by Jennifer-Crystal Johnson
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GENRE: Science Fiction
Anna Reynolds is caught up in the middle of a secret interdimensional government agreement… and she doesn’t even know it. There’s a medical anomaly loosely dubbed Morgellons disease afflicting a number of people. Symptoms include open sores that produce colorful string-like fibers, fatigue, and nightmarish visions of shadowy figures. No one knows where it came from. No one knows what causes it. There is no cure. When Anna begins having nightmares and waking hallucinations of the shadow people, her uneasiness about her condition grows. Enlisting the help of her doctor and some friends, Anna is determined to find out what’s really going on and why Morgellons is such a mystery. With her health declining and doubts about whom she can trust, is Anna doomed to become a slave to her condition? Or will she and her unlikely group of would-be heroes come through, saving her… and, ultimately, the world?
The twinkling sound of the wind chimes gave an eerie undertone to the night, the wind blowing through the trees and the darkness seeming more intense than usual. Anna wrapped her coat tightly around herself, walking briskly back toward home. She usually didn’t walk anywhere, especially at night, but she’d decided to get some fresh air and needed time to think. Walking was always good for that, even if it was a little cold and getting dark so much earlier.
Reaching into her pocket for her keys, she approached the front door. The porch light was out – she must’ve forgotten to turn it on before she left. Trying to work through feeling alone and fending off paranoia, she rummaged in her purse for her keys and retrieved them just as her foot hit something on her front porch. Of course she couldn’t see, but it sounded and felt like a box of some kind.
She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and turned on the flashlight app to see what was happening. Shining the light on her porch, she saw that it was, indeed, a box. A mystery box, she thought. As if my life couldn’t get any stranger.
She unlocked the front door and flipped the light switch, but nothing happened. Trying to juggle her phone and the box at the same time, she walked into the house, set the box down, and went into the living room to try the light there. Also nothing. Shaking her head and doing her best to quiet her thoughts, she made her way into the garage with her phone and found the breaker box. She flipped the switch and the lights came on without a problem.
Things are getting entirely too weird around here, she thought, cautiously making her way back upstairs to her entry where the box sat. She switched off her flashlight app and stood still for a few moments, listening to see if she could hear anything to indicate that someone was in the house. She didn’t think so because her door had been locked, but she was so scared she could hear her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Everything else was silent.
Satisfied that no one was in her house, she picked up the box and took it into her kitchen. She set it on the counter and inspected it. There was a note taped to the top of it. She unfolded it and read aloud, “Trust no one.”
Jennifer-Crystal Johnson is originally from Germany, but was raised an Army brat. She has published one novella under her former last name, The Outside Girl: Perception is Reality (Publish America, 2005 – out of print as of 2013), a poetry book, Napkin Poetry (Broken Publications, 2010), and a collection of poetry, art, and prose called Strangers with Familiar Faces (Broken Publications, 2011). She’s also published a collection of short creature horror stories called If You’re Human Don’t Open the Door (Broken Publications, 2012), a personal development book called The Ten Pillars of a Happy Relationship (Broken Publications, 2014), and a collection of more horror stories (no creatures this time, just people) called Our Capacity for Evil (Broken Publications, 2015). She has several poems and short stories published on Every Writer’s Resource and has recently published a science fiction novel called Fibers, the first book in the Infiltration Trilogy. Jen owns and operates Broken Publications (http://www.brokenpublications.com/) and publishes an annual anthology to raise awareness about domestic violence called Soul Vomit (www.SoulVomit.com). When she isn’t writing or editing, she enjoys playing games with her three kids, watching crime shows on Netflix, or reading. She lives in WA State with her three children, three cats, and a crazy puppy named Thor. You can connect with her at www.JenniferCrystalJohnson.com, @brokenpoet, or www.Facebook.com/JenniferCrystalJohnson.
The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.