Alone on Earth (Signal Bend Series Volume 4)(7)

By: Susan Fanetti

Isaac lifted an eyebrow at that, and Bart felt his cheeks warm. Everybody else in the clubhouse hated the

idea of the movie, but Bart was excited. He was online a lot. It was his job to be online a lot. And he was a

geek. He loved movies, and television—especially cult shows—and video games. Not ashamed of it, either.

So he knew who all these people coming into town were. He was a fan of Hades High, and he thought

Riley Chase was fucking hot. Pretty badass, too. To top it all off, she’d voiced a main character from one of

the best video games of all time. She had a sexy damn voice. And she was single. She had been since her

last boyfriend, Devon Gaines, frontman for The Laughing Warriors, had fatally OD’d, not long after


Bart didn’t know if that meant anything for him, but it was probably the best shot he’d ever have. Even

if she was still in mourning, he thought he could work that. He could try, anyway.

“The studio asked somebody to pick them up. This week is supposed to be about them getting a feel for

the town. No limos. They’re supposed to blend in.”

“With the riffraff, yeah. Okay, whatever.”

“Tanner’s going to want to meet you as soon as possible. And Riley will want to meet Lilli. I know she’s

pissed, but—”

“They cast a tiny teen Barbie to play her. Pissed isn’t quite the word. But we’re both in.” He grinned.

“Omen’s babysitting again, right? He can bring ‘em to the clubhouse tonight. They want to see what it’s like

to be Horde, we’ll show ‘em.”

They were having a Friday night party. Bart thought that was a singularly horrible idea. “We really want

to start their stay here off like that?”

Isaac got a look that Bart knew well. It said, I meant what I said, asshole. So he shrugged. Okay, then.

“Anything else?” Isaac’s tone indicated that if there was anything else, it should be crucially important.

Isaac was a good guy and a great President, but he did not have the world’s coolest head. His patience was

always short, and where the movie was concerned, it had lapsed some time ago. Bart, whose job it was to

keep abreast of that situation, had become a focal point for Isaac’s frustration.

“Nope. I’m heading to Keyes to finish a tranny job, then I’ll grab the B&B van and get to the Springfield


With a terse nod, Isaac stood. “Good. You need backup?” He smirked. His patience might have run out,

but his enjoyment at ribbing Bart had not.

Bart was just going to have to ride the ridicule out. Everybody knew he was into the Hollywood

invasion. And fuck, fucking movie stars were coming to town to play them. Peter fucking Gruen was

playing him. Tanner motherfucking Stafford was playing Isaac. And Riley Chase, last year’s Sexiest Woman

Alive, was playing Lilli. Come on! How could he be the only one who thought this was cool?

But he was. Everybody else was either suspicious about the movie, or contemptuous, or both. He was

totally alone in his enthusiasm, and he was getting buried in heaps of shit. It wasn’t the first time. There

were a few things that separated Bart from the rest of the Horde. His love of gaming, his collection of comic

books and science fiction and fantasy books, his lack of interest in football (he liked soccer and rugby), his

college degree, and the fact that Signal Bend was not his hometown.

He was the black sheep, for sure. But he was essential, and he held his own. He could hack almost

anything, fix just about any engine ever made, build almost anything out of metal and rubber, and ride

faster and surer than anyone save Isaac and Len.

And he had blood on his hands, just like the rest.


The morning’s conversation with Isaac ate at Bart a little while he worked. He knew he had the respect

of his President and the whole club. He’d proven himself handily, and he knew it. Fuck, he’d pretty much

saved Lilli, finding her and then getting the Horde into the building she was being held in. From a hundred

miles away. He was good. But he still felt just a step outside the circle.

He wasn’t truly an outsider, even though he hadn’t been raised here. His father had been, and his