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Thursday, Dec 14, 2017
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

Lights of Life

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Lights of Life - Chapter 1

"Where'd the ship land?"

"It descended fast, Sir, crashed right into the Adirondacks."

"How close to population?"

"From last known trajectory, it should have landed several miles away from any populated areas."

"What about hiking trails?"

"According to our maps, there aren't any designated hiking trails in the area."

"Get a team over there, but be quiet about it. And get someone on the newswires. At the first mention of a meteor or UFO or anything in that area, I want you to issue a press release stating that one of our planes crashed and the pilot is being rescued."

"Yes, Sir. I'll lead the team myself." Agent Cross rose from his seat and left to put his new orders into effect.

The Director sat at his large wooden desk. A tall, wall-mounted bookcase, filled with hardbound texts, was behind him. Most of the upper half of the wall to his left was filled in with clear glass, giving him an unobstructed view of the foliage surrounding the building. There were two visitors' chairs in front of the desk, but behind them were two black leather couches, separated by a low coffee table, for when more than two people came to see him or he just wanted to be less formal.

The Director himself was a handsome man with close-cropped blond hair, green eyes, and a compact body that belied his intense physical strength. He didn't look his sixty years, unless one looked into his eyes, and then there was the definite feeling of age and having seen maybe a little too much for one lifetime.

He looked over the report the agent had given him. A craft, approximately twenty meters long, just a little smaller than NASA's space shuttle, had entered the atmosphere at 19:07 hours and begun a nose-dive for the Earth. It was identified as being unidentifiable. It wasn't one of NASA's and a quick comparison with every other known ship in the government computer's databases showed it didn't match the profile of any ships from any other countries.

The Director set the report back on his desk and looked at the clock on his wall. It was 19:32 hours. It had only taken twenty minutes for the report to reach his desk and another five for him to issue his orders. He sat back in his leather chair and sighed.

"Finally. After all this time. I've been waiting for you."

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

She stood on unsteady legs. The smell of burned dirt and metal surrounded her. Her body felt like it was one big bruise, but that was quickly subsiding. There was only one thought in her mind. Run. Get away. She braced herself against a charred tree that was still on fire and shoved off, heading down since it was easier than up. She felt something brush her wrist and saw the remains of a cuff from a shirtsleeve dangling from her arm. It was shredded and she absently pulled it off. She didn't notice that it was all that was left of the clothing she had been wearing.

The orange glow from the trail of burning wreckage grew fainter as she continued down the hill. It was replaced by the bluish tinge of moonlight. She hugged her arms around herself, barely registering that she was cold. Her bare feet crunching through the snow was the only sound that reached her ears. The snow cushioned her feet from the hard pine needles that covered the dirt, though she didn't know that.

She walked, bracing her weight on trees to keep from falling and to help herself move forward. As she moved down the mountain, the moonlight filtered through the trees and glinted off her pale muscled body and long blond hair.

She felt as though she had always been walking like this. Every once in a while, she came back to herself and realized she was naked and injured and in a foreign place. At those times, she tried to heal herself, but most of the time her mind was a jumble. Words, images, sounds, they all assaulted her inner world. She tried to make sense of them, but the overriding need to escape kept her from focusing on anything else long enough to get a handle on any of it. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

It began to snow. The touch of the falling snowflakes on her skin felt tingly at first, and those sensations occupied a large portion of her mind's mental processing. However, as the flakes melted from the touch of her heated skin, they created a thin sheen of moisture that covered her entire body, and she started to shiver.

The moisture froze on her body and made it difficult for her to move. She came to herself again and sent a healing pulse through the tortured epidermal layer covering her body, inadvertently healing the scratches she had gained from the shrubs she had passed through on her way through the woods. Then the need to get away reasserted itself and she ran headlong through the trees, replacing the recently healed scrapes with fresh ones.

