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Friday, Dec 15, 2017
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

New Gaia

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New Gaia - Chapter 1 - The Beginning

"Run!" Gabrielle screamed out the order over the howling wind and her people obeyed immediately. It gave her a warm feeling, even in the midst of the terror flooding through her, to think of them as 'her people.'

Maybe it was the tone of command in her voice or maybe it was just dumb luck, but somehow the beast knew to charge at her out of everyone else. As it ran, it lowered its crested head to point the three large horns adorning its face at her retreating back. The ground was slippery with mud from the raging storm and rain stung her arms and face as she ran headlong into the falling drops of water being whipped by vicious winds. She inevitably slipped and slid forward with the momentum gained from her all out sprint across the ground. It saved her life.

The young man behind her wasn't so lucky and was speared and thrown to the side. The woman to his left fell under the beast's feet and was crushed instantly. In the time it took for the large creature to throw the man aside, Gabrielle angled her sliding body toward a large boulder and caught it as she went by, the palms of her hands scraping along its rough surface, as she swung her body behind it and curled up into a ball to hide her presence from the monster.

'If only we hadn't disturbed the nest, none of this would be happening,' Gabrielle thought regretfully.

They had been so preoccupied with the possibility of going home that none of them had noticed the changes to the site of their arrival.

'It was my responsibility. I'm Chief,' Gabrielle berated herself.

She was still huddled behind the large rock, when she heard a piercing scream, and she couldn't help wondering which of her people had just lost his life. She closed her eyes. Not a second later, she saw a bright flash of light through her closed eyelids and waited to hear the crash of thunder. Instead, she heard another scream, followed by more shouts that she recognized as confusion and then relief.

Gabrielle opened her eyes and stared. The large gray boulder she had been hiding behind was gone. In its place, was a large expanse of cut green grass. It was enclosed by a chain-link fence nearly thirty feet away. She blinked.

Suddenly, the floodlights that lined the back wall of her mother's mansion illuminated the entire backyard and Gabrielle heard her mother's voice calling out to her through the rain.

"Gabrielle? I'm heading over to Bruce's now. Enjoy your party," her mother offered, her voice sounding mechanical coming from the intercom box mounted by the back door.

Gabrielle couldn't believe it. She was home. Everyone else was standing around, checking each other over, crying, staring at nothing, laughing. She walked to the closest group.

"Are you all right?" Gabrielle asked tentatively.

Tears were threatening to spill from her eyes. She got a few nods and went on to the next group, asking them the same question. Within a few minutes, she had ushered everyone inside her mother's house, several people passing out glasses of water and juice and soda to anyone who wanted some.

Gabrielle looked around at the dazed and dirty faces, the ragged clothing, and relief-filled eyes of her friends. They had made it. Somehow, they had survived nearly a year in the prehistoric past.

'No, not all of us,' Gabrielle reminded herself.

She thought about all the people who had died during their stay in the past. Between sickness, accidents, and being mistaken for prey, she had lost more than a dozen of her friends.

Gabrielle unconsciously fell back into her role as leader and slowly managed to herd everyone to the huge common room of her mother's mansion. Her mother liked to host extravagant parties and had made sure the room was furnished with plenty of places for people to sit and congregate. It seemed the best place to gather everyone at the moment.

After everyone was situated, either standing, or sitting on the many couches or plushly carpeted floor, Gabrielle clambered up onto one of the long serving tables adjacent to one of the walls and called for attention.

"We made it. We're back." Gabrielle looked at all the tired faces turned in her direction and saw the weary happiness she knew was reflected in her own expression. "I've checked with Claudia and she says that everyone seems to be okay, just scrapes and bruises." She almost didn't go on, but she had always maintained a code of honesty with them and knew she had to continue. "We lost Jeremy and Crystal in that last attack. I also haven't been able to find Carol, John, or Micah since we came back."

A young woman with red hair, Judy, raised her hand to get Gabrielle's attention.

"Micah was trying to save Carol," she hiccupped on a sob that caught in her throat, as the memory imposed itself on her mind's eye. "He couldn't pull her out of the way in time. It just ran right over the top of them."

She curled into the man, George, who was sitting on the arm of the couch next to her, and he cradled her in his arms, as she let the sobs quietly wrack her small body.

Gabrielle felt her own tears rise and tried to swallow them back.

"And John? Did anyone see what happened to him?" she asked, her voice tight with emotion.

"He was speared, like Jeremy," said Tristan, whose voice was surprisingly devoid of feeling.

