I, A.B. Shepherd, am a stowaway.
Did you know I can turn invisible at will? Of course I can. I can make you invisible too. Or Cass, or Rhys. Anyone. No, I’m not a magician. I am an author. I can do anything. All I have to do is write it, and it magically becomes truth.
In the dark of night, on that cold, wet beach, I watched, that terrible, terrifying scene unfold. I knew what was coming, but was powerless to stop it. Yes, I did just say I can do anything, but some things are stronger than even my writing. You see, the story had taken over by then. Once the story takes over, well, it’s too late. All you can do is write it, not change it.
Cass, and Rhys, with necks lit up like Christmas trees, got all stupefied, their eyes glazed like honey-baked hams. Poor Graham just freaked, ripping his hair out. He couldn’t stop it any more than I could. Unlike me, he didn’t understand what was happening, confused by the unreal events unfolding before his eyes. He’d heard of such things, but never really believed they happened. It was beyond his ken. Beyond even the farthest reaches of even his imagination.
I felt sorry for him, but I couldn’t save him. It wasn’t his story. He was merely a pawn in a much bigger, much darker plan. Graham was a good man, a brilliant and funny man. Yet he was expendable in their grand scheme of things. If I saved him now, they would be onto me. Onto my intentions to interfere in their experiment. No, I couldn’t save Graham at the expense Cass. For she was the king on their chess board, and they hadn’t checkmated her. Not yet.
The story hadn’t reached its conclusion. It was only just beginning. There was still time, still hope for Cass. I wanted, needed, to save her.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I jumped into the story with both feet. I became invisible and grabbed onto her, clinging to her just as she was spotlighted in the beam that flowed from the bottom of the craft. We were both zapped into the spaceship. Poor Cass, so lost and alone, and now this; abducted. Little did I know then that I was in far over my head.
And so it began, our journey on that Lifeboat. Cass and me. Rhys too.
Cass never knew I was there. I wanted to tell her that I was, that I would help her. That we would find a way out. Somehow, between the two of us, we would come up with a plan. But I never got the chance. She was never alone.
That alien, the one she called Friend, was attached to her hip every hour of the day and night.
I wanted to hold her hand, and give her comfort, yet I knew they would never let me near her. If I touched her in my invisible state, it would scare her to death. I would never get the chance to explain. If I whispered in her ear she would never believe me. She didn’t know I could write myself into her story. She would think she was having auditory hallucinations. That she had finally gone mad. She was so close to the breaking point already.
And so each day on that alien ship, I watched and waited, believing there had to be some way out for her.
Could I, somehow, change her story? Change her fate? Could I write her a better life? A new beginning? I wanted to. I struggled hard against the coming scenes. I battled the story gods, kicking and screaming. I wouldn’t let Cass go down without fighting for her with every fibre of my being. I wrestled and I wrangled. It was too soon to know if all my efforts would pay off.
The ship was pretty claustrophobic, even though I had the run of it, being invisible and all. I hoped to listen in on the alien conversations. When you are invisible you can be the proverbial fly on the wall. The problem was these greys spoke telepathically. You could only hear them if they projected their thoughts to you. They didn’t talk to me, and I couldn’t overhear thoughts. I knew of their overall plan, but they didn’t even know I was there.
In my exploration of the ship, I did run across Rhys. He wasn’t continually watched, the way Cass was. I did manage to listen in to some of his conversations. They left me frightened. I chose not to approach him, even though I could have. Nothing was what it seemed.
I feared for Cass and her future. I wanted to tell her of the danger ahead. I wanted to tell her to be careful.
I couldn’t wait to get off the ship. I was starving, stealing food wherever I could. It wasn’t enough. I was always hungry. The journey was long, I was becoming ill.
I was never so glad as when we finally arrived at our destination – that New World. Maybe, just maybe, now that we were here I could change things. Maybe I could make a difference.
I clung to Cass as they beamed her onto terra firma once again. It didn’t frighten her. That poor girl was unconscious. The aliens had drugged her. She never felt my touch, and I managed to elude the greys. Relief spread through me in a wave. I finally felt like I could breathe once we left the confines of the spacecraft.
I’ll admit I was a little bit surprised that with their telepathic powers the aliens didn’t somehow sense my presence the whole time I was aboard ship. All the better for me, though. And maybe for Cass.
I still didn’t know if I could change what was coming, but I sure intended to try.
Here, in this New World, I could drop my cloak of invisibility and blend in with the other survivors. No one would suspect I didn’t belong. Food was my first priority. I must get adequate sustenance if I would be strong enough to help Cass.
As I set off to find something to feed my belly, I noted that this New World was quite a pretty place. Lots of greenery, sandy beaches and ocean as far as the eye could see. To the other side a cute, almost quaint little town. It looked like a good place to start fresh.
Maybe, here, I’d get my chance to make things right.
Lifeboat – the Trailer
About the Author
A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia once her children had grown and empty nest syndrome set in. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends.
A.B. loves living near the Southern Ocean. She says it feeds her soul. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world.
An avid reader, A.B. has been writing for for more than twenty years. Her first novel, Lifeboat, is available now. Her second, The Beacon is coming Christmas, 2013.
Cass Carmichael has lost everything; her husband, her son, and her will to live.
She walks the streets and paddocks when she can’t sleep. One night she sees a UFO. She can’t stop thinking about it. She becomes obsessed.
When natural disasters destroy the earth she is rescued by extra-terrestrials and taken to a new world where the human race can rebuild.
But something is wrong here. This may not be the Utopia she expects. Survivors are vanishing without a trace.
Can Cass unravel the riddle in time to save herself?
Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages. For more information, see the