Barbara woke, heart pounding. Since she didn’t hear the echo scream, she’d bitten down on it before it could escape. She hadn’t been sleeping long. Goddess. It’s only Althea. The little girl has climbed onto her bed and shook her shoulders until she’s awake. Barbara could see those mesmerizing purple eyes glowing in the dimmed room. She wore a blue dress and a scarf that added to her cuteness. Her chubby cheeks rubbed against her as if seeking comfort before lifting her head to stare at her again.
Barbara didn’t have to ask her anything as the little girl nudge her off the bed and to the door. She’s persistent. One that will be a great mate for an alpha. She shudders when her boy gives a small kick on her stomach. Straightening, she looked toward the hall where guards usually stood. Barbara's eyes widened as she stared at the bodies on the cold floor. She didn’t smell blood. Alive but unconscious. Thank Goddess! The kids can be deadly especially if you're the enemy. “Come on, Ara. They’re waiting for us”
Barbara followed the little girl without complaint. Although, it will be much better if they warn her first instead of waking her up in the middle of the night. At least, it’s dark down here. She believes that Alanna was behind all of this. That young girl was a genius despised being one of the lab rats. Pushing any tension she had over the guards, she focuses on her surroundings. She dares to give a little hope that this time she will be getting out of this hell. She was tired of experiments. “Barbara!”
Two bald-head jumps into her arms. Matt and Mateo were twins. They’re hyperactive cubs. Even the scientists having a hard time to control the boys. Barbara kissed their cheek before giving Alanna a warm hug.
“We need to go,” She said, then looked at Barbara, “Can you run?”
Barbara let out a chuckle and stroked her stomach lovingly. “He’s ready for this”
“Cool!” The twins said, before running through the dark tunnel. Alanna nods her head then follow the twins. Althea stays closer to Barbara even though she wants to keep up with the rest.
The little girl seems to act as a protector. Barbara runs with a hand under her stomach as if protecting it. She knew they’re alone in the tunnel. There’s no scent of human but that didn’t stop her fear of getting caught. She half expected the security guards to come after them at any seconds. They spun around, no plan in mind, but desperate to escape. Fortunately, she heard the sound of dripping water and chirping birds before they reach the end of the tunnel. It was more like sewage. Very big sewage. Althea growls and pinches her nose, “It’s smell like shit!”
“It’s shit!” The twins replied.
Barbara waits for them to step out of the sewage, but none dare to move. They stood like a statute. At that moment, she remembers that none of them have ever seen the world with their own eyes. It’s either the laboratory or the fake forest in the facility. The scientist had trained them to fight. They trained the kids like a real soldier, but they’d never be able to control them. And now, she’s going to make sure that they’re finally free.
“It’s alright,” Barbara said softly. Nodding at them before stepping out of the sewage. She held her hand to Althea. The little girl let out a soft growl and reach for her hand.
“Come on, no one going to hurt you” Every smile she gave them melted their heart. A grin had spread across her beautiful, tempting lips when the twins let out a growl and shifts into little bears. They running around Barbara, brushing their body at her feet before dashing into the forest- A real one.
“Dammit! These twins never stop bullshitting me” Alanna groans. She hesitates for seconds before chasing after the twins.
“We are free?” Althea asked Barbara while staring at the sewage.
“Soon” Barbara pulled her closer, “Come on, little one. We can’t lose them”
Althea nodded her head and followed her. Finally, they run as if death is chasing them. Determination keeps their sprite in a blast until Barbara couldn’t catch up with them.
“We should stop” She was exhausted. Letting out a tired breath, she leans her temple against the trunk. Her feet ghosted above the bare dirt. They have been running for non-stop. The cold air of night didn’t stop them from escaping further into the thick woods. The kids seem to be hyperactive. They run and run.
Alanna looked at Barbara, worriedly. “No, we can’t stop until we're far enough from them”
Barbara didn't know where they're going. Strangely, she didn’t worried about it at all. Perhaps, they can walk along the woods until they find a safe place to hide, temporary. She knew they’re around Williams Arizona. She wasn’t thrilled to be here, but it’s a good opportunity to hide from the scientist. She knew a few cabins nearer the town. She used to be here with the asshole. Ex-fiance or not, she didn’t care what happened to him. He deserved it. All she needs to do is leading kids to the safest place to hide for a while. Although, it will take time to reach the town.
