Waking up in a strangers basement, the only thing AVERY could remember about herself is her name. This world is strange and new to her as Avery tries to recall her past and navigate her new environment. The only person who grounds her is the first person she encounters, a woman named SIERRA. Avery is captivated by her at first but a darker truth starts to unravel around her. Is Sierra a friend or a foe? Who is telling the truth and what connection does Sierra have to Avery?
Read the first chapter of Kris Alexandria’s new novel! Join Avery and Sierra as they navigate futuristic worlds, time travel, the 90’s, and the consequence of falling in love.
Chapter 1: Amnesia
An exposed light bulb flickered in the room above the woman. She didn’t know where she was. The exposed light bulb was the only thing she could focus on above her. It was frightening that she couldn’t remember anything about how she got here, who she was, or where she was from. All she knew was her name was Avery. Panic started to settle in.
Everything felt heavy. Her limbs didn’t want to move and she was in and out of consciousness but nothing hurt. Her body felt numb to everything.
Was she dead?
She never thought about life after death but she didn’t think it would be like this. It either had to be nothing at all or some kind of paradise. This was neither, it felt more like she was trapped inside her head.
“Hey, welcome back to the land of the living.” A voice echoed through her senses.
The voice sounded soft? It was a woman’s voice and it was the last thing she remembered as she drifted back into darkness.
Avery’s eyelids fluttered open some time later. She didn’t know how long she had been out since she was last conscious. The slow onset of pain started to throb on her side. She tried to look around but her eyes couldn’t make out anything in the dim light.
“Hello?” Avery called out. She had heard a voice earlier, maybe, if she called out, then, whoever had brought her here would come back.
Avery didn’t get an answer but thankfully she could move. Her senses felt less clouded and the numbness was now being replaced by pain. She definitely wasn’t dead or paralyzed. Slowly, she tried to sit up. Her head spun and her side ached but she managed to lift herself upright. Pulling up the loose t-shirt she was wearing, revealing a bandage, Avery couldn’t tell how badly she was injured. All she knew was that it hurt.
She pulled out her IV in her wrist and managed to get two feet on the ground. Her eyes were starting to adjust to the light and she realized that it looked like she was in someone’s basement. It was like she had woken up in a horror movie that she unfortunately couldn’t recall.
She had been laying on an old couch and bloody medical gear scattered the coffee table next to her. The floor under her bare feet was made of concrete and a pile of boxes were stacked to the side. It looked like a workbench was also off to the side that led up to a staircase. The inside of the basement had the smell of dust and blood. The blood was probably hers.
The only thing that didn’t cause her alarm was the voice from earlier. It didn’t sound as though the person that treated her wanted to hurt her. Or maybe the woman talking to her was just part of a dream? It could have just been her consciousness trying to make her feel better in a time of need.
All Avery knew was that she needed to get out of this room. Walking up the steps, she made it to the basement door and she opened it to reveal that she was now inside what looked like someone’s living room. A sofa blocked her path and indistinct paintings scattered the walls. Soft singing caught her attention and she froze in place.
The voice was the same from earlier. It was soft yet commanding and it belonged to a woman.
“Can you hear me?
Far above the moon,
I stare up at the stars…”
Avery made her way around the corner until she spotted a woman in the kitchen. She was pouring a cup of coffee with her back turned to Avery. She stopped singing and glanced over her shoulder casually. She didn’t seem alarmed having a stranger standing in her house.
“Where am I?” Avery didn’t know what to say in that moment so she asked the first thing that came to mind. She felt exposed feeling like she didn’t belong there. She was a stranger in this woman’s home.
The woman turned slowly to Avery, drinking her cup of coffee with two hands around her mug. She smirked at Avery and ignored her question. Her hair was raven black, her skin tan, and her eyes were shockingly yellow. She was beautiful. Avery knew that something was special about her but she couldn’t place her finger on it. She still couldn’t remember anything about how she ended up here to begin with, let alone who this woman was.
“You want to sit down?” The woman said, cutting through Avery’s thoughts.
Avery just nodded, the pain was becoming unbearable and she didn’t know what else to do. So, she made her way to the kitchen table and sat down. The woman pulled out another mug from a cupboard and placed it in front of her. She then poured her some orange juice from a carton that was set on the table.
