Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Page 37

  He leans into my hand, and a hint of a smile touches his blue-tinged lips. “I tell you you’re going to the lab and you want to know how I am?” He tilts his head and kisses me so softly and so gently I could lean into his lips and fall asleep forever, but he pulls away and looks into my eyes. “I’m glad you’re alive. ”

  A door on the side of the pool opens. Bowen stands and grabs his gun, aiming it at a lone man wearing a long white jacket. The man puts up his hands and steps into the pool.

  “Looks like the lab has arrived,” Bowen mutters, lowering his gun. His lips harden into a thin, straight line.

  I look at the man in the white coat and my eyes narrow. He steps over Arris’s lifeless body and walks toward me. Dark brows frame pale blue eyes. My heart starts pounding and a memory floods my vision.

  Chapter 36

  Warm hands were on my icy skin, the first warmth I’d felt in a long time.

  “I need you to wake up!” someone whispered. “We need to get you away from here before they find out you survived the recovery period. ”

  I forced my eyelids open and stared into pale-blue eyes creased at the corners with worry and framed with black lashes. He looked away, and I followed his gaze to my arm. His warm, nimble fingers slid a needle out from the crease in my elbow. He moved to the other side of the bed and slid another needle out of the other arm. Tiny beads of blood pooled in the creases.

  Next, he jabbed a needle into my bicep, emptied a syringe into me, and pulled it out. Fire seemed to spread up my shoulder and into my heart, making it pound, making it pump blood through my body so fast I started to tremble. “I just injected you with adrenaline,” he said, wiping a drop of blood away. “It won’t last long and we don’t have much time. ” His warm hands clasped my shoulders and helped me sit. “Can you walk?”

  “Of course I can walk,” I said, and frowned. My voice felt broken, sounded as rough as a dog’s bark. I put a weak hand to my throat and felt a fine chain beneath my fingers. “But, who are you?”

  “I’ll explain as we go. ” He gave me his hand, and I tried to clasp it but couldn’t. My bones felt like liquid. He squeezed my hand and pulled, and helped me to my feet.

  The moment I tried to stand, my knees knocked together and my arms flailed, like a newborn deer on brand-new legs. I threw my arms around the man’s waist and sagged gracelessly against him.

  Without a word, the blue-eyed man draped my arm over his shoulder, supporting almost all my weight. Together, we walked out of a dimly lit room that had a bed and nothing else.

  The empty hallway was nearly pitch-black and lined with numbered doors. His shoes didn’t make a sound on the floor. My white tennis shoes hardly touched it because my feet, like my legs and my voice, didn’t remember how to work. We came to the end of the hall and stopped by a slick black wall.

  “This is where it gets tricky,” the man whispered. He took a small metal object from his pocket and put it to his mouth. “She’s awake. Call Gary. We have to get her out of the lab tonight. I just took her off life-support, so it’s only a matter of minutes before he realizes she’s cured. ” He took my arm from his shoulders and stepped away from me. My legs trembled beneath my weight, but not as badly as a few minutes before. I braced my shoes against the floor and held on to the dark wall for balance as the man typed something into a keypad on the wall at my left.

  Light flashed beneath my hand. I squinted at the wall and realized I stood beside a floor-to-ceiling window many stories above the ground. It was nighttime. In the near distance, I could make out a wide stretch of connected buildings against a star-filled sky.

  The lights flashed brighter beneath my hand. Nearer. A helicopter.

  The blue-eyed man looked out the window. “Oh no. We’ve got to go now!” he said, no longer whispering.

  He grabbed me, lifted me off the floor, and cradled me in his arms like a baby. And then he ran.

  My head bounced against his shoulder, lolling on a nearly useless neck, and I clung to his pristine white coat. At the end of the hall, we stepped into a pitch-black steam-filled room that reeked of bleach. He maneuvered through the darkness, stopped, and threw me down. I flailed before landing on my back in a mound of warm, dry cloth.

  “Looks like we’re going to use plan B,” he whispered. A light flickered, a tiny flashlight, barely illuminating the man’s face while he scanned my body with it. The small light stopped on my arm. The man jabbed a needle into my bicep again and injected something into my muscle.

  He leaned toward me, and his troubled face swirled in and out of focus. Lifting my eyelids, he shone the tiny flashlight into each of my eyes and nodded. The light went out. A fresh mound of hot cloth dropped onto me, making it almost impossible to breathe, yet my hands felt as limp and weak as flower petals, too weak to move the mass from my face. I relaxed into the warmth, content to be enveloped. My eyes closed, my mouth eased open, and I sank deeper into the warm fabric.

