Instafreebie Group Giveaway: Science Fiction Space Opera to…

Okay, I couldn’t resist the name Instafreebie…what fun!  Didn’t know this site existed till about a week ago; now I’m part of a group of science fiction authors giving out over 100 whole or partial books for free from March 1 through March 31st.  So please click on this link and this second link starting tomorrow and grab ’em while you can!

My two free offerings will be:

It’s the year 2100. Nan has had to leave her peaceful home above what used to be the Arctic Circle for something extraordinarily old-fashioned: a physical meeting with someone in, of all places, a city. If she doesn’t contract a fatal disease first, she might choke to death on Manhattan’s Rococo holography. And why hasn’t she heard anything from her best friend, Trix? But things are about to get a whole lot worse than having dinner with the man who hired her to devise a craft, which should get all those annoying aliens off welfare and back to their home planet.

…and…

Thanks to stellar advances in longevity, Earth is overrun by Baby Boomers well into their hundreds. Social Security being the stuff of history books, subsequent generations must find some way to put all those Boomers to good use…challenging since few have minds that have survived along with their bodies. But the silver lining is that few can complain about what some of those uses are.

Mary, born in rural Virginia in 1948, never was the good girl just hoping to catch a husband that her family expected. Instead of just minding her evening chores, she memorized the constellations as she marveled at the majesty of the night sky. All she ever wanted was to somehow, someday make it to the stars. Now, in a charity nursing home amidst the rubble of what’s now a post-industrial Africa, she might finally have lived long enough to see her wish come true. But only if she can escape her nursing home, free the other Boomers there..including the one who thinks she’s Marilyn Monroe and the one who thinks he’s Napoleon…and just remember what her own name is.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 59

Despite all her own injuries, Karen caught the teenage girl who fell across the threshold of the storage space and into her arms.  Every body part screamed, and her head spun violently, but she didn’t drop the teenager.

The teenage girl responded by puking all over her, including the clothes from Irwin she was wearing.

“Morning sickness,” Karen whispered gently in her ear.  “It’ll pass.”

The girl jerked back from her as if hit by baseball bat.  “Like, I’m def not pregnant, like, no matter what you…he…did!”

Karen caught the girl’s arms before she fell over backwards, watched this teenager’s bowler hat fall off behind her, and then heard something clatter forward across the storage space’s floor.

“My phone!”  The girl dived for it, but it skated all the way across the dingy floor and disappeared under the reception counter.

Karen made it to the other side of the counter first.  Something on its underside must have activated the phone.  Its menu blinked up at her, and her heart leapt.  She snatched it up, smiling at the possibilities she’d been so long without.  She should at least borrow it long enough to call in sick to work!

“Like, that’s mine!”  The teenager reached over the counter and grabbed it.  “And it’s fucking broken!  Like, you broke it!”

Karen, still behind the counter, leaned on it for support as she looked up at the girl and the still-open door behind her.

The girl wasn’t even looking at her anymore, fingers flying over a phone that apparently still worked.  Moto jacket slopped over black overalls and a white tee that was sticking out on one side.  Karen smiled, remembering a very long time ago when her guide to grunge was whatever they were wearing on My So-Called Life.

Clothes…  Now she frowned and looked behind the girl at the outside world she hadn’t seen in so long.  The clothes she needed were her work clothes back at poor dead Martin’s in a suitcase.  How would she gain access to his apartment?  By explaining to the police that he was dead but…and this only occurred to her for the first time…she had no idea where his body was?

She’d passed out just before her husband Frank finished killing Martin.  In her storage space.  With her, unconscious, the only other person remaining.  Who except Irwin, working there, could have reported what he found to the police and gotten the body removed?  And she thought she could claim defense against his assault as her only reason for killing Irwin?

Something told her what she’d pieced together wasn’t quite right.  Still, what would she be risking to return to an investment banking job she hated.  She wanted to work with people, not numbers.

“But this is crazy!”

It was only when the girl darted her a quick look that Karen realized she’d spoken aloud.  She froze in the act of coming out from behind the counter and heading for the door.  Still a gust of fresh air from outside swirled around her nose, teasing her.  Trees.  Sunlight.  All calling to her even if her imaginary friend, the building, had switched into overdrive with all its tales of people wrongly convicted of murder.

But the girl was still looking up at her, now clutching her stomach again.  Karen examined that young face and what she could see of her body…fresh bruises, old scars.  Scars in places she recognized somehow, shuddering when she remembered what Irwin had done to her.  Worse, though, were the girl’s eyes:  defiant, shut like doors, until a wave of nausea opened them all the way up to the tender, innocent child so carefully hidden inside.  Karen remembered holding this teenager in her arms and was determined to help her.

