Crash Land on Kurai - Excerpt
Am I dead?
“You’re not dead. Shift to the right.”
“Your other right, Yumi. Wake up! Open your eyes!”
My eyes fly open as a shock of pain rips through my leg. I cry out, and Kazuo jerks his hands away from a giant piece of metal sticking out of my thigh.
“Okay, that’s not going anywhere.”
“What the…” I swallow and try to concentrate on the world swimming around me. My leg is numb except for the pain, my hands are bleeding and I have no idea why, and I taste the copper of blood in my mouth too. Lights flicker through the bridge, emergency lights on but not illuminating enough. In the station next to me, the crew member in charge of life support is dead, her head slumped forward, her red hair around her shoulders, which means we still have forward thrust. Her name pops into my head, Christina. She loved karate, coffee, and chocolate ice cream.
I’m in shock if I can even assess a situation like this. What about her family? Her friends? She’s dead, and I’m alive, and we’re less than a meter from each other. How does that even happen?
“Hey!” Kazuo snaps his fingers in front of my face. “Stay with me.” He puts his face right in front of mine so I can lock eyes with him. I want to return to the state of a five-year-old and throw my arms around his neck so he can carry me off to the beach for sandcastles and kite flying. “Stay with me, Kako.”
Now I cry — not a lot of tears but a few for the kid I left behind. Kazuo always said I was like a baby deer, a kako, until I turned a teen. It was his pet name for me. My mother loved it. My father tolerated it. I always got the feeling he didn’t trust Kazuo fully though he gave him free rein to watch his children. There’s a lot I don’t understand about my parents. It probably has something to do with Kazuo’s past as an assassin and his rocky relationship with the empress. But I don’t know for sure.
“Don’t cry,” he says, a command with no sympathy. This is how he deals with all emergencies. The sympathy will come later when we’re safe.
About the Author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com.
You can find and contact SJ Pajonas here:
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