A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
Sorry, I just couldn't resist that intro! Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. I do have stories set on Earth, but mostly I write SF, so summers take place on alien worlds where the seasons and the setting may not be anything like we experience here. For one of my young heroes, a summer party may not seem so out-of-this-world at first glance. But then, the party has only just begun...
Merion Bay stretched its dunes out beneath the shadow of limestone cliffs. The golden sands had softened to silver by dusk under the fierce white of Terris’s large full moon. Groups of youngsters clustered around a handful of fires as they laughed and chattered over the rushing of the waves. Two music players fought for dominance in a rhythmic battle, but no one seemed to care. No one had drunk enough alcohol to feel compelled to dance, although a handful were already skinny-dipping in the sea and shrieking at the chill.
Gethyon sat alone on the edge and stared into the heart of the fire, a bottle of cheap grade alcohol in hand. The acid taste of it churned his stomach but he still took the odd gulp from it for appearance’s sake.
“Hello there.” The bright voice snapped Gethyon from his brooding, and he glanced up. A girl with silver skin and black tiger-stripe markings smiled down at him, her crop of red hair almost blood-colored in the twilight.
He lifted a hand in silent greeting.
“You’re Gethyon, aren’t you? Gethyon Rees?” Despite the blandness of his welcome, she hunkered down into the sand, wiggling her backside in an effort to get comfy and with a crooked grin on her lips. A sliver of unease coursed down his spine at her expression. It reminded him all too closely of another face, one with hair a paler shade of auburn and sapphire eyes. He nodded confirmation.
“I’m Jinxuri Chei-har of the Veen,” she said.
This time Gethyon couldn’t restrain a smile. “That’s some name.”
The girl shrugged. “I didn’t choose it. But you can call me Jinx if you like.” At that she thrust out a hand toward him, and after a moment he took it. Sudden pain splintered through his arm into his chest, and he yanked his hand free to massage the feeling away. He stared at Jinx, but she seemed unperturbed as she continued to grin at him.
“Are you a friend of Dephon’s?” he asked, with a trace of suspicion. Was this something his old rival had set up to keep him occupied?
“Not really. I heard there was a party so I stopped by.”
“You’re a gate-crasher?”
Jinx leaned forward and whispered in conspiratorial tones, “Not going to give me away, are you?”
Gethyon shook his head. Why should he care? It wasn’t his party.
She leaned back and eyed him carefully. “You don’t seem very happy. Aren’t you enjoying yourself?”
“Not your kind of thing, huh? I hear you’re a bit of a genius with technology.”
“Who told you that?”
“Oh, I hear things. I’m good at it.” She smiled. “You live with Professor Rees, don’t you? Heard a lot about him. Well-respected man. Your grandfather, yes?”
“What about your parents, what do they do?”
He stiffened and drew back. “Why do you want to know about my parents?”
Jinx held up her hands. “I’m just trying to make conversation.”
Gethyon mentally berated himself for his suspicions. Living with a grandparent was going to make new people curious. After all, it wasn’t the norm. “My father was killed in an explosion. My mother… travels. A lot.”
“I’m sorry about your father. That’s kinda harsh. But your mother sounds fun! Don’t you get to go with her?”
Jinx gave him a sympathetic look. “Bad choice of subject?”
She chuckled. “You’re really making me work this conversation, Geth. What would you like to talk about?”
“Where are you from?”
She paused as if she hadn’t expected such a question. “No one place,” she murmured. “I travel a lot too.”
Gethyon opened his mouth to ask more, but sudden alarm blazed across his mind. He scrambled to his feet.
“What’s wrong?” Jinx asked...
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