Chapter One

Evelyn Marie Crawford gazed out the window of the tea shop she worked at after school. She had been working there part time since she was fourteen until she graduated high school, helping out her Aunt Beatrice. After graduation, she had wanted to go to college, but her aunt, who was her guardian, had vetoed the idea on the grounds that she couldn't run the tea shop by herself, and she couldn't afford to hire someone else. Since Evelyn was her niece and still lived with her, she didn't pay Evelyn for working. So, a year after graduation, Evelyn, at nineteen, was still working, full time now, for no pay.

It was the middle of the afternoon and there were few customers. Only one couple, a young guy in his mid-twenties, and an elderly lady were browsing Aunt B's Tearoom and Shoppe's menu and displays. Aunt "B" or Beatrice suddenly walked in from the back.

"Are you taking care of things out here?" she asked brusquely.

"Yes, Miss Crawford." Evelyn's aunt insisted that she be called "Miss Crawford" instead of "Aunt" while they were at work. Just, then, old Mrs. Jenkins, a regular, entered the shop and approached the counter. Evelyn smiled at the 83 year-old. She was one those elderly ladies that seemed like she was everyone's grandmother. "Two boxes of English Herb Garden; anything else for you, Mrs. Jenkins?" Evelyn said, pulling them out from under the counter. Mrs. Jenkins always came in once a week for her and her husband's favorite tea, so Evelyn had taken to setting her's aside so that all they would have to do is ring it up when the lady got there.

"No, sweetheart, this'll be all." She grinned at the young girl. "Your aunt must be so glad that you decided to stay instead of going off to school. I know you at such a big help to her."

"Yeah, well, I'm still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up." She chuckled half-heartedly. If only dear Mrs. Jenkins knew.

"Well, don't take too long, Evie dear, or you'll blink and your life will have passed you by."

"Yes, ma'am," Evelyn grinned at use of her nickname. "I'll remember that." Mrs. Jenkins took the brown paper bag that contain her tea from Evelyn and, with a final good-bye, tottered back out of the shop. Evenlyn turned to see her aunt shaking her head at the elderly lady's retreating back. Little did either of them know that their peaceful shop would be turned upside down by the next afternoon.

Evelyn was just ringing up another customer's order when it all happened. Explosion blasted suddenly from all around them, blowing out the front window. Her aunt was out on lunch break. What was she going to do? As another explosion sent everyone ducking behind the displays for cover, Evelyn just let her instincts take over.

"Ok everyone, I need you to come around to the back where there aren't any windows," She called out over the shouts, sirens, and booms coming from outside. Quickly she ushered all six customers into the back storage room and kitchen. "You all need to stay here until someone comes for you," she said.

"What are you doing?" a middle age woman asked.

"There's plenty of room back here; I'm going to see if I can get more people off the streets." She said, and without another word, she ran out through the shop into the battle range in New York. Outside, she found a couple with a baby huddle behind their car. She rushing over to them and urged them to take shelter in the shop's back rooms. Thanking her profusely, they hurried across the side walk and inside.

A plea for help caught her attention. A man and his teen-aged son were across the street. The teen was trapped under a pile of concrete rubble. Explosions and fire still reigned in the skies of above her, but Evelyn gulped down her fear and dashed across the rubble strewn street. Took both the father and Evelyn lift the concrete slab enough for the teen wiggle out from underneath, his right leg covered in blood.

"Come on, we gotta get you two inside!" she yelled over the storm of noise around them. Pulling one of the young man's arms around her shoulders, she started helping him back across the street to the safety of her shop. Suddenly shots filled air around them. Evelyn looked down the street and saw a nightmare standing there. A large, silver-grey, centipede-like….creature….loomed closer and closer. Just then, a huge explosion rocked the block threw them to the ground. A huge black jet plane of some kind was firing on the monster. Evie struggled to her feet, pulling the dad and teen with her to get them to the relative safety of the Aunt B's storage rooms.

