She tipped her head to the side. “I can only imagine.”

“Messing with human, hybrid, and alien DNA is probably asking for a world of trouble. You guys really don’t know what you have.”

“But we’re learning.”

“And making mistakes?” I asked.

She smiled. “There are no such things as mistakes, Daemon.”

I wasn’t so sure about that, but then my attention shifted to the window at the end of the room. My eyes narrowed. I could see other Luxen in there. Many of them looked as happy as a kid at Disneyland.

“Ah.” Nancy smiled, nodding at the window. “I see you’ve noticed. They are here because they want to help. If only you’d be that accommodating.”

I snorted. Who knew why the other Luxen were here, happy as clams, and I really didn’t care. I got that there were parts of Daedalus that were actually attempting to do something good, but I also knew what they did to my brother in the process.

All around me, doctors and lab technicians milled about. Some of the bags hooked up to the patients had a strange glittering liquid in them that vaguely resembled what we bled in our true form. “Is that LH-11?” I asked, gesturing at one of the bags.

Nancy nodded. “One of the versions—the newest—but that really isn’t a concern of yours. We have—”

A siren sounded, cutting off her words with an ear-piercing shrill. Lights on the ceilings flashed red. Patients and doctors looked around in alarm. Sergeant Dasher stormed out of the room.


Nancy cursed under her breath as she spun toward the door. “Washington, escort Mr. Black back to his room immediately.” She pointed at another guard. “Williamson, shut this room down. No one goes in or out.”

“What’s going on?” I asked.

She shot me a look before stomping past. Like hell I wanted to go back to my room when things were obviously just getting fun. Out in the hall, lighting was dim and the blinking red light caused an annoying strobe effect.

The Guard of the Moment took one step, and chaos stormed into the corridor.

Soldiers poured out of rooms, locking them down and taking up guard in front of them. Another came down the hall, clutching a walkie-talkie in a knuckle-white grip. “We have activity on elevator ten, coming out of building B. Lock it down now.”

Huh, the infamous building B strikes again.

Farther down the hall, another door opened, and I saw Archer first and then Kat. She had a hand pressed over the fleshy part of her elbow. Behind her was Dr. Roth. My eyes narrowed when I saw a wicked-looking syringe in his hand. He brushed past Kat and Archer, heading straight for the guy on the walkie-talkie.

Kat turned, her gaze finding me. I started forward. No way was I not going to be beside her when the shit hit the fan, which apparently was happening.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Washington demanded, hand going to the weapon on his thigh. “I have orders to take you back to your room.”

I turned to him slowly, then back to the three elevators across from us. All of them were stopped on different floors, the lights red. “Exactly how are we supposed to get to my room?”

His eyes narrowed. “Stairwell?”

Tool had a point, but like I cared. I turned away, but his hand clamped down on my shoulder. “You stop me, and I will end you,” I warned.

Whatever Washington saw in my face must’ve assured him that I wasn’t fooling around, because he didn’t interfere when I shrugged off his grip and went to Kat, dropping an arm around her shoulders. Her body was tense.

“You okay?” I asked, eyeing Archer. He also had his hand on his weapon, but he wasn’t watching us. His eyes were on the middle elevator. He was hearing something in his earpiece and, by the look on his face, he wasn’t happy.

She nodded, pushing a strand of hair that had escaped her ponytail out of her face. “Any idea what’s going on?”

“Something about building B.” Instinct suddenly told me that maybe being in our rooms would be a good thing. “This has never happened before?”

Kat shook her head. “No. Maybe it’s a drill.”

Double doors at the end of the hall suddenly burst open, and a swarm of officers in SWAT gear came through, armed to the teeth with rifles, faces shielded.

Reacting immediately, I swept an arm around Kat’s waist and shoved her back against the wall, shielding her with my body. “I don’t think this is a drill.”

“It’s not,” Archer said, drawing his weapon.

The light above the middle elevator blinked from floor seven to floor six and then floor five.

“I thought the elevators were locked down?” someone demanded.

The men dressed in black shuffled forward, going down on their knees in front of the elevator. Someone else said, “Locking down the elevators ain’t going to stop it. You know that.”

“I don’t care,” the man yelled into the radio. “Shut down the damn elevator before it reaches the top level. Drop cement down the shaft if you need to. Stop the damn elevator!”

“Stop what?” I glanced at Archer.

The red light blinked on the fourth floor.

“Origin,” he said, a muscle popping in his chin. “There’s a stairway to the right, all the way down the hall. I’d suggest getting there now.”

My gaze swung back to the elevator. Part of me wanted to stay to see what the hell an origin was and why they were acting like the Cloverfield monster was going to come out of the elevator shaft, but Kat was here, and obviously whatever was about to rain down on us wasn’t a friendly.

