EXCERPT FROM ALLIANCE By ML Callahan

Saturday, October 03, 2015

He stepped forward, but hesitated to touch her. Instead, he pushed down on the bumper to make his car bounce slightly beneath her. “Hey! What are you doing in here?”
Her eyes opened, light blue and eerily familiar, they focused on his face, rounded in surprise. “Oh!” She scrambled into a sitting position and used her arms and legs to push herself into a corner.

He stepped back, not wanting to terrorize her. “Who are you? What are you doing in here?”

“Oh, shit.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Get out of my car.”

She looked around, looked at him, took in the rows of neatly organized camping gear lining the shelves on the wall. Two bicycles and a motorcycle were parked in the garage space to her right. A rake, shovel and broom were hung up by pegs on the wall to her left. He wanted her out, and she appeared to be taking inventory. What was she looking for?

“Get. Out.”

She looked straight at him. “I’m a time traveler.”

“Not funny. Just get out of the car.”

She moaned and wrapped her hands around the sides of her neck, clearly upset. “Look. I’m sorry, Luke. That came out wrong. I know this sounds totally crazy, but you have to listen to me.”

“How do you know my name? Have you been following me?”

“Ummm, yeah. But I swear it’s not what you think. I’m not some crazy stalker. Uh, well, I guess I was, technically, stalking you today. But I don’t normally do that.”

Her cheeks turned bright pink. Was she blushing? “Get out.”

“No, no, no. Listen. This is real. I told you. I’m a time traveler. I came from the future. Well, no, actually, I’m from the past. Which sounds confusing.” She moved her hands from her neck to her temples, rubbing there as if that was going to help her convince him. “Ugh. Look. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I was sent here specifically to find you. Luke Lawson. They sent me here to find you.”

Great. She was a real nutjob. “Get out of my car. Now. Before I call the police.”

“Listen to me. I’m here to stop a global disaster, and I need your help.”

“Yeah, right.” He backed toward the door that led to his kitchen. He could lock her in the garage and call the police. They would come get her and take her to a psychiatric hospital. Somewhere she could get help. She obviously needed help.

She lifted one arm to beseech him to listen to her, but didn’t move from her position in the corner. “Please. Listen. I really do need your help.”

“Okay.” She wasn’t bloody or hurt. No obvious beating. No scrapes or bruises. Her hands were clean, her skin flawless. Her eyes were clear, her voice soft.

She didn’t look like she was in danger, hurt, or in trouble. Which left crazy.

Shaking his head, he pulled his cell phone from his jacket pocket and dialed 9-1-1. The operator answered immediately, her voice calm and commanding, like a fifty-year-old mother who’d been around the block a few times and had survived everything from childbirth to cancer. “This is 9-1-1. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“There is an intruder in my home.”

“Are you in danger?”

“No.”

“Is the intruder armed?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Just one? A single individual?

“Yes.”

“Do you know who the intruder is?”

“No.”

“Are you in the home now?”

“No. In the garage.”

“Do not go into the house. Do not approach the intruder. I want you to go to a neighbor’s house. Somewhere safe. I will dispatch a car to your location. What is your name and address, sir?” Luke stared at the woman who had scooted forward, her knees bent over the fender, her small feet dangled a solid two feet from the garage floor. She was probably all of five foot two. She didn’t look dangerous. Or crazy. She looked completely sane. She wasn’t panicking or running. She just looked up at him with those big blue eyes and whispered so the operator wouldn’t hear her.

“Please, Luke. Don’t. At least listen to me first. I know about M-6. This isn’t a joke. I’m not crazy.”

Did she just say M-6?

“Sir? Are you still there?” The 9-1-1 operator’s voice was calm but insistent in his ear.

“Yes, I’m still here.” The woman scooted out of his vehicle, stood and turned to face him.
Holy shit. She was smoking hot. But her expression was serious. Too serious.

“Your number is blocked. I need your name and location so I can send a car.”

He looked into a pair of pleading eyes and knew he couldn’t do it. “Never mind. I’m sorry I called. False alarm. It’s my cousin. I didn’t know she was coming over.”

He hung up before the operator could badger him for details. His number was always blocked. The GPS, permanently disabled. He didn’t like the idea of being tracked like a prisoner with an ankle monitor.

“Thank you.” She smiled and put her hands on her hips. Her pale blue T-shirt read,
Never Tired, Always Wired and featured a cartoon coffee cup. She was small, as he’d suspected, and barely reached his shoulder. She looked like she’d just come from the gym, complete with yoga pants that hugged a small but nicely curved backside. Not exactly a dire threat to someone of his size.

“Don’t thank me yet.” He turned to face her, arms crossed, and blocked the doorway into his home. “Who are you and why were you in my car?”

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