How far will a High Priestess go to save her people? As far as it takes.
Chief Criido’s life is in danger, and by extension, the entire village is at risk. Kari and her crew are attempting to protect against an enemy unlike any they’ve come across before.
Tavionna’s people are dying, and she doesn’t know why or how to stop it. All she knows is that something needs to be done, and she’ll do absolutely whatever it takes to keep her people alive and healthy.
Will Kari reaching out to Charlie for help be enough to protect them against Tavionna’s threats and attacks?
Can Kari find a solution to all their problems before any more lives are lost?
*Ngozii’s Plight is book 3 in the Among the Cosmos series that must be read in order. Contains adult content, threats, and scenes of medical distress - including blood. This is a romance story containing MF, MM, and MFM relations.*
Release date: March 20, 2023
Publisher: Melissa Smith
Print pages: 157
Content advisory: This book will contain some threats, minor violence, and graphic adult situations, some domestic abuse, rape, racism, and other hot button issues mentioned in reference to a particular characters upbringing.
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Galactic Year 4057 (5 years old)
Running through the woods back home from the lake, I jump onto the porch and rush inside to show my mother what I’ve found. She’s sitting on the floor, tears pouring from her green eyes as her thin shoulders shake with sobs, her long straight hair hanging around her. “Mama, what’s wrong?” I slowly walk up to her. As her eyes lift to mine, I notice the red mark on her face, her lips shaking as she lets out a breath.
Her lips lift in a small smile as she wipes at her eyes. “I’m fine, baby. Everything is fine. Come here.” She scoops me into her arms as I giggle, holding up the shell I found. “Oh, is that for me? It’s lovely!”
“It’s your favorite color. Listen, it sounds funny.” I lift the shell to her ear. She’s quiet for a moment, her eyes staring off across the room before drifting to me.
“It sounds like the waves on the lake, doesn’t it? I could listen to that all day.” She smiles and snuggles me close. “Would you like to help me with dinner?”
I nod as I jump up and clap my hands, Mama laughing as she carries my shell with her to the kitchen.
We sing and cook together, enjoying the cool evening, before we sit down to eat in silence. I look around for Father, but the house is quiet. “Mama, where is Father?” She lets out a long breath before answering, never looking up at me.
“I don’t know, baby, out. He’ll come back when he’s ready.” She finally looks up and smiles at me, and I smile back, telling her all about my time by the lake looking for shells. We enjoy our dinner together, laughing and talking as we eat.
I help Mama clean up before running back outside to play while the sun is still in the sky. As I jump off the porch and turn to play out back, I catch sight of my father.
He’s grumbling to himself, angry, as he drags a large Ngiri boar behind him before lifting it up onto a table. His beard is growing in thicker, his long black hair tied in a braid along his back, and his dark purple skin is covered in mud. Staying out of sight behind the house wall, I watch as he slashes it open with his large hunting knife, yanking out its insides and cutting off the parts we don’t eat.
Blood sprays around him, on him, but he doesn’t seem to mind it at all. A part of me wonders what has him so angry. Father has always been a bit of an angry man, but this scares me and has my stomach rolling. Turning, I head back inside and decide it’s best to go to bed before he catches me and I end up like Mama.
Galactic Year 4067 (12 years old)
Hiding in the brush, Father and I wait for our moment to strike. He teaches me how to be patient, how to call the animals forth before firing the arrow, taking it down. Rushing forward, I watch as he quickly slashes the boar’s throat, making sure it’s dead, before we carry it back to the house to butcher.
As we walk, there’s a proud silence. Father claps my shoulder, letting me know he’s proud of me for taking down the boar without any trouble. I smile as we walk along in silence before reaching the butchering table outside our home.
“You ready to learn how to handle your kill, son?” He grins at me, and I nod enthusiastically, ready to fend for myself in the world. As he begins to make his cuts, deliberately and carefully, he explains what he’s doing and why before letting me have a turn with the knife. When I struggle, he jumps in to help.
Eventually, I resort to simply watching him do it, letting him explain his tips and tricks instead. My mistakes and struggles irritate him, even if he doesn’t say so, and I find it easier to learn this way. Perhaps next time I’ll do better at it now that I know what I’m doing beforehand. As I watch, my gaze wanders around us, spotting a hunting party going off into the woods not far from us. Turning back to my father, I study him.
“Father, why don’t you hunt with a party like the others?”
He scoffs, looking behind him to the departing group that caught my attention. “Hunting parties. Pfft. What are we, a bunch of girls? Hunting isn’t a party, son, it’s a necessary skill for survival. It’s meant to be every man for himself and his family.”
