ExcerptSanta's Helpers: Aliens Stole the Frozen Turkey
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Copyright ©2012 Ashlynn Monroe
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Grams would argue Betty was too young to make a pie fit for consumption, but she knew the woman would secretly appreciate the help. She chuckled to herself as she dipped the measuring cup into the flour. Snow fell lightly outside the huge picture window in front of the counter where she worked. The kitchen smelled like home. Fresh bread was almost done in the oven, and she felt satisfied with how much she'd done in just a few hours.
She was double-checking her grandmother's recipe card to make sure she had the pie crust right when the most horrific sound she'd ever heard made her drop the heavy glass measuring cup. It hit the floor, spewing flour everywhere, but to her relief it didn't crack. She picked it up and peered out the window. Behind the pine trees blocking her view of the hayfield, she watched a massive fireball roll up into the sky. An unbelievably loud boom made her jump for her coat. She jammed her feet into her boots and rushed out the side door, zipping the heavy down jacket as she ran.
Simon, the ancient golden retriever, barked loudly as he galloped beside her.
"Go home, Simon," she shouted, not wanting the nosy pooch to get himself into danger. He stopped and barked a few times before running back towards the barn. Betty kept going. Snow fell into the top of her boots and the chilly air stung her cheeks, making her eyes water. She shivered but didn't stop until she reached the tree line.
* * *
"Damn your incredibly bad sense of direction!" Zec shouted at the short Atillian pilot. The man was four feet tall and his normal deep blue color was fading to almost white as they stood outside the circus ship. They'd crashed on a primitive world called Earth, and the pilot had aimed for this frozen tundra to cushion the ship's landing.
It hadn't felt very soft to Zec, but only the storage compartments appeared badly damaged. His acts were safe and for that, he'd forgive the Atillian his pathetic inability to follow the star map.
Zec looked around at the barren emptiness. The only things he saw were some tall green native plants. "Beon, how long will it take to get her flying again?"
"Well, boss, I'm not sure, but I'd say it might take a day or two. We don't want to take off until we're sure it's safe. This is the only oxygen rich planet in the system."
Zec nodded. "Do what you can, but make it fast. We've got a show to do in the Delta system, and if we miss the show, none of you will be paid this month."
Beon nodded and Zec watched him hurry back onto the ship.
"I'm going to check the acts again. Those Banzoonie Brothers are a real pain in my ass, and I have a feeling they won't be easy to contain. Trilems love the cold."
The pilot nodded. "Boss, I'm going back to the helm and take a look at the sensors. Maybe I can help Beon with the safety check while he makes the repairs."
"Sounds good. Let me know if you find anything suspicious with the calibrations."
"Yes sir, Boss," the Atillian chirped in his high singsong tone.
Zec stood in the chilly air for a moment longer. Even with his tall muscular frame and metabolic warmth, this planet was almost too cold to bear. It'd be a long night, and he hoped his less hale acts would survive the cold.
A rustling noise by the tree line made him turn. He scanned the area for danger. He'd no idea what monsters lived on this world, but if he found anything interesting and not too dangerous, he'd bring it aboard. They could always use a fresh act, and something from such a primitive, out-of-the-way place would really sell tickets.
A form materialized out of the leafless brush at the edge of the tree line, and Zec held his breath. His people had exceptional vision, and even from a distance he could see the girl's mouth fall open. Her strange oval eyes widened. He'd never seen a creature with green eyes before. She was small, and it took him a moment to realize she was a woman and not a child. The outline of her ample breasts showed under the thick jacket she wore. Her features were small and round. This humanoid was completely breathtaking and similar to his own species in appearance. Then she began running back through the trees.
"Shameck!" he swore loudly before sprinting off after the terrified native.