  “Where is she?” a woman’s voice asked, barely making it to my cotton-filled brain. I tried to open my eyes, to see who’d spoken the words. Because I knew that voice.

  “She’s in the linens. But we have to get her out now! There’s already a copter circling the building. He knows she’s awake. ”

  “Then Gary has to get her outside the wall tonight. He won’t be missed. As long as he’s back before sunrise, no one will suspect we had anything to do with her disappearance, and as long as she’s sedated, she won’t wake until we’re with her,” the woman said.

  “Outside the wall? But—”

  “She’ll be sedated. She’ll be fine. And you know Soneschen’s got too many eyes in the city. She’ll be dead before dawn if we keep her nearby. The other side of the wall is the safest place,” the woman insisted. Hands sifted through the warm linens covering me and circled around my neck. They fiddled with something and slid a chain away from my skin.

  A lone pair of footsteps echoed on the floor. “Gary! Take her. Quickly,” the woman said. “To my old home from before. ” The towels surrounding me started to move, being wheeled away.

  Footsteps pounded on the ground. “Doctor Grayson! You’re to be taken in for questioning in the disappearance of lab specimen fourteen,” someone bellowed.

  And then I floated.

  “I know you,” I say. The man smiles, a gesture that doesn’t reach his eyes.

  “You remember me, then?” He crouches in front of me and visually scans my body.

  I nod and look at the name embroidered on his starched white coat—Dr. Grayson. “You moved me out of a bed and put me in some laundry. ”

  “That’s right. ” He glances over his shoulder, at the door he just came in through. “We need to get you out of here immediately,” he says, looking at me again, pressing warm fingers against the pulse in my neck. “Can you stand?”

  “Wait. My brother. He …”

  “That’s Jonah?” Doctor Grayson asks, looking at the blood-covered body beside me.

  “Yes. He’s still alive. Can you help him?”

  The doctor crouches beside Jonah and presses fingers to his neck. His blue eyes meet mine and he pulls a tiny clip from the pocket of his white jacket, lifts it to his mouth. “We have an unconscious Level Ten in the pit. Get him medical help immediately. And take every precaution that he survives,” he says into the clip.

  “Thank you,” I whisper.

  The doctor’s eyes move to Bowen. “Are you Dreyden Bowen?” he asks.

  Bowen nods, eyes instantly wary. “How do you know me?”

  “I’m the one who had you promoted to guardian. ”

  “You? Why?” Bowen asks, his voice bitter. “Do you have a personal vendetta against me?”

  Grayson smiles, and this time it touches his eyes. “No, no personal vendetta. I was … apprehended the night I had Fiona removed from the lab and wasn’t able to get to her. Your gate was the closest to her childhood home, so I thoug
ht she might find her way there. And if she did, I needed someone in place who would protect her, someone who knew her and would recognize her. Based on your psych analysis, you have a soft spot for helping women. So, while I was being held for questioning, I secretly signed the papers for you to be promoted to guardian, and an accomplice smuggled them to the gate. ” He looks between Bowen and me, then holds out his hand to Bowen. Bowen, his face raw with surprise, puts his hand into the doctor’s and shakes it. “Nicely done. You’ve exceeded all my hopes. ” They drop hands. “Now, we’ve got to get Fiona out of here. ”

  Bowen eases to his feet, slow and unsteady, and starts tipping sideways. His eyes glaze over and roll into his head, and his legs crumple. Doctor Grayson grabs at him, toppling onto the pool floor with Bowen cradled against his chest.

  “Is he injured?” the doctor asks, looking at me.

  I nod, suddenly clammy cold. “I accidentally shot him. I think it was yesterday morning. It went all the way through his back. ” The words make my head spin, make me want to vomit. The pool wavers and I turn my head to the side, dry heaving.

  The doctor pulls up Bowen’s shirt, exposing a semifilled hole in his back that is oozing pus and blood. He looks at me, and the color has drained from his face. “How has he survived?”

  I have no words.

  “Get me medical backup, now!” Grayson orders, the clip against his mouth once more. “I have two injured teenagers in the pit, one on the verge of death. ”

  Verge of death. He means Bowen. I lie down on my side in spite of the bloody floor. I am too exhausted to keep sitting, too sore to move, and too scared to go on. My head pounds as if it’s filled with too much blood, and I fight the urge to dry heave again.

  The doctor studies me with calculating eyes. “You’ve been kissing him, haven’t you. Kissing Dreyden?”

  I stare at him, wondering why he’s asking me something so irrelevant at a time like this.

  “Fiona,” Grayson says. “Kiss him. ”
Previous Page Next Page
Should you have any enquiry, please contact us via [email protected]