The Wretched

For your listening pleasure: http://t.co/vcGxDWZ

Both Trent and I vanished from my front step and appeared in the desert, near the compound.

Trent looked around the dark barren landscape, his eyes settling on the seven vamps in front of us. “It appears Oscar’s lost again.”

Danny shook his head. “I swear, that boy really needs to learn this shit.”

“Well, somebody go find the dumbass,” I snapped before whirling on Trent. “I’ve got it. What about a virus none of us can carry and that kills so quickly, there’s no chance anyone could escape?”

“Does that even exist?” Trent asked.

“Of course it exists,” I replied. “Don’t be ridiculous. We’re talking about our government.”

“Why are we talking about viruses?” Danny asked as he stepped up to us.

“Shawn wants to drop one into the compound,” Trent replied.

“Hey, you had the same fucking idea,” I said. “Don’t put it all on me.”

“Yeah, I know and I’m not, but you have Nico to think about,” Trent said, and he grabbed my left arm. “Thalia is a vamp like us and whatever we did wouldn’t hurt her, unless it had Rhenium in it, but Nico’s half human.”

“Fuck,” I grumbled and spun around to pace, pulling out of his grasp. “Okay, fine, we’ll just go shoot the goddamn place up.”

“Now, now, we need to consider that too,” he said and took a step forward. “They have the Rhenium coating their blades so it’s likely on the ammo too. We can’t just barrel in there like we would any other place.”

“It is on the ammo. I’ve already had a bullet in me.” I scratched my chin, and wondered how the Cabale would have known where I was for that job. Interesting. I’d have to look into that later. An idea hit me and I grinned widely. “Not to worry, twin. I’ve got a plan.”

Trent really didn’t like the smile on my face, judging from the expression on his. He thought it meant pain. I could see the worry in his eyes, but he should know me. I wouldn’t do anything that’d get him killed.

Usually.

Besides, if they killed my twin, I’d be hell-bent on revenge, and that’s sort of my trade. It wouldn’t be the best idea to place me in that position.

Danny appeared with Oscar at his side. I could see the boy was embarrassed as all hell, since he wouldn’t look at me, so I decided to embarrass him some more.

I pointed at Oscar. “Your new nickname is Nemo.”

“Like Captain Nemo?” he asked with a creased brow.

“No, like the fucking clownfish,” I said, “because we’re always looking for your lost ass.” I stepped closer to him, towered over him and leaned forward. “You need to learn coordinates—longitude and latitude. They’re really not all that difficult.”

“Hey, I was taught in the public school system here,” he said.

“That’s no goddamn excuse,” I said. “So were Trent and I.”

“Yeah, but you guys were in the military.”

I looked at Trent. “I’m tellin’ ya, it should be a fucking requirement.”

He nodded with a chuckle. “What’s the plan?”

“All new vamps need to go through some sort of boot camp, but as far as tonight goes—” I growled at Nemo and stepped into the center of their circle “—here’s what we’re going to do . . . .”

* * * * *

I crouched just outside the electrified chain link fence and studied the compound from a distance. I’d already described the area I’d been in previously to the others. So why’d the fucking place look deserted?

“Shit, I think they’ve vacated,” I said. The lights were still on, but I couldn’t see any guards in the towers or elsewhere.

Trent frowned. “Did anyone see you last time you were here?”

I slapped a hand to my face. “Mother fucker.”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said.

“I left the son of a bitch alive, and a few others saw me.” I stood up. “I just wanted to find Nico. Let me go scout real quick.” I vanished from the perimeter.

I appeared right in front of the last door I saw before porting to Ireland. Fucking thing was wide open. The vines were still there too. I stepped through the doorway and took a quick look around, listening for any sign of life. All I could hear was the hum of computers and the ventilation system . . . and the vines still crawling along the floor. At the rate they grew, the whole place would be covered in a few days. A large ivy plant growing in the middle of the desert? Yeah, try to hide that shit from the public.

Once I knew the place was clear, I linked with my brother. I need you or Danny in here.

His voice popped into my head. You need to be clearer than that. What do you need exactly? We have different skills.

I need someone who can hack into the Cabale’s shit. Which one of you can do that?

Danny’s on his way.

Fucking liar. I knew he could do it too. Then again, maybe he just wanted to make Danny feel useful. Poor little geek boy.

