The biggest danger of the Kumadai Run lies on a fractured world deep in its twisted space. When the Phoenix is caught in a trap five hundred years old, Dace faces the most demanding challenge of her life.
If you ever find yourself as crew on a small ship with newlyweds, don’t go.
The cave resonated with sound. Her guard shoved Jasyn forward. She fell onto her knees in the blackness of the cave. Clark landed on the sand beside her. She tried to reach for his hand, but the buzzing echoes were everywhere, in her head, blinding her eyes. The dark filled her mouth so she couldn’t scream. It wrapped her body in long strands until she couldn’t move. The humming grew in volume. She tried to fight, tried to push it away. It filled her, smothering her.
She caught whispers of words along the edge of hearing. The darkness forced her mind open. The buzzing hum rearranged her thoughts. The voices slid inside then settled, speaking an unfamiliar language that echoed harshly. Their words filtered into her brain, filling the spaces created by the darkness.
Splitting pressure built until her mind fragmented, whirling through the darkness. She was a disconnected series of thoughts that coalesced back into a person. The darkness and voices slid away, sinking into her head.
She blinked, gasping for breath. She was on all fours in the shallow cave. Gritty sand stung her hands, dry and dusty. She coughed and sat back on her heels, exhaustion and sweat blinding her. She wiped her face with one grimy hand.
Clark sprawled in the sand next to her. His face was gray. His eyes were closed. She reached for him with one swollen, reddened hand. Her fingers touched his cheek. He opened his eyes, then coughed.
“Are you—” She fumbled for words in her jumbled, disordered mind. The words she wanted wouldn’t come.
He closed his eyes, reaching for her hand.
The golden men dragged them out of the cave. One of them moved towards her with a strap of cloth in his hand. She tried to back away. He grabbed her arm, then wrapped the cloth around her neck. She grabbed at the cloth and pulled. It wouldn’t come off. She felt no seams, no evidence that it would open. At the front was a thin strip of metal.
“You will obey,” the leader spoke. “Or you will be punished.”
Jaleta Clegg loves spinning fantastic yarns of alien planets and space travel. Kumadai Run is book 4 in her Fall of the Altairan Empire series. Jaleta also dabbles in writing silly horror and fantasy. When not writing, she's usually in the kitchen. She loves playing with spices and exotic ingredients. Her day job involves inflatable planetariums, starship simulators, and lots of school children. Find a complete list of her books and stories at www.jaletac.com and more about her space opera series at www.altairanempire.com
Blog: The Far Edge of Normal (interviews and general posts on Mondays, recipes on Thursdays)