Supernatural Fiction posted April 12, 2021 Chapters:  ...58 59 -60- 61... 

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The Curse/A Novel of the Breedline series

A chapter in the book THE CURSE

Jena's Escape

by scongrove

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

Thanks for taking the time to read my chapter. It's new, so if you catch typos or mistakes, please let me know. Stay safe & enjoy!
The second Jena made it down the stairwell, the sound of alarms going off caught her by surprise and panic instantly set in. “Shit!”

I’ve got to hurry, she fretted anxiously. Soon, they’ll send guards. Or perhaps something far worse. And then ghastly images flashed before her. It was of the unholy experiments she’d heard about from some of the members of the Breedline. What they’d discovered at the Summit Behavioral Institute a few weeks ago sent shivers up her spine. Is the institute and Dr. Michaels somehow connected? She shuddered at the thought.

Jena quickly cleared her mind and approached the manhole, which looked to be cast iron, weighing at least a hundred pounds or more. Oh great, she thought as she knelt in front of the round cover that led to her freedom. This is going to take a miracle to get open.

She looked up and searched over the small space, hoping to find a crowbar or an object with the capability to pry open the lid. Going by the small, circular keyholes on each side, it was obviously the proper way to get it open. If only she could find something small but sturdy enough to fit inside.

Finally, her eyes pinpointed a metal bar lying on the floor alongside the wall. It appeared to be a hook of some kind. Wa-Lah! It might just work!

As she rushed over and went to pick it up, she paused and looked over her shoulder when she heard the pounding of several heavy footsteps. They seemed to be coming from above and moving in her direction. With no time to spare, she grabbed hold of the hook and quickly made her way back to the manhole. Keeping her back straight, she slightly bent her knees and inserted the hook, using it as a lever to pop open the lid. Pushing down with all her strength, she managed to pry it up and maneuver the thing off to the side.

“Thank you, Jesus,” she said, releasing a ragged breath.

It wasn’t long before she made her way inside the dark opening and climbed down the narrow, rusting ladder. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she felt a sense of relief. Before she took off through the dark and dreary passageway, she picked up the small rucksack lying at the bottom of the step Fiona had stashed for her. Quickly, she unzipped it and dug her hand inside. Her lips curved up the minute she identified the contents. Not only did Fiona pack a flashlight and a bottle of water, she left Jena an extra clip for the Ruger 9 mm she’d given her and a silver dagger. 

After Jena tucked the blade into a side pocket of the rucksack, she hurriedly passed her arms through the two straps and positioned it over her back. With one hand gripping the weapon, she extended the other and used the flashlight to brighten the path ahead. There was a musky, farmyard odor in the air. As she began her journey through the humid underground chamber, it was like a hidden cave beneath the world, stretching on for miles into the darkness.

As she traveled onward, about a mile into the tunnel, distant noises, more like nails clawing, came out of nowhere, echoing off the concreted walls. She stopped to listen in ready silence with her trigger finger positioned alongside the barrel. Nerves on edge, she slowly turned around, raised the gun, and waited.

Suddenly, an ominous growl came from behind, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. Shit! She instantly recognized that sound, realizing what it was. As the growling grew louder, pounding footsteps, like the sound of an onrushing bull, started closing in. On instinct, she spun around with the flashlight facing forward and aimed the gun. She gasped at what she saw and prayed like hell the bullets were tipped with real silver.

A massive creature, covered in dark matted hair and glowing eyes, charged at her so fast, she barely had time to discharge her weapon. As soon as the blast made contact, striking the hairy beast between the eyes, blood sprayed and coated the back wall. It immediately skidded to a halt and collapsed to the ground. Within seconds, the hairs covering its hideous form began to dissipate as though the pores were somehow magically willing them back inside. As the transformation continued, it wasn’t long before its beastly features reshaped into the form of a man. His complexion was dark, and he looked to be no older than seventeen or eighteen. At once, she felt somewhat of a pang of regret. Staring into his dead glassy eyes, she noticed he had a steel collar around his neck and wondered how this stranger came to be. Was he some sort of research project, forced into captivity, or was it by choice?  
At last, Jena sagged her shoulders and released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. She inhaled deep, filling her lungs, and before she had the chance to exhale, something big and immense rammed into her backside. Instantaneously, the force of the impact compelled both the flashlight and the gun from her hands. Thinking fast, she threw her arms out to brace herself against the fall. It seemed like an eternity she fell, until finally, she hit the hard surface below, knocking the breath out of her.

As Jena struggled to regain her bearings, an unpleasant odor, like the smell of rotting meat, instantly assailed her senses. The moment she looked from the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of a hideous monster. It hovered above her, baring its sharp-pointed teeth. Foam dripped from its black, wolfish lips in anticipation of her raw, human flesh. When the ghastly thing opened its jaws, Jena quickly sprang into action. In one fluid motion, she reached for the rucksack and snatched the dagger from the outside pocket. Gripping it firmly, she rolled onto her side and drew back her arm. As she plunged the blade deep into the creature’s skull, it let out a whimper and instantly toppled over. In the wake of its death, Jena watched as it started to revert into a human form. And to her surprise, it took the shape of a woman. With long black hair and ghostly pale skin, she wore the same type of collar and appeared as young as the man.

Jena regarded the dead girl with sympathy as she retrieved the blade and then rose to her feet. With the bloody dagger in her trembling hand, she wondered how many more of these things were down here. Shifting back to focus, she tucked away the blade and gathered her weapon and the only light source she had. As she shined the flashlight ahead, she advanced cautiously down the tunnel.

