Authors back w/ chapter
Sorry for the break, I wanted to make absolutely sure I graduated. I also had some unexpected issues with my puppy, and my family, I had to deal with. As for now, I'm 100% focused on this book/Series.
Thanks for waiting and reading!
Irish Translation -
Grandmother = máthair mhór (Great Mother)
Seàn and Lewis say Maimeó (Mam o)
Uncle = Uncail
Dad/Daddy = Dadaí (Dah dee)
Mom/Mommy= Mamaí (Mah mee)
I'm pacing as Lewis sits against the wall, resting. This makes no sense. Allowing us to see and speak to our boys, keeping us healthy with surprisingly good meals, and forcing us to fight to keep in shape. There's no reason I can think of that would call for any of this if we'd be killed off anyway.
West obviously has another plan. He's been coming to watch us fight, which had started directly before our boys showed up on a screen; it's probably been days since that. The doctor always has a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes, mumbling about endurance and overall strength. He doesn't make us fight each other, no, he knows we won't do that.
Instead, a group of men come in and threaten one of us. It's a weakness we have, that we look out for each other and protect. It's usually our strength and it bothers me our protective instinct is being used to West's advantage.
We have to fight for hours until most of the men are down or passed out, Lewis and I know how to fight and use our opponent's weaknesses against them. West has been sending in mostly weak men, small compared to us- in size and muscle. Although today there was more struggle to the fight, three bigger guys this time.
Lewis had managed to gain the upper hand quickly on the one that charged him; I, on the other hand, had two on me. It lasted longer and West had brought a camera, setting it up in front of the cell to record us.
I heard him giving instructions to the men, "Move him toward the camera! I need to see his back!"- "Hold his arms!- Yes! Like that! Now turn him, show his biceps." or, "Pin him! Let me see what they'll do."
When he commanded that the man I was currently punching stopped fighting back and I was attacked from behind by the third man. He managed to pin me to the hard floor with his body weight, straddling my legs and laying on my chest.
I could understand enough that he didn't like the situation he was in, he was attempting to keep still when he was shaking slightly. That man obviously was scared of us and what we could do, I just don't get why yet.
Sure, we're big guys- I get that. We intimidate people, unintentionally scare them. But for some man that was supposed to be a guard or whatever and to be fighting, and actually doing a decent job at pinning me down, to be shaking? That's hard for me to understand.
He must've had a different idea of what would happen. West either told them something or didn't and let them believe something they already assumed. This man, guard, had acted as if I'd turn into some wild, untamed animal at any second.
Then when Lewis had growled, grunted, and dramatically roared while knocking the man on him away. The guard on me literally yelped and was in the middle of scrambling off when Lewis threw him off me into the bars.
After that, the man had shouted that he had enough and ran when Ethan, West's partner I assume, opened the cell. The other men just stood away from us seeming confused as to what to do, continue fighting, or follow their friend.
"I have enough, exactly what I need. You're free to relax. Come tomorrow, the real fun begins. Thank you, gentleman." West sounded anxious, excited for whatever he plans. His eyes wide and shining with anticipation of what's to come, fingers unable to keep still.
That was probably hours ago; we're still unable to see any light from the outside. I can't relax, haven't been able to since seeing my boys. I'm so happy and relieved with the knowledge that they're okay, when I saw them it was like I wasn't caged in this death trap.
All that mattered to me was that I kept them in view because then I'd be able to see that nothing will hurt them, I'd be able to warn them of danger. Reassure them and care for them best I could, I'd make the most of what I got. I know the evidence of the fight worried them, our bloody knuckles and bruises, but all the pain numbed and I only hurt when I saw Zyon crying.
I hate knowing he's suffering from the distance he's not used to and from not having me there, I've been the only person he's been with for years and we've developed a bond. Axel confirmed what I already knew when he mentioned Zyon was depressed and it makes me hate everything; I'm not there to help him feel better.
The only reassurance I have is that Axel is there, and I saw Robert for a few seconds. It's a small comfort because Axel is probably trying to handle caring for Zyon and Tom while also managing himself, and his own feelings. I imagine it's tough dealing with this situation alone, especially when we were trying to get Zyon comfortable to start building a foundation for a relationship.