Tristan was Gabrielle's best friend and his voice was almost always filled with warmth no matter what was being talked about. They could have been siblings, both of them having blond hair and short builds, but where Gabrielle's eyes were a vibrant blue-green, Tristan's were a deep blue. Gabrielle's heart broke for the loss she knew Tristan had suffered and ran her fingers through her short blond hair. She decided she would have to keep a close watch on Tristan. However, it would have to wait until later.

"That brings the head count down to ninety-eight from a hundred and twenty," Courtney said, her voice quiet, as she let the meaning behind the numbers sink in to those around her.

Gabrielle, however, had a different thought entirely.

"We're back at the beginning, the night it all started. We spent a year back there, but it doesn't look like any time has passed here. We need to come up with some kind of explanation for the fact that a hundred and twenty people came to a party, but only ninety-eight of them are going to leave it. Anyone have any ideas?"

Several people looked up in alarm, realizing where Gabrielle's thinking was headed. Most, however, seemed to just fall in on themselves, wanting nothing more than a good night's sleep. Gabrielle realized sleep was probably a good idea.

"All right, how about this? Everyone get some rest. Today was, I mean is, a Friday, so no one needs to worry about school or work tomorrow. Hell, most of us graduated today."

She got a lot of smiles from that little comment and she returned them wholeheartedly.

"Find a room you like and go to sleep. If you're hungry, you know where the kitchen is. Same for the bathrooms. Try to take it easy on the hot water, though. Once it's used up, it'll take a couple hours to be replaced," Gabrielle finished, still wearing her smile.

She got a bunch of nods and everyone slowly started making their way to the various destinations of bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms.

Gabrielle pushed against the flow of people trying to exit the room, nodding to a few weary people and squeezing shoulders in silent acknowledgment of their homecoming, before finally coming to stand in front of Tristan. She was dead on her feet, the adrenaline high of nearly being killed by a triceratops and then finding herself back in the twentieth century, abruptly leaving her body. In its wake was nothing but a bone-tired weariness.

She sat down next to Tristan and pulled his head onto her shoulder. Her voice was tired, but soothing in its softness, the natural deep timbre accentuated by her hushed tone.

"Let it out, Tristan. You need to cry or it's going to eat you up inside. Come on, Sweetie," she comforted him.

Tristan looked up into her eyes and Gabrielle saw a blankness there for a long moment. Then his face crumpled and he let out a heart wrenching wail. Tears spilled over his cheeks and he buried his head in her shoulder. Gabrielle hugged him tightly to her and rocked him back and forth, as he cried for his lost love.

She held him for nearly two hours. When her arms had started aching, she'd leaned back against the couch and let Tristan's weight nestle onto her chest. She wished she could sleep, but her friend needed her and nothing would keep her from being there for him.

Gabrielle thought over how much she had changed in the past year. She'd gone from being a spoiled rich kid to leading over a hundred scared college graduates trying to survive in a time humans were never meant to see.

Tristan pulled away from Gabrielle and sat up. He wiped at his eyes and looked over at Gabrielle.

"I guess I needed that," he said, spent grief coloring his voice.

"Yeah, you did," Gabrielle replied. "Come on. We should get some sleep. I get the feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day."

She stood and offered her hand to Tristan. He took it and let her help him to his feet. He followed her up the stairs to her old bedroom and they curled up together under her grandmother's quilt, letting exhaustion finally overtake them.

**********************

Gabrielle woke to the muffled sound of pots banging and the smell of coffee in the air. She looked over to see Tristan still asleep. She decided to let him stay in dreamland until he woke up on his own. She stood up and turned around to make sure she hadn't disturbed her friend. Looking down at the bed, she suddenly noticed a large amount of dry clumps of dirt scattered over the sheets. She then turned her gaze on herself. She hadn't even thought about the mud she had been covered in the night before. It had dried on her while she was checking in with her people and she'd completely forgotten about it afterwards.

She went to her bathroom and checked for hot water. Amazingly, there was still some left, and she quickly took a shower. She stepped out of the tub and pulled the towel from the bar and began drying herself off. When she stood up from patting her legs dry, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

Gabrielle stared at her reflection.

'Holy shit,' she thought. 'I'm buff.'

She giggled at the thought and inspected her image in the mirror. Her body had lost all of its extra fat and replaced the missing excess with muscle. Her stomach rippled, as did her arms and legs. Her blond hair, which had been long a year ago, was now raggedly cut short. Her skin was still fairly white, but it was definitely not the ghostly white it had been a year ago.

She scanned her body, taking note of the various cuts and bruises that adorned her hips and thighs and the palms of her hands. There was also a large bruise on her right shoulder.

