TITLE: Girl Under Glass
GENRE: Sci-fi Romance
Behind me, the dogs rumbled. I glanced to where both sat beside the fireplace with their heads lifted and ears pricked. “Jack, Audie, hush. It’s probably just a deer.” Turning back to the stove, I plucked the scalpel from the boiling water with tongs, placed it in the sterile box then blinked steam from my eyes as I chased the needle around the pot. “Dang. C’mon.”
Then the dogs lunged at the door, and I abandoned the task.
Pearl sat straight and stiff at the table, her doll’s clothes forgotten. Wide-eyed and watching me, my daughter knew better than to make a sound as Jack and Audie growled and paced between her and the door.
I wiped my hands on a towel then took the shotgun from the wall mount in the kitchen. I crossed to the door, pulled up the peephole rag, and scanned the yard. The grey downpour didn’t help, but movement just inside our gate directed my attention.
A man stood in our yard, a dark man.
“Christ. There’s a Stranger inside the gate. Stay here. Stay quiet.”
Pearl nodded then scrambled into the kitchen and retrieved the scalpel.
I chambered a round and said, “Heel, dogs,” as I opened the door. They flanked me, all hackles and teeth and threats, as I crossed the porch and strode through the rain and mud, the shotgun up and wedged against my shoulder.
He wore the grey-and-green fatigues of an Ohnenrai field tech.
“Don’t you move.”