I just hope they know where to look now, after all, I'm sure the FBI has computer trackers. I need to touch my boys, hug them. Everything would be way better, probably not okay, but better.
"Bràthair, you need to rest. Stumblin round won't help us." Lewis grips my shoulders, eyebrows frowning worriedly.
He just woke up, jerking up from the wall with a short gasp. He had mentioned that recently, after seeing our boys, he's been having short nightmares whenever he doses off. His worry for Tommy has developed into dreams, now he sees these people hurting Tom and Lewy has no way to help; caged up as we are.
This is hard on both of us and it shows in different ways. My coping just happens to be pacing and not sleeping, sometimes rage and I end up punching the wall or the bars. Lewis's is apparently night terrors and rage, as he also solves his feelings with punching the walls.
"I know, Lewy. Can't control it. I try to sit still, it don't work. I shake like a drug addict on rehab." my breathing comes out shaking, body nearly vibrating as I lower my head to his shoulder.
Lewis is silent for a few minutes before I feel his shoulder lightly jerk as he chuckles, "Dear lord, ya turned into Uncail Kane."
A memory flashes in my head and I realize what he's referring to. The family reunion at the old farm back in Ireland, the first time the family met Tommy and Uncle Kane showed up uninvited. He was freshly off drugs after Maimeó threatened to disown him and he was shaken horribly, saying everything under the sun including how pretty Tommy was and going as far to make a move.
Maimeó was furious, so was Lewis. My brother and Dadaí had to take Uncle Kane out to the barn to keep a fight from happening. We find it hilarious now, even though Lewis still refuses to have Tommy around Uncle Kane.
I lightly punch Lewis's stomach, "Fuck ya, bastard. Comparin me ta the family's thick bollock. What would Mamaí think?"
"Ah, she'd probably knock me upside me head. Then tell me I'd need to eat, and start taking better care of you." His arms go around my shoulders, hugging me tightly in an attempt to keep my body from trembling anxiously, or in unreleased rage.
A muffled huff of amusement is all I can manage, Mamaí would do that. She's the kind of woman to worry yet doesn't show it a lot, she'll comment something then move on or she'll mention eating more and go on to make a whole meal for everyone. But she'll also take her hand to your head, or anything that's in her hand; like a broom or spatula.
She was against us coming to America, didn't want to lose us. We make sure to call her at least every day so she doesn't worry.
"She must be without her head. No calls from us. Think someone called her?"
Lewis sighs, shaking his head. "Nah. Tom would've been too distracted to remember, and your boys don't have her number. Damn, maybe Tommy boy is more focused. He always liked Mamaí."
We're silent again, reminiscing about our life in Ireland and with my family. Lewis is basically my brother, my family. Everyone rarely introduces him as a friend of the family, Mamaí and Dadaí tell strangers Lewis is their third son. We're close to all of them- except Cousin John; he's in prison.
Lewis only came into my life when we were eighteen, it surprised me that my folks got as attached to him as I did. I had brought him home the morning after we drank in the pub, I woke up passed out in his beat-up truck with a horrible hangover, and Lewis eating a leftover sandwich he found under his seat.
Mamaí fell in love immediately, by that I mean that when Lewis offered to help me with my chores and cut up some wood, she saw another helping hand. Dadaí was just happy to take longer breaks.
Whatever the reason, point is- Lewis is family and right now, our family doesn't know anything about our situation.
We're sitting against the wall sometime later, my leg moving constantly and Lewis has to grip it to keep it still. He squeezes it harder when we hear footsteps echo down the caves, more than usual.
We stay sitting even as a group of people, mostly men but I spot women in the mix, come into view of us. Leading them is Ethan, a satisfied smirk on his lips and a dark, evil, gleam in his eyes.
"Take subject two, on the right."
It happens fast. One second I'm with Lewis, then he's shoving us up and suddenly I'm fighting. Throwing punches and dodging hands that reach for me. Next, I'm grabbed and pulled, I can hear orders to restrain me and Lewis, my name being shouted in a panicked voice even as I'm forced into a straight jacket while I attempt to struggle -there's too many to fight off.
