Strength of an Assassin(2)By: Stormy Glenn
I didn’t have long to walk before I started to see light at the end of the tunnel. I hoped it wasn’t an oncoming train.
A little farther and I started to hear noise, nothing specific. More like the low murmur of many voices. Yeah, it was probably a train, or something just as dangerous.
I stopped at the edge of the opening at the far end of the tunnel. It was easy to see that the second I stepped out into the light, my life was going to get very busy.
From what I could see from my position, the tunnel opened up into a large round pit, with gates set at the left, right, and front. The walls surrounding the pit were at least twelve feet high. I was good, but I doubted even I could jump that far up. Above the wall, and surrounding the entire pit, was stadium-style seating.
And it looked as if every seat was filled.
As soon as I was spotted, the chanting started. “Fight. Fight. Fight.”
Yeah, not good.
As soon as the three gates around me opened and men stepped out, it became apparent I was in some sort of fucked-up fight club. It was also very clear that the three men facing me were shifters. I couldn’t smell them over the tinge of excitement in the air, but the razor-sharp claws and teeth were a dead giveaway.
I growled to let them know I wouldn’t be taken down easily. None of the shifters were bigger than me, but size didn’t always mean victory. I’d seen guys half my size beat the shit out of men bigger than me.
I still refused to go down easily.
The second I stepped out of the tunnel, the gate slammed down behind me. So, okay, escaping back to my cell wasn’t going to happen.
I glanced up at the chanting crowd, taking in faces and memorizing them. A near-photographic memory came in handy in my line of work. The first chance I got, I’d give the descriptions to Ion and let the computer genius track them down.
This was an illegal fight pit. It had to be. I certainly wasn’t here of my own free will. That meant whoever was running it and those participating, even if they were merely in the crowd, needed to pay for forcing people to fight.
I was also sure the shifter council would be interested in knowing shifters were being forced to fight, although I wasn’t positive the others were here against their will. They seemed to be enjoying themselves a little too much. One of the fools was actually preening for the crowd.
I tensed when an alarm went off, not because of the noise, but because all three shifters turned toward me. When they began to advance on my location, I flexed my arms and growled at them. They seriously needed to understand that if they attacked me, I would take them down, and I would make it painful.
The smart thing would have been for all three men to attack me at once. These guys didn’t strike me as particularly smart, especially when two of them stayed back as if waiting their turn, as the one from the left tunnel started toward me.
I crouched into a fighting pose, bringing my claws up. I waited until the guy reached me and he took the first swing. I didn’t like starting fights, but I’d damn well finish them if I had to.
The second Mr. Left swiped at me with his claws, I jerked my head back and kicked out with my feet. He hit the ground hard. I kicked out with my other foot, catching the guy right in the jaw. Blood flew from his mouth as his head snapped around.
He didn’t get up again.
I stepped away from Mr. Left and then took on a fighting stance again, gesturing to Mr. Right and Mr. Front. I shook my head to try and clear it. The adrenaline racing through my system was making it harder and harder for me to concentrate.
My feral side was taking over.
When both men rushed me at the same time, I roared and dove into the fight. It quickly became apparent that I could shift my fangs and claws, but not my body. I suspected it was something in the darts they shot me with that prevented it.
I’d still kill them all.
The next few minutes were a blur as fury took me over in a red haze of blood, my nervous system going into overdrive. I felt the anger and need for blood. I felt my razor sharp claws slicing through flesh.
By the time there was nothing left to fight, blood and gore covered me from head to foot. I was sweating heavily. The adrenaline I had been shot full of still ran rampant through my body. I felt as if I could fight another twenty men and still be standing, and I was angry enough to do it.
It was a bad combination.
The crowd seemed to love it. The cheering had only grown louder.
I curled my lip back at them in disgust.
When the gate to my tunnel rose, I walked back through it. I was ready to leave this freak show.
I paused when I reached my cell. A bucket of water and a towel had been placed next to the entrance. A six-pack of bottled water and a steak that looked as if it had barely been passed over a hot flame sat beside it.
I used the water and towel to clean the blood and gore off of me. After sitting on the thin mattress in the corner, I drank down one of the bottled waters and ate the steak.
If they had drugged the damn thing, so be it. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t already been drugged, and I needed the protein after fighting. If I didn’t keep my strength up, I wouldn’t be able to escape, and I had every intention of escaping. I refused to be anyone’s pet puppet.