“Ara,” Alanna pulled her to a halt. Their breaths came fast, fogging in the cold day. “Where should we go?”
Barbara wiped her sweaty forehead while staring at the empty road. “I-”
The twins run like a flash. They past by her and stood on the road with a loud growl. Matt shouts, “I win!”
“No, I win!” Mateo stormed his foot. “No, I win!”
“No shit! It’s me!”
Althea stops between them and grown in irritation. “Stop or I’ll kick both of your ass!”
The twins frown at the girl but they didn’t dare to protest. Matt glared at Mateo before hugging Barbara’s leg. “Where are we going next, Ara?”
“We’re not going back there, aren’t we?” Mateo rubbed his head on Barbara’s stomach. They’re scared.
Barbara hesitated, hating to let them down. Their life has been miserable. Neither of them ever get the chance to feel the love of a mother or living like a normal kid. They had been raised as a soldier, not as kids. Being a cage since birth has made them tough. It’s a good thing that they aged faster than human kids until they hit puberty. She had to hold it together, in spite of her worry of being caught again. The kids need a leader and the touch of a loving mother. She got to her feet, earning a purred from the twins as she stroke their cheeks. “There’s a place. A safe place which not far from here”
She reached Althea and spoke in a low voice. “All we need is a-”
“Ara,” Alanna called her, not bothering anymore to be quiet. The girl jerked a thumb over her shoulder with a pale face. Barbara’s stomach turned. A truck moving on the empty road. Her chest rose and fell. “Boys come here”
The kids shifted uncomfortably. But, they obediently stood behind her. “Maybe we should try...asking for a ride? Stranger usually give a ride for someone indeed”
Again. The teenager tried to be reasonable.
“Oh! Just like in the movie” Mateo jumped, excitedly.
“Yes, before he kills his victim” Althea exclaimed with a growl. Matt’s eyes widened as he looked up at Barbara, “Are we going to die?”
“Not if we kill him first” Althea replied as her craws lengthen.
Barbara smiled at them and shook her head. “Relax boys. It could be a harmless person”
There was no opportunity to pursue the subject further because the truck stops before them. It’s hard to describe those long, drawn-out moments that pass while they stood watching the broken window that revealed a weird woman with heavy makeup. The kids let out a frustrated growl and cough rapidly when the truck let out an unpleasant smoke. “Urghh...”
Their eyes started to water. Alanna groaned inwardly. “Oh, this was bad. Very bad!”
Barbara chuckled and squeezed her shoulder, “Human”
She muttered. Eyes narrowing every slightly as the woman tilted her head and eyed them with curiosity. She had short black hair, red eyes as if crying for hours and a full red lips. For once, Barbara was satisfied to meet someone like her. Years ago, she absolutely will run away like a maniac, but now..thing had changed drastically. “You guys...look like shit”
The woman grinned. “Want a ride?”
Barbara hesitated. The woman didn’t ask them. Not even about their dirty bare feet or their unique appearance, especially Althea’s purple eyes. “Yes, please!”
Alanna answered instantly. Her attention riveted on the girl, “No” Barbara pulled the girl to her, “She couldn’t be-”
“But, we don’t have a choice” At that moment, Barbara notices her heavy emotion. The girl was scared so much that she trembled slightly. “I don’t want to go back there. They want...they want to take me away tomorrow, Ara! Just like others”
Tears blurring her eyes. Barbara stared at the girl for seconds then at the boys and Althea. Truth, they have nowhere to go. And it pains her to let the wicked scientist take them away. It took all her nerve to raised her chin. The woman was staring at them with new interests. Her smile widened when Barbara finally agrees. “Wise choice!”
She leans to open the door. It took a long cursed and a kick for the jammed door to fly open. “Come on”
The woman urged them. She shook her head to indicate she was harmless. It was only later when they climbed in that the woman turned to fully observe them. “Shit- No offense, but you all need a bath. Smell like sh- ”
Matteo growled, “Shit” Matt frowned at the woman, “You need a bath too, human. Smell like smoke and sick- very sick human”
She chuckled and started to move. The truck jerked widely, sending them forward before it surprisingly moving smoothly. It was damn awkward. No one has the intention to talk until Matt leaned at her, eyes widened, “Are we going to die?”
“That-” Barbara thinks carefully before speak, “-No, we’re not going to die. I-It just a bad..car. Nothing harmful”
Matteo doubted. “I swear the car will kill us”
He let out a growl, “Human and their stupid technology!”