“Where am I?” Avery asked again.
“You’re in my home.” The woman replied and pulled out something from the freezer. It looked like frozen pancakes. She warmed up a few in the microwave and placed them on the table within minutes. Avery watched her, still disoriented, confused, and in pain.
“Who am I?” Avery asked, watching the woman. She looked calm as she moved around the kitchen.
“I don’t know, you tell me?” The woman said.
Avery noticed that the woman had a gun tucked behind her jeans. It was probably the reason the woman was acting so calm around her.
“I don’t know, I think my name is Avery?”
“Huh, that’s an interesting name.”
“And you are?” Avery asked her.
“Sierra.” The woman took several pancakes and placed them on a plate and put the plate in front of Avery.
“Sierra?” Avery repeated. It didn’t sound familiar but Avery wondered why she felt like she knew her.
“Did I stutter?” Sierra said and got up again. Avery watched as she got some silverware and placed it on the table with napkins.
“I can’t remember anything, why am I here?” Avery asked.
Sierra just shrugged and got out some maple syrup from the pantry. She walked up to the table and stood to the side. She didn’t seem like she wanted to answer her questions and Avery wondered why.
“Want any?” Sierra hovered the maple syrup above Avery’s pancakes.
“Sure.” Avery agreed to be polite.
Sierra poured some maple syrup on top the pancakes and then poured some on her own before sitting back down. She started cutting into her pancakes as Avery watched her. Avery’s side was starting to feel worse and she picked at the bandages over her oversized shirt.
“You’re starting to feel it?” Sierra asked.
“Yeah,” Avery said.
Sticking one hand in her pocket, Sierra pulled out a pill bottle and set it down with a thud on the table.
“Some pain meds. You need to eat to take them.” She went back to cutting her pancakes in neat little squares. She only started eating when all of them were cut up.
“Did you patch me up?” Avery took the pill bottle and opened it up, looking inside.
“Yes,” Sierra picked up a pancake square with her fork and took a bite, chewing slowing before swallowing, “Don’t worry, I’m a veterinarian.” Sierra said with a shrug.
“What?” Avery glared at her. She didn’t know if she should be worried about this information.
Sierra took another bite of her perfectly cut pancake and grinned at her, looking right into her with those yellow eyes. It was the first time Avery saw any semblance of a genuine smile on her. Avery knew that her eyes weren’t natural but she didn’t know why.
“Don’t worry, I’m qualified to treat you.” Sierra said, getting back to her pancakes.
Sierra felt familiar yet foreign and Avery felt like she knew more than she was letting on. Yet, Avery didn’t feel like she was in immediate danger. She had to find out who she was and what was going on. Sierra had to have some answers for her.
They ate in silence, Avery surprisingly ate the remainder of her pancakes and took the two pills just as Sierra had said. While Avery was finishing up, Sierra cleaned the plates off the table and disappeared from the kitchen without a word.
Avery started to feel numb again, the pills were starting to kick in and her pain was subsiding. She looked around the kitchen briefly. It wasn’t too special and nothing of importance caught her eye on getting any details about Sierra. The woman was like a blank slate. All she knew was her name and that she was once a veterinarian. That was hardly anything to go on.
A few minutes later Sierra returned with a pile of clothes. She handed them to Avery.
“These were yours.”
Avery unfolded the top and held it out to get a good look at it. The top was unsalvageable with a giant blast hole on the side, the front was cut completely open, and it was covered in blood despite the fact that it looked like someone had tried to wash it. It also looked like a military uniform.
“I was shot?” Avery asked looking at the damaged top. The giant hole looked like it came from some kind gun that radiated heat.
“Yes.” Sierra picked up the pants that were still folded on Avery’s lap and took the top from her, placing the pants in her hands instead. “You need to put those on so we can go for a walk.”
“Why?” Avery took the pants and examined them. They weren’t damaged, they only had a few specks of blood on the hem.
“You crashed here. We need to see if you have some better medical supplies on your ship and if that thing you came in can fly again.” Sierra said, folding the top.
“Oh, what? A ship?” Avery blinked, she had no recollection of any of it. She had no idea what Sierra meant about a “ship.”
“Yes, certain branches of the military can get to space now.” Sierra said casually.
