Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter XI

Robin Zerda

As she watched Xavier shift into his Other form and curl up next to the door, Robin heard her brother still try to plead with her.

“But I just got you back,” he said, sadness in his tone. “I’m not going to let you throw your life away. Seeing you hurt, or killed... it would break me, Robin. Please...” He grabbed her hand, making her look into his familiar hazel eyes, pleading with her to come with him.

“Please stop... please...” That was Luna, the otter, who had scooted back into a corner and covered her ears, rocking back and forth. “Please...”

Robin looked up at her twin, some of the darkness in her eyes draining away at his sincere pleading. But she wasn’t going to give everything up. Not yet.

“And that’s the plan, right? Use us against one another. I kinda doubt that they don’t know who we are to each other, Rick. And if they don’t, I’m sure one of the collaborators in here will mouth off soon enough. Leverage. And not just if one of us gets mouthy or can’t perform whatever stunt the keeper wants us to do next. But for other shit, too.”

Her head was full of awful, dark things a slave master might want from a couple of young teens with pretty faces and slender bodies.

Her brother looked down, letting go of her. “I understand,” he said in a defeated voice. “I just... missed you so much...” He clenched his fists as he got to his feet, returning to his mat. She saw him curl up under his blankets, facing away from her.

Robin let the darkness of her thoughts reflect on her features, grinning in the face of his obvious sadness. It probably wouldn’t fool anyone, but it was something.

From her observations of Rick’s actions, he hadn’t acted like someone who had become anyone’s plaything around here. Of course, that didn’t mean that he hadn’t been abused in such a way, but it didn’t mean that he had, either. She shook her head, trying to keep her thoughts from straying down that path. Plenty of time to consider such things later. She had no confirmation if that kind of abuse even happened around here, though she figured that it probably did. Just another way of asserting dominance over all the young people held captive by power-hungry men.

She would have liked to sleep beside Luna. The girl looked as if she was a hairsbreadth from cracking up. But any emotional comfort given right now would only be turned against them later. Once she’d figured this place out, then she could try to make some real changes.

But until then? It was time to rest.

Laying her head over her arm, she allowed herself to fall into a light sleep.

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