Numbers Page 59

He braced, waiting to see her sickened expression. It would set her free of him though, learning the truth. She wouldn\ want to be anywhere near him.

’’You didn\ want her to suffer.’’ She offered sympathy instead.

’’How do you know that?’’ It surprised him. Even other Species had been wary, asking him questions when they learned what had happened after he\d been rescued with Tammy. They\d understood, and told him to forgive himself, but Candi should have been appalled. She\d been treated better than a Species, but less than human at Mercile.

’’I know you. You\d never take a life for no reason.’’

Her trust in him, her faith, humbled him. ’’They would have killed her anyway. I could hear them talking. Two of the males planned to rape her when her use was up. They didn\ believe the drugs would work to make it possible for them to successfully breed us. One of them was sick in his mind, boasting about the pain and humiliation he\d cause her. I didn\ want to add to her pain by making her endure me first. I was also afraid the drugs might work. No child should be created and have to face what they had in mind to do to it. I made it painless and fast.’’ He fought nausea. ’’Then they brought me another. I did the same to her. The third was different. She smelled of a Species and I let her live because she asked me to. We spoke and I had hoped that we\d be freed. Her mate came hunting for her.’’

’’You mounted a female who belonged to another male?’’

That seemed to shock her more than him admitting to the lives he\d taken. He shook his head. ’’No. We were able to survive until Tammy\s mate found us.’’

The silence between them became uncomfortable. He wanted to know about what had happened to her after she\d been taken away, but he wasn\ sure he could handle the answers if they were too terrible. All he knew was that she\d been kept in an asylum. Those were places they kept humans with disabilities of the mind.

’’Do you want me to leave?’’

He was confused and lost. ’’I don\ know what I want.’’

Chapter Four

Candi knew she should leave. She wasn\ welcome but she couldn\ find the desire to go. The man she loved stood eight feet away and all she wanted was to throw her arms around him. It was everything she\d fantasized about, if she could go back in time before his supposed death. It had kept her strong when she felt weak, courageous when she\d been terrified, and whole when she knew inside that her sanity seemed to be fracturing into a million pieces. To get revenge for his loss had been her motivation to live and keep fighting.

’’I killed.’’ He didn\ seem to believe her. His expression was half frown, half scowl. ’’That\s how I escaped. It was the doctor who kept me locked up. She was taking me out of the asylum to the woods to kill me after Christopher died. He couldn\ pay her anymore to keep me prisoner so she had to get rid of me. I stabbed her in the chest. You might have killed to spare suffering, but I did it for payback.’’

’’You killed?’’

She paused, giving him time to absorb that information. ’’I also knew the chances of me being caught before I could find Homeland were higher if she lived. She would have had orderlies hunting for me. I won\ lie though. It felt good to kill her. I hated her. It was mostly rage. I could have locked her in the trunk or tied her up after the first time I hurt her, but she deserved to die. I don\ feel guilt.’’

He still didn\ seem convinced, but said nothing more, just studied her, his gaze roaming up and down her body.

She glanced down, trying to see what he did. She had lost a lot of weight. ’’They kept me heavily medicated most of the time. I slept for so long, in and out of it. It\s tough to eat when you can\ even walk. They used to give me shots, but then switched to pills because my veins weren\ accepting the needles as well. I\d try to hide the pills at first, not knowing it would make me sick.’’

’’You\ e sick?’’ He didn\ look happy about that news.

’’My body became addicted to the drugs they\d been forcing into me. I didn\ understand why I was sweating, throwing up and shaking. I felt so bad. That\s how they\d catch on that I wasn\ taking them. Withdrawal, they said. I learned to take one of their pills, and then skip the next until I could hide the sickness. I tried to escape a few times after my mind cleared somewhat, but I was always caught. I couldn\ get past the walls. They\d put me back on the shots, and I\d lose more time until they\d switch back to the pills. I\d have to start all over again to wean myself.’’

’’You saw Doc Trisha?’’

’’Yes.’’ She smiled. ’’She doesn\ think there is damage to my internal organs. They ran tests. I\m sure I\m okay, but she wants to wait for more results. She is worried because she doesn\ know which drugs they gave me, and she is trying to determine what the drugs did to me since I was on them for so long.’’

He stepped closer. ’’Did they feed you in Medical?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Are you still hungry?’’ He glanced at his kitchen. ’’I have food here. I could make you something. I learned how to cook.’’

That was remarkable. ’’You did?’’

He nodded, seeming to ponder something. ’’You were locked up this entire time?’’

’’Yes. It was a room about a fourth of this size. Just a bed, and one tiny window with bars. The glass didn\ open.’’ She glanced at his couch. ’’May I sit?’’

’’Of course.’’

That was good because she was emotionally and physically drained, but she wouldn\ admit that to him. She didn\ want to remind him how much weaker she was compared to him at that moment. It was bad enough being human. She sat and looked at him. The genetically enhanced always respected strength.

’’There was a tiny bathroom with a shower stall, a sink and toilet. They didn\ let me out of that room unless the doctor keeping me there wanted to see me in her office. I think Penny was afraid I\d talk to people if she let me have access to other patients and staff. Anyone who started to ask questions about me was reassigned to somewhere else.’’

’’You were all alone?’’ Some of the tension eased from his body.

’’I only saw people when they came in to feed me or give me drugs. There was the cleaning female. She\d mop the floor once a week and change the bedding every other day. They told her not to speak to me though, and only sent her in after they\d drugged me. I\d pretend to be asleep, or they\d have her change my bedding while I showered. One of the orderlies would guard the bathroom door to make certain I couldn\ talk to her while I was more with it.’’


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