“A spaceship… a military spaceship? I’m part of that?” Avery asked. It seemed like an important part of her life that she’d remember.
“Did I hit my head?” That had to be the reason why she couldn’t remember anything. Avery still had more questions she wanted answered.
“No.” Sierra was starting to look impatient.
“Did someone bring me here for you to treat me?”
“No, you brought yourself here.” Sierra replied, folding her arms.
“Why?” Avery was getting the point that Sierra still didn’t want to answer any of her questions.
“I’ll tell you that later. Right now, we need to go.”
“How far is the walk?” Avery asked, knowing that she couldn’t go far. Avery didn’t even know if she was well enough to walk around but she was curious about what kind of ‘ship’ she could have landed in.
“You can make it.” Sierra responded, it sounded more like an order that wasn’t up for debate. She had picked out a coat for Avery to wear on their way out. She held it out to her.
Avery didn’t understand the urgency but she stood up and pulled her bare legs into the uniform pants without missing a beat. She didn’t need to be modest, if she was in this shirt that meant that Sierra was the one who dressed her. Avery took the coat from Sierra and zipped it up to her chin.
Sierra just waited without saying a word. She seemed completely disinterested in Avery’s presence as she opened the door and they walked outside the house. This was the first time Avery had seen the environment she supposedly crashed into. It completely took her by surprise.
“What the hell is that?” Avery couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
It hadn’t been morning at all, it looked like it was midnight outside and that wasn’t even the thing that stood out the most. A giant metallic object was protruding from the ground about half a mile from Sierra’s home.
“It was called a deathbringer and it came from the war,” Sierra walked ahead, “and if you’re wondering why it’s so dark it’s because this planet is always like this. We only get sunlight once every sixty days.”
Avery continued to stare at the object. It almost looked like it had a face and it caused a chill to go down her spine. She wondered how anyone could manage to live across from that thing knowing that it was just outside your home.
“Deathbringer? Wait, why does it look like it’s daylight in your house?” Avery turned to Sierra.
“Everyone has special windows installed to make living here more bearable… to humans anyway.”
“You’re human?” Avery blurted.
“Yes” Sierra stopped walking and looked back at Avery. She smiled mischievously. “Why, did you think I’m not?”
“Your eye’s and you said I came from space? I don’t know if you’re from another planet or I crashed somewhere in Alaska.” Avery should have thought it through before she said anything. What kind of world did she crash land on?
“You really have forgotten everything.” Sierra looked like she was actually pleased with herself and continued walking again.
It was a short time later when they made it to some kind of rough looking ship. Sierra made it to the cockpit first and motioned for Avery to stand next to her.
“Can I have your hand?” Sierra asked and Avery nodded. She let Sierra take her hand and place it on the ship. It lit up and the cockpit opened.
“I flew that thing?” It looked completely unfamiliar to Avery. The symbols on the outside matched some of the symbols that were on the uniform that had once belonged to her.
“Well, not very well.” Sierra started rummaging inside and she pulled out a case. She handed it to Avery once she joined her inside the ship.
Nothing inside it looked familiar. The ship was small and it looked like it could only house one person in the cockpit. Avery looked around for any personal belongings that could give her any clues about herself but she found none.
Giving up on finding anything useful for herself, Avery turned to Sierra. She looked more at home than Avery felt in that moment and Avery knew she was avoiding her questions on purpose.
“I noticed that you don’t have the greatest bedside manner for a doctor.” Avery continued to watch Sierra.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m a veterinarian, remember?” Sierra stopped at something she found interesting.
“I don’t think you’ll let me forget that.” Avery said, she wasn’t going to let Sierra get under her skin. Opening up the case, she looked at the contents inside. The tools looked like medical supplies but they were way more advanced than the primitive needles and bandages that were scattered down in Sierra’s basement.
“Shit, you really wrecked this.” Sierra mumbled, pulling out a handful of wires.
“Maybe, but I don’t think that’s how you fix it.”
“Ha, very funny,” Sierra said with an eye roll but a slight smile pulled at the corner of her lips with the reply.
Avery waited for Sierra to finish and handed her suitcase to her when she walked out of the cockpit. Worry creased Sierra’s brow as they walked back to the house. Avery didn’t know why. It seemed for once they were finally getting along but Sierra had found something in the cockpit that she wasn’t telling her.
