Nate controlled the laughter that bubbled out of his chest. The lanky Dr. Reynolds continued with the study for what felt like weeks. He picked and probed, ran all tests Nate could imagine. Now the curious doctor continued to probe his sides with something that tickled.
“Can you stop that, buddy? I’m trying to sleep here.” Nate moved his head to the side to see him better.
After their initial conversation, the doctor tried to get him to talk. Nate refused to answer any of his questions. Instead of being strapped to the hard bed, now they chained him.
Those chains held him immobile when a doctor entered his confinement. Nate tested the strength of the chains and figured he could break it if he applied enough pressure. He wouldn’t do that. He had to find her before that. Isadora was their weapon. His gut said she was closer. The place he saw in his vision resembled this one.
“How do you change into that?” The doctor straightened, repeating the question he asked every day. “What triggers you?”
Nate tilted his head and fixed his amber gaze on the doctor. “Pizza and coke. My offer stands.”
The doctor had removed his mask after the first few encounters. He was older than Nate initially thought. Nate watched as the doctor’s shoulder slumped. He signaled to someone outside.
The first few times Nate demanded food, they offered meat. Nate had pushed them aside demanding they fed him human food because he wasn’t an animal. After that, their experiments still continued. They gave him porridge, dry bread, and whatnots. Sometimes they laced his food with morphine and some other drugs he didn’t recognize.
He feigned sickness after eating them a few times. Only because he didn’t want them to grow conscious of his heightened senses. The next time they offered the same food, he avoided it claiming it made his stomach sick.
Their tests infuriated Nate to no extent, but he won’t give them the satisfaction by losing control. He knew what they wanted. Their experiments hadn’t advanced yet. But Nate feared it will anytime soon.
He had seen in movies what extent these researchers could go to achieve the results. Their studies hadn’t caused pain. That won’t be the case forever.
A couple of minutes passed when two men in uniforms walked inside with a box. One held a taser gun while the other placed the pizza box on the small table in the room.
“Now we’re talking.” Nate flexed his fingers. “Can you loosen this up? I can’t eat like this.”
Dr. Reynolds regarded him for a long minute before nodding his head. “You try something funny, those guys behind you will fry your ass.”
Nate pulled an innocent expression as the chains loosened around his arms. “Wouldn’t even dream of that. Besides, I love my food.”
The doctor’s shoulders tensed when Nate walked to the table. He pulled a chair and plopped on it casually. The delicious aroma of pizza teased him and roused his hunger. He casually took a sniff to ensure it hasn’t tampered with drugs. His tongue had gone numb with the food they were giving him the past few days. He bit into the pizza once he was sure it was safe and almost moaned at the taste. He polished the first slice in a few bites and grabbed the second one.
“Tell me now what triggers you?” The doctor picked the courage to lean over the table.
Nate pushed the box toward him and gestured him to grab a piece. “Nothing triggers me.” He popped the coke and tipped the can into his mouth.
“Let me rephrase my question then. How do you transform?” The doctor perched his hip on the table, watching him intently.
Nate finished the second slice and moved to the third. “Like this.” He lifted his free hand and let the skin morph to that of his beast.
The doctor jumped off the table and guns clicked. Something hit Nate’s bareback. Stupid humans again. He dropped the slice he was eating and reached behind him realizing they tased him.
“I thought we were just talking.” He pinned the doctor with his accusatory glance as he brushed aside the string still attached to his torso. “Where are your manners, doctor? You don’t go tasing people while eating.” He picked the pizza slice again and popped the remaining piece into his mouth.
“That was... ah...”
The scent of their fear reeked the cell. Nate scrunched his nose. Their hearts raced. “That was my answer is to your question.”
The doctor forced a smile. “My apologies. We didn’t expect that.”
“Listen, doc. I’ve told this before. You have the wrong person. I’m a friend.”
Dr. Reynolds chuckled. “Right. About that... Why did you attack the senator?”
“I didn’t.” Nate sighed and reached for the coke. “It was the witch’s doing.”
“So you mean to say that the witch forced you to attack the senator.” The doctor scratched his chin.
“Yep.” Nate grabbed the fourth slice.
“Why would she do that?”
“Distraction.” Nate dropped the pizza slice on the table and motioned the doctor to sit. “You see doc, the Lycanthropes are the only race that can fight against her witch. With us out of her way this world will become her playground.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” The Doctor frowned as his brows creased.
Nate’s features hardened. It didn’t make sense? He saw everything with his own eyes. Battled the monsters that wanted to kill his family. Yet he lost. His fists tightened. “She killed my sister.” He stood. “My kingdom is in chaos. And I’m here unable to do anything.” His eyes shifted to that of his beast making the doctor gasped. “Leave the doctor. I’m done talking.”
