The Achlivan Cycle Book 1
by Cloud S. Riser Genre: SciFi, YA Romance
Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened. A terrorist attack changes everything - an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. "Or else" means she has no chance of going home again. She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom - but by the time she learns what's really happening, she might not want it.
I DON’T KNOW what I was thinking when I chose to escape through the hallway instead of face my enemy. Was I afraid for my life? You bet, but it was more than that. I guess I would have rather been shot down trying to be free than taken hostage. In the end, my actions didn’t seem to make much of a difference in my fate.
The first thing I had to do was push Chevelle out of my mind. Was I disappointed she decided to not come with me? Yes. Did I understand why? Definitely. She was scared. We all were. I had to respect her decision to stay behind and face whatever was ahead of her. Maybe she ended up making the better choice, maybe she didn’t. If I thought too much about her while I was trying to get away, I know I would have caved and gone back to her. I love her. Leaving her behind was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Somehow, I thought if I could get free, that would be the best way to help her.
The halls behind the stores at the mall would make a great setting for a horror movie. The ceiling wasn’t tiled over like the rest of the mall, so if you looked up, you saw all of the insulation and pipe work. Fascinating stuff, let me tell you. The halls themselves had some of the rust from the pipes overflowing onto them, so they have bizarre red tentacles splaying over the sheetrock. That’s not the scariest part, though. No, that award goes to the trash chute. It’s about the size of an elevator and would be a fantastic place to dump bodies. I certainly was always extra aware of where I placed myself anytime I went to throw any garbage away for the store.
My plan was to see if I could get to a stairwell. I figured that since the power was off that meant the cargo elevator would be out of order. Stairs were always the best bet. From there I could get down to the garbage incinerator which was close to a massive truck loading center. Easy, right? Wrong.
The back halls were a lot like a maze. It’s hard to tell just where you’re going with the lights on. With the lights off, it’s even worse. My cell phone put off a good amount of glow for me to work with, but it didn’t hit the higher points of the halls where the signs were. This of course meant I had to work off of memory. I’d been back there enough times to have a good idea of what I was doing, but the adrenaline of the situation was more or less blocking my better judgment and memory. If anyone had asked me my name, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer, I was that freaked out.
My hands were shaking; my entire body was shaking, and sweating. So badly in fact, that my cell phone fell out of my hands and broke apart. The thing was always a piece of junk anyway.
I got down onto my knees and frantically started to search for the pieces, the darkness enveloping me, suffocating me, and making my isolation complete. If the battery had only popped out of the device, I could fix it and get moving again. My fingers had just wrapped around the casing of the phone when I heard solid footsteps coming my way from in front of me. Then I saw the glowing blue light and the ghostly thin face of its carrier.
Get up and run, or stay and forfeit. Neither option sounded all too great. I’m not a quitter, but I’m also not a coward. If I thought I stood a chance in a fight against the guy, I would have plowed through him, stolen his light, and bailed. The thing is, I’ve never been a fighter. Sure, I come across as tough, but I like to use my brain over my brawn any day. Why? Because it’ll keep me alive longer.
Plus, the guy was pointing a gun at me.
As much as I want to say I’m a noble hero, willing to die for my cause, and all that poetic stuff, I’m not. People who aren’t afraid of death really have a lot of guts, let me tell you. They also believe strongly for whatever they’re dying for. It wasn’t my time. There was a lot I still needed to do, and one of those things was protect Chevelle.
I placed my hands up, staring into the eyes of the man in front of me. There was a softness in his gaze, and that made me a little less afraid. But then I noticed how tall he was. Like, he had to be at least eight-foot-five, and skinny. Lean muscle covered his body, but I’m pretty sure I was wider than he was all the same. It wasn’t normal, natural or...human.
He flicked his fingers upward and I stood. Then he circled around me like some kind of bird of prey, nodding every so often. Cuffs appeared in his hands like magic. Yeah, those were for me.
The Achlivan Cycle Book 2
It's been three months since Chevelle Donahue, Wicken Sanders, and Timber Hudson were taken from Earth by the Achlivans - an alien race kidnapping humans in the name of preserving as much of Earth as possible before it is destroyed.
Wicken has been sold to another alien race - The Gorgachan - and their way of life is no where near as peaceful as the Utopia the Achlivans have set up. While he tries to figure out a way back home to his beloved Chevelle, he is caught in the middle of a fight that shouldn't involve him.
Meanwhile, Chevelle and Timber work together to find a way to bring Wicken back home again, along with how they can save their families back on Earth. Someone on the Achlivan ship is working against them and their happily ever after. Timber and Chevelle must choose between their own desires and doing the right thing - and each must prepare to give the performance of their lives if they're going to survive.
Timber Hudson must come to terms with the loss of his family and friends while at the same time being tasked with his greatest challenge: saving humanity from becoming mindless drones. It'd be a lot easier if Rumor would keep her nose in her own business and in prison where it belongs.
Meanwhile, Chevelle and Wicken must choose sides. One offers them the chance to rebuild Earth from the ground up, and the other will return them to Sanctuary to be with their family and friends. Neither choice is as black and white as it seems.
Cloud S. Riser is a Minnesota native. She has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will probably remain there for her whole life too. The mother of The Squid, Skyscraper, and two cats, her life is definitely never dull. An adventure she braves with her husband. In order to stay sane, she creates massive amounts of fiction which she has decided to share with the rest of the world for the simple reason of: she is a storyteller.