Untaken, by J.E. Anckorn

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It turns out that a real alien invasion is nothing like the Sci-fi shows 14-year-old Gracie loves. Not when it’s your own family who are swallowed whole by those big silver ships. Not if it could be you next.

In her search for her family, Gracie meets Brandon, a high school dropout who would never have been caught dead hanging out with a dork like Gracie before the world ended. Gracie isn’t too crazy about Brandon either, but he has one thing she doesn’t: A plan.

Brandon’s uncle has a cabin up in Maine, and If Gracie and Brandon can survive long enough to get there they can hide out until the Space Men pack up their ships and leave.
Until the army guys come to rescue them, says Brandon. Brandon is big into army guys. Gracie has to admit that Brandon’s Awesome Plan probably would have worked out great if wasn’t for Jake.

They found 5-year-old Jake, laying half-dead under the remains of someone’s ranch house. He’s a good kid, even if he won’t-or can’t- talk. But Jake has a secret, and when Gracie finds out what it is, the fragile new life they’ve started to forge looks set to break apart.

When the people you’ve been counting on to put the world back together start hunting you down, alien invaders are the least of your worries.


Chapter Two


The blankets were tangled up in a big knot around my legs and the sun was over the other side of the house by the time I woke up. I groaned. No point calling Stevie now—I could never tell when Dad would come back from his hunting trips, and if he came back while Stevie was here, he’d be pissed. Dad never liked any of my friends too much, but Stevie really rubbed Dad the wrong way. Stevie did good in school, so in a way, he was kind of a nerd, but he was a cool kid, too, with his long hair and old-school leather jacket. Some people were surprised we were friends, me amongst them, to be truthful. He could have been friends with anyone; he had a talent for getting along with people. People who weren’t my Dad, at least. I don’t know whether it was the big words Stevie used, or the big ideas he had that Dad hated more.

Stevie played a mean bass guitar. He was always trying to get me to start bands with him.

“We’ll wipe the dust of this pissy little town off our feet!” Stevie would yell when he was fooling around with one of his band ideas. He only said it to goof around. He loved all that cheesy guitar hero shit, but Dad didn’t like people to speak bad of our town or to get uppity ideas, and although I told him Stevie meant it as a joke, Dad never did warm to him.

Today, Dad’s return would be a toss-up between him screeching into the yard at noon, steaming from a fight he’d had with Bob on the way up, or
rolling in tomorrow morning, stinking of beer and cigarettes. Him finding Stevie here would be bad in either scenario.

When I was a little kid, Dad used to leave me with Grammy when Bob and he went up to Maine, but now that I was fifteen, he left me on my own
to mind the house.

It wasn’t so bad when he was gone—kind of peaceful, in fact—and God’s honest truth, Uncle Bob was kind of an asshole. Still, the twist of sadness I’d felt in my gut hearing his truck pull away before dawn this morning was the same one I’d felt as a baby, watching him leave from behind Grammy’s net curtains, with tears and snot hanging off my chin. It would’ve been good to be one of the guys for a change, instead of the kid who gets left behind.

I dragged on a T-shirt that smelled fresher than the rest and stumbled through to the kitchen to splash some water on my face. I had to let the tap run a good few minutes before the water was even remotely cool.

Outside the kitchen window was the cracked patch of dirt where the truck usually stood. I wondered where Dad and Uncle Bob were. Sitting lakeside
with their fishing poles? I sure hoped so.

Dad had been in a good mood these past few weeks, but I knew from experience that the trouble he could cause when he was crackling with energy and purpose was a hundred times worse than when he was in those low, black, mean-drunk spells.

I hoped that today’s trip with Bob would wear him out some. Maybe he’d come back so tired he’d actually sleep, instead of pacing the floor half the night.

Or maybe him and Bob would get up to mischief and he’d come back lit up and crazy like a rabid raccoon.

I stuck my whole head under the tap and shook off the water. It still wasn’t properly cold, and the little rivulets that snuck in down the collar of my t-shirt were more annoying than refreshing. If they’d have taken me with them, I could have swam in that nice cold lake. If they’d gone to the
lake at all.

There was one good way of finding out.



About The Author:

J. E. Anckorn has been an artist and writer ever since she began to surreptitiously doodle on school supplies instead of learning about practical things, like osmosis and mathematics.

After barely surviving a freak mathematical osmosis disaster, she set out to travel the world, living in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong before returning to her native Britain- just in time to marry an American and leave for the U.S.A.She still failed to learn anything about osmosis, but did manage to cultivate an accent that is unintelligible to almost everyone. (It happened through a mysterious net movement of information from the outside environment into her brain. If only there was a word for that!)

This led to her development of a new language, based almost entirely on polite yet uncomprehending nods.In between these adventures, she has worked as a toy designer, copywriter, and freelance illustrator.She lives in Boston, with a small grumpy dog, and a large, slightly less grumpy husband.
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