Lulu Marigold (The Hunting Lodge)

Lulu startled awake out of a deep, dreamless sleep. She normally slept like the dead unless something was wrong. Her hand automatically went to the body beside her. He was warm and breathing. Good news for the Marigolds. Of course, he didn’t stir at all, even when she got out of bed.

She walked out of their bedroom and into the great hall where everything was silent in the wee morning hours. There had been a rowdy poker game in the dining room a few hours before, but the others had since gone to bed too. She took a winding path into the kitchen where a low fire kept a pot of bone broth cooking. All seemed well there; same in the greenhouse and workshop.

Lulu continued her walkthrough and wound up on the big balcony out front, gazing out at her adopted home. This was an interesting world. When those aliens, or whatever they’d been had taken her away, they’d done her a great service. In her former life, she’d been a depressingly average girl living on the wrong end of the trailer park in a no-name Texas town. She’d been on the fast track to nowhere good. Then she woke up here, and there were dinosaurs and a whole new world to remake herself in.

Suddenly the ground moved under her. It wasn’t an earthquake. They had those now and then. This felt like a ripple in the earth. She looked to her left and the green obelisk was glowing, the beam of light shooting into the sky, brighter than she’d ever seen it.

Lulu sprinted into her room and touched her sleeping husband. “Something’s happening.”