards, her rifle poised. But there was no one else in the rooms. Where are you Gaia? She gritted her teeth.
They finally reached an intersection with another hallway and now Carina knew why the Kuljik was laughing. In front of them, she could see a group of about eight Nursery guards. Five of the guards were lounging in a bar-like area to the left. They were just relaxing and having drinks. The three others were in an office to the right side. They were all dressed in the same olive jumpsuits and black surgical suits.
And the Kuljiks were staring straight at Carina and Pedro.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion now. Carina could see the Kuljik guards reaching down for their weapons. The three guards in the office were grabbing for machineguns. Two of the Kuljiks in the lounge were reaching for laser rifles and the others were picking up huge spiked clubs.
As the Kuljiks began firing at them, Carina sprinted forward and slid down low across the floor. She could see the pulsating beams of lasers barely missing across her face as she bent backwards. She now dug her hands into the holsters by her legs. Still sliding across the ground, Carina pulled out both of her revolver pistols. She could feel the adrenaline rushing through her and her special powers taking over. It was like everything around her was stopping still. She thought of Logan and the other boys. She thought of her anger as each Kuljik bullet just crept toward her. She had plenty of time to dodge them now. With her pistols raised, Carina began firing to each side at the same time.
Her own shots were aimed carefully, each one hitting their intended target. The three Kuljik guards in the office were collapsing to the ground, bullets having ripped through their foreheads encircled by droplets of purple. The two laser gun toting Kuljiks in the bar were toppling over on their sides. The beasts clenched their blood-soaked torsos, writhing in pain.
As Carina finally came to a halt on the floor, she could see two new guards appearing from an office in front of her. In their arms, the Kuljiks were gripping massive executioner swords. The swords were pulsating and appeared electrified. Unlike the other staffers, these Kuljiks were wearing thick body armor and helmets. Carina raised her pistols to shoot, but the triggers clicked without firing. She had run out of ammo. “Shit!” Carina stammered as she tried to dig into her pockets for backup bullets. She could taste panic on her lips. Rather than slowing down, the world now seemed to be veering forward at a hyper speed. The bullets fumbled through her fingers.
“I’ve got your back!” Pedro yelled as he lifted up his sub-machinegun to shoot at the guards converging on Carina. Pedro was still gripping the first Kuljik as a hostage. But as Pedro raised his machinegun from off its back, the Kuljik was now fighting back. It slammed its arms into Pedro’s face, breaking the man’s nose. Pedro’s aim was thrown off. His bullets whizzed by the helmets of the Kuljiks attacking Carina. The bullets smashed into the long fluorescent lights that lined the hallway, glass shattering everywhere.
The area was sucked into darkness.
Aided by the shadows, Carina was just able to dodge away from the massive swings of the two guards’ swords. One of the blades sliced a thick line through the Nursery’s carpet where she had just been. Regaining her balance, Carina spun her assault rifle from off her back. She began pumping bullets into the guards assailing her. Eventually, after several rounds seared through their bodies, the two guards collapsed in a heap of smoke. Carina glanced back. Through the teetering shadows, she could see that Pedro was fighting off the three Kuljiks with the spiked clubs. The beasts were ganging up on her friend from behind. But luckily, Pedro had managed to pull out his two shotguns. He was now blasting shells through the faces of the guards. Purple blood sprayed everywhere.
The first Kuljik, who they had been holding hostage, had gotten free. He was scrambling quickly down the hallway, searching for one of his slain colleague’s weapons. Carina spun around with her leg outstretched. She tripped the unsuspecting Kuljik, knocking it to the floor again. Carina climbed on top if its back and pressed the Kuljik’s face roughly into the broken chards of glass. She brought the nose of her rifle to the Kuljik’s head, “Where do you think you’re going? I’m not done with you.”
All of the guards on the first floor appeared dead, and Pedro joined Carina by the end of the hall. She could see that his nose was indeed shattered. The sleeve on his left arm was also ripped and bleeding badly. It appeared that one of the guards had spiked him with a club. Still pinning the remaining Kuljik to the floor, Carina looked down to the end of the hallway. She could see another door that had a control board next to it. Carina could also hear a low buzzing coming from that direction. It sounded like the churning and rumbling of heavy machinery and equipment.
“What’s down there?” Carina asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the Kuljik coughed back. Purple blood spurted out from his mouth.
