Life-changing love almost feels like an invasion.

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For the past year, sleep paralysis has been little more than a thorn in Natalia's side. That is, until she meets Korin, a strange but beautiful alien being who makes her question everything she knows about the universe.

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I focused on the sound my heels made on the paved sidewalk and made sure I was maintaining my pace. I clutched the handle of my sleek black briefcase, unintentionally digging my fingernails into the palm of my free hand. Glancing up, I noted a man in a business suit coming down the sidewalk in the opposite direction. I felt a sudden rush of anticipation as a smile formed on his lips.

“Anna!” he waved.

I exhaled the hopeful breath I held as a woman walking behind me pushed past and rushed into his arms. Of course, he wasn’t looking at me. I bit my lip and walked faster, attempting to forget the sting of humiliation and hoped he hadn’t noticed me.

I wasn’t worried I would be late, nor was I rushing to see my coworkers. It was Laura’s birthday and the three of us were planning on going out for drinks after work.

I groaned to myself. I love Laura and Abiola to death. They weren’t just my assistants at work; they were so much more to me than that. But it was never fun to be the only sober person at the party, and for the past year, I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol. This wasn’t by choice; a while back, I developed a sleep disorder. Every night, I dreaded falling asleep, always petrified of what torments awaited me the moment I closed my eyes. Every few weeks I would suffer an episode of sleep paralysis, and every other night, I had to deal with bizarre nightmares.

As I approached the OSA building, I looked up and caught my breath. The sleek obsidian-like skyscraper towered over even the most formidable structures in its proximity. Las Vegas, a city once known only as a 24/7 celebration of debauchery and excess was now famous for being the home of OSA headquarters. While it was still possible to fulfill even the most twisted and depraved desires if one knew where to look, the drugs, prostitutes, violent sports, and other oddities had been forced underground; most of the time in a very literal sense.

Flyers and garbage no longer littered the streets. Crime, unemployment, and homelessness had all reached an all-time low and it was thanks, in part, to organizations connected with OSA. Over the past several decades, they established connections within every level of government. They had employed the most gifted individuals on the planet to reform the justice system, the prison system, health-care, welfare, and education. If there was a metaphorical pie on the table, they had a finger in it.

I stopped and took a moment to steady my nerves.




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