Dabney Wilson woke in darkness. He felt cold to his bones, his fingers so cold he couldn't feel them. Where was he? Why is it so dark? He reached out with frozen fingers on his right hand and felt a wall. Doing the same thing with his left hand another wall. He brought his hand to his mouth and blew on his fingers trying to warm them.
He couldn't remember how he arrived in this situation. He lay on his back in the cramped quarters with no room to move or change positions. Three days ago he remembered meeting two men at a cancer clinic. They were strange men, but they were going to help him? How?
Did he have cancer? Yes, that's right, he was at the clinic to have his cancer removed. But, these men weren't doctors. They had funny accents and said they could help him with his cancer, but how? Claustrophobic in the little box that felt very much like Dabney thought a coffin might feel. Did the men kill him or think they killed him and buried him still alive?
Dabney pounded on the box lid and yelled. "Help me, I'm trapped, help!"
Twenty minutes later, his mouth raw from yelling and screaming, he stopped. Trapped in a coffin, six feet under, how would he die, thirst, hunger, suffocation or some other long painful agony? But, the screaming and banging on the box had helped warm him and as the blood in his body warmed his memory returned a little clearer.
The clinic did specialize in cancer patients, but they didn't have a cure. Not yet. But, they knew that in the next twenty years a cure would come and they could help him at that time. But, Dabney didn't have thirty years, the doctors gave him two to six months. So what were these other guys going to do for him?
Then it came clear. They weren't cancer specialists, but cryogenics specialists working in a cryo lab. Dabney agreed to being put to sleep and frozen in the expectation that a cure would come some day and then the clinic would awaken him and he could be cured. In an effort to save on the expenses of holding him and hundreds of other bodies in the cryo-lab, these guys had worked out a system where for every five hundred people they froze, they would send the bodies to space where cold was free. It made total sense to Dabney and he paid a lot of money to be in the first cryogenics group in space.
His spirits lifted as he realized if he was waking, then the cure for his cancer must have been found. How long had he floated in space? It felt like he went to sleep hours ago. He waited while his body warmed and worked to calm his panic stricken nerves. He wasn't dying he was finally going to be free of cancer.
He heard noises above the box and he banged his hand on the lid once again, just to let them know he was warm and awake. People talked, but he couldn't understand what they were saying. Probably a result of the body freezing and he figured that problem would clear up at some point too.
The lid lifted and he closed his eyes at the bright lights entering the box. But the blurry shapes he saw before closing his eyes, didn't look right in his mind. Another problem with the cryogenics? He let his eyes adjust to the bright light and then opened his eyes with caution.
He wanted to push back into the box at what he saw. These weren't humans that opened his box. They were green-scale covered aliens with tails and three eyes. They were strong and dragged him out of the box. He looked around the room, a kitchen of some kind with other aliens preparing food.
What was he doing here?
Then the smelly aliens struggled with Dabney as they held him over a pot of boiling water. Dabney considered the items already in the pot, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, and celery. They forced him into the boiling stew.
Eclipse of the Triple Moons is Book 1 in the Mountain King Series.