He goes back to butchering my kill, his actions now harsher and angry as he grumbles under his breath. Keeping my mouth shut as I watch, I ponder some things I’ve seen and weigh it against Father’s words.
Playing around the village, I notice how families share goods and services back and forth, working together to provide everyone with what they need. Is that not a good thing? I would think that would make life easier.
“Listen, son. These men hunting in parties, they’re just too weak to hunt alone, and we aren’t weak, you hear? This world, it’s changing, and not for the better. The cities around us are growing every day, and interplanetary travel is becoming a thing now, new species of people moving into our world all the time, muddying up our bloodlines and taking our mates.”
He grumbles under his breath before stabbing at the boar, his anger and passion on the subject holding my attention as I listen to his rambles. I’ve heard of the cities and the fact that we can travel through space, but I’ve never been to one, never seen a spaceship up close. Growing closer to the age of mating every day, I watch the other kids around me frolic together, whisper, and play. There are rumors that float around and some kids even scamper off to kiss and test the physical bounds of relationships, but I have yet to do such a thing. I don’t exactly fit in with the other kids.
“You know we used to have soul bonded mates? Mates made specifically for us, but now we can’t find them anymore. The world is too full of people, and these people are breeding with other species, ruining our chances for finding our mates! It’s sick and wrong.” He points the knife at me, and my eyes widen as I listen intently.
“This village has managed to maintain its purity so far, no outsiders joining our ranks, but without true soul bonded mates, we produce less young, we’re working together as we weaken and die off. If we’d get back to the old ways, let the strongest survive, things would be better, like they used to be.”
He looks down at me, staring at me with an intensity that makes me want to squirm. I don’t know what it is that he’s about to say or what he thinks as he stares at me, assessing me, but I never want to disappoint him. “Don’t you go making friends with those weaklings or letting some outsider trick you into love, you hear? We’re a pure blood family, the way we was intended to be, you got it?”
“Good. Good boy.” He nods and gets back to the task at hand, butchering the Ngiri for dinner. I pay close attention to his lesson, and as the night wears on, his words ring in my mind over and over. As I watch the other villagers, I realize that some in our village are growing plumper, hunting less often, and they’re spending more time together than apart.
If Father is right and we are growing weak from all this community sharing and relying on one another, then maybe we won’t survive. If we weaken from working together, then how can the strong endure to keep the bloodlines strong and pure? Without our soul bonded mates, we’re already weaker.
Unsure of what to believe anymore, I decide that it’s probably best to listen to my father, seeing as he’s the only one truly teaching me anything. He’s my father, he wouldn’t lead me astray, right? We are a bit of an outcast family, but perhaps that’s because we’re right and the village is wrong?
Coming out of my room for breakfast, I head for the table in the center of our large family room, sitting down as my mother smiles brightly, her green eyes crinkling, and places a plate of food in front of me. She smoothes my hair, giving my forehead a kiss as I thank her for the food and begin to dig in. She places a mug in front of me with tea before walking away to make a plate for Father.
He enters the room a few moments later, his steps heavy, and the ease and comfortability between my mother and I is lost. She visibly tenses before she turns and greets him politely, placing his food in front of him and skittering away to finish cooking and make her own plate. I watch from the corners of my eyes as Father tastes his food, grimacing before spitting it out and throwing his plate at her thin back.
She cries out as the plate clatters to the floor, breaking into bits. She’ll be bruised and in pain for days from that. Those stone plates are not something you want thrown at you. It’s no better than a rock. I watch in horror as he rises, my eyes widening as he stomps to her, yelling in her face about his food being poorly cooked.
He berates her, asking if she’s trying to poison him, maybe kill him, and she begs for him to release her. His large hand squeezes around her throat, her lush purple lips whitening as she gasps for breath, her eyes widening in terror.
“When I come home with dinner, you better cook it properly, and this house better be clean. Or you’ll regret the day you disobeyed me.” He growls in her face, spittle collecting on her cheekbones before he drops her with a scoff, her body slumping to the floor as she heaves in gulps of air.
I’m torn for a moment, wondering if I should go to her or mimic my father and believe she deserves this. I tasted nothing wrong with our meal. The meat was tender, not necessarily undercooked, and the vegetables were soft, just how I like them.
Father whirls around, and my eyes snap to his, the anger and disdain clear in his expression as he practically snarls like a wild animal at me. Small tendrils of his long hair frame his face, his beard unruly and long, making him look even more sinister. “Xenshay, would you like to join your mother or go hunting like a man?” It’s not really a question so much as a demand. He doesn’t want me here with her, growing weak, as he says. He wants me with him, learning how to be a tough man in a society of wimps.