“What the hell is up with them recently?” one of the men in black gear muttered. “They’ve been acting up nonstop.”

I started to turn, but Kat smacked me. “No,” she said, her gray eyes wide. “I want to see this.”

My muscles clenched. “Absolutely not.”

A ding ricocheted through the floor, signaling that the elevator had arrived. I was seconds from just picking Kat up and throwing her over my shoulder. She saw it, too, and her look became challenging.

But then her gaze shot over my shoulder, and I turned my head. The elevator doors slid open slowly. Guns were clicked, safeties going off.

“Don’t shoot!” Dr. Roth ordered, waving the syringe around like a white flag. “I can take care of this. Whatever you do, don’t shoot. Don’t—”

A small shadow fell out of the elevator, and then one leg appeared, covered in black sweats, and then a torso and tiny shoulders.

My mouth dropped open.

It was a kid—a kid. Probably no older than five, and he stepped out in front of all the grown men with really big guns trained on him.

The kid smiled.

And then the proverbial poo hit the fan.

Chapter 13


“Uh…” I muttered.

The kid’s eyes were purple—like two amethyst jewels with those weird lines around the pupils, just like Luc’s. And they were cold and flat as they scanned the officers in front of him.

Dr. Roth stepped forward. “Micah, what are you doing? You know you’re not supposed to be in this building. Where is your—?”

Several things happened so fast and, seriously, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

The kid lifted a hand, and there was a succession of several pops—of bullets leaving the chambers of the rifles. Kat’s horrified gasp said she was thinking the same thing I was. Were they really going to shoot a kid?

But the bullets stopped, as if the kid were a Luxen or hybrid, but he wasn’t one of my kind. I would’ve felt that. Maybe he was a hybrid, because those bullets hit a shimmery blue wall around him. The blue light expanded, swallowing the bullets—dozens of them—lighting them up like blue fireflies. They hung in the air for a second and then popped out of existence. The kid curled his fingers inward, like he was motioning them to come play with him, and in a total Magneto way, the guns flew from the officers’ hands, zinging toward the kid. They, too, stopped in midair and lit up in vibrant shades of blue. A second later the guns were dust.

Kat’s hands dug into my back. “Holy…”

“Shit,” I finished.

Dr. Roth was trying to push past the soldiers. “Micah, you can’t—”

“I don’t want to go back to that building,” the kid said in a voice that was oddly high and flat at the same time.

Washington the Tool moved in, holding a pistol. Dr. Roth shouted, and Micah’s head whipped around. The guard’s face paled, and Micah closed his fist. Washington hit the floor on his knees, grasping his head as he doubled over. Mouth open in a silent scream, blood poured from the guy’s eyes.

“Micah!” Dr. Roth shoved an officer out of the way. “That is bad! Bad, Micah!”

Bad—that was bad? I could come up with dozens of words better suited than bad.

“Holy smokes,” Kat whispered. “The kid’s like Damien from The Omen.”

I would’ve laughed, because with the bowl-cut brown hair and slight, mischievous grin, he did look like the little Antichrist. Except it wasn’t funny because Washington was face-first on the floor, and the freaky kid was now staring at me with those purple eyes.

Man, I did not like freaky kids.

“He was gonna hurt me,” said Micah, never taking his eyes off me. “And you all are going to make me go back to my room. I don’t wanna go back to my room.”

Several of the officers shuttled backward as Micah took a step forward, but Dr. Roth remained, hiding the syringe behind his back. “Why don’t you want to go back to your room, Micah?”

“A better question is why is he staring at you?” Kat whispered.


Micah cautiously made his way around the officers, who were now giving him a wide berth. His steps were light and extremely catlike. “The other ones don’t want to play with me.”

There were more of him? Dear God…

The doctor turned, smiling at the boy. “Is it because you’re not sharing your toys?”

Kat choked on what sounded like a near-hysterical laugh.

Micah’s eyes slid to the doctor. “Sharing is not how you assert dominance.”

What. The. Holy. Hell.

“Sharing doesn’t always mean you’re giving up control, Micah. We’ve taught you that.”

The little boy shrugged as he turned his gaze back to me. “Will you play with me?”

“Uh…” I had no idea what to say.

Micah cocked his head to the side and smiled. Two dimples appeared in his round cheeks. “Can he play with me, Dr. Roth?”

If that doctor said yes, I was going to have a serious issue with this.

Dr. Roth nodded. “I’m sure he can later, Micah, but right now we need you to go back to your room.”

The little boy’s lower lip stuck out. “I don’t wanna go back to my room!”

I half expected the kid’s head to start spinning, and maybe it would have, but the doctor shot forward, syringe in hand.

Micah spun and shouted as he balled up his tiny hands. Dr. Roth dropped the syringe and went down on one knee. “Micah,” he gasped, pressing his hands to his temples. “You need to stop.”

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