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About the author:
Aya DeAniege wrote for years, first to please herself then writing stories for free—believing no one would ever pay to read her stuff—before pursuing indie publishing. She still writes mainly for personal pleasure, with topics ranging from romance, fantasy, science fiction, on to whatever takes her fancy in the future. World creation fascinates her, and when she finds one she likes, she dabbles endlessly.
Here is a short sample from the book:
I sat in the back corner of the metal holding cell as four others paced in various states of dress. My belt, shoes, and bra had been taken, but I still had my shirt, underwear, and pants. The bra was probably only taken because I had threatened to use it to hang myself with if they put me in the cell.
Maybe if I wanted to keep my clothing, I should have kept my mouth shut.
The bra would have been useful at that point. It had had an underwire built into it. I could have used that as the start of a weapon. Or a full weapon.
What was it my father used to say?
Everything is a weapon. You just have to know where and how to stab a man with it.
His second favourite saying was usually uttered after taking down an Alpha pup, “Alphas, they're just like us. Except they whine and cry more when you beat the shit out of them.”
If my father were still alive, I wouldn't have been in that position. He had been killed two years previous by the Dom because he hadn't taken kindly to the Dom's eldest son humping my leg at a bus stop. The young Alpha had then followed me home when I tried to tell him to stop.
A life for a beating, sure, that seemed fair.
I pressed my hand against the cold, smooth metal. Looking out over the room, I couldn't find any creases. The room appeared to be made of one big piece of metal, moulded into shape. The toilet in the corner was the one exception, but that was just a lump welded into the opposite corner. It didn't even have a handle to flush it, just a sensor built into the wall.
No toilet paper, someone might use it to strangle themselves, others, or to fashion a weapon. I realize strangulation by one-ply isn't possible, but think of the headlines if I could pull it off. Maybe one-ply toilet paper would be banned. I could be the hero of people everywhere.
Leave it to Alphas to know what had to be removed because it might be used as a weapon.
I turned my attention to the floor. Solid metal, but with a hammered finish to it which kept us from falling as we walked. In the middle of the room was a drain, one of those industrial ones that were in public showers. Eyeing the others, I pushed off the corner and moved toward the drain. I knelt at the drain, but the damned thing was also welded into the floor.
They weren't taking any chances, but then, they probably built the room with crazy people like me in mind. Rubbing my finger over one of the slits, I pulled it away and scratched at it with my nail. There was something caught in the slit. It popped off suddenly and fell into the drainage pipe, but not before I got a glimpse of it.
A finger bone.
I looked around, trying not to seem like I was panicking.
The other four wore absolutely nothing that could be used as a weapon. Not unless I wanted to take a shirt or a pair of pants and try to strangle an Alpha.
The thing was, television shows got strangulation wrong. It didn't take seconds, especially not with Alphas. They processed air at a slower rate than the average person. The lungs and heart were built to support a body that evolved first as hunters, then as warriors.
Trying to strangle an Alpha was like trying to kill a tiger with a feather. They were also trained to fight. Every one of them had served in the war that had ended only twelve years previous. It wasn't like you could just sneak up on an Alpha either.
Heightened sense of smell, hearing, and instinct in general. They had a higher metabolism which meant they burnt hot and needed a lot more food and water. Somehow oxygen was the only thing they needed less of, that and sleep.
Before the technological revolution—that they caused—it was believed that Alphas were psychic.
Not psychic, just highly tuned to pheromones and hormones, especially those given off by carriers of the G14 genetic marker. Without the marker, you were just a civilian to them, you barely existed. As long as you paid your bills and didn't attack them or theirs, they left you alone.
Live your life how you please.
But if you had the G14 genetic marker, your body produced the normal stuff along with an extra set. That only really came into play in a couple of instances. One hormone caused you to break: your mind shattered and you were re-created as something else entirely.
Guided by an Alpha, a man could come through the break without changing in the least. They could also be turned into fuck toys for the Alphas.
Yes, I said it. Men were little more than blow-up dolls for the Alphas.
The women, however, were an entirely different story.
Depending on how the gene presented itself, our interaction with the world changed. A majority were little sheep like people who needed guidance, but put us near an Alpha and we get stupid.