'Probably got that when I hit the ground,' she mused.

The shower had cleaned out the cuts and none of them seemed to warrant bandages, so she wrapped the towel around her body and headed back into her bedroom. She immediately went to her dresser and quietly pulled open the drawers and lifted out a set of clothes from the ones she still stored here at her mother's. As she dressed, she thought about how easy it was to fall back into the old patterns of living in a civilized world. Taking a shower, using soap, opening dresser drawers to retrieve clothing. It all seemed so natural. She was surprised at how quickly the forgotten habits returned to her.

Gabrielle eased her bedroom door open and closed it behind her, smiling slightly at the sleeping form still nestled in her bed. She made her way downstairs and went directly to the kitchen. The place was a wreck, but that was due more to the sheer amount of food being prepared than to any carelessness on the part of those who were cooking.

"It's a good thing my mom's spending the weekend at Bruce's. If she knew what you guys were doing to her kitchen..."

Gabrielle left the threat hanging, as her friends looked up and smirked at her teasing tone. She was met with a loud round of 'all hail the Chief!' from the twenty-odd people in the kitchen. She smiled and nodded in recognition of the title.

"How do ya like your eggs?" Luis called over the conversations and greetings to his Chief.

Gabrielle grinned.

"Oh Gods, real chicken eggs. I think I want them sunny-side up. Do you do hash browns?" she continued, as she walked over to see what was in the various pans that Luis was working over.

"For you, Chief? Anything ya want," he said, as he winked at her over his shoulder and then went back to wrestling with the spatula.

Gabrielle sat on a recently vacated stool at the island in the center of the kitchen. She absently watched Gloria, Luis's sister, chop up vegetables for the different dishes Luis was making and thought about how she had gotten the title of Chief.

**********************

Gabrielle looked around at her confused friends.

They had been standing in her mother's backyard when the sky tore apart and dropped buckets of rain on them. They had just begun running for the house when lightning flashed across the sky. Gabrielle had felt the ground slip out from beneath her feet and she'd stumbled forward.

When she'd gotten back to her feet, she'd dusted her jeans off and looked around a little sheepishly, waiting to be razzed about tripping over her own two feet.

'Gods, how embarrassing,' she'd thought to herself.

But no one was looking at her. That's when Gabrielle took in what everyone else seemed to be staring at.

The neatly cut grass was gone. So was the house. In their place was a small dirt clearing and trees like something out of a National Geographic depicting forests in Yellowstone. Gabrielle stopped fussing with her long luxurious hair and self-consciously closed her gaping mouth. Tristan stood next to her.

"Oh my God, girl! What the fuck happened? Where the fuck are we?" Tristan hissed into her ear.

"I have no idea," she replied in a hushed tone.

Sharon walked over to her and looked at her expectantly.

"Well? This was your party," she accused Gabrielle. "Do something."

Gabrielle stared at her wide-eyed.

'What the hell am I supposed to do?' she thought nervously.

Tina sauntered over and stood next to Sharon.

"Yeah, this is all your fault. Fix it," she demanded.

There were many nodding heads agreeing with Tina and Sharon.

Gabrielle looked around and suddenly saw what she had missed before in the angry looks that were being thrown her way. Fear. Every single one of her friends was terrified, and since it had been her idea to throw the graduation party, and her mother had agreed to lend her the mansion, they were all looking to their 'hostess' to get them out of this. Whatever 'this' was.

In the space of thirty seconds, Gabrielle took stock of her life and re-evaluated the goals she had considered to be the most important to attain. She was rich, had been given everything she had ever asked for, was considered one of the fashionable elite, and had just graduated from college with her MA in Business Management. She had planned to travel around the world for the next year, sleep with as many women in as many countries as she possibly could, and then come back to the States and become VP of whatever company her mother could con the owner into letting her run.

Now, it seemed none of that mattered. In fact, it all seemed kind of petty. Without even a second thought, she readjusted her life goals and decided keeping her friends safe was her top priority. But first, she needed information.

The leadership and assertiveness training courses she had taken as part of her classes came to her rescue and she stood up to her full 5'4" height and lowered her voice to what she had dubbed her 'bitch' tone.

"We need to take a look around. We'll split up into groups of ten. Maybe we can find a road or something that will tell us where we are," she said loud enough for the entire group to hear her.

"I don't think that's gonna happen," said a soft voice towards the back.

Gabrielle frowned.

"And why is that?" she asked.

The group parted as everyone turned to look at Alan, who was staring off into the distance.

"Because roads haven't been invented yet," he said, looking a little dazed.

"What are you talking about?"

