Descended (Alien Mate Index #3) - Evangeline Anderson Page 0,1

be ready.

He was determined that this time, he would not fail. The Assimilation would rise again and every sentient being in the galaxy would speak its name with fear and awe and wonder.

The Last Day would become the First.

Chapter One

Charlotte

I slipped into a supply closet at the North Florida Regional Medical Center hospital where I was doing my surgical rotation, and crammed myself into a corner, breathing hard.

He’ll never find me here! I’ll be safe here, I told myself. Yet how many other times had I told myself the same thing, only to find that I was wrong?

I took a quick scan of the closet and breathed a sigh of relief. Stacks and stacks of fresh sheets and towels, sterile, plastic wrapped trays for various procedures, bags of saline—it was all good. I didn’t see any shiny, reflective surfaces here. There was no way he could find me.

That is, until I had to go out again.

Which would be as soon as any of the dozen or so patients under my direct supervision had a problem and one of their nurses paged me. And that could be at any moment. So I needed to take a moment to enjoy my sense of peace and safety now.

Then I heard it—that high, squeaky voice that had been haunting me for weeks.

“Attention, Charlotte Walker,” it said, coming from somewhere overhead. “I have a message that I must deliver to you.”

Looking up, I saw that the light fixture in the supply closet had a curving, silver metal side which was shiny enough to reflect light. Only instead of the dull glint of the light bulb, it was showing a strange, blue worm-like creature with multiple arms and eyes that were mounted on stalks.

It was the same creature I had been seeing for weeks. It appeared everywhere—the bowl of my metal spoon when I was eating oatmeal or yogurt, the side of the toaster when I was making toast, even the shiny metal surgical instruments laid out on the tray in the operating theater where I was supposed to be assisting.

The other day it had appeared in the middle of a splenectomy, speaking to me from the blade of a scalpel in its tiny, high voice that only I could hear.

The blue worm creature had startled me so badly I had dropped the scalpel I had been handing to the surgeon right into the patient’s open body cavity! Luckily, the scalpel had fallen handle first, so it hadn’t severed any major blood vessels or punctured any organs, but the surgeon had been livid. I had been dismissed from the surgery with a black mark on my record.

Thanks a lot, you little blue bastard!

Day and night the worm followed me—unless I slept in a completely dark room with no reflective surfaces. But have you heard when medical interns get to sleep? That’s right—almost never. We’re constantly on call, constantly on the move. And we almost never get a good night’s sleep—or any sleep at all, for that matter.

It was awful and also, the main reason I was convinced I was going crazy.

“Charlotte Walker,” the blue worm said again. “I have accepted payment to deliver a message to you regarding—”

“No! NO!” I screamed, finally “losing my shit” as my best friend Zoe would say.

Zoe. God, I missed her—she had disappeared months ago and nobody knew what had happened to her. When my other friend, Leah, and I had finally made the painful decision to stop looking for her, I had decided to go to med school and drown my sorrows in work. And because I was already a PA, I’d been allowed to jump right into the third year which meant clinical rotations at the hospital and plenty of action to distract me.

At first, everything had been fine—well, as fine as it could be after losing my friend. But then the blue worm had started stalking me. And now, after weeks of constant harassment, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Charlotte Walker—”

“No, no, no!” I shouted. “Leave me alone!”

I pulled off one of my comfortable clogs, stood on a plastic stool which was obviously used for reaching the higher shelves, and began banging on the light fixture as hard as I could.

“Leave me alone!” I screamed at the weird blue worm. “Leave me the fuck alone!”

“What’s the matter, Walker—pager driving you bugshit?”

I looked over to see my friend and fellow intern, Sebastian Trent, leaning against the door jamb with his arms crossed and a sarcastic little smile playing around the