The effects of an Alpha’s pheromones on a carrier of a marker was a bit like a woman being hit on by a hot man after a couple glasses of wine. We giggle, we flirt, we drop our pants and climb into their laps and beg for it.
Not all Alphas could find companions to serve them willingly, so laws had been made to keep them in companions. An Alpha with a fuck toy is a lot easier to control than one that was sex deprived.
I'll give you three guesses as to why the five of us were in that room, I'm betting you won't need all three.
Sure, we broke 'laws' but so did lots of others. And in the new world, those laws could change on a daily basis.
Such as the brand new law stating no one could give alms to a shunned one. Effective only in a fifty-mile radius from the Dom's home and unenforceable outside of that. The law that was brought into effect because some little brat told the Dom that I had been trying to lure my mother from the place on the street where she had been sleeping because he had decided she was Ig.
Ig, meaning cast out or abandoned.
Loranna IgOwen could find no reprieve from another Alpha because Alphas never stopped to ask why a companion had earned Ig. They assumed the worst and moved on with their lives. Of course, Owen AgDarrel was accepted. Right before the war, mutts were allowed to live, and Owen's daddy forced him out because Owen was a mutt. Except Owen killed Darrel during the war, so no one was left to stand for the innocents and proclaim Owen a mutt. Alphas tended to believe their own over commoners or even companions.
That was the shitty end of the stick, as it were.
The punishment for most crimes was death.
Hence the metal room with the grate in the middle of it. Alphas weren't exactly keen on humane execution unless it was for their beloved companions. We would be killed at the discretion of the Dom. Our lives could be given to any Alpha in his territory, to do with as they pleased.
With women, that was mostly slaughter. Males with the G14 could always be salvaged, even if it was a gift for another Alpha.
Any moment, the Dom would walk into the holding cell and claim me. Legal rape was all it was, and I'd be a ghost of who I once was, willing to breed him if only to stop the pain. Once a G14 was broken, an Alpha could cause pain with a simple word, or even by refusing to be in the presence of the companion.
I'd rather be killed, but he wouldn't give me that option. He'd break it out of me. I wouldn't be able to take my life no matter how hard I tried. Even after he died, I'd still be indentured to him, unable to move to another, unable to think for myself.
If I had carried the other marker, the one for homosexuality, I would have been let off. Maybe Alphas thought homosexuals had been persecuted enough.
Why in the hell couldn't they think the same thing about women?
Of course, Alphas needed breeders and could only beget more Alphas on those who carried the G14 marker, which was why we weren't immediately executed. Anyone of value or extraordinary beauty, sometimes even those who were nuisances, were saved from execution to lend their genetic material to the Alpha gene pool.
The men didn't exactly get off easily. If a second law was broken they found themselves in a similar room. If they weren't picked up by local Alphas, they were auctioned off on the national market. If they didn't sell there, they were executed, but the rumour was, few ever made it to the national market.
Rumour said all Alphas, every last one of them, was bisexual. They also had high sex drives, probably because they had to have a ton of sex to get a woman pregnant.
Only men on the planet not to feel like less of a man because they had a low sperm count. Ask me? They should all be castrated for all the damned good they do women.
There were two female Alphas, and only two. Rumours abounded about the pair, but it all boiled down to the same thing. No Alpha who valued his life was going to try to make the females breed with them. In this case, the female of the species was a great deal more dangerous than the male.
Rumour even said that one of the females was born of an incestuous relationship. Think that stopped the males from bidding for one of her harvested eggs?
They hadn't had females among their numbers in almost four hundred years. There was no way they were going to turn one down because her mother might have raped her brother/father.
I heard something in the hall outside the cell. Without giving any indication of what I was doing, I walked back to the corner of the room and sunk to the floor. I could hide my face, but that wouldn't stop the Dom from sniffing me out. Once an Alpha was locked onto your scent, they said, it was impossible to shake him off.
Of course, there was one other person in the world who smelled exactly like me. Looked like me, moved like me. The only differences between us were that she was considered the more playful and carefree sister.
