Story Excerpt
End of the Line

flame div

The End of the lineGiovanni Gallardo shook his head. When they said end of the line, they weren't kidding, he thought as he watched out the porthole. The ship he rode on was docking at a spaceport of a backwater planet. He was at the end of the line for sure. He was practically at the end of the universe.

Spaceships didn't even fly beyond this point, not unless the pilot was totally loco. Giovanni wasn't a pilot but he also wasn't so sure he wasn't loco either. He had to be out of his mind to come to the edge of the known universe in the hopes of starting a new life away from earth.

And who in the hell named someplace The End of the Line? What kind of name was that for a city? Granted, it wasn't a large city, and it was kind of creepy, but still. Who came up with this shit?

Of all of the places he could have picked to settle in he had to choose this one? Yep, he was definitely loco. But desperate times called for desperate measures. No one back on earth would ever think to look for him here—he hoped.

Blending in with the local population was Giovanni's best hope of not being discovered but as he watched the inhabitants of the planet scurry around the spaceport, he was having his doubts. He'd never even seen some of the alien species walking around, much less heard them described.

Giovanni had hoped to travel as far from earth and his former owner as he could possibly get. He had thought coming to this planet would do the trick. But he was seriously beginning to rethink that plan. There was no one here to help him, not that there was back on earth either. But this place went so far beyond bizarre, even he seemed to stand out.

Men with blue skin and antennas drank foaming green liquid at what seemed to be an outdoor bar. Standing next to them was a person with a flat head. Giovanni blink. The guy, at least he assumed it was a guy, literally had a flat head. He could have carried a drink on it and not spilled a drop.

Giovanni's eyes were rounded with shock as he disembarked from the spaceship. He clutched his small bag tightly to his side as he stared with wide eyes at everything he passed. This was definitely not earth.

Aliens were segregated back on earth. They did not mix with the general population. They were only allowed inside the red zones. Giovanni had seen a few, mostly on the vid-screen and in magazines. He'd never really seen one in person. He was astonished at the variety.

"Hey, watch it!" someone snapped when Giovanni walked into them.

"Sorry." Giovanni quickly back peddled, fear spiking through him. He needed to watch where he was going. Giovanni wasn’t sure what the aliens’ customs were, never having known a single alien in his life. Could bumping into someone be considered a deadly offense?

He stiffened and clutched his bag tighter to his side when the thing snorted and blue smoke blew out his… snout? Giovanni was rethinking that whole escape from earth and you'll be safe plan he'd come up with. He just might have stepped out of the frying pan and took a nose dive right into the roaring fire.

People were starting to turn and watch him. Giovanni felt like a bug under glass. He wanted to blend in. He felt like he stood out like a sore thumb. He tightened his grip on his bag and lowered his head as he made a hasty retreat and tried to find some dark hole to hide in.

As much as he had hoped he'd be able to hide on this planet, if too many people saw him, word would get back to Drake. Once that happened, even hiding at the edge of the known universe wouldn't save him.

Giovanni found a small hiding place between two large crates against the back wall on the loading dock. He squeezed his small body in between them, for once thankful that Drake barely fed him. Hardly anyone would be able to get to him where he was hiding.

The space was tight, but it hid him from prying eyes. If he could just stay hidden for awhile then he could work out the rest of his plan. Right now, he had none. His only thought had been escaping. Beyond that, he didn't have a clue.

Giovanni knew he'd needed a job or some way to support himself. Being a sex slave to the biggest boss in New Chicago wasn't exactly something to put on a resume. Well, not unless he planned to peddle his ass on the streets and Giovanni was really hoping to avoid that. He'd had enough of being used and abused and never being able to say no. He wanted to try something different—like free will.

Giovanni clutched his bag tightly to his chest and hunkered down between the two wooden crates. For now, this seemed like the safest place to be. Besides, he'd had a long trip. Being on a spaceship filled with other people didn't exactly make him comfortable. Giovanni couldn't remember the last time he'd slept and he was exhausted. Maybe, for just a few minutes, he could get a little rest.

He'd decide what to do with the rest of his life once he got a little shut eye. With that thought in mind, Giovanni closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the side of the crate. Maybe when he woke up things would look a little better because so far, the End of the Line was looking almost as bad as Earth.