They were half-way across the street when smaller grey aliens invaded the street. They swooped in from the far end of the road firing energy blast at the three-some. Suddenly, Evie heard the familiar sound of arrows being fired and hit a target. The aliens all had arrows sticking out of them, which promptly exploded, causing them all to crash. Evie looked up and found the archer in a third story window in the building behind her.

He had sandy, short hair, wore all black and sunglasses. On his back was a quiver and he held a fancy compound bow in his hands. "Get out of here! Get to cover!" he yelled down to them. Evie nodded her understanding, and tugged on the teen's arm to get them moving again. Once in the back room of her shop, she and the dad ease the kid to the ground. One patron turned out to be a nurse and immediately began working on the leg.

Evie looked around. There was still plenty of room to shelter more survivors. She looked down at herself. Her black slacks and white button down shirt were filthy and riddled with holes. Her green apron was in bad shape, her name tag gone. Minor cuts and bruises littered her arms and hands and she suspected her face too. She was covered in dust and dirt from head to toe. She ached all over. With a sigh, she turned back toward the front room.

"Where are you going?' the teen, whose name was Brad, asked.

"To bring more survivors of whatever this is to a safe place." She answered softly. She turned and quickly left the room before anyone could stop her. Her next round brought a young college couple and an elderly man to the store room. After issuing bottled water to everyone, she left once more to bring in those who needed shelter.

This time she found a mom and her two young kids who had been slowly making their way toward her store. The mother was carrying a few months old infant and dragging a four year old behind her. Evie quickly caught up the young boy in her arm and urged the mother to follow her. Suddenly, more alien hover craft poured in the street. The mother made into the shop and watched from the doorway as the alien bore down on Evie and the little boy. Energy blast broke out once more, Evie leaping and ducking the deadly fire.

Just as she ducked another shot, Evie felt something heavy suddenly land in front of her and she heard a ringing sound that reminded her of a gong. She opened her eyes (she did not remember even closing them) to see a tall, muscular man in a red, white and blue uniform with a blue helmet covering most of his face, crouching between her and the oncoming aliens, his large round shield raised in defense. She felt like she should know him, but she could not think of why at the moment.

"Ma'am, you need to get somewhere safe." He commented over his shoulder.

"My aunt's shop; just over there," she pointed to blown-out storefront.

"I'll cover you, Miss, now run for it!" he answered as he sprung way, attacking the nearest alien. She reached the door, put the child down, and told the mother where to go. However, Evie turned to see the strange soldier defeat the last enemy. Seeing her still outside, he dashed over. "Ma'am you need to get inside!" he insisted. He glanced at the broken window. "Are you sure you'll be safe here?"

"Yeah, the back store room is large and doesn't have windows," Evie nodded. "That's why I've been gathering as many as I can find in to where it's relatively safe."

The soldier stared. "You've been out here all this?" he asked in disbelief.

"Yeah, people—"

"It's too dangerous," He interrupted with a shake of his head.

"But there might be others out there!" Evie argued. The man took a step closer, lightly clasping her shoulders in his surprisingly gentle hands. He looked so strong and he absolutely towered over Evie's five-foot-three hieght.

"And you've helped many, I'm sure," he said. "You've been brave in come back out to help save others," He was firmly holding Evie's steadfast hazel eyes with his own determined gaze, and she suddenly realized just how blue his eyes were. "But, please Miss, go back inside until this is over," He finished. His brilliantly blue eyes pleaded with Evie to comply. Honestly, she was so battered and tired that she could hardly argue. Nodding, she lowered her gaze. He began to move away, and Evie, in a move surprising bold for her, grabbed his large, gloved hand.

"Please be careful, won't you?"

A ghost of a smile played across his lips. "I'll do my best, Ma'am." Evie released his hand and went inside. Through the window, she watched him run off down the street with his star-spangled shield.

Hi guys, I know it's been awhile since I posted anything, but this kinda just came to me a few weeks ago. I'm still toying with it, so let me know what you guys think. If you think it's rubbish, I can start over with a different direction.