The humans scurried out of the door and Nate closed his eyes. His control slipped for a moment. Damn. Now the humans knew what triggered him. It was until he spoke about his family the actual weight of the situation weighed him down.
He paced the floor as the night he lost his sister replayed in the eyes of his mind. A howl ripped out of his chest. His beast clawed within to break free. Sobs racked his body and he let loose. Fuck humans.
He let the beast take over. Fur replaced his human skin and the chains broke, falling down in pieces. Howls and growls rumbled out of his chest as he mourned for the loss.
Abram. They have never been separated before. What happened to his mate? How’s Lucian coping? Where are the kids?
Hopeless, yet he reached through the invisible bond they shared. My brother, where are you? He didn’t know this place. But he had to escape. Can’t waste time.
She shifted in the bubble she floated. Something tugged at her heartstrings. Pain, hurt, and hopelessness.
Howls and growls reached her ears. This time closer than ever. Her lips slightly parted. She knew that voice. It slipped through her eardrums and caressed her insides. He was calling for someone, to his family.
“Nate...” she whispered. Her incorporeal form separated from her body and rushed to the voice.
He was closer than she thought. The concrete and glass didn’t restrict her access. She saw him before she even reached him.
Curled into a big ball of fur, his body shook. She didn’t know if it’s possible for a beast to break down like that. The gray furred beast didn’t even realize her presence there.
She looked around surprised to see her surroundings. Because the times she did this before she never thought to explore her confinement. She kept going only to places she last remembered.
The humans clad in white uniforms and masks assembled in front of the room and observed the beast. Soft murmurs broke from the crowd as they wrote something down on their notepads.
Fury nicked her veins. Imbeciles! She shoved the urge to teach them a lesson and hurries to the beast.
“Nate,” she called. The ears of the beast twitched. “Do you hear me?”
The beast moved to the corner of the only concrete wall in the room and turned his back on her. She followed.
“Your sister lives. So does her sons.”
His shoulders stiffened. She floated toward him, placing her hand on his furry shoulder and marveling at the strength he radiated. She retrieved her hand, realizing what she did was highly inappropriate.
“Your sister is in a deep sleep. Serenity and your nephews are safe and away from the witch.”
“Lucian?” The beast grumbled, his masculine baritone slipped into her mind. His animalistic voice, though laced with fury stroke a foreign emotion within her chest.
She choked on the sensation, rubbing her chest above her heart. “He’s mourning. They need you.”
The beast scoffed. “I don’t even know where I am.”
The silence stretched between them. The humans hovered outside the partition too afraid to approach. The sudden urge to climb on his lap and curl into his body shocked her.
She cleared her throat. “It’s the only way to protect Alexandra.”
Her breath hitched on hearing her name on his lips. “Yes.” She sounded breathless as if she ran miles.
“How bad is the situation?”
“We’re losing.” She didn’t sugar coat. The world was at the brink of destruction. They have to stop the witch before she unleashed the apocalypse.
Nate didn’t speak. He sat there staring at his claws. Someone knocked on the glass. He didn’t bother to look.
“How can I help?” Her desperation grew. She didn’t like seeing him this way. She wanted to do anything in her capacity to take his pain away.
“I want to go home.”
She nodded. Home. She tasted the word. She didn’t have one. “Okay.”
“Will you come with me?”
Her head whipped up and the erratic beat of her own heart filled her ears. She didn’t remember the last time she got excited. “You want me to come with you.”
“Of course. You’re just like Alexa. And you’re the only one who can help us.”
All the excitement she felt a moment ago drained. “Oh.”
“You should act fast. Explore this place and tell me what you see. Together we will escape this place.”
“Okay.” She stood, feeling dejected. What did she expect? She turned to leave when he called her again.
Her heart skipped a beat again. “Yes.”
Nate stood, his massive beast towered her lithe frame. He gazed into the general direction of her. The fur on his body slowly melted away and she staggered a few steps.
Isadora averted her gaze to the floor only to return it back to his face. She breathed through her mouth as his lips curved upwards. He looked more handsome than the last time she saw him. The rugged look with unshaved facial hair suited him better. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed.
“Nothing. I’ll see you soon.”
She blinked and turned away, leaving in a hurry. His heated gaze followed her making her conscious of her every move. When she returned to her confined she felt her magic weakening because of using it for a long time.
A pink blush coated her physical body. That’s new. Shoving aside his thoughts, she entered her body, waiting for her magic to replenish.