I swallow and harden my expression, throwing one final look at my mother, one of disappointment, before looking him in the eyes and nodding. “I’d like to go hunting, Father.”
“Good boy. Let’s go.” He grunts, shoving past me. I quickly turn and follow him, refusing to look at the woman lying on the floor. As much as I love my mother, I hate to see her so weak and broken. I know she doesn’t like being treated this way, and if I’m honest with myself, I don’t necessarily like seeing her treated like that either, but perhaps father is right in his ways?
Following his broad back around the house, we grab our spears and bows, readying to head into the woods as he grumbles to himself before giving me a long, hard look. Once again, he gestures for me to follow, and I match his step, walking alongside him. Our skin tone of darker purple is nearly the same, my eyes matching both his and Mother’s in the bright green color. One day, I hope to be as strong and broad as my father. I watch our legs, matching in rhythm, as we walk through the woods. Father’s sudden words cause me to look up at his face.
“One day, Xenshay, you’ll understand more fully the dynamics of a relationship. It’s not easy, no matter how you handle it. Women think they have minds of their own, but there’s no greater joy for them than serving a man and caring for their home and children. Your mother seems to have forgotten that.”
I don’t comment, remembering the sweet smile on her face as she greeted me this morning, the tender kiss she planted on my forehead. She hasn’t forgotten the joy in caring for me, the one person who treats her like a person. Am I wrong to do that?
“Your mother and I are not truly bonded, Xenshay. Remember that I told you the soul mate bonds are becoming extinct due to the changes of our world? Well, because of that we are forced to mate with someone of our choosing. Your mother and I are compatible enough, but without a true bond, we were only lucky enough to go into heat one time, and we got you. Were we truly bonded, we’d have a child every four years. It angers me to think I have a mate out there that I’ll never meet because of the intruders taking over our world.”
He spits into the grass as we walk, our steps slowing as we go deeper into the woods, his voice softening as he begins to look for signs of life around us. His dark hair is braided back to avoid it getting in the way, where mine is in a bun at the nape of my neck. I have not yet learned to perfect the braid, but I will someday.
“I suppose I can be a bit hard on your mother, she isn’t perfect for me, nor will she ever be, but that is why I must put her in her place, understand?” He turns his green eyes on me, letting them pierce me as he raises an eyebrow in question. I give one firm nod, refusing to speak as he gets his thoughts out. Father tends to rant without expecting a response, whether he’s doing it to teach me or because he just needs to get his thoughts out, I’m not sure, but I listen anyhow.
“When you’re older, son, I’ll show you the best parts of being in charge, of having a woman tend to your every need. For now, just remember that as a man, you’re in charge, you make the rules. This is your world, and no one is going to just hand you the things you want. You must take it for yourself, for your family. Do what is right for you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir.” I stare up at him, trying to decipher exactly what it is he’s trying to teach me now. I suppose this is more reiteration on the fact that I should not be weak, that I must handle my life as I see fit, not let our society around me dictate how I should live. One thing I refuse to be is weak, and since our species is already weakened without our soul bonds, I will do everything I can to make my father proud and be strong in all other ways.
Satisfied with my answer, he turns, and we begin the hunt in earnest, no longer speaking as we stalk our prey. Giving me the lead, he insists I be the one to take down our target. It’s time I begin hunting like the man of the house, prove my worth. Shifting my thoughts, I remember what he’s taught me, how to track through footprints, broken branches, and crushed leaves.
As I come up on a boar, I draw my bow back, aiming carefully and waiting for just the right moment before letting the arrow fly.
“A clean kill! That’s my boy!” Father jumps up, yelling into the sky as he rushes to the animal, ripping the arrow out and handing it to me. “Think you can handle the rest?” He grins at me, his yellowing teeth peeking from the facial hair. I nod enthusiastically, bending down to hoist the animal onto my shoulders.
I’m just strong enough to handle the weight, and my father rambles about his pride in me as we head back to the house to butcher our kill. These are the moments I love best, making him proud, seeing a light in his eyes for even the smallest moments. Nothing else in the world makes my father happy like me following in his steps.
Galactic Year 4077 (16 years old)
Climbing from the lake, I dry my hair and toss my towel over my shoulder, deciding to air dry on the way home. There’s nothing more relaxing than a late night swim alone in the cool waters. It’s the best way to clear your head.
While adventuring tonight at sunset, I stumbled upon a hidden cave on the other side of the lake, one that I intend to keep hidden for my own purposes. Sometimes having my own space is nice. My father has found my treehouse, so the cave is my only secret now. I’ll begin to stock it up and make it mine so when I need it, I have somewhere to go.