Suddenly, there were no more trees and the ground was no longer white, but a grayish black. It was hard and smooth, too. From the light of the waning full moon, she could make out what looked like individual rocks smashed together to form the land, along with some kind of clear rock crystal. She looked around and saw that beyond the black land was a cliff. Then she heard a faint rumbling sound that grew louder as the seconds ticked by. She looked back to the trees to hide, but a wave of dizziness sent her to her knees. She saw two bright lights side by side through the falling snow and then passed out.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Jess pulled on her coat and called for her son. It was late, and even though it was the weekend and there was no school, she still had to act like a responsible adult and make sure her son went to bed at a reasonable hour. She cringed at the word. Reasonable. How many times had her mother used that term with her, trying to curb her wild ways? Well, if she hadn't been so wild, she wouldn't have gotten Jason, and Jason was the most important thing in the world to her. So, maybe being wild hadn't been such a terrible thing.

"Come on, Jason. It's after midnight. We need to get home."

"Aw, Mom. It's a Friday. It's not like I have to be up for school or something."

"Yeah, well, it's still late for you to be up and there's still the drive home yet. So get a move on."

"All right, all right. I'm gettin', I'm gettin'."

Jess smiled at her son. It was hard to believe he was twelve now. Most people thought he was at least fourteen. Jason had a way of carrying himself that made him appear much older. And it didn't help that he was smarter than most college students. Keeping up with him intellectually had definitely been a challenge for Jess, but one that she relished. Recently though, he'd been delving into more spiritual pursuits, settling for the time being on Paganism. It was an interesting choice for a twelve-year-old boy, but not one Jess wanted to discourage. From what she'd read, she thought it was one of the most balanced and peaceful religions around.

Jess looked up from her musings into the eyes of her best friend and the godmother of her son. Alice was half a foot shorter than she was with long curly brown hair and deep mocha-colored eyes. You would never guess, to look at her, that she had a twelve-year-old son.

"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Alice asked.

"Nothin' much. Guess I'm just a little tired. It was a great party, by the way. Jason really enjoyed it."

"You just make sure he uses those games after he's done his homework. I can't tell you how well it's worked with Carson, using them as a reward system."

"I don't think it'll be a problem. Jase knows the rules. The last time I caught him playing video games before he'd finished his homework, I took the system away for a week. Hasn't happened since. So, either he's gotten better at sneaking around, or the lesson took."

They laughed, and then Carson and Jason walked up. Carson was a younger, and more masculine, version of his mother. Jason, on the other hand, didn't even look like he was related to Jess. Jason's hair was a dark blond where his mother's was black. His skin was pale where Jess seemed to have a perpetual tan, even now during winter. Jason's hazel-green eyes were a far cry from Jess's ice blue ones, and Jason was short for his age, though his mother was just shy of six feet.

Jason carried a plastic grocery bag filled with the game boxes and a CD Walkman his mother had given him. Carson yawned.

"Happy birthday, Jase."

"Hey, it's after midnight, so it's not my birthday anymore."

"Oh yeah, huh? Well, guess the party's over. You comin' over tomorrow?"

Jason looked at his mom.

"Can I?"

"Yeah. I'm sure you're going to want to test out all those new games of yours."

"Cool. See ya tomorrow then."

Carson held out his hand and the two boys shook hands, changing the position of their grips several times, until they released the handshake and bumped their fists together to finish it off.

"Cool. Later then. I'll be over after breakfast."

"Cool. G'night."

"Night, Cars."

Carson left, sleepy-eyed, and his mother hugged Jess.

"You drive safely, ya hear?"

"I will."

Alice turned to Jason.

"Thanks for the party, Aunt Alice. It was really cool."

She hugged him, and then Jason went out the front door and headed for the truck. Jess handed him the keys on the way out, so he could turn on the heat to warm up the cab's interior.

"You know, I don't think I've heard the word 'cool' so many times in my entire life as I did tonight."

"Ah, it just means you did good with the games. Well, I'll call ya later."