And she was broken and bred by the Dom. Three boys, all bound to be the strongest of Owen's children, even if they were sickly looking things. That was why he wanted me. If the carefree 'weaker' sister produced that, well, he imagined my children might be higher blood.
I would kill them all in their cribs, but then…
“I'll be good, I'll be good, I won't do it next time.”
The naked woman pacing the length of the room, her breasts heavy with milk, hair a mess, had probably chosen that route and look at her. About to be dead.
I heard the key set into the lock, and I relaxed every muscle I could. My eyes slid closed, and I breathed out slowly. I let my mouth hang open just a bit.
My father trained and fought alongside Alphas. He had learned their tricks, the hearing things. Turns out, most people when they breathe through their noses quickly, make a sound. Especially if they've recently had a cold or blown their nose. Their next instinct is to sniff, which of course makes a louder noise. It's easier to take in a deeper breath through an open mouth. It also gave me the opportunity to use that air to fill my lungs, pushing out my breasts.
Alphas might be bisexual, but any of them over the age of twenty-five hadn't been allowed to touch or so much as look at a woman until twelve years previously. They were like teenagers still. If boobs moved, that's where their eyes went.
The door opened, and two of them walked in.
Once upon a time, they had their own pronouns. At the birth of the females, they started questioning if they should continue with the pronouns. By the time the girls hit puberty, the Alphas had come together and agreed to shed their age-old pronouns in the vested interest of respecting the females. Calling the females by the male pronouns was apparently an insult of the highest regard.
With no way to recall the female pronouns, it had been the logical choice, I suppose. Having three new sets of pronouns outside of the male, female, and gender neutral just seemed insane to me. How did one ever keep them separated?
A lot had changed since I was born, however.
When I was born, Alphas were on the sidelines of society. They created our gizmos and fought in our wars. They were our artists and great thinkers, but they were strictly controlled. Alphas couldn't even breed without the permission of the government.
Someone had gone and poked the beast in the eye. Then the government added gasoline to the fire. When it was discovered that every Alpha carried the G14 genetic marker and that many of them carried the secondary marker which made them homosexual, the shit hit the fan. The Alphas had fought to make those people nothing more than objects, only to become objects themselves.
A war broke out.
In the end, the Alphas won. Even with their numbers at one to every thousand, they won.
They always win.
In the dust of the civil war, they were learning their new place in the world. Territories were destroyed overnight. The ranks were slowly setting up, with the owners of fifty miles to two hundred miles being called Doms. Above them were the Masters, above them was Abraham. No title for him, just his name.
The rest of the Alphas were still in flux. They challenged the Doms but left the older, more experienced Masters alone. The last Alpha to try a Master had found himself under Abraham, broken and nothing more than a drooling husk. The Alpha was still on display as a warning to those who thought themselves better than the pecking order.
So it wasn't much of a surprise that, of the two who walked in, I only recognized one. The guard of the facility who was a lesser Alpha. For the most part, Alphas were Alphas. There was everyone, and then there were the Alphas.
But spend some time with them, and you'll notice the differences.
The other one, the stranger, was taller and broader than the guard. His features were in the 'gorgeous' spectrum, which was not a thing many Alphas could boast. They had almost flawless skin. Alphas apparently didn't suffer from pimples. They always had full heads of hair and could grow the thickest beard you've ever seen.
An Alpha doesn't have to be pretty to pass on his genes, however. It was their companions and breeders who were chosen based on their beauty, a choice that they hadn't had until the civil war. Before that, the government had been purposefully diluting the Alpha blood by offering up inferior—those who the Alphas only accepted for lack of choice—women for breeding.
The stranger, though, was a higher blood. That was what they were called, higher blood. They were almost entirely of the new generation and only born to certain lines. Older lines, prettier lines. The Master of the area was said to be gorgeous, and he had been born in the time of starvation. There were mutterings of what he could have been, if only he hadn't been starved as a child like all Alpha young were before the war.
The stranger had light brown hair. He was scruffy, hadn't shaved that morning at the very least. As his blue-grey eyes roved over the room, he reached up and scratched at his chin idly.
He was dressed in—get this—a torn t-shirt and worn out shorts.
Flip flops on his feet.