Chapter Twenty Six.

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I never realized before how long forty eight hours really was until I spent it laying cold and hungry on the concrete floor of a cramped little closet in the back of the lab. They've been busy, I've been bored. I keep repeating over and over in my head all of Malcom's advice until the little voice in my head has started to sound like him.

Show strength.

I think that's what I'm doing. No one has bothered with me, and I haven't complained or made a peep. I don't ask for food, and I make no qualms about using the bucket in the corner for its intended purpose. I knew coming in that being a prisoner wasn't going to be glamorous.

Be useful. Find a need and latch on to it. Be of value.

That part is harder to do, considering I'm locked in a closet.

My stomach constricts in another painful bout of hunger pains. I can't remember ever having been so desperate for just a bite of anything. I'd even eat something green at this point if they offered.

Voices rise on the other side of my door and I push up from the floor and sit with my ear against the door. They're fighting again.

"And that is all thanks to you if you'll recall." The man mumbles. "You're the one who traded away our solution to that particular problem."

"Well we need to come up with a new one all the same." Elenora's voice pitches then falls. "Those bloody vampires are becoming more and more unbearable."

"I know." He sighs.

"So what are we doing about it?"

"We?" He laughs to himself. "Are you including me in your plans now? Now that you've ruined the original plan?"

"Don't play with me." Her voice is a low rumble, clearly a threat. "What will we do?"

"A bridge we will cross when we get to it." He says quickly, like he's discussing the latest weather forecast and he's not all that concerned about the rain on Monday.

"My people and I don't work on the fly, Sir." She spits. "We can't take them all on our own, so I hope you have a backup plan. Preferably one that doesn't lead to our ultimate demise. Lucky I found the girl or that might have backfired into all of our faces."

Good, Elenora still thinks I am worth something.

"Speaking of," He mumbles quietly and suddenly I'm tipping forward, my reflexes too slow as he pulls open the door I was leaning on. He reaches a feeble looking hand for me and wraps my forearm with enough strength to make me wince, dragging me up to my feet and passing me over to Elenora. "Tell Defario I'm ready for this one's blood." He sits back into his normal spot in front of the front lab counter. "It will placate him to let him be the one to do it. He's been chomping at the bit to kill something for weeks."

My stomach drops like a sky diver from a plane with cement blocks around their ankles and no parachute.

Elenora looks like she tastes something sour and her grip tightens on me. "Humans weren't a part of the deal." She mutters, clearly displeased.

Yes, fight for me.

"She is just as much one of them as the rest are." The man grumbles, not even looking up at me as he seals my fate. "Look where she came from."

Elenora sighs. "I suppose." She pulls me to follow, but I use every ounce of strength I've got left to pull back.

Think, Rose. Think, Malcom's voice screams inside my head.

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