Breathless, she turned to me and unwound the scarf from her neck and wrapped it around mine. “I want you to be surprised,” she laughed as she covered my eyes. I heard the door open, and she slipped her hand in mine to lead me inside. Something swooped over my head, and I ducked.
“What was that?” I asked, unnerved.
“Just listen,” she giggled.
I stood stock still as I tilted my head, listening. Are those birds?
“Is that birds?” I asked, excited. I hadn’t seen birds in months! I started to lift my scarf, but Annika stopped my hand.
“There’s more!” she whispered in my ear, and goosebumps raised on my arms. She led me by the hand deeper into the room.
“Smell,” she commanded gently.
An intoxicating aroma filled my nose, and I grinned. “Flowers!” My heart swelled. This was the happiest I’d felt, not just at Pine Gap, but in my adult life. Being with Annika was like being a kid again. The world felt new and grand when I explored it through Annika’s eyes.
“Very good!” She clapped her hands. “Let’s see how you do on the next one.” She guided me to another area of the room, and I felt like I was walking among the clouds, dizzy with birdsong and flowers.
“What do I get if I guess right?” I asked, a wide, stupid grin painted across my face underneath her scarf.
Her hand held my wrist as she guided me to the ground. “You’ll have to guess correctly before I tell you your prize.” I sat beside her, running my hands along the ground. It wasn’t hard, like every other surface at Pine Gap. It was soft. I buried my hand amidst the thick, cool blades tickling my fingertips. Is that…?
“No way…grass!” Unable to contain myself, I ripped the blindfold off, too excited to play this game any longer. I marveled at Annika and her room of miracles.
Annika sat on her knees as I swiveled my head around, trying to see everything at once. After being surrounded by black uniforms and steel hallways, the room was a raucous symphony of vibrant color. We were inside an enormous greenhouse filled with UV light. A false sun shone down on us, warm and familiar like the sun I once lived under. Macaws looped over our heads, soaring through the air as if they were free in the world above. Something tickled my finger, and I marveled at the tiny ladybug exploring my hand.
It was a tiny Garden of Eden, and my eyes darted from one wonder to the next before landing on Annika. She watched me, smiling at my open-mouthed wonder. “This is amazing!” I laughed joyously. “I didn’t even know this was here!”
Annika carefully picked the ladybug from my hand and set it gently on a leaf. “Not many people do. This is sorta my place.” She looked up at me, a shy smile spreading across her lovely face. “Maybe it could be our place.”
My chest tightened, choking off the all the words I wanted to say to her. She lifted her hand to my cheek, her face full of understanding. She leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to my lips.
They say a kiss can make a guy weak in the knees. This is an understatement. Annika’s kiss was bewitching, and I whole-heartedly allowed myself to fall under her spell. I was a lost cause for any other female. There was only Annika, as if I had been searching for my whole life, and the answer was finally before me. The only woman I could ever love, would ever love, is Annika.
Book & Author Details:
Title: Hybrid: Adapt or Die
Author: Rebecca Henry
Publication date: August 2019
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
Agent Van of the CIA is sent to an Australian underground military surveillance base called Pine Gap. Agent Van finds himself thrown in a conspiracy cover up of an ancient alien race known as species X. Agent Van falls in love with Annika, a mysterious and uncommon woman who displays unusual abilities, leading Van to question her own origin. Mystery and horror explode around Agent Van during a cave diving exhibition to search for a lost colleague referred to as Agent One. The only clue for Agent Van and his team is a cryptic message carved on a wall inside the bleak cave that reads “Agent One is gone. No more Agent One.” Terror arrives as the agents are trapped inside the ominous cave. Agent Van soon learns that there is more to Pine Gap than Species X.
Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an American author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. Rebecca is a serious vegan, gardener, wife and mom who practices yoga.
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