The woman let out a chuckle, “So,” She glanced at Barbara, “There’s town sixty miles away. I-”
Barbara stroke her bump. She’d be free, in control, able to go wherever she wanted. If the enemy attacked a place she was staying, she wouldn’t need to trade the kids for freedom. She’d have her safe place, be able to protect others like her own, not asking them for anything in return.
“Just stop twelve miles from the town. I-...my friend house is nearby” Barbara smothered the urge to laugh, bitterness bubbling up inside her. She’d rummaged through stinking, dirty sewage looking for a way out. Hopelessness wouldn’t stop her to get further from her goal.
The woman quiet for a moment before hesitantly nods her head, “Okay...” Her muscles relax for an instant, “That sounds good to me”
Barbara didn’t know if the woman will sell them out to the higherup. Hell, she didn’t know if the woman has bad intentions toward them, but judging by the strong smell of alcohol, she dares to hope that the woman drunk enough to forget about them. She could outnumber her if she tries something bad. The kids are known for their cunning and less sympathy for humankind.
The kids looked relief to leave the broken car. They stared as the woman ride it through the empty road, leaving them alone. Matt shook his head in disgusts, “I hate it!”
Althea bump his shoulder, “Be grateful that you’re still alive”
“Or I might die from too much air pollution” He hissed, “Human doesn’t notice that they slowly killing their planet. This proves how much stupid they’re than us”
Matteo nodded his head, “Stupid”
Barbara shook her head. Sometimes she forgets that they’re still kids because of their smart mouth. “Come on, kids. We don’t have much time” Barbara looked at the red sky. Her hands trembled as she reaches for the little girl’s hand. Althea smiled at her, “So, where are we going now?”
Barbara looked at the girl with a soft smile, “Far away from the bad guy”
Alana takes the boys hand and follows them, “Human has a weird smell on them. I think they called it cologne..or something”
The boys’ lips tightened into an almost invisible line, “I don’t like it”
Barbara listened to their conversation and lead them to the woods. It’s a good thing that they’re closer to the town, but she didn’t want to alert the folks with their strange appearance. So, the only choice she has is looking for an abandoned place to hide for a while. They need a rest to be able to run again.
Carlos and Bain studied Lycus as he sniffed the blanket in his bloody hand. He was distracted, snarling and agitated. A howl had fractured the quiet of the room when they’d stepped into the facility. He immediately focused on scent. The alluring scent of his loss mate.
The male didn’t even glance their way. It made him wonder if his friend is beyond safe. It would be suicide to get too close to him at the moment so they stay a few feet away from him. “Are you in there?”
Lycus didn’t even pause his back-and-forth pacing. One arm holding the blanket closer to his nose. “She was here”
He ignored them but he snarled again and paused, shaking his head and let out a tormented howl, “Where is she?” He let out a terrifying growl and whimpered like a beaten pup, “I need her”
Ten feet from him was close enough, as Bain grunted and spoke in a calm voice, “We’ll get her, Lycus. Red is searching for proof of her disappearance. She could be somewhere closer-”
Lycus snapped his head at the alpha. His upper lip curled back to reveal straight, white teeth and sharp fangs. He snarled but stopped pacing. His dark eyes narrowed as he stared at him. “She’s with a child”
Carlos let out a cursed, “I’ll help them”
The male left the room hesitantly with new determination. A shifter child is precious. It’s a symbol of their continuous existence. They’re very possessive towards theirs as if humans needed air.
Lycus continued to pace, sniffing the blanket of his mate like an obssesion. Truth, it the only thing take can calm him now. Calm enough to not hunt down the remaining scientists. Bain will be pissed if he couldn’t control his emotions and he might band him from joining the research for his missing mate.
“I barely control it anymore, Bain” He glanced at the alpha, “My beast...it-”
A distant sound turned their attention to the hallway. Hope flared as Jorlan came into their view. “A woman called the Ellesmere. She said she drop a pregnant woman..and kids-”
“Where?” Lycus move closer to the poor guy with impatient eyes. Jorlan gulped, “few miles from Williams Arizona-”
Lycus turned to his alpha, “We need to go” His breathing increased. “Now!”
Bain nods his head with an argument. The impatient beast moves in a blink an eye without a glance at them. “Everyone get on the helicopter, now”
“Secure this place” Bain ordered, then catch up with the unstable beast.