It’s snippet time again! This week, I’ve continued work on Carrie Hatchett, Space Adventurer Book 5. Here’s an extract from chapter two, where Carrie discovers that she has more on her plate than running her own company. An old enemy has returned, and this time it’s arrived on her doorstep, threatening everything she holds dear.
“Ms. Hatchett, are you aware how many people have been injured by your equipment?” a voice shouted. “How much compensation will you be paying the victims?” asked another. “Do you expect a custodial sentence?” asked a third.
Her handbag tight under her arm. Carrie forced the crowd to part. She made it to her front door and unlocked it. Stepping inside her home, she turned to face the jostling men and women. “No comment.” She shut the door and locked it.
Carrie ran around her home, ignoring an over-excited, barking Rogue, and closed all her curtains and blinds. Meanwhile, her doorbell was ringing incessantly. After investigating it for a minute or two, she figured out how to disconnect it. She flopped onto her sofa and put a hand over her eyes. She was about to burst into tears when she felt Rogue clamber up next to her. He licked her face.
“You aren’t allowed up here,” Carrie said as she cuddled him. Something soft and warm had settled on her lap. She stroked Toodles, who purred and rubbed her head against Carrie’s hand. “What would I do without you two?”
After feeding her pets, Carrie went upstairs to her home office and turned on her computer. She wanted to find out what might have gone wrong with her company’s products. The idea that they could suddenly come alive was preposterous, yet that was what people had said.
She checked the news websites. They showed video footage from CCTV cameras and mobile phones. In one of the videos, a man was shown running down a tree-lined street pursued by a tripod of some kind. The object was running along on its three legs, slowly gaining on the terror-stricken man. In another video, a woman was engaged in a fight with a snapping metal box-like structure. She was bashing it with a metal spatula and fending it off.
Carrie clasped her hands under her chin and peered at the screen. There was something terribly familiar about what she was seeing, but she could hardly believe her suspicion. Could it be true? Could her work with the Transgalactic Council have become dreadfully entwined with her life on her home planet?
Briefly, she wondered if she was only finding a convenient scapegoat for what was happening. The explanation that there was another reason for what was going on other than her company’s incompetence was tempting. But the resemblance to what she’d seen so often in her role as a Liaison Officer was unmistakable.
The light on her mobile was flashing. Another call. She turned off the sound. Carrie was about to ignore it like all the rest when she saw that the call was from Dave.
“Hi,” she said as she answered. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I absolutely am. Are you okay? I saw you on the news fighting through all the reporters. Are they still there?”
“I haven’t looked recently. Probably.”
“Urgh. The police should give you protection.”
“I’m not contacting them. I thought they were going to arrest me today. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Shall I contact the Council or do you want to?”
“You do it. You’re the only one who can pronounce her name.”
“I’m not sure about that, but I’ll give it a try. I’ll call you back, okay?”
Carrie went to find her Transgalactic Intercultural Community Crisis Liaison Officer toolkit and took out her translator, which was also a communication device.
“Errruorerrrrrh,” she said into it. “Errruorerrrrrh.” When no reply came, she raised her voice and said, “Errruorerrrrrhch.” A tiny spray of spittle flew out of her mouth.
“Errruorerrrrrh,” said Carrie. “Please listen. We have a crisis here on Earth. Mechanical aliens are attacking us. The placktoids are back.”
Read Carrie Hatchett, Space Adventurer Book 5 Part I here.