In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be.
Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.
One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.
“What?” Jennie followed the line of Liza’s gaze. They passed out of the treed area, and it came into view. Silver, round, and glossy, just as the news said it would be. It shifted in and out like a mirage. She blinked hard at it, while Liza pulled the car over to the shoulder.
“I can’t believe it.” The tremor in Liza’s voice betrayed her nerves.
Jennie nodded but didn’t say a thing. The moment reminded her of her first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, as they drove by it, headed for upstate New York. From the highway, the statue had looked like a toy on the horizon. Her heart had leapt in her chest then, just as it did now. It’s one thing to be told about something, and even see pictures of it on TV, but it was quite another to take it in with your own eyes.
She tore her gaze away from the strange, floating metal disk and saw that Liza’s was the last in a long line of cars that had pulled over on the shoulder. Some people had even stepped out of their cars to take pictures with their camera phones. Liza hopped out, and Jennie gave a grumbled response to the closing door. Even though fear gripped her insides, she unbuckled and jumped out after her friend.
Liza clicked away with her camera phone, standing in awe with the others. The look of the disk rotating in the sky, blocking out the half-lit sun, was enough to make Jennie want to scream and hide under her bed covers. She could understand, now, why so many were running for the hills. Shivers ran up her spine and gooseflesh popped up her arms.
“Liza, what are you doing here?” a man asked. The sun glinted off the golden highlights in his brown hair. He looked vaguely familiar.
“Mr. Harris.” A blush rose to Liza's cheeks.
Jennie blinked and studied the man. Yep. Hot Mr. Harris, the Bio teacher and every senior girl’s crush. Her friend, Terra, had taken the class with him last year. Jennie shoved her hands into her pockets and averted her gaze from the thrumming metal disk less than a half mile away.
“You girls shouldn’t be here, you know. It’s not safe, and I’m sure your parents wouldn’t approve,” Mr. Harris admonished but gave them a half smile.
Was that a dimple? Had she ever seen him smile before? Ridiculous. Of course not. Her eyes returned to the disk, and its vibration continued in her chest. Panic rose up in her throat again.
“Do you think you could take a picture of us? Then we’ll leave. Promise.” Liza handed Mr. Harris her phone and yanked Jennie toward the metal fence line.
She dragged her feet and shook her head. The last thing Jennie wanted to do was get closer.
Mr. Harris eyed her, his brows furrowed. “Did I teach you last year? No, wait—Terra’s friend, right?”
Jennie half nodded.
Liza adjusted Jennie’s shoulders and wrapped her arm around them, turning her so that her back was to the ship. Jennie stiffened. The thrumming of the machine sent vibrations through her core. She could hardly stand still. Prickling fear ran across her back, as if she were being watched...or as if she was vulnerable to an attack. She longed for the safety of the car.
Mr. Harris frowned, his worried, sympathetic eyes fixed on Jennie’s.
“The picture, Mr. Harris?” Liza reminded him.
“Oh, yeah.” He lifted the camera phone and snapped it.
The minute the flash ended, Jennie darted for the car, fumbling with the handle, and dizzy from hyperventilating.
“Are you okay?” Mr. Harris called after her.
“She’s fine, and thanks for the pict—”
With a door slam, Jennie cut off the last word and the dreadful hum of the alien ship’s constant rotation. She slumped into the seat. The pit of her stomach still quivered, and she felt faint. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see or hear any more.
A moment later, the car door opened, and Liza spoke. “Wasn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?”
Jennie broke into a cold sweat. “Whatever. Let’s just go home, okay?”
“Chicken.” Liza made a few bock-bocks and flapped her elbows like wings.
Jennie smacked Liza's elbow when it threatened to pop her in the chin. “Okay, whatever. Let’s just go.”
With a shrug, Liza pulled the Volkswagen Beetle back onto the highway. She made her way to the next exit, where she turned around. “Well, at least I’ve got a picture of the two of us for a keepsake.”
“And we got to see ‘Hot Mr. Harris.’” She giggled.
Jennie rolled her eyes. What did her friends see in him? He was so much older than they were—at least in his mid-twenties.
As they passed the ship again, on Liza’s side, Jennie turned her head away and looked out her window at the abandoned houses in those neighborhoods. If she didn’t see the ship, it was easier to deny it hovered there. As far as she was concerned, she’d never seen it.