As I step onto the porch of our home, I hear yelling, and for a moment, I debate turning around and going back to the lake, to my cave. I know if I do, though, Father will be angry that I was not home on time and prepared for our hunting trip in the morning. Taking a steadying breath to prepare for the shit show I’m sure to face, I open the door and close it loudly behind me. What I see is not at all what I expected to find, and I’m honestly horrified, my eyes widening to burst as my mouth flops open, ready to make excuses for needing to go to my room.
“Do as I say, woman,” Father growls, his now trimmed beard making it easier to see his nasty teeth as he snarls at Mother. Clothes are scattered across the floor, some in heaps, some in shards as if torn from their bodies. His fist is in her hair as she sits on her knees, forcing her face into his bare crotch as his cock juts from his body. I’m unsure of how to feel about this.
A very disgusting part of me is aroused by the mating about to happen. I haven’t had any experience in this area, and my curious mind is all too eager to see what it’s like.
Another part of me is horrified and wants to shove him away, to protect her from him. The way everyone talks about it, mating should be fun and exciting, not terrifying, and Mama is clearly terrified.
I don’t know if I should get in the middle of something that’s meant to be private, if I should run and pretend I never saw a thing, or if I should just keep my mouth shut. All I can seem to do is stand here and stare wide-eyed in shock, frozen as the scene plays out.
The mixing of my emotions makes my stomach churn, unsure of how to handle this.
“Xendaro, please don’t do this, not in front of Xenshay. He’s just a boy,” Mother begs, tears streaming down her face as she presses her hands to his thighs, pushing away from him.
I agree with her, partly, that I should leave the room. These intimate moments between mates should be that way, between them, not in front of others.
Father looks at me and grins, a salacious grin that makes my stomach flip, as I struggle to keep a neutral expression. “He’s old enough now to learn the benefits of being a man in charge.” Pulling hard on her hair, yanking her head back, he causes Mother to scream, as he turns back to me. “Remember when I told you I’d teach you the best parts of being in charge? Here’s your lesson, son.”
His hand shifts in her hair, cupping the back of her head as he pulls her toward his body. She fights, pushing against him. His other hand comes forward and grabs her chin, pulling it down as he shoves his cock into her mouth, causing her to gag. As he pulls on her head, forcing himself in and out of her mouth, spit slips down her chin, and her eyes water. She gags and slurps, trying to keep up with his brutal pace.
My heart pounds in my chest as I struggle for breath, my cock twitching to life. I grit my teeth together, hating myself for being aroused by my own parents, but the thought of forcing a woman to do something like that to me is a powerful one. It must feel amazing to have that sort of control over your own pleasure and someone else’s.
When he’s had enough of her mouth, he shoves her away before pulling her to her feet and pushing her toward the couch. She pants and struggles as she’s forced to bend over, her hands hitting the cushions. “Please, don’t do this.” She begs once again, but he doesn’t listen. With one hand still in her hair, holding her down, the other pulls her tail aside as he lines himself up.
Slamming into her hard, she cries out, her legs trembling as she clings to the furniture. Her body rocks with each thrust, her head hitting the back cushion repeatedly as profanities and guttural moans pour from Father.
As I watch on, I wonder what it truly feels like. How slick is she for him? How tight does her body squeeze? God, I want to know. It seems I need to start looking for a potential mate. Someone I can own.
Father roars his release, pressing into Mother one final time before he relaxes. He pulls away, and she crumbles to the floor, silent sobs shaking her body. Scoffing, he tosses her ripped clothes at her. “Go clean yourself up, you’re a mess, woman.” She rushes from the room as he slips his pants back on and pulls me to the kitchen with him. Opening a wooden cabinet, he grabs down a glass bottle, one I’ve never seen before, and two matching cups.
“The only good thing about the cities is this right here, the alcohol.” He grins as he pours two small glasses of the bright green liquid. Handing me a glass, he says, “To us, two proud, pure blood Nyan men. Never let a woman, or anyone else, weaken you, Xenshay. Be proud of your heritage.” Lifting the glass to his mouth, he knocks his head back, swallowing it in one gulp.
Following his example, I quickly knock back the liquid, hating the awful sting in my throat as it goes down. When my glass thumps down on the table, Father pats me on the back in pride, and I chuckle. Despite the confusion I felt only moments ago watching the scene before me, seeing the pride on my father’s face, in his eyes, I know I shouldn’t be ashamed.
It seems to me as if this was my final lesson. For the first time in my life, I feel like a man. A man who’s learned all he can from his father and is ready to take the world for himself.
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