Authors: Rebecca Lorino Pond
Lost Among the Stars
Rebecca Lorino Pond
No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the author. All characters, places, and situations are a product of the author's imagination. Any similarity to any person, living or dead, is pure coincidence.
For all of my family
“Come on, Maggie. What do you have to lose?”
Maggie rolled her blue eyes at her friend. “Nothing! Absolutely nothing! But, really Kelly, another planet? Isn’t that a bit extreme?”
“That’s just it! No one will be able to find you, much less that ex of yours.” Kelly grabbed Maggie’s arms and made her look her in the face. “Do you really want that psyco to find you?”
“No buts. We are going to do this. This is the only chance you have to get away from Mark forever. He’s never going to stop until he finds you.” Kelly flopped down on the bed in the motel room they rented an hour ago.
“I know he’s not going to stop, that’s the scary part.” Maggie sat next to her best friend and chewed on her finger nail.
“How long do you really think it’s going to take him to figure out you made a run for it? A day? A week? This is your only chance to make a clean getaway before he starts looking for you.” Kelly sat up and put an arm around her shoulder. “It can’t be that bad. Several other ships have already made the journey and there hasn’t been any complaints. I’ll be with you too! We would be free of that monster and free to live a normal life!”
To have a normal life again would be a blessing after the past year with Mark. She should have broken up with him as soon as she found out what he really did for a living. How could she have been so stupid to have stayed with a man who was part of a known mob organization? She had been so engrossed in the fact that Mark was paying her any kind of attention that she didn’t see the danger that surrounded her. When she tried to break things off with Mark, he had gone berserk. At the time it had been the scariest moment of her life when he pinned her to the floor by the throat and told her she wasn’t going anyway. She was his property and she had better start realizing it. The final straw came on the night when she became the only witness to a murder.
Mark was expecting her to show up at his club last Friday night. She had gotten off work a little early and decided to stop by and let him know she was off early and was going home. She would have called him but she dropped her cell phone in the bucket of water she was using to clean up the paint she had spilled on the tile floor. It wasn’t unusual for her to stop by the club but she felt she needed to because Mark was angry with her because of an argument they had earlier in the day. She had forgotten to pick up his laundry from the dry cleaners, so he had accused her of being lazy. She had stormed out of his condo with him following close behind calling her names. When she arrived at work she was a frazzled mess. Mark was becoming more and more controlling by the day. She couldn’t go anywhere without his consent and when she was out he was constantly calling her to find out where she was and who she was with.
Half the day had gone by when her boss called her out to the front of the gallery. Standing there was a delivery man with a dozen of rare chocolate roses. It had been years since she had seen her favorite flower and immediately called Mark to find where he had gotten them. It was after she ended the call with Mark when she accidently dropped her phone in the bucket of water near her easel. Panic swept through her like a forest fire. Mark was going to kill her! Helen, her boss, knew how Mark was, so she suggested that she leave work early and go replace the phone before he found out.
Replacing the phone took a matter of minutes with the new drop and go cell phone replacement booths. Since the turn of the twenty-second century, most things had become automated or robotic and the cell phone booth was just one of about thousand scattered around the city. Lucky for her the passing monorail stopped a block from the gallery and she knew the rail’s schedule like the back of her hand. The monorail system had taken over when the use of personal vehicles had been banned.
Earth’s atmosphere and ozone layer had decayed immensely over the last hundred years. The One World Government has passed the decree banning personal vehicles in the year 2097, twenty-five years later the atmosphere had improved to a satisfactory level but there was still room for improvement. In her twenty-four years, she had never had the pleasure of riding in anything other than the monorail. It was where she had met Mark for the first time.
Looking back, she wished she would have waited to leave work an hour later then she never would have become entangled in the nightmare that started when she saw Mark shoot another man point blank in the face. Normally she would have gone into the club through the front door but it wasn’t open yet. It wasn’t a problem and she knew how to get in through the rear door of the club which was usually left open if Mark was there. She didn’t bother to knock as she went in and walked down the dim hallway that led to his office. As she neared his office she could hear male voices. She wasn’t concerned until the voices started to rise in anger. One male voice started to plead with the other voice she knew was Mark’s. Just as she approached his office door, which was slightly ajar, she could see that Mark’s back was facing her and the other man was slowly backing away from the gun Mark was holding up at him. She watched in horror as the man begged and pleaded with Mark for his life, but it was of no use. Mark pulled the trigger and the man’s head snapped back as his lifeless body crumpled to the floor. She was frozen in place until she heard the sound of the door that led to Mark’s office from the club open and shut. Footsteps moved her way quickly and she needed to find a place to hide.
Her only option was to go back out the door she had come in through. Her heart thudded and her whole body shook in fear as she raced to the door and slipped out. She made it around the corner of the building just as the back door flew open and Mark’s bodyguard charged out. Olaf must have seen the door closing as he was coming down the hall and went to investigate. Her only thought then was to get home as fast as she could. The ride seemed to take forever and once she was safely inside the condo she shared with Mark, she came up with her plan.
She would do her best to act completely normal when he came home. Hopefully, since it was Friday night, Mark wouldn’t come home until the early morning hours. First thing she needed to do was call him and let him know she was home or he would automatically become suspicious of her. She knew he had installed cameras in the house to watch her and there was no doubt in her mind he was waiting for her to get home.