"Well, that's a triceratops, which means we're somewhere in the Cretaceous period. Towards the end of the Cretaceous, actually," he said, as he pushed his glasses back up on the bridge of his nose.

Everyone turned to stare in the direction that Alan had pointed to. Gabrielle stood stock still, as she stared at a small herd of triceratops walking along. They disappeared over a hill and it took a moment before the spell was broken and Gabrielle was able to collect her jaw from the ground again.

"Holy shit," she exclaimed under her breath. 'What the fuck?' her brain responded, trying desperately to make sense of what she had just seen and not really having much luck. "How far...?" Gabrielle cleared her throat. "I mean, how far back does that put us? Do you know?" she said, and turned to Alan for a response.

"Well, Triceratops was around between seventy-two and sixty-five million years ago. So, I guess you could split the difference and put us at about sixty-eight million years BC," he replied, self-consciously pushing his glasses up again.

Gabrielle tried to wrap her mind around what Alan was saying, but she was still in shock. Instead, she decided they all needed to start thinking about food and shelter, the necessities.

"We need to get to work. We'll still split up into groups of ten, but I want everyone to keep a lookout for food and possible shelter, since we're obviously not going to be finding any roads." Everyone just stared at her. "Come on! Get moving! Now!"

The barked commands made several people jump and that kick-started the whole group.

Tristan, ever the optimist, deciding humor was needed, said, "Aye aye, Chief."

And so her title, and role as leader, was born.

**********************

Gabrielle glanced around when Luis put a plate of eggs, bacon, and hash browns down in front of her. A small glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee swiftly followed and Gabrielle thanked him. Apparently, Luis was done with his shift as cook and sat down next to her, digging into his own plate of ham, eggs, and hash browns.

"So, when you gonna call the meeting?" Luis asked around a mouthful of hash browns.

"I guess after everyone's had breakfast and showered and whatnot," Gabrielle replied. "I know Tristan's still asleep. I figure we should let everyone rest for as long as they need to. But why don't you pass the word around that I want everyone in the common room around two," she requested.

Gabrielle continued to eat her breakfast and covertly watched her friends moving around the kitchen. Tristan entered by the back stairs, his eyes puffy from having cried so much the night before, and poured himself a cup of coffee. He sat down next to Gabrielle and leaned his head on her shoulder. She leaned her own head over his in a kind of hug and then turned to kiss the top of his head before going back to her meal.

After seeing Tristan's drawn face, she recognized similar signs in those around her. Taking a closer look, she realized that almost everyone was wearing the clothing they had worn the night before. She turned to Luis.

"Has anyone thought about running some loads of laundry?" she asked.

Luis looked up in shock, and then understanding, as the realization that they could 'do a load of laundry' filtered through his brain. He shook his head.

"No, I don't think so. And what are we gonna wear while our clothes are being washed?" he asked.

"Well, I've got some old clothes I keep stashed here for emergencies. Anyone close to my size can go ahead and take what they need. And my mother always keeps pajamas in various sizes in each of the guest rooms. I think there'll be enough to go around," she concluded.

Tristan raised his head off Gabrielle's shoulder, and she was grateful to see a little piece of the old Tristan coming through, when he said, "Hey, we could have a pajama party."

"Sounds like a plan," she said.

Gabrielle scooped up the last of her eggs onto her fork and into her mouth and then carried her plate over to the sink. She rinsed it off and set it in the nearly full dishwasher, plunking her fork in the stuffed silverware basket. She looked over at Luis's plate, which had been empty for some time, and held out her hand. He grinned and gave it to her and she placed it in the rack, along with his fork. Opening a bottom cupboard, she pulled out the dishwashing liquid and added a healthy amount to the cup inset in the lowered door of the dishwasher. She flipped the cap closed on the bottle and put it back, then closed the door on the washer and turned the dial to get it started.

Gabrielle turned around to see Tristan, along with nearly everyone else in the kitchen, smirking at her.

"What?" she asked, having a pretty good idea of why they were gawking.

"I don't think I can ever remember you running the dishwasher before. I didn't even know you knew how," Tristan responded.

"I remember watching Lisa do it after Mother'd had one of her famous dinner parties. And you're right, this is the first time I've ever run a dishwasher. Guess I got used to doing things for myself after this past year," Gabrielle said quietly. A thought surfaced from the back of her mind and she decided to pursue it. "Where's Tony?"

Gloria turned her head away from the conversation she was in and answered.

"I saw him on the computer upstairs."

Gabrielle nodded and smiled.

"Figures," she said, and left to find the mathematician.


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