"Call me when you get home, so I won't worry."

"All right. See ya later."

Jess hugged Alice one last time, and then went out to the truck. She opened the door and got in, enjoying the toasty feeling of the heated air. With the engine already on, all she had to do was put the truck into drive, and then they were on their way.

"So, how did you like your birthday?"

"It was great, Mom. Thanks for the Walkman. It's really state-of-the-art, too. It saves the next forty seconds of the song that's playing so that if it gets bumped, it won't skip. I mean, it'll skip, but then the memory plays the skipped part, so you don't hear that it's skipped. Isn't that cool?"

"Yup. Thought you'd like that part. Now you'll stop complaining about not being able to listen to your music when you ride over to Carson's."

"Yup."

Jason smiled and curled up against the door. Jess could tell he was sleepy. She flicked the door lock control to secure his door, so that it wouldn't accidentally open while he was resting against it.

"You know, that's a totally ridiculous fear."

"I'm a mother. I'm allowed to have totally ridiculous fears when it comes to my kid."

"But who ever heard of someone falling out of a properly closed door just because it was unlocked? As long as you shut it right, it'll hold. It's made of steel, for Gaea's sake."

Jess chuckled. With her son's new interest in Paganism, he'd been adding different slang terms to his vocabulary and she wasn't sure whether she should reprimand him on it or not. If he'd said 'for Christ's sake,' she thought she might have called him on it, though she wasn't a Christian, not by a long shot, but using the Greek term for the Earth goddess seemed to make it different somehow.

"Well, even steel has its flaws."

"Sure, Mom."

"Oh, leave me alone. When you become a father, we'll see how quick you are to leave these kinds of things to chance."

"True, but that won't be for a long time, so since I'm still a kid, I'm entitled to razz you about it."

"Aha! You admit you're a kid. That's going to come back to haunt you the next time you start pestering me about being 'older.'"

"Wait, I didn't mean it that way."

"Nope, too late. You said it."

"Ah, Hades."

"Hey, just because it's a different pantheon, don't think I don't know you're swearing."

"Oh, like I've never heard a four-letter-word pass your lips."

"That's been in times of extreme pain."

"Uh huh."

"Hey, stubbing one's pinkie toe hurts."

"How 'bout we call a truce? I'm too tired to discuss the emotional mollification of swearing and its usefulness to the human psyche."

Jess looked at her son out of the corner of her eye. He was smirking at her. He knew she really got a kick out of it when he used words like 'mollification' and used them correctly.

"All right, you get out of it this time, though somehow I think you're the one letting me off the hook."

She glanced over at him and flashed him a smile. As her eyes came back to the road, a pale figure was caught in her headlights, and she saw the figure fall to the ground. She slammed on the brakes, then realized a split second before she did it, that it would be safer to tap them, and so changed her charging foot into a gentle push. She swerved to the right and came to a halt a dozen feet past the fallen figure.

As she unclipped her seat belt, she hit the locks, and opened her car door. Jason was out of his side a second later. Jess ran to the body on the ground and immediately saw it was a naked woman.

"Jase, get the emergency blanket from the truck. It's under the front seat, passenger side."

"Right."

Jess kneeled down next to the woman.

"Hey. Hey, are you all right? Come on, talk to me. What's your name? What happened to you?"

There was no response, but the woman's eyes had opened and seemed to be focusing on Jess. Jason ran up with the blanket and snapped it open. Jess helped him lay it over the freezing woman. Then she picked her up and carried her to the truck.

"Jase, do you think you can hold her while I drive?"

"I don't think I have much choice. Are we taking her home?"

"Yeah. She's hurt, but she doesn't seem hypothermic. And we're only a few minutes from the house."

Jason climbed into the truck and Jess settled the small woman half on his lap, half on the available bench seat. She closed the door and ran around the other side. She hopped in and drove them home.

"Is she still awake?"