The girl heaved, snatched her bowler hat off the street, gave Karen the finger, and darted off.

“Oh no, don’t leave!” Karen called, heart sinking.  How could she have failed to help such a poor creature?  Again, she was about to come out from behind that counter, despite her need to hold on to it for support, and go after the girl…except she then saw the girl leap into a cab.

Devastated by her own failure, Karen buried her face in her hands and wept more tears than she’d ever shed on her own accord.

“I need your help!”

It was the most exquisitely beautiful voice Karen had ever heard.  She looked up.

The girl may have been gone, but in her place stood an elderly homeless woman.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 58

Martin peeled back the sheet so he could run his fingers over the girl’s naked hip.  She stirred in her sleep, mumbling, “I love you, Martin.”

It was then that he figured he was dreaming and struggled to wake up.  But he couldn’t.  He tried everything.  Finally he looked around.  Maybe he was conscious, but this was all one big hallucination?

The bed was in a room with a huge bay window.  The sky outside was blue.  The grass he could see on a steep hill was green.  The sidewalk wasn’t pink.  He heard something roar overhead and spotted not a dragon, but a plane.  Nothing was undulating.

Bloody hell!  Martin indulged in a long, luxurious stretch.  He felt great.  All those hallucinations before?  Purely his initial reaction to killing Frank…strictly in self defense!…and chronic lack of sleep.  He hadn’t dared to let himself think about it before, but just about the only elephant, pink or otherwise, that he hadn’t acknowledged in the room then was the fear that his father might have been right.  No, all those drugs he used to take hadn’t doomed him to a life of flashbacks.  Brilliant!  Life was sweet.

The girl stirred in her sleep again.  She wasn’t Karen, who haunted his dreams.  It was the girl that had smiled at him from across the aisle on the plane, while struggling with her rolling carry-on case.  The girl he hadn’t even noticed being there until after that stop on the way across country he just barely remembered.  Funny, he’d thought it was a nonstop and must have been destroyed to a point approaching death not to have noticed such a pretty girl immediately.

She stirred once more.  This time her eyes fluttered open.  At first the way she looked at him was sweeter than his sweetest dream of Karen.  But then something changed.  She looked surprised, then cold.  “Really gotta pee…Randolph.”  She sprang out of bed, a sight to see naked as she stumbled about a bit, apparently still groggy enough not to remember exactly where her own bathroom was.

Martin laughed and felt himself harden, hoping she’d find that bathroom and return soon.  In the meantime he looked around a bit more.  No, it wasn’t a hotel room and looked reasonably convincing as a place she’d lived in for a while but…  Something made his spider sense tingle; something about the place looked just a bit staged, its very casualness a bit too perfect, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.  Too used to seeing pink elephants, he chastised himself.

Anyway he forgot all about it when she finally re-emerged from the bathroom, thankfully still naked.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 57

Imogene looked up at the bitch like blocking her way into the storage space and like keeping her from getting her stuff before her parents killed her like really in Real Life.  “Due?”  So much for fucking Real Life.  Imogene gave a snort of laughter before going back to Snapchatting on her phone.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Like OMG that bitch I just sent pics of thinks I’m pregnant!!!

^URSunPC&proud:  Zayum!  Not woke.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Def not woke.

^URSunPC&proud:  < looking @ clothes.  He?  She?  They?

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  He clothes.  She body.  “They” till he/she/they corrects us?

^URSunPC&proud:  < unPC, calling he/she/they “it” cuz it called u pregnant.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Hahaha.

^URSunPC&proud:  < never saw u RL but know u better than RL here.  U say u virgin = bible.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  < name not Mary, not from Bthlhm, not pregnant.

^URSunPC&proud:  Hahaha but u gotta go RL & get ur stuff.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Sec.

^URSunPC&proud:  K.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Like OMG!!!

^URSunPC&proud:  ?

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Like its clothes!!!  Like OMG, like its clothes are making me like cray cray cray cray for no reason!!!

^URSunPC&proud:  Don’t go Draking on me.  Must be a reason.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Like no reason!!!  Like I don’t care if it stole his clothes!!!

^URSunPC&proud:  He?  Who he?

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Like no1.  Like not important.  Sec.  Sick 2 my stomach.  Maybe puke.

^URSunPC&proud:  But u haven’t had anything 2 eat this morning.