“Not one identifying mark. No insignia, no rank, nothing in their pockets. Shit,” one of the guards said. “Now we have to wonder about the government?”
“We don’t have to wonder.”
The alpha of the wolves stood. He’d torn the sleeves off four of the dead men, the ones who still had arms attached. “I thought I saw some ink on that piece over there. Turns out, they all have it.”
“I don’t recognize the insignia,” I said.
“It’s military. A secret group in an even more secret branch that doesn’t even have an alphabet soup attached to it. These are the men sent to kill the boogeymen—usually the ones the government created.”
Deke narrowed his eyes. “And how do you know about them?”
“Blowing shit up isn’t the only thing my wolves can do, and your clan isn’t the only one that believes in changing with the times. Hacking is an art, but one some of my people have an… affinity for. I keep an eye on things, watch for certain buzz words or codes that might mean the government is on to our kind.” He snarled, his lips curling back from his pointed teeth. “Clearly we missed something big.”
I exchanged a look with Deke. There was a lot more going on with other clans than we thought. We’d been under the impression they were mostly mired in the past, living simple lives close to their favored environment. There’d been exactly one alpha convocation since Deke’s dad died, leaving him alpha, and that had been to honor his memory and confirm Deke’s place in the clan. Once again, I missed the older alpha’s experience and knowledge yet again; there was still a lot he’d had to teach us.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Landon said. “This whole thing might be small potatoes, which is why it didn’t pop up on any computer traces. Or maybe they’ve gone rogue. It wouldn’t be the first time a secret has given birth to more secrets.”
“We can only hope,” I said. I wanted this business over with so I could be home with Ritch. “And for them to stop ruining lives. I’m still killing Trein.”
“Either way, this is proof that the government knows about us. It changes everything.” Werekin were vulnerable, but some more than others. The horse werekin were strong, muscular, but with long faces and large eyes. The smaller clans, the ones whose bonded spirits were smaller non-predators, would not be able to fight back if they were targeted.
Deke rubbed his face. “Maybe we should stop thinking this is just about human werekin wanting to get revenge for their mistreatment and consider that it’s more. It might have started that way, but somehow, a government agency got involved and now it’s gone beyond that. Blending souls with non-werekin spirits, creating serums to send werekin into a feral rage, that’s all about finding ways to soup up the humans. They started with human werekin, but now…?”
“Super soldiers? But to fight us or someone—or something—else?”
“Who knows?” I said. “Right now, I don’t care. I want to purge this place, take every bit of evidence we can find so you guys can figure that out, and rip the balls off Trein and shove them down his throat until he chokes on it.” I flexed my claws. “And none of that is going to happen if we keep standing here talking.” They hadn’t moved in several minutes, and that was unacceptable. “They’re either going to get away or have time to regroup, if they haven’t already.”
Wilbur stepped up to my side. “I like this guy. Lots of imagination. Great visuals. You and me will get these bastards on our own if we have to and afterward you can come back to my place.” He gave me a sidelong grin.
“Not happening. I have something to do when we’re done here.” It wasn’t any of his business—or anyone else’s—what that was, but it involved me, Ritch, and my big bathtub.
“I can wait. Just tell me when.” Wilbur caressed his gun, but his eyes were definitely not on his gun as he stared at me. “I can just be patient.”
“When Hell freezes over, that’s when.” He wouldn’t appreciate the imaginative visual I was having right that moment. “Or when pigs fly.” Because I would knock him on his ass, and he would not be getting up again.
“Enough. Let’s go.” The bodies were pushed to either side of the area, creating a corridor. We took point again, and the alphas pulled back, remaining in the middle of the column as we went room to room, clearing out one carefully.
Some of the rooms made my stomach hurt, and my hands shook with the need to tear into someone, anyone, as the cages, stained metal devices, and the abandoned medical equipment. “Where is everyone?” I whispered.
“Gone? Out a back door we haven’t found?”
“Maybe. Or maybe this is a big trap and we haven’t taken the cheese yet.” Wilbur had his head tilted.
“What? Do you hear something?”
“Crying.” He pointed forward with his gun. “That way.” Taking time to clear each room, two of them very large and holding cabinets and shelves that could hide a full-grown male, had slowed us down.
Maybe they’d had time to collect their specimens and soldiers in the one place we hadn’t yet gone into. The hall actually ended in a wide set of solid double doors. These didn’t have locks, but we couldn’t see past them or through any windows.
“On three,” I said. I glanced back at the guards with us, and they were all ready. “One. Two.”
“Three,” Wilbur shouted and pushed through the doors. I cursed and followed him, peeling off to the left as he went right. This room was brightly lit, and standing in the middle, in front of an army of transformed men stood Trein—with my mother, Ritch, and Kraig.
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