It wasn’t but a few minutes later, she heard footsteps again. They were moving toward her, and going by the sequence, it was more than one person. Then, the red-headed twins she’d encountered earlier at the beach stepped from the shadows like two lionesses stalking their prey. Their eyes glowed in the darkness as they came at her looking to wreak havoc and vengeance. Although they were clearly unarmed, Jena’s odds were still outnumbered, and she did not underestimate her approaching enemies. Instead of taking the easy road and shooting them outright, she took out the first attacker with the butt of the gun, then delivered a side kick to her doppelganger. The unexpected blunt force knocked the woman off balance and sent her tumbling backward.

Jena moved next to the redhead, who was still conscious, and trained the gun at her head. “I want some answers,” she gritted out. “And I want them now. What is this place and who hired you?”

The woman smirked at Jena from behind her gun. “You don’t scare me.”

“I guess we’re going to have to work on that, now aren’t we?” Jena said, shifting the gun toward the other woman, who lay unconscious with her arms and legs sprawled out and blood trickling down her temple.

The woman’s frosty gaze fell upon her sister and then she looked back at Jena nervously.

“Don’t worry,” Jena remarked dryly. “Your sister will live. But if you don’t give me answers, I can change that in a heartbeat.”

“Adam and Eve Pharmaceuticals,” the woman finally said. “My sister and I were hired by the head physician here.”

Jena slightly tilted her head in question. “You mean, Dr. Michaels?”

When the woman nodded, Jena said, “And what about the two men at the beach? How are they involved?”

“We were all hired by Dr. Michaels.”

“Why did he hire you?” Jena continued to grill the woman. “What does he want with me?”

“We’re bounty hunters.” The woman glared at Jena. “Besides, isn’t it obvious why? You saw those two hideous things. They’re Dr. Michaels test projects. And for some reason, he wanted your DNA.”

“Why?” Jena shrugged. “To use me for research?” She swung the gun back in her direction. “There’s more you’re not telling me. What do you know?”

The woman ignored Jena’s implied threat and pushed herself upright. “I was paid a lot of money to bring you in alive. And the more I think about it, it would’ve been easier just to kill you instead.” A seedy grin stretched across her face. “Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s all I know.”

Jena scowled at the red-head’s mockery and squeezed the trigger. The bullet struck the ground next to the woman’s hand, wiping the grin off her face. She flinched and instantly recoiled in shock. “Son of a b—” She looked up at Jena wide-eyed. “Are you insane?”

“If you don’t tell me everything you know,” Jena warned, “the next one goes between your eyes.”

“All right, already.” She held her hands up in defeat. “We were told you had some kind of supernatural abilities and that we were to sedate you so you couldn’t use them to get away.”

“Yeah,” Jena said, waving the gun. “I’m listening.”
“These people who work here,” the woman went on to say. “They’re getting paid to seek out individuals like you to create a new species. I heard them talking about something called the Breedline… a secret group of people who are born with the power to shift into wolves.”

“Who is paying Dr. Michaels?”

“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “I’m guessing it’s the government.”

“What else did you hear about the Breedline?” Jena asked. “How’d they discover them?”

“You’re… one of them.” The woman cringed in fear. “Aren’t you?”

“I’m asking the questions here,” Jena said bitterly. “Keep talking.”

“That’s all I know. I swear.”

“The tranquilizer you and your associates used,” Jena began. “What kind of side effects does it have?”

“Dr. Michaels supplied it. He said it would keep your abilities, whatever they are…” She paused to roll her eyes. “…contained for at least a day.”

Thank God, Jena thought. It wasn’t permanent. “Get up,” she then demanded, keeping the gun poised at the woman. “Let’s go. On your feet. Now.”

As the redhead slowly got to her feet, she said, “Where are you taking me?”

“You’re going to lead me out of here. And if you try anything stupid, I won’t hesitate to put a bullet in the back of your head.”

“What about my sister?”

“She’ll be fine right where she’s at,” Jena said. “I’m sure she’ll come around eventually. Come on.” She pointed the gun in the direction ahead. “Get moving. Time is ticking.”

To be continued. . . 

A reference for terms and cast of characters used in this chapter, especially for new readers:

BREEDLINE - A species of humans that have the ability to change from human form into wolf form if they are born an identical twin. They are not like the old legend of the Lycanthropy myth. The Breedline species can shift into their wolf at will. The moon has no power over them. They do not pass their ability to other humans. Although they live among humans, their species is secret. In wolf form, they have super-strength, speed, and heightened senses. Compared to humans, Breedlines have tremendous advantages when it comes to health. Their bodies heal fast and are not subject to illness or diseases. The only thing that slows their healing process is silver. It is their kryptonite. Besides old age, a silver bullet to the brain is the only way to kill a Breedline.
All male Breedlines change into their first wolf at the age of eighteen. Female Breedlines do not go through the change until they make love to their Breedline bonded mate.

BREEDLINE COVENANT - The Breedline species must live within the boundaries of their Covenant. There is one in every state. A council governs its laws and oversees the species population.

BREEDLINE BONDING - The male Breedline spends his life searching for their bonded mate. When two Breedline species experience a bond, they instantly feel a simultaneous, desirable attraction. The bond is for life. It is possible for them to have more than one mate in their lifespan.

Jena McCain - She is an inspiring artist with the ability to speak with the dead. Jena was attacked and bitten by an age-old creature and cursed with a lust for human blood. Now that she is to become the creature and hunt humans, instead of killing innocent people, she will only hunt evil.

Fiona - a mysterious older woman who helped Jena, who is held captive at Adam & Eve Pharmaceuticals, escape.
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