Jenny opened her eyes and looked around.
She lay in a room of startling white, in a warm bed far more comfortable than that which she was currently used to. She turned her head to the side. A tray of food lay on a table next to her bed, and she sat up as her stomach reminded her just how hungry she was.
She couldn’t remember how she had gotten here, and she didn’t know where she was, but those concerns were banished as she tucked into her meal. Vague images of fire and death haunted her as she ate, and she seemed to remember that the base had been attacked, and she assumed she was in the medical ward.
Her body still ached in a vague sort of way, but she didn’t feel injured; just worn out and hungry. Nothing that good food and rest wouldn’t cure.
A door she hadn’t noticed before opened, and the most beautiful woman she had ever seen in her life walked in. She wore robes of subtle hues, and her white hair fell nearly to her waist. Jenny stopped chewing as she stared at this woman. Young woman, she corrected herself. Although she stood taller than Jenny, she could see that this woman was younger than she had first believed.
The white woman smiled at Jenny, and all her questions left her. The radiance of her beauty held Jenny in thrall. She let the plate of food fall from her lap, and it crashed to the floor, breaking the spell.
‘I’m so sorry,’ she said, embarrassed. The white woman smiled gently as she picked the plate off the ground.
‘There is nothing to be sorry for, Jennifer, you are our guest,’ she replied. Jenny felt tears of gratitude well up in her eyes, even though she couldn’t imagine why. The white woman gave her a knowing smile and placed a gentle hand on her arm.
‘I am Jade, Jennifer, and we are pleased to have you here. You are welcome, and when you feel well enough to join us, myself and Johnny would be pleased to see you upstairs.’
‘Where am I?’ she asked, her curiosity finally getting the better of her.
‘You are on-board a miracle, Jennifer. A miracle that I scarcely believe myself,’ Jade said. ‘You may be overwhelmed at first, but I am your friend, and you need have no fear.’
Jenny was confused, but Jade had a way of pitching her voice and accentuating her words that created such a sense of peace and well-being that she couldn’t imagine herself being in any danger.
Jade laid out the clothes Jenny had been wearing before the attack. They were clean and pressed, and she could see no signs of obvious damage.
‘When you are ready, you will find us upstairs,’ Jade told her before leaving.
Jenny’s curiosity got the better of her, and she hurried to get her clothes on. Leaving through the door, she glanced around before noticing a spiral staircase at the end of the corridor. She climbed the stairs, and took in the large room at a glance.
And then she fell in love.
He was easily the most magnificent man she had ever laid eyes on. Tall and supple and blonde and gorgeous.
Johnny stood up when he saw Jenny at the top of the stairs. He walked towards her smiling, mistaking the flush in her cheeks and her stammering reply to his greeting as a sign that she was overwhelmed by the ship.
‘My name is Johnny, and you don’t have to be afraid,’ he said.
‘You’re South African!’ she blurted out.
‘So are you!’ he said, grinning widely. They both laughed, Johnny in pleasure, and Jenny with breathless excitement.
‘The woman I met downstairs; who is she? Is she your sister?’ Jenny asked hopefully.
Johnny laughed. ‘No Jennifer, she’s my heart; my soul mate; my everything,’ he replied. Jenny’s heart broke, but she managed to keep the smile on her face, and Johnny didn’t notice the look in her eyes.
‘So you’re married then?’ she assumed.
‘Married?’ Johnny laughed again. ‘No, we’re not married, Jennifer, we’re still too young.’
‘Too young? How old are you?’
‘We’re both about thirteen,’ he replied. Jenny gasped.
‘Thirteen? That’s impossible!’ She looked around, and for the first time since meeting Johnny, she noticed her surroundings.
‘Where am I?’ she asked, concern in her voice. Johnny touched her arm lightly before replying.
‘Jennifer, you are on-board a craft. Myself and Jade are its masters, and you are our guest. I know how this is going to affect you when you realise what’s going on, but please trust me.’
‘A craft? What sort of craft?’
‘You’re in a UFO, Jennifer,’ Johnny said.
Jenny started giggling. ‘Okay, what’s going on here? Neil! If you’re behind this I’m going to kill you!’ she warned.
Jade walked in and put an arm around Johnny and the two of them watched Jenny soberly. She stared at them for a moment.
‘Prove it,’ she said finally.
‘Very well,’ said Johnny before walking to the controls and sitting down. A large panel at the front of the room opened up, admitting the glare of the desert sun. Jenny could see the landscape for miles around. She walked up for a closer look, and as she did so, the ship rocketed directly into space.
Jenny reeled from the shock, her arms flailing to keep balance as her mind threatened to shut down.
‘This has to be a trick,’ she breathed. Turning to Johnny, she said, ‘what is this? Some kind of video?’
He shook his head. ‘Jennifer, we both warned you this might happen. This is real, trust me.’
She looked out the window again as Johnny brought the ship back into the Earth’s atmosphere. Jade joined her and started talking quietly.
‘When Johnny first arrived at my village, we thought he was a god. He flew a ship of the gods, was clothed as a god, and looked like a god. I pressed my face to the dirt in terror and awe, but he raised me up and took me in his arms and saved me.’
Jenny looked hard at Jade. ‘But Johnny’s a South African. How is any of this possible?’
‘Johnny is South African, it is true, but he is also so much more Jennifer. Can you not see that?’ Jade said. ‘I am from a village deep in the jungle, but I too am more. We are researching this enigma, and that is how we found you.’
Jenny didn’t understand. ‘You’re from a village in the jungle? But you’re white! I mean, you’re more than white; you’re ethereal! I’ve never seen anybody that looks quite like you, certainly not anyone that comes from any jungle on Earth.’
Jade smiled. ‘I’ll tell you what I know. My ancestors believed we were descended from the gods. As a scion of the royal line, my blood is pure, and therefore it is logical to assume that I am a goddess.
‘In the course of discovering our heritage, this has been proven. I carry the blood of the gods. Johnny too carries the blood of the gods, but it was harder to find out how this was possible.
‘We were able to find clues that indicate that he may have been abandoned on Earth at the time of his birth, which means that he is truly a god. I was born here, Jennifer, but Johnny was not. Johnny was born on another world and raised as an Earthling.’
Jenny couldn’t believe her ears. She looked at Johnny again, and she could see it in his face. He may have a Saffie accent, but his face had a noble cast.
‘Where did you grow up?’ she asked Johnny.
‘In Germiston – near the railway tracks,’ he replied. ‘And you?’
‘In Cape Town,’ she replied, ‘near the mountain,’ she finished with a grin. Johnny chuckled, and then Jenny laughed, and soon both of them were laughing till the tears came.
‘I don’t suppose you know the latest Rugby scores?’ Johnny asked, tears streaming down his face, and that set them both off again.
Jade watched them with a fond, but bemused expression.
Published Titles in the Johnny Roberts Series:
Book Two: Johnny Roberts and the Gods of Eden
Andrew Noble © 2013
Cover artwork: John Killin © 2013
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© 2013 Andrew Noble All Rights Reserved