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BREED PROGRESSIVE TRAINING FACILITY, GERMANY
It was a scene out of a nightmare. Something so horrific, so bloody, as to defy the imagination and leave Cassa gasping in shock.
“We have to find the release,” she screamed in horror as her husband stood beside her, the camera on his shoulder trained on the viewing area of the rumored death pit.
It was more than a pit of death. It was a place of such torturous agony and evil that Cassa struggled with the ramifications.
A dozen Breeds, nude, tiger stripes gleaming against their flesh, moved frantically to escape the long, lethally sharp blades that played a horrendous game of hide-and-seek with them.
Blood sprayed against the steel walls, pooled on the floor beneath the bodies of those who’d had the misfortune of not moving quickly enough. And still the others fought to survive and to protect.
A savage roar of rage tore from the tallest, the most powerful of the Bengal Breeds doomed to die, and echoed through the intercom. He fought to shove the others aside, to save them, to find some way to stop the mechanical thrust and parry that sliced into vulnerable flesh.
“Douglas, help me,” Cassa sobbed as her husband stood silent and still, the camera recording the brutality of the Genetics Council and their so-called progressive training.
How had this happened? She flipped a switch and slammed her hands onto the release plungers, but the blades continued to slice and dice their way through even more Breeds in their path.
The roars of fury crescendoed, the raw animal rage sending shards of terror racing down her spine as she grabbed her husband’s arm and jerked him toward her.
She saw it then. Frozen, immobile with shock, she saw the morbid pleasure in his gaze and the satisfaction on his face.
Like a key finally releasing the lock on months of suspicion, Cassa blinked at the truths that finally slammed inside her head. The group of men and women who had come to this small country to find this particular lab and rescue the Breeds here had suffered through too many unfortunate accidents and false trails. For days now, the commander, Jonas Wyatt, had treated the group as a whole with icy suspicion. Because of one man.
“You.” She felt herself shaking apart. Felt something breaking inside her at the realization that she too had played a part in the deception that was now killing the very men and women they had been sent to save. “What have you done?” She screamed the accusation at him, watching the smirk that curved at his lips as his pale blue eyes glittered with fanatical anticipation.
“What have I done? No, Cassa, what did you do? I couldn’t have gotten on this team without your help.” He laughed in her face. She felt the amusement, the hated, mocking arrogance in his tone, as more cries echoed through the control room.
He was her husband. He had used her connections, her friends, to ensure that he was chosen as her cameraman to document the rescue of the rarest of the Breeds ever created. The Bengal Breed.
“Help me release them,” she shrieked, her palms slamming into his shoulders, knocking the camera loose and jerking it free of its mooring on his shoulder.
The crash of the equipment to the ground was only a distant sound of destruction as Douglas used his fist to send explosions of brutal pain tearing through her head, and she fell to the cement floor.
Agony lanced through her, and Cassa couldn’t stop the whimper of pain that fell from her lips. Okay, she could forget getting any help from him.
She pulled herself up to the control panel, tears spilling from her eyes now as she began to press, punch and slap any lever or button she could find.
Sirens began to blare, strobe lights flashed in red and blue. A mechanical voice began spitting warnings and directions in a coded gibberish that made the pain in her head intensify.
“You damned, stupid bitch!”
Cruel hands latched onto her hair and jerked her to her feet.
Cassa didn’t bother to scream. There was no one to hear her cries, there would be no one to care. Her hands jerked to the hand gripping her hair as she began to claw at his fingers with her nails.
Struggling, she was only dimly aware of the enraged, horrific roar that sounded too close, too furious.
“You ignorant little whore!” Douglas yelled again, his expression twisted into lines of rage as he shook her by the hand in her hair. “Do you know what you’re doing? They’re abominations. Fucking animals pretending to be human.” His free hand slapped her across the face, causing her head to ring with explosions of light as another warning blared through the control room, followed by a roar of animalistic rage unlike anything she had ever heard.
Cassa cringed at the sound as Douglas suddenly stilled.
“You knew,” he snapped as he flung her away from him.
Her legs wouldn’t hold her up. Her head was filled with clashing cymbals reverberating with agony. She collapsed to the floor, shaking her head. “I didn’t know,” she cried out, forcing herself to stare up at him. “You’re a monster, Douglas.”
The smile that curved his lips was one of triumph. “You told me the plans to get in here, Cassa. You told me the animals they were going to free, and you told me, dear wife, of the repercussions to the Council if they were freed.” He kicked out at her, laughing as the toe of his boot connected with her side and sent her scrambling in an attempt to crawl from his reach.
“Ten million dollars, Cassa, in an overseas account. Who the f**k needs you or your connections now? You gave me the means to betray these crackpot idiots that want to suck up to animals. Now you can live with it.”
A piercing animal scream exploded through the room. Through the veil of her hair and the tears filling her eyes, Cassa watched as Douglas paled, glanced to the sealed doors to the pit, then turned to run.
It happened so fast and yet Cassa swore she watched each detail of movement as though in slow motion. She saw the only Bengal still standing, his enraged, demonic eyes spitting amber fire. Blood dripped along his body. His face, his shoulders, the stripes that extended from his bu**ocks around his thighs—blood flowed over the heavy muscle and lean lines of his golden body. He lifted a broken steel stake and hurled it past the slowly opening cage door, swashing through the control room windows with deadly force.
The wickedly sharp blade buried itself at the base of Douglas’s spine. He screamed as he went down and his head arched back on his shoulders as he screamed again.
The stake protruded from the base of his spine as blood spurted around the wound. He convulsed, agonizing sounds of horror and twisted pain escaping his lips, as Cassa watched the only Bengal to escape the pit.