Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter XVII

Xavier Williams

Xavier was dragged along, down the hall and into a smaller room with a chair with straps to hold a person’s arms, legs, and chest. Marcus and his men pulled him into the room, and strapped him down. He was too numb to put up much of a fight, even if he wanted to. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t try.

The boy hissed and attempted to shift. He managed to begin the transformation, but didn’t get far enough to slip from his bonds. The drug forced him to retain his human shape.

“Maybe another dose is needed,” Marcus suggested, grinning down at him. Then he leaned in close. “I’m going to have fun teaching you a lesson. You need to fall in line with the other animals, snake. Or else I’ll have to cut my losses and dispose of you, or do something that I really don’t think you’ll enjoy.”

“I hope you rot in hell,” Xavier growled under his breath. “You’re fucked up in the head.”

Another man, a tall blond, who appeared maybe even more cold than Marcus spoke up, watching Xavier calmly. “You shouldn’t let him off the hook so easy, boss. Companies pay through the nose for rare snake venom. A venomous python is unheard of. If he won’t cooperate then let’s treat him like any other dangerous beast. Isolate him and milk those fangs of his.” The man smiled coldly at Xavier. “Of course, to maximize venom production, we can’t let you socialize or turn back...”

“You want to milk me?” Xavier replied with a smirk. Better to show bravado then let them know how scared you are. “Go ahead and try it, you bitch. I only give venom when I want.”

The cold man looked to Marcus, putting a hand on the owner’s shoulder. They obviously had a close relationship. Xavier hadn’t seen any of the other guards be so familiar with Marcus yet. “He won’t be able to resist. Just strap him down. Snake handlers have been using electrodes for years to force serpent venom to come out of difficult snakes.”

Marcus had kept his eyes on the young man strapped to the chair, and at his friend’s words, grinned. “Works for me. Good thinking, Lyle. We wait for the drug to wear off, then force the change.”

“You’re lousy zookeepers. Don’t even research your animals before you steal them.” Xavier was still trying to keep up the facade of the tough guy, while inside, he felt like he was about to puke. All he wanted was to go home, and see his daughter again.

The man Marcus had called Lyle let out a short laugh. “It’s always nice when they admit they’re property, isn’t it?”

Fuck. He hadn’t meant it like that. Xavier hissed menacingly at them.

Marcus also laughed. “Yeah, it is,” he said, ruffling the boy’s hair. “Good to see you might be coming around.

Xavier shook his head to get his hair to fall back into its usual place. “I’m not a damn dog. Don’t mess with my hair.”

“We need to prepare him for the chip,” Marcus said, turning to face Lyle. “It’ll probably be easier to get his venom afterwards.”

Lyle nodded and grabbed a fistful of Xavier’s hair. “Feel free to write around. If we cut your spine, then we don’t have to worry about you fighting at all,” he said, in a tone one might use while talking about picking the wrong soup from a menu.

Fear flashed in Xavier’s eyes, but he hid it quickly. He had to stay strong. He had to stay alive, and escape this place.

For Bree.

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