Through the chaos I see a group manage to get Lewis' knees pinned to the floor, he's trying to throw them off like a bucking bull at the county Rodeo. Cursing these men to the devil and God above, shouting words I had forgot or haven't heard.
"Bràthair! Fight! Keep fightin, you hear me!?"
I hear him yet I can't do anything, my arms are restrained and I'm being shoved to my knees where someone grabs my arms through the jacket, then pulls. I'm thrown onto the ground on my back, but only for a moment. Before I can attempt to get back up I'm grabbed again then pulled from the cell, away from Lewis.
They drag me into the path in front of the cave cell where I've been in, seeing the lights in the hallway. I hear the door shut and lock just under the sound of Lewis shouting, then fist on rusty metal.
I'm forced to watch as Lewis and the cell disappear from view, the trail of dried blood now appearing from under me. I'm taking the same path as Tavion.
Lewis' fist and hands are faintly visible as I'm pulled further away, his voice now echoing. I continue to try to struggle out of their hands, yelling out and thrashing about to throw them off. Nothing works.
It doesn't take long for the scenery to change dramatically. The harsh and cold cave walls and dark shadows of the path and cell I've grown to known; changes into bright white floors and walls, the smell of pure, sterile, and uncontaminated hospital invades my senses and makes me cringe. The floor is clean and smooth, there are shiny silver tables, counters, and medical tools in containers.
In the middle of the room, there's a chair, one similar to what a dentist would use for patients. It's bolted to the floor with Rusty bolts and nails. While they continue to drag me in closer to the chair, I notice latches on the feet and arms of it with leather straps that lock into place on them.
When close enough they fight with me to remove the straight jacket; someone shouts in pain after I bite into their ear lobe and jerk my head to rip the skin. I taste blood on my tongue and feel a sick satisfaction, even as I'm punched and pinned back into the chair.
My arms are in tight grips of their hands and I can hear myself growling, snarling, and grunting like a bear on the defense from hunters. My wrist are pinned to the arms of the chair and strapped there by the leather, my kicking legs are also strapped. Leaving me tightly tied to the chair and unable to move, unable to fight against them and West.
Said man is standing feet away smiling wide and showing stained yellow teeth, foot-tapping excitedly. He's in gray dress pants and a white button-up, over it is a long white doctor coat.
"Let him settle down! I don't need him more aggravated than he already is...Ethan! Stop trying to provoke him."
The large man I know as Ethan rolls his eyes as he steps away from the chair I'm jerking in to test the strength of the straps, he had been mumbling about how I was too weak to fight and how I shouldn't have Axel and Zyon. My anger is higher than ever, wanting to knock him or, if I could, kill him for helping with the murders and with Tavion.
"One of these days, provoking the subjects will backfire on you. When I'm done, he'll be stronger." West warns, but Ethan only grunts.
"What are you going to do with me?! What you did to Tavion?!" I shout, annoyed with them and angry I'm locked in a chair like a forgotten baby in a high chair.
West blinks at me then quickly shakes his head, "No, no, never. Mr. MacManus, you have to understand that Mr. Anderson wasn't what I needed, I thought he would work but sadly, I was wrong. The process rejected him."
He smiles widely again in what looks to be a reassurance, "I picked you and Mr. Murray out myself. Through seeing you at Love and Grind to seeing you through a screen with your subs. I know you'll be accepted. I thank you for your patience, I understand being away from your streak is stressful and my wish is to have you back to them in no time."
I balk at him, shocked and nervous. Love and Grind is a club Lewis and I went to when he started dating Tommy, Lewy wanted Tom to experience a BDSM club since he hadn't before. West apparently saw us there and started following us, which means he's been waiting for years to grab us. Gaining information.
That angers and scares me because at that time Zyon was still on the street and I was attempting to gain his trust. These people could have done something horrible to him without anyone knowing.
Not to mention Tommy, he was just starting to see Lewis as his Master- they waited a full year to even do a scene. If something had happened to him and found out it was related to some stalkers Lewis had, he would've left Lewy. Lewis would've been heartbroken, and angry at who bothered Tom.
