The sound of the doorknob turning set me on edge. I wanted to know where I was and why I was here, but the longer I had sat alone in the dark, the more fear had built inside of me.
When the door creaked open, the small amount of light that was let in burned my eyes.
“I’m Nora,” the woman said as she flipped a switch on the wall, illuminating the room. “I need to gather some information from you, and then I will answer your questions.”
I blinked at the brightness, my eyes watering as I fought to keep them open in the harsh light.
“What is your name?” she asked.
I still couldn’t open my eyes enough to see her. I sat, silent, squinting and blinking.
“Don’t make this difficult,” she said. I could hear the irritation in her voice. “What is your name?”
“How old are you, Josephine?”
“And I see you aren’t marked. You don’t have a mate?”
“Have you had any children?”
I squinted my eyes at her, making out the shape of her curly hair.
“No,” I replied through gritted teeth.
“Okay. I’m sure you have questions. I will answer what I can.”
“Well, Nora, I would obviously like to know what I’m doing here.”
“Witches and warlocks are becoming less and less common. Our race is dying out. No one is doing anything about it because the powers that be don’t care about lowly magic folks.”
There was an angry bite in her voice that I couldn’t help but notice.
“We have decided to take our fate into our own hands. If wolves and vampires won’t do anything to help our dwindling numbers, we will do something ourselves. We will make you care. We are creating tribrids.”
I wasn’t expecting her to be so forthcoming with information. “Tribrids?” I choked out.
“Yes: witch, wolf, and vampire mixes. Our magic alone isn’t enough to make us strong, but with were-vampire genetics, we will create children that will have the best parts of all of us, thus ensuring our race survives.”
“Um, I’m sorry, are you fucking insane?”
She stiffened. “Our kind is dying! We need the strength from your genes. We’ve gone to the council, sought help, and received none. We’re only trying to ensure that we don’t completely disappear.”
Was she serious? It almost sounded like she was expecting sympathy from me, the woman chained to a bed.
“By kidnapping people off the street and what? Forcing them to have mutant babies?”
“No, we only need to harvest eggs from you for the DNA. Once we’re done, your memory will be wiped and you will be released, unharmed.”
“Oh,” I feigned understanding. “You only need to harvest eggs. I see—way better. Totally not illegal or fucking deranged at all!”
Nora stood up angrily and stormed out of the room like she was insulted. I had heard that magic folks could be a bit…off, but this was unthinkable.
“Hey!” I yelled after her, even though the door was already closed. “Why can’t I feel my wolf? What did you do to me?”
Sitting there, stewing in my anger, I started to formulate a plan. In her indignant exit, she had forgotten to turn off the light. For the first time, I was really able to look around the room.
Aside from the bed and a single chair, the room was empty. I could see that the walls were made of a strange, soft-looking material. I thought the room might be soundproofed.
I pulled my legs up, forcing myself to stand in an unnatural, awkward squatting position. Using the leverage from my legs, I jerked myself from side to side. My wrists burned, the restraints cutting straight into bone.
But I kept going. Tears streamed down my cheeks from the pain as the metal bar on one side of the bed broke. The rail hung from the restraint on my wrist as I used my feet to kick the other rail I was chained to.
When both rails were finally broken, I twisted them around so that I could hold them in my hands. They were going to slow me down, but I could use them to my advantage.
I waited by the door, pressed against the wall. The next person who came in was in for a surprise.
My feet tapped anxiously against the floor as I waited for what felt like years. Someone had to come eventually. When I heard the doorknob move, I switched off the light, holding the rail like a bat and ready to swing.
When the door pushed open, I waited until the light flickered on to attack, smashing the woman who had come in over the head and upper body several times.
Luckily she was caught off guard enough that I was able to knock her down, even in my weakened state. I rushed past her and pulled the door closed. I found myself in a hallway with four other doors.
After a mostly nonexistent analysis of my surroundings, I opted for the window at the end of the hall. Running at full speed, I used the rails like a shield, shattering the glass and falling a few stories down into a bush.
I groaned and hobbled out of the bush, yanking the rails along with me. I managed to take three steps before alarms started to sound, blaring through the quiet.
I took a few more steps before my body was painfully jerked back and slammed into the side of the building.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
I recognized him. He was one of the men who had grabbed me off the street.
“Oh, just out for a walk,” I replied. I strained against the magic force he was using to hold me up.
He smiled and flicked his wrist, and the grip of his magic tightened on my neck.
“We can’t let you go,” he said. “Not yet. You’re exactly the kind of wolf we’ve been looking for. You’re strong. With your DNA, one of these procedures might actually work.”
A hysterical, angry laugh I couldn’t contain ripped through me. “Wait! You haven’t even been successful? You’re kidnapping people, violating them, and it’s not even working?”
The amusement dropped from his face instantly. He waved his hand, and my body was pulled behind him, back into the building.
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