A second later, Danny appeared just outside the door. He ran a hand through his straight black hair, adjusted his wire frame glasses. He looked like a Japanese Harry Potter.

He whistled low. “What’s with the vines?” he asked and took a step inside, taking care to not touch the moving plant.

“Trystan was here,” I replied, and then pointed to one of the desks. “See if they’ve wiped the system.”

“No shit?” Danny walked behind the console and sat at the computer. “What was she doing here?” His fingers flew over the keys as he worked his way into the system. I took a look around again.

“Fuck if I know. They probably captured her. I’m gonna check some other areas,” I said. “I’ll have the others come over here first.”

I stepped outside and crept around the corner. When I could see them, I signaled Trent. Yo, it’s clear in this building.

The seven of them ported over to me and looked around, hands on weapons, just in case.

“Danny’s in this building, hacking in,” I said. “I’m gonna check the other buildings. Trent, you come with me. Oscar and Xander, go in with Danny and keep your eyes open. He needs to work without interruption, so that’s your job.” They nodded and walked inside. “Vinnie, Miguel, and Paul—you go check that small building. Don’t engage if you don’t have to. Just scout it out and report back to Danny.” The three vanished, and I had only two left—Atem and Scott. “I need you two to look at the building near the front of the compound, okay?”

Atem gave a quick nod and vanished before Scott could twitch.

“Well, don’t just stand there, Scott,” I said. “Go cover the man.”

“Sorry, he’s like a fucking phantom,” he said and vanished.

I shook my head and started walking toward the biggest building in the compound. “I swear, these newbies. Where’d he find them?”

Trent walked at my side. “Hell if I know, but the new ones are practically all we have left. I think you’re right about the training shit. If the Cabale are still here, those guys won’t make it out alive . . . except maybe Atem.”

I nodded. “Xander’s not too bad, though.” He agreed and we both ported closer to the building, materializing next to one of its walls. I signaled to Trent to go high and I’d go in at ground level. He gave a short nod and disappeared.

I held my Kimber up as I walked along the wall until I found a door. It was unlocked, so I pulled it open and peered inside. The place looked pretty dark, but my eyes could pick up even the minutest of details right down to the dust-covered shelves.

Looks like a warehouse, I said through the mind link as I entered quietly. Crates stacked high along the walls. I carefully made my way through the maze to the opening in the center.

Perhaps their weapons supply, Trent replied.

I grinned. We should blow it up.

Laughter filled my mind. I don’t think so, pyro. I thought you preferred the stealth shit.

I did until they kidnapped my girl. My eyes scanned the center, picking up its details—steel floor, which made me think there might be something below. You see this?

Trent appeared at my side. All clear up there, as far as I can tell. He looked at the floor. Looks like there’s a lower level.

We walked out carefully, scanning the area with our eyes and guns as we covered each other. Our movements perfectly opposite of one another—I’d step forward and he’d cover my back, the direction we came from; he’d move ahead and I’d take his place. That way we got a nice three-sixty view.

It fucking stinks in here, he said.

Burnt vamp flesh. Now we know what they did with Seth.

Trent growled low, barely audible to normal human ears, but loud enough in my ears to make me turn around. His glowing purple eyes met mine, signifying his anger and that the magic was ready to come out and play.

Anger isn’t going to help, big brother, I said calmly. Let’s see if we can find a door that leads below.

He nodded, spun around, and took a few steps away from me. It looks like a trap, he said in my mind.

It is, I replied right as the metal cages dropped on us and locked into place. I briefly closed my eyes, until I heard Trent stepped forward in his cage.

He grabbed the bars and yanked his hands back, but not before I heard the sizzle. Fucking Rhenium-coated iron. Shit.

Fuck! Can you—

I tried, but nothing happened. Apparently, Rhenium could not only burn us, but the fucking shit could trap us as well.

I think we’re fucked, I said. But I’m shooting the first fucker that shows himself.

Danny, GET OUT! Trent screamed through the mind link.

In the distance, outside, I heard the scream of a vamp. I hoped it wasn’t Danny. His twin, Dana—a vamp slayer—would kill Trent and me, if we survived this mess.

Mother. Fucker. Roberts was a dead man.

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About Shawn

Vampyre. The bad half. Yes, I bite. Wanna know more? Go read my fucking blog.

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