Once they were back in the kitchen again, Sierra opened up the suitcase. Her worried look started to dissipate.
“Lift up your shirt.” Sierra ordered.
Avery took off her coat and leaned against the kitchen counter. She lifted her shirt. Did they just go for that walk for medical supplies? It looked like Sierra was also looking for something else but whatever it was she didn’t find it. It also occurred to Avery that it was extremely rare that a veterinarian would know what these tools would do.
Sierra’s hands were cold as her fingers brushed against Avery’s stomach, causing her to gasp. Sierra ignored her and gently pulled the bandages away. A thin layer of blood crusted near the injury as Sierra peeled off the cloth. She gently prodded the wound with her fingers causing Avery to shift uncomfortably. Avery found that she had seven perfectly aligned stitches on her side.
“Ow,” Avery said, continuing to watch what Sierra was doing.
“You think that’s painful, how did you make it in the military?” Sierra continued to prod before stepping away and getting a wet washcloth. Avery just watched her, having Sierra so close to her was a little uncomfortable but she didn’t want to admit to herself why.
“I guess I must have done pretty good, I have a lot of little symbols on my uniform.” Avery replied.
“Uh-huh, are you sure those symbols are a good thing?” Sierra walked back up to Avery and placed the washcloth on the wound with one hand and lifted up Avery’s shirt higher with the other as she gently wiped away the blood.
“Are they?” Avery asked as Sierra put her hand above her own to get her to lift up her shirt just under her breast.
“Not to me.” Sierra finished cleaning with the washcloth and reached over to the metal suitcase that was on the kitchen counter.
Avery didn’t understand what she meant as Sierra pushed against her. Sierra pulled out one of the objects from the metal suitcase and distanced herself enough to see the stitches again.
“You need to lay down. This might hurt a bit.” Sierra motioned with her head to follow her. She seemed deep in thought as Avery let go of her shirt and let it fall over her abdomen.
Sierra brought Avery to the sofa that rested in the middle of the room that Avery had been in earlier. It was grey and not very soft as Avery rested her back on it. It was almost as if no one sat on it. The whole living room looked like hardly anyone ever went inside of it. There was no personal pictures on any of the walls or surfaces. It was just covered in abstract artwork.
Sierra kneeled down beside her, she had brought the suitcase with her and she started to pull out more tools.
“Are you sure your qualified for this? Avery asked again. She wasn’t too sure if she wanted Sierra working on her.
“Yes, I’m qualified. I am a veterinarian but I’m cleared to work as a medic for people too.” Sierra pulled back Avery’s shirt, revealing the injury.
“Uh-huh.” Avery wasn’t too convinced but she didn’t do anything to stop her.
“You’re not the only one with some military background. I was called up when I was still studying and worked as a field medic.” Sierra had a jar in her hand, she opened it to reveal a clear salve. She dipped her fingers in it and gently rubbed the ointment over Avery’s stitches. “They needed people with any kind of medical experience and I said, yes.”
“You could have opened with that.” Avery watched Sierra pick up a device that looked like a vegetable peeler.
“I know, I just wanted to see the look on your face.” Sierra pressed a button and the peeler came to life. An electronic glow pulsated across the blade and she hovered it over Avery’s wound. It stung. “Oh, and I always found that its a great conversation opener in stressful situations.”
“Really, I thought you’d just make the stressful situation worse,” Avery said, watching her work. Sierra slowly guided the beam of light over her and the stitches melted away in tiny puffs of smoke. Her skin slowly started to piece itself together with each pass of the device. It was almost like magic but it also stung like dozens of tiny paper cuts.
“Maybe, but it works most of the time.” Sierra finished and picked up another device. She hovered it over the wound that was now gone. Not even a trace of scarring was left.
“What are you doing now?” Avery asked.
“Making sure your internal organs look just as good as your skin. You were pretty messed up.” Sierra responded.
“Oh… thank you.” Avery was fascinated by the tiny little devices. Out of all the people she could have met today, she was glad she had woken up to find Sierra.
“You really don’t need to thank me.” Sierra placed the tools back inside the case. Looking back up at Avery again, she looked like she meant what she said.