I’m featuring a guest author today! Liza O’Connor has a new release, the post-apocalyptic Songbird.
Five hundred years from now, the necessity of population control and a preference for male children has resulted in a shortage of women. Down from the Appalachian Mountains, comes Tory White, an unusually tall and muscular young woman. Unable to read, she is deceived into signing a lifelong contract as a concubine. Entirely unsuitable for the position, she soon finds herself slotted for the ‘beds,’ where few girls live beyond a month. Yet, her honest and forthright manner charms the head of security into saving her and sets her upon a path in which she becomes the ‘heart’ of the world and the savior of man’s future.
She entered Leroy’s room without anyone noticing. It smelled like old socks and possums, but it was a private room, just big enough for her to maneuver around in. She gently woke him up.
“I’ve come to wish you goodbye.”
He seemed surprised for a moment and then laughed to himself, no doubt thinking her an idiot.
She noticed he wasn’t packed and offered to do it for him, which he allowed, since he was too sleep-deprived and hung-over to do it himself. While she packed, she asked him questions concerning the procedure of leaving and how the guard would know it was him.
He always liked it when she asked him questions to which he knew the answers. While he would explain it to her as if she were a simpleton, he would explain it. He couldn’t tell her what this DNA was that proved it was him and not someone else, but he did know it was something in the blood or saliva that was different from everybody else’s. She wished she could ask Link to explain it to her, but she wouldn’t be speaking to Link again.
That realization brought tears to her eyes. God, she was going to miss him! She couldn’t delude herself that she might even see him on his off time if she got a job in the town because she knew if he saw her again, he’d bring her back to this hellhole.
“Aww, Tory, don’t start crying. You’re going to be fine here. This won’t be as bad as you think; only you shouldn’t have pissed off your house warden.”
“Well, maybe if I had realized how important she was to my future, I wouldn’t have,” Tory replied, anger creeping into her voice. “I know for sure I wouldn’t have signed that damn contract, if you had told me what it really said.”
“I didn’t know,” he assured her. “I thought it was the same as mine.”
Link had checked the records and told her she was the seventh girl Leroy had brought to this place.
“I’m curious, Leroy. Was it the three hundred dollars or the chance to audition that made you do this?”
“Are you serious? The audition,” he replied. “They’d only let me audition if I brought along a girl. I thought they wanted duets.”
“Give up the innocent act. I know you’ve brought six other girls to this place. You knew exactly what they wanted.”
His mouth opened and closed several times like a fish out of water, before he finally came up with a reply. “It won’t be that bad, I promise you.”
“Really? Have you ever inquired on the other girls you brought here?”
“Sure, they like it here.”
Her eyes widened. “They told you that in person?”
“Yeah, I see them when I come. Remember those two girls the first day we were here—well, that was two of them. They’re really happy here.”
Tory shook her head. “I can tell when most people are lying, but not you, Leroy. Everything you say rings true. It must be that angel face of yours that confuses the senses.”
He sat up in bed. “Maybe it’s because I’m not lying. Look, I care for you, Tory. I truly believe that once you settle in, you’ll be just like the other girls I brought, and by my next visit, you’ll be thanking me. Hey, who knows, it might be your little sister I bring next time. Won’t that be nice having her around?”
His smile lasted only a second, and then Tory’s foot crashed into his jaw with sufficient force to break bones.
“The girls are dead, Leroy. Every girl you’ve brought here is dead now, and you will not be bringing my sister into this hellhole.”
Link watched Leroy Stubs stumble from the musician’s quarters and slowly make his way down to the truck. He was pleased to see that Tory had kicked the shit out of Stubs. He hoped it would give her something to hold on to, when times got hard in the months to come.
Blood clotted in Leroy’s normally well-groomed hair. Sunglasses covered his eyes and his cowboy hat hung low across his forehead in an attempt to hide the damage the girl had inflicted.
Link smiled as he watched Stubs struggle as he put his luggage on the truck bed. A bit of fresh blood leaked from the side of Stub’s mouth.
“What’s the matter, asshole, did some little girl kick the shit out of you?”
Stubs ignored him and headed towards the truck cab.
“Hold on, asshole. You’re not getting into my cab covered in blood. You’re in the back.”
Stubs didn’t respond. He was clearly in too much pain to argue.
Link smiled at the agony it caused him to climb up on the bed unassisted. He noticed with satisfaction that more fresh blood dripped from his face. Once Stubs was on the truck bed, Link shoved him hard, causing him to tumble him into the cab wall. “Just helping you to the front of the bed, Stubs. You seem a bit shaky on your feet.”
Stubs struggled to right himself.
“Hold on tight now—I’d hate for you to fall out and die on me. It’d be a real shame to lose a sorry piece of scum like you.” Link climbed into the cab. He pulled forward as fast as the truck could go. He watched Stubs through the rearview window almost slide off before he caught himself on a metal loop with one finger. He knew that had to hurt.
He kept his speed up until they came to the gate. Slamming on the brakes at the last minute, he smiled as Stubs’ body slammed against the cab.
About the Author:
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.