With the phone shaking in her hand, she dialed his number and listen to the ring.
“You’re home a bit early, aren’t you?” Mark’s voice came over the phone.
She had to swallow back the bile that rose in her throat a
s she pictured him shooting the man. “Hi, sweetheart.” She desperately tried to control the shake in her voice. “Yeah, Helen let me go early since I finished up with the project she had me on. You coming home for dinner tonight?”
“You know I’m not. It’s Friday and I got some big wigs coming into the club tonight. Why?”
Crap! Could he hear the shake in her voice? “I was just wondering. After our fight this morning I wanted to apologize and thank you again for the beautiful flowers.” She was going to vomit!
“Sorry, baby, but I am glad you liked the flowers. You should have stopped by the club before you went home.”
She could tell he was fishing for something. “Damn it! I should have! I didn’t even think about it. You want me to come down?”
Oh God please say no!
“Na, don’t worry about it, baby. Do you have any plans for tomorrow?”
There it was! He knew she saw what he did! “I was going to ask you if it was alright if I went shopping with Kelly tomorrow. We might catch a movie too.”
“Perfect, baby. I have some business I need to take care of tomorrow and probably won’t be back until Sunday morning. I’m going to run home in the morning to pack an overnight bag.”
“Don’t worry, Sweetheart, I’ll get one ready for you.” She had to close her eyes as she continued on with her act. She needed to get off the damn phone before she gave herself away. “I’ll see you in the morning. I love you, Sweetheart.” Her stomach twisted in a hard knot as she forced out the words.
“Love you too, baby.”
The line went dead, but she still needed to keep up her act until she reached the bathroom. That was when she let her fear and anger take over. She cried her heart out as she sat on the cold tile floor as the shower steamed up the mirror.
Now, here she sat with Kelly in a scummy motel hiding from Mark. It was without question he had started his search for her since it was going on Sunday evening.
“How are we going to make it to the convention center to even sign up? Mark will have his goons everywhere!” Maggie shot up off the bed and paced the worn carpet.
“I got it all planned out, honey. Don’t worry.” Kelly waved a dismissive hand at her. “For now, you just need to chill. He can’t trace us to this dump. I paid
cash for everything so far and, from what I heard, as soon as you are processed into the relocation system, you go directly to the transport ship. They take off as soon as they are full.” Kelly yawned and stretched.
“But where are they shipping people to? It’
s never been revealed.”
“I don’t know, but this girl I work with has a sister that went and says it’s amazing!”
Maggie continued to pace back and forth. She basically had no choice but to go out into the unknown or face a horrible death at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. “Okay, let’s do it. What have we got to lose?”
Kelly walked over and hugged her. “Nothing but our heads, honey. Nothing but our heads.”
Early the next morning they headed out. Kelly had picked a motel that was located not far from the convention center so they would be able to walk the short distance instead of getting on the monorail. As they approached their destination
they saw a long line of people wrapped around the building.
“Wonderful,” Kelly said sarcastically. “We might as well just get in line.”
They got in line and waited. The line inched forward and many people were becoming very impatient. Some had even gotten out of line to go see what the holdup was all about and reported back to those at the end of the line.
re overwhelmed at the current time, the dude at the door said. More workers are being called in but who knows how long that will take,” the man with the blue hair said as he stepped back into line in front of Maggie.
A couple of hours later a group of security guards came down the line shouting for the men to separate from the women and form two separate lines. For whatever reason this sped up the wait time, at least for the women. It wasn’t long before Maggie and Kelly were standing at the front of the line, waiting for their turn at an interview.
They asked if they could go in as pair and Maggie was relieved when they were allowed to do so. She didn’t want to be alone for an instant without Kelly until they were safely aboard the transport ship.
Surprisingly, the interview went quick and only basic information was asked of them. With their boarding passes in hand, they were then ushered through a green door that led to the docking bay of one of huge transport ships. As they neared the ship Maggie had a feeling Mark was somewhere nearby. Ever since she had witnessed the murder her senses had been heightened to new proportions.
She stepped up to the ramp and handed the guard her pass. He looked at her pass then at her and nodded. “Have a nice flight.” He smiled and pointed up the ramp.
“Thank-you,” she said. She was at the top of the ramp when she suddenly heard her name being called by that familiar voice
“Maggie! Maggie!” Mark’s voice shouted from across the docking bay.
Out of habit she looked back when her name was called and froze. Their eyes locked onto each other as she stood glued to the ramp and he was held back by two burly guards.
“Maggie, get your fucking ass back here now!” Mark fought to get past the guards but the two men were much larger than he was. “Let go of me! That’s my girlfriend!”
Maggie stared in shock at Mark. She knew he would eventually find her but not this quickly. She was doomed now, he had to know she witnessed the murder.
“What are you doing? Come on.
” Kelly glanced to see what was holding Maggie up then grabbed her hand. “We need to go this way.”
Mark was still screaming his obscenities as she lost sight of him. Relief coursed through her when she saw she was the last one to board the transport and the ramp was being raised. She was going to get away!
All those who were relocating were guided into a large room and told to take a seat. Refreshments were sitting on a row of tables against silver walls with many of the applicants helping themselves.
“Hey, Mags, you notice that this transport holds just women?” Kelly asked then bit into
one of the cookies she had nabbed from the table.