"Yeah, her eyes are open anyway. I don't think she's tracking real well, though. From what I read in your CPR book, I think she's in mild shock."

"Rub her arms. See if you can get her warmed up a bit."

"Okay."

Jason began rubbing her upper arms through the rough woolen army blanket. Jess cranked up the heat until she was sweating. Then the house came into view and Jason helped his mother get the woman inside.

"I need you to get some warm water, a couple dish towels, and the first aid kit from the bathroom."

"Got it."

Jess carried the woman upstairs and laid her down in the guest room. It was next to her own room and she figured it would make it easier to keep an eye on her during the night. She pulled back the heavy army blanket and took a good look at the damage.

There were scratches and cuts all over the woman's body. There was major bruising around her ribs and on her face. Jess checked the ribs first. There were no 'soft spots,' so the likelihood of broken ribs or internal bleeding was low. The woman's eyes were focused on her. Jess moved a few steps to the side and the woman's eyes followed her. If there was a head injury, it wasn't affecting her ability to follow movement. Jess gently tipped her to the side and took a look at her back. Only a few scratches. The front of her body had taken the brunt of the damage. It looked like she had fallen and slid face first down the mountain.

Jason walked in with several towels draped over his shoulder, a large ceramic basin of water, and the first aid kit tucked under one of his arms. Jess quickly pulled the covers up over the woman to hide her from view. Jason set the water down on the nightstand and handed the kit over to his mother. Then he slid the towels off his shoulder and handed them over as well.

"Thanks, Jase. Hey, why don't you call Alice? She asked me to call her when we got home, so she wouldn't worry all night."

"Do you want me to tell her about her?" He gestured to the woman watching their conversation.

"No. Then she'll worry about her."

"All right. I'll be right back."

Jason left to go make the call and Jess pulled down the covers again to begin cleaning out the scrapes. The woman continued to watch her, but didn't flinch at the cloth rubbing over her cuts.

"You're going to be all right. You've already warmed up from being out in the snow, which is amazing. I'm just going to wash up these abrasions, so they don't get infected."

Jess continued to drag the cloth gently over the cuts and dipped the rag in the water every few seconds to re-wet it and rinse out the dirt.

"Can you tell me your name?"

The woman crinkled her forehead, as if trying to understand the question.

"Well, that's all right. We'll worry about that in the morning."

She finished the washing and took the second cloth and dried the woman's body and face. Then she pulled the covers up, just in time for Jason to walk back into the room.

"Alice says goodnight. She said I can come over as soon as breakfast is done." He glanced at the woman on the bed. "How is she?"

"I think she's still in a bit of shock. I'm going to call Doc in the morning. I think it's time you went to bed."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Yeah, go to bed. She needs her rest. I'm just going to finish dressing her wounds, and then I'll be heading to bed myself."

"All right. G'night." He turned to the woman, who was still watching them. "Sleep well. You'll feel a lot better in the morning." He turned back to his mother and kissed her cheek. Then he left to go to his own room.

Jess pulled back the covers again and started spreading antibiotic cream over the scrapes. She covered the cream with gauze squares, and then used paper tape to seal two edges of each square, so that the wounds could still breathe. When she finished with the woman's body, she worked on her face, applying the cream, and then covering the cuts with small adhesive bandages.

Finally, she was done, and she closed up the first aid kit. The woman still watched her. Jess wished she could figure out what the woman was thinking, if anything. Her expression seemed thoughtful, as if she was trying to decide what to make of Jess's actions. There was no hint of wariness or fear at the gentle care she had received, just a kind of patience.

"Well, that's the best I can do for now. Get some sleep, and I'll check on you in the morning. Goodnight."

Jess slung the towels over her shoulder, tucked the kit under her elbow, and grabbed up the bowl of water. She went to the door, used her free elbow to flip off the light, and then headed down the hall to the bathroom to dump out the dirty water. She put away the first aid kit and dropped the dirtied towels down the laundry chute. Then she headed for bed.


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