Unremarkable (Anything But #2)(7)By: Lindy Zart
The tunnels were dark, damp with moisture, and cold—not that the cooler temperature bothered him. The smell was another matter entirely. The faint odor of mold that would be barely detectible to a normal person; a fully human person, was heady, rancid, to Christian and all the UDs taking refuge in the underbelly and crevices of the world. But it was something they had to endure, like they had had to tolerate so many other things within the last half a year.
Absently fingering the healed skin beneath his left ear where a GPS chip used to reside before he cut it out, Christian strode through the wet muck of the tunnels, his silvery eyes ready-made flashlights. Sounds echoed in the passageways. It was hard to have a private conversation within them and UDs had abnormal hearing anyway. He heard them minutes before he ever reached them.
“…break out at the Wisconsin facility. He wasn’t sure who they had there, had no idea they were even keeping anyone under lockdown, but it must have been someone important.”
“Then how did they get out? If they’re so important? They should have been guarded up the rear and then some.”
“Good question. He said—”
Christian turned the corner and immediately Jax and Dominic straightened, their conversation halting. Both were tall and lanky, muscles hardened and toned from the virus pumping through their veins. Jax had black hair and darker skin while Dominic was brown-haired and pale. Hygiene and looking good weren’t exactly on the top of the survival list and dirt smudges littered their worn, ripped jeans and thin shirts. They looked like all the other UDs—tough, indifferent, unbreakable—because you couldn’t break what had already been broken. They carried weapons; a knife in one boot, another tethered to a hip, not that they particularly needed them.
UDs were quicker and stronger than any human and healed astoundingly fast as well. They were like a manmade weapon for the Army, only as far as they knew the Army hadn’t created them—instead some kind of experiment or virus testing gone haywire at a government lab was the one to thank for that. And now they were hunted, gunned down, locked up, or worse—kept as some kind of pet observed by UDKs for the rest of their sad lives, and all because they had been born.
There was a bitter blackness that swirled through Christian’s body, a never-ending rage with the capacity to destroy any who chose to try to sabotage him, should he let his thin grasp on it unravel. He wanted to. Some days he wondered what was stopping him. The darkness had a name and the name was revenge.
He eyed the men. “What? He said what?”
“Christian. We were just—”
Interrupting Dominic, Christian said in a too-calm voice, “Just what? Gossiping about stuff in the tunnels where everyone within hearing distance; and that is a wide range, can listen in on the conversation? Not too smart, is it?”
He closed the distance between them in three long strides, his face inches from Jax’s as he growled, “Do you not remember anything I told you? Or do you just not care?” His eyes flashed to Dominic next. “You should know better.” Christian stepped back. “You both should.”
His fingers were bunched around the front of Dominic’s shirt and he slammed him against the rough tunnel wall. “Relax? You’re asking me to relax when every day we breathe is one we have to worry might be our last? When there could be spies among us, even now? Maybe Jax is one. Maybe you are.”
“Ease up, man, he didn’t mean anything by it.”
Jax grabbed Christian’s arm and he shook him off, glaring over his shoulder at him. “You have information to impart, it goes to me, no one else, and it certainly isn’t discussed among the tunnels like high school girls.”
It didn’t matter to Christian that he was only eighteen himself; a high school student as little as six months ago, or that Jax was twenty and Dominic only seventeen. They had to be smart. If they wanted to make it, they had to use their brains. Less than seven months had passed since Christian turned into a freak and that time had torn him apart and built him back into what he now was, what he had to be, and it wasn’t anything to brag about.