For about six or eight months, I’ve had an idea bouncing around in my head. Usually, at any one time, I’ll have three or four ideas in varying stages of completion. Fight or Flight had priority, but these other ideas have been slowly coming into being in the background, solidifying over each day. I think it was in January when I finally cracked and wrote the prologue and first chapter. I had planned half the book in bullet points, and I needed it out of my head in order to put it aside.
Now that Fight or Flight has gone off to the editor, I’ve been free to work on this new project, and it’s going well. I’m sure that before I’m finished, I’ll two more ideas working away. So, I thought I’d put out a little sneak peak and see what people think of the beginning of the new project.
The hum was constant, resonating through the walls and down the corridors. At first, it had been annoying. The drone vibrated through his ears and into his bones. It had taken a while to forget about it, but over time he had let it drift to the back of his mind. One night in the dead of space, he realised that he no longer heard the humming. He had wondered if it meant he’d finally accepted his choice, that he’d truly become part of the crew. His bones resonated on the same frequency as theirs.
He was theirs.
Her hum was different as she plumped the pillow in the curl of her arms. It sounded like happy sighs caught behind her lips, happiness she wasn’t quite ready to let go of. She lay on her front, her head turned towards him. Her eyelashes fluttered and she smiled.
“Stop it,” she mumbled, barely parting her lips.
He tugged his pillow closer to hers, his elbow sagging into the familiar dip made by nights of lying in the same position.
“Watching me. It’s creepy and I’m trying to sleep.”
He hummed his reply. She cracked one eye open and glared at him.
Chuckling, he laid his hand on the small of her back. He brushed absent strokes back and forth against her skin until her soft smile returned.
“The next one will be different,” she said sleepily.
“I’m not sure. It just will be.”
He scooted closer to her, resting his head on his arm. Her breath washed a wave against his jaw, drawing him in with the tide. He watched his fingers as he traced the tips up her spine, feeling every ridge under her warm skin.
The tattoo lay cradled between her shoulder blades. In the dim light it looked more alive than ever against her skin, so smooth that he could almost feel the serene crystal it portrayed. His middle finger made a full circuit of the pale crystal ball before he looked back at her.
“There’s always something different,” he told her. “Each place we go. There is always something.”
Her eyelids twitched and she breathed in all the air between them. He leaned closer to her, drawing the circle of the tattoo over and over with his fingertips as he rested his forehead against hers.
“She’ll be different,” she whispered. “The new one.”
Her eyes opened. Pale, dappled green shone back at him in the dark.
“You’ll like her.”
He drew in his brow and laid his hand flat over the design on her skin. He pulled himself closer.
“I like everyone.”
“No one likes you.”
Her words brought a laugh to his lips, and he shrugged.
“No one remembers me enough to like me.”
He nodded against her.
“Yes, you do.”
Planting a feather light kiss on the tip of her nose, he slid his fingers into her dark hair, drawing it back from her face. For a moment, she lay still, a distance to her eyes that he had seen many times.
“You’ll forget me,” she said finally. “When the new one comes.”
He scoffed and shook his head. Grasping her hair, he pulled her head back so he could see her better.
“You’re being ridiculous, Anna, I’m not going to forget you, certainly not for some new kid.”
“Don’t worry, Jack,” she whispered with an absent smile. “I’ll forget you first.”
She leaned into his arms, pressing her lips to his. Snaking her arm out from around the pillow, she draped it over his waist, fingertips dancing over that spot only she could find. Jack groaned in defeat and enveloped her into his embrace. Holding her against him, he resigned himself to the fact this was just one of those things he would just have to argue later.
Between her shoulder blades, turquoise smoke swirled inside the crystal ball, and slowly faded away.