Mission: Planet Biter by Laurann Dohner
Mission: Planet Biter
Veslor Mates – Book Four
By Laurann Dohner
“You are such a disappointment. You could have done so much better than ending up here, Vera. I had high expectations for you. You were supposed to make enough money to support me in style. Do you? Hell no!”
Vera ignored her father, who kept ranting at her. His words were making her angrier by the minute.
“You’re a shitty daughter. The worst. I deserve so much better!”
Vera huddled on the bunk, glaring at a man who couldn’t really be there. “Well, you weren’t exactly dad of the year, so blame yourself if you don’t approve of how I ignore your calls. Not to mention, I don’t owe you shit. Maybe if you’d stuck around to raise me or paid for my education, I’d give you money.”
“You’re an ungrateful bitch. I gave you life!”
“Then you took off when I was an infant. I’m sick of arguing with you. You’re on Earth, living with some poor woman who hasn’t grown tired of you yet. Give her time. Your track record is usually six months or less before they show you the door.”
“You really are an ungrateful bitch!”
Vera struggled to be rational. She needed to try to remain calm and not lose her temper or start screaming. He wasn’t real. Her biological father wasn’t there. She knew that. It didn’t make him disappear though.
Deep breaths. In and out. That’s it, she mentally coached herself.
Vera sighed loudly, feeling calmer. “Others reported seeing dead people when the hallucinations started. Me? I get you. I know you’re still alive. I’ve only wished you’d die.”
“See? You’re rotten to the core! What kind of daughter says that to a parent?”
“An honest one! You’re toxic, and you only contact me when you want money. I don’t owe you anything. You’re a leach. Go try to suck money from some other idiot.”
She forced herself off the bunk, walking through her drug-induced hallucination, and entered the main security room. It had been four days since she’d moved there from her private sleeping quarters and locked herself inside. She sat down, scanning the monitors.
There was a terrifying werewolf showing in the hallway of pod three. It glared through the camera at her, blood dripping from its mouth.
“Not real,” she reminded herself, fighting her erratic emotions. “You’re not even that scary, so there!”
It morphed into a creature that looked suspiciously like a bigfoot from a horror vid she’d once watched.
“Fuck,” Vera muttered, dropping her gaze to the desk surface. That beast was terrifying. Her hands shook badly. The tremors had been happening for the last few days and were growing worse.
She continued her routine scan on screen six, to check the nineteen people who remained alive inside the pods.
Depression and hopelessness had kept her sobbing for days. The images of real dead people would haunt her forever.
Gina had hung herself with a robe belt in her bathroom. Niles, another co-worker, appeared to have smashed his head into the wall until he collapsed. Blood stained the wall and around his head where he had fallen. He hadn’t moved in over twenty-four hours, so she assumed he’d died as well. The cameras couldn’t zoom any closer to get a better look inside the private sleeping rooms.
The list of how people had died went on and on. Slit wrists. Overdoses. Suffocation. One married couple had even murdered each other.
“Maybe I’m imagining it,” she whispered. “Maybe they’re all still alive.”
She tapped to activate the camera inside Gina’s room. The bathroom door remained open, her lifeless body still hanging from the top of the shower.
“Or not.” She switched the feed to a live person.
Olivia lie on her bed, sleeping.
“Thank fuck.” Vera tapped on the mic symbol. “How are you doing, Olivia?”
The woman didn’t stir.
Her co-worker didn’t even flinch when yelled at.
Vera started to panic. “No, no, no. You open your eyes, damn it. Talk to me, Olivia. Help is coming, remember? You just need to ignore what you see and hear, keep calm, and think happy thoughts.”
“She’s fucking dead,” a deep voice grumbled from behind Vera.
Vera screamed, spinning around.
The hairy, huge, imaginary bigfoot stood just feet away, blood dripping from his mouth onto the thick brown fur of his chest. A row of razor-sharp teeth gleamed as he started to speak again.
“They are all dead, and now I’m going to kill you.”
Vera closed her eyes, panting. She faced forward. “Not real. Not real. Not real.” She also rocked in her seat, hugging her chest. “It’s the drugs we’ve been exposed to. I heard Dr. Hazel. We’re going to experience hallucinations and a bunch of other nasty stuff like feeling depression, rage, and paranoia. I’m locked in. Nothing can get to me. That thing is not real.”
A loud grunt sounded, so close she could swear she felt hot breath fanning her skin.
She forced her eyes open and reached over to place a call. A small screen rose from the surface of the desk. She tapped the surface of it to connect to the medical pod.
It wasn’t Dr. Hazel who showed on the screen.
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