“We’re looking for your leader,” Pedro now ordered. His voice low but firm. “Your female master. Is she in there?” The Kuljik refused to answer and just looked away defiantly. Carina pulled him up from the ground with disgust and began to shove the Kuljik forward to the doorway.
Without having to be asked, the Kuljik pulled open the control board and began punching in the codes with his spidery fingers. The doors slid open and it seemed like it was some type of elevator. Carina and Pedro stepped inside, forcing their hostage by gunpoint into the back corner of the screened compartment. Pedro pressed the lone button in the booth. Soon the doors were closing and the small elevator began descending downward.
As the capsule rattled around them, Carina reloaded her revolver pistols. Pedro had taken control of the staffer for her and was now gripping its arms from behind. Carina’s eyes remained locked on the Kuljik, watching his every move. The alien leered back at her with equal amounts of contempt and lechery.
“Eventually, you’ll tell us where Gaia is,” Pedro spat with irritation, twisting the Kuljiks arms further. “If not, we’ll just keep killing all your friends.” Carina could see the Kuljiks fingers flexing and tightening ever so slightly. It grimaced in pain. But the alien just bit its tongue and refused to reply.
The elevator booth continued its rapid descent.
“Not so chatty, huh?” Pedro continued with anger in his voice. With testiness, he wiped the blood and snot that were dripping above his lips. Carina could see piece of bone jutting forth from the crown of his bent nose. “Now, that your dead buddies can’t protect you.”
“Nahhh,” the Kuljik scoffed back now. “I’ve just been imaging your sweet friend. How I’m going to suck her dry from that succulent spot between her legs.”
“We should just waste this trash now,” Pedro said looking at Carina.
“There will be plenty of time for that, later,” she insisted calmly, ignoring the alien’s jabs. I will only kill those I have to, Carina repeated to herself. She gestured to Pedro to stay calm. The alien was just trying to aggravate them.
“Don’t worry big man,” the Kuljik snipped with more assurance, digging further beneath Pedro’s skin. “My boys won’t leave you out from the party. We will be bleeding you until you can’t stand. And then we’ll feed your parts to Gaia.”
“Where the fuck is Gaia?!” Pedro screamed now. He stood right up to the Kuljik, bloody face to bloody face. The staffer had eerie smirk on its face. And Carina noticed that Pedro was no longer holding its arms. Glimmering in one of the Kuljik’s hands was the short blade of a shank.
The world was spinning again in slow motion as the Kuljik stabbed forward at Pedro’s waist. Carina was just able to kicked out the aliens’ legs as its blade jammed into and through her friend’s jacket and flesh. She could see the droplets of blood spatter out from her friend’s throbbing body. It had missed Pedro’s vital organs at least. The Kuljik tumbled against the floor of the elevator compartment, knife clattering away, as Carina kicked it again. Suddenly, the entire capsule was swaying violently back and forth. It seemed like they had hit a bump in the shaft. The room went dark and Carina lost her balance, falling to the side on top of the alien. The Kuljik seemed to anticipate the turbulence and took advantage of its opportunity. The staffer shoved Carina away and was back up on its feet and scrambling towards the button on the wall. Before either Carina or Pedro could grab him again, the Kuljik slammed its hand on the control knob, holding it firmly down. The entire elevator car was engulfed now in flashing orange lights, which streaked up all the walls. Carina could hear the wailing sound of sirens going off. The Kuljik had set-off some type of alarm system.
Carina caught up to the Kuljik and punched it across the back of its head. She twisted its arm – holding it tightly to her body – from behind. Pedro was gripping his bleeding waist with one hand, while using his other to try and turn back the control knob. But it was too no avail and the alarms wouldn’t shut off. However, the elevator was coming to a screeching halt.
As the doors readied to open, Carina could hear the thud of heavy footsteps outside. The sirens were still blaring both on the inside and exterior of the elevator. The jolting screeches pierced her eardrums. She could see Pedro preparing his sub-machinegun anxiously. The Latino man was now kissing the top of his Santa Magdelena de Pazzi necklace. In our lowest moments, when we feel lost, when we need answers. Becca’s words pulsed through Carina’s heart. In this dark world full of evil. We know that goodness lies within out hearts through your holy spirit. And we ask you for strength…” The doors parted and Carina could see two large Kuljik guards outside. The Kuljiks were wearing some type of padded leather armor and gas masks. And they were gripping heavy flamethrowers.
—- Enjoy the sample? The full book should be available Fall 2013