Knowing that West and however had invaded mine and Lewis's life for that long is scary, I don't know what they have on us or the people in our lives. But I know, as soon as I can I'm destroying everything they have on us.
"Be assured that I have no harm will towards you, Mr. Murray, or either of your partners. My only goal is to evolve the human race and you have the honor to assist me." West speaks this with so much genuineness I nearly believe him.
Then I remember Tavion. He didn't deserve to be in this chair or to be tortured the way he was. He didn't deserve to die, he had loved ones waiting for him and a whole life to live.
"Fuck you. I don't want to be apart of this. First chance I get, I'll harm you."
West's smile tightens at my promise and his foot stops, his eyes that had previously been bright with excitement are now dull in anger. Then he blinks that anger is gone.
"Ethan, subject two please." His voice is void of emotion as he instructs his partner.
Turning my head as far as I'm able to, I watch as Ethan disappears into a side room with two white double doors. I can hear growls and snarls of an animal when they open for him to go inside.
Moments pass in quiet, West watching me and the group of people that dragged me here file out of the room. The doors open again for Ethan, only this time he wheels in a large cage on a long, red metal platform truck. In the cage is a huge, bright orange with dark black stripes and brown eyes sharp with intelligence, tiger.
The animal is growling and clawing at the cage, paws catching on the spaces of the cage for seconds as his deadly claws swipe the bars. It reminds me of Lewis and me when we couldn't help Tavion or just now when Lewis tried to help me.
"Mr. MacManus I would like you to meet Subject Two, your equal. You two will be very close." West gestures to the tiger, who growls at him.
My eyes flick between the tiger and West, uncertain of what is happening. I'm anxious about what is going on, when faced with a tiger and a crazy murderous person, I fear what will become of me.
I've never been in a situation where I'm concerned for my life, I've always been able to protect myself, had Lewis or my Brother, Jack, to have my back. I have no one in this room on my side and I'm unable to fight back.
"What do you mean? What do you plan on doing?" I demand to know, forcing my anger to come back to keep myself focused instead of letting myself get distracted by fear.
West smiles carefree again, wide and excited as he holds his hand out flat towards the corner where Ethan had apparently moved to. The larger man places a syringe filled with a clear liquid into the palm of West's hand, giving me a snide smirk.
West then walks to the tiger and waits for the animal to turn to Ethan, the man is distracting the creature for West to carefully inject the liquid into the back of the tiger.
It takes moments for the large animal to slowly lay down and, hopefully, go into a sleep state. West sets the needle down on a table closest to the cage then turns back to me, he digs through it until he pulls out a clean syringe and needle.
"Subject Two will be asleep for most of this." He states, "Unfortunately, you're to be awake for the first part for maximum process seeing as your brain and psychological functions occur while you're awake. That is mostly needed in this part of the process."
West explains this as he gathers tools and equipment I never saw before besides on tv, Ethan helps when asked but mainly stays in his corner. I see small machines and tubes, barely visible thin needles; everything you'd see on one of those forensic crime shows.
The tiger is peacefully snoring quietly, ignorant about what is happening just as much as I am. Finally, after minutes, West stops and turns to me. Now holding a long, thin needle.
"Now, we begin. Please be still, Mr. MacManus." This time he's the one that acts snidely, mocking smile and a sadistic gleam in his eyes.
When he approaches me I start to attempt to struggle again, but only my torso moves because my arms and legs are pinned down. He grips my forearm tightly and places the needle on my skin, and West pauses for a moment. Eyes closing and a blissful smile appears just as the needle presses into the skin.
It doesn't hurt at first, feels like a regular shot by a normal doctor. Then it does deeper, deeper, and deeper into my arm. I clench my teeth to keep from making any noise, it would only give him pleasure.
The deeper it goes the more sharp pain shoots up my arm, I feel this part wouldn't have hurt this much if I had been given something to numb the area. When West finally stops pushing it, the needle feels as if it hit a snag.
Instead, West pushes firmly in. Now it's like my bone is being pierced by the needle. I imagine this happens in normal hospitals, I know bone marrow- what I assume he's after- can be taken while someone is awake. Awake, but on anesthesia and having the area numb.
It's another minute or two for West to slowly pull the needle out, the syringe having a small dose of white in it.
I'm proud of myself for not making any noise, not giving him the satisfaction. I'm sure everything else will be painful, going off the tools and the way Tavion was screaming.
"Subject Two will give me the same sample, then the real fun starts." West states as he turns to empty my bone marrow onto a small container and caps it with a label that has my name typed on it.
It's probably been hours since West took my bone marrow, then the tigers. I've been forced to watch as be does something to both samples, mumbling to himself. Ethan hasn't moved a muscle and the tiger had started stirring.
West is leaned over a microscope with needles and other thin tools I didn't know existed, this is the stillest I've seen him be. Not a single twitch and he leans away a bit to blink as to not accidentally shake the scope.
I don't know what he's doing. I was never good at biology or sciences, and the lessons on blood and DNA went over my head. We never did a lesson on bone marrow either. I assume he was, or is, a person who deals with that type of stuff and wanted to experiment.
"Yes! Finally, all stem cells finished." West suddenly sighs in relief, leaning back and wiping his brow.
I watch as he picks up yet another syringe with some other substance in it, and walks back to me. I instantly demand, "What is that?"
He laughs as if the answer is clear and I'm stupid for even asking, "Your updated DNA."
Then he abruptly grabs my arm again and pushes in the needle and injects the liquid into my bloodstream. The reaction is immediate. Pain spreads as my body tries to fight off the new foreign DNA, apparently.
It's constant, excruciating pain that spreads every second, and nothing is stopping it. I can feel it spread slowly up my arm and down to my fingers as it runs through my veins, attacking what I assume are blood cells or those stem cells West mentioned.
There's screaming echoing in the room, a loud shrill howling. At first, I think that Lewis is in trouble, it takes moments for me to realize that I'm the one screaming.
I can't move or attempt to struggle away, the torment is inside me and I can't run away from it or fight it. I'm completely helpless to protect myself.
The suffering never stops. Even as I'm unlocked from the chair and dragged all the back to the cave where Lewis is, the grips on my arms make the agony worse. I can hear myself make noises I never knew I could make, whimpering and crying out for it to stop.
I'm begging my body to shut down, to allow me to pass out from the stinging torture that hasn't spread more than inches from the injection site. But I don't pass out.
The group of people that had dragged me back throws me into the caged cave room I've grown used too, my body dropping onto the hard, sharp ground. I scream again as every vein stings.
"Bràthair!!" Lewis is at my side as soon as I land on the ground.
He touches my arm in his attempt to check me for injuries like he has done multiple times before in the past. It merely makes everything worse and I can't tell him, I can only shout when his skin touches mine.
The stabbing discomfort is the main focus of my conscious, words coming out in grumbled half's, and my body twitches at times. I can feel the war waging in me, my original DNA fighting whatever West put in me.
"Bràthair! What did you do to him, motherfeckers!?" Lewis screams at them, anger overtaking him.
I can hear his fist connect with someone, but I'm unable to lift my head to see. People are running away and the cell door slams shut. Lewis returns to my side and his worried eyes find mine, this is the first time I see fear in them.
In the past we could protect each other, we knew we'd be okay. That we'd survive fights here and there. He never had reason to fear for our lives. But now, we're in unknown territory and we don't know if we'll live or not.
"Don't worry, Mr. Murray. He will be fine, this will only last a month, by than his new DNA will have replaced the old." West's voice speaks from the other side of the cell door, supposedly reassuring.
Lewis growls, "I'll kill you! Ya sick bastard, leave!"
West's footsteps are quiet in the background of my cries and shouts, but when he's gone Lewis turns back to me. His hands twitch to touch me but he keeps them on the ground and even though I know it'll be painful I side my hand to his, resting it on the slightly shaking wrist of my brother. The contact makes me whine and clench my teeth, but I don't remove it.
"You'll be fine, Bràthair. Keep fighting it, you're stronger than whatever he did. Keep fighting. I'll be right here." His voice is strained with emotion.
I can only hope he's right that I'm stronger than what's in my body.