Shadow of the Moon (Chapter Six)
"It was so nice of you stop by," Zachau said. "I was in need of help to perform my final tests."
"Do your own dirty work."
"I wasn't talking to you, Miss McQuade but to Mr. Cadotte. He's the perfect specimen for this experiment. Wolf clan, correct?"
Will didn't so much as blink.
"How do you know so damn much?" I demanded.
"I make it my business to know. You think the two of you came here by accident? It was by design. My design."
"That's impossible." The Jager-Suchers were sent out in a rotation available only to Elise. No one could have known that Will and I would catch this case.
"Nothing is impossible," Zachau said. "I've proven that with my boxenwolves."
He had a point. The word impossible didn't mean as much as it used to.
"Take them to the lab," Zachau ordered.
Two burly patients grabbed each of us under the arms and practically carried us a pristine white wall at the end of the hallway. Zachau joined us, placing his palm against a metal plate. The entire wall slid aside, revealing an elevator. Which explained why we'd never found the lab.
The guards shoved us inside, but they remained outside. Zachau joined us, and the wall slid closed. We began to descend. The doctor held our guns, one trained on each of us.
I settled back, gaze never leaving him. Zachau would slip up eventually. Mad scientists always did. I only hoped the mistake occurred before he performed his experiment on Will.
The door slid open, revealing a state of the art facility – lots of bells and whistles, computers, beakers, test tubes, microscopes. Who was funding this guy?
In the corner stood a shiny silver cage. He flicked the barrel of a gun in its direction. Will and I stepped inside, and the door clanged shut behind us.
Zachau wasted no time, moving to a table, setting down the weapons so he could prepare a syringe, then returning. "Give me your arm, Mr. Cadotte."
"Leave him alone," I said, my voice impressively forceful though I felt anything but.
Zachau lifted a brow. "You think I'd go to the trouble and expense of having the two of you sent here, capture you, then leave him alone just because you say so?"
His words hinted at a traitor in the ranks. Wouldn't Edward be surprised? If we managed to stay alive, and non-furry, long enough to tell him.
"It was a worth a shot." I kept my gaze on Zachau, but part of my attention remained on the guns that still lay on the table behind him. If I could grab the doctor, smack his head into the bars, then I just might be able to sweep those guns closer with my foot. They weren't that far away.
"Shot," Zachau repeated. "A very good word." He picked up my gun and pointed it at my head. "Give me your arm or she dies."
Will presented his arm in a hurry.
"Move away, Ms. McQuade," Zachau continued. "To the far side of the enclosure, please."
Hell. He seemed able to read my mind, or maybe it was just my face. I'd never been much good at hiding things.
Seeing no other way, I retreated until my back pressed against the outside wall that made up one-quarter of our prison.
"What trouble did you go to?" I asked. Maybe if I kept him talking, he'd make a mistake. Couldn't hurt. Besides, I was curious.
"Hmm?" Zachau murmured, tapping Will's arm as he searched for a vein.
I could tell by the tension in Will's body that he was waiting for an opening, too. Unfortunately the doctor appeared quite ambidextrous. He kept my gun aimed at me while holding the syringe in that hand as well. This left his other hand free to mess with Will's arm.
I had no doubt that if I made a quick movement, he would have no trouble plunging the syringe into Will's arm before I could get close enough to stop him. If Will moved in any way that annoyed the doctor, a bullet would be dispatched for me. I wanted to avoid both scenarios.
"You said you went to a lot of trouble to get us here. I'd like to know what you did."
"You must be as delusional as my boxenwolves if you think I'll tell you."
"If you tell me, it'll go no farther than this room, since you plan to kill me when you're through."
"Why would I do that?" Zachau didn't bother to look at me, which only made me more certain I was right.
"Because if you inject that shit into Will, you're dead the next instant."
"Big talk for someone without a gun."
More than talk but Zachau would figure that out soon enough.
"So tell me how you did it."
"The usual way." He shrugged. "I paid for the information."
"No one in the Jager-Suchers would dare."
"There's always a price if you can afford to pay it."
"Who?" I asked.
Zachau snorted, and I didn't bother to ask again. If he knew the name of the traitor, he wasn't going to share it with me now. Or ever.
From the curve of his lips, he'd found a likely vein. He prepared to plunge the needle into Will's arm, but he at last had too many balls in the air, or too many items in his hands. In the instant that he hesitated, trying to figure out how to aim the gun, steady Will's arm and depress the syringe, Will said my name.
He didn't shout, he didn't whisper just spoke that single word in a casual tone of voice. I hit the dirt; he grabbed the gun.
The weapon went off. A bullet whizzed past my temple, leaving a scorching path of pain in its wake before plowing into the wall, sending bits of cement raining down.
Will yanked the gun from Zachau's grip and tossed it in my direction, even as he plucked the syringe from the doctor's suddenly limp fingers. Will had always been quicker than the average human–another reason Mandenauer had tried to kill him. However there was nothing supernatural about his ability, just the result of hours practicing tai chi.
Before Zachau could run, Will yanked him close. "You psychotic prick," Will snapped, and the fury in his voice shocked me. Will Cadotte was the calmest man I knew. He had to be to live with me.
My shock paralyzed both my body and my brain. I didn't see Will's next action coming until it was too late.
He plunged the needle into the doctor's arm. Zachau backed away, staring at the syringe.
Will ran to me, falling to his knees, helping me sit up. "You're hurt. This looks bad."
"What?" I pushed him away, moving toward the front of the cage as the doctor twitched, shuddered and mumbled.
"Jess, you're bleeding."
Absently I put my hand to my head. My fingers came away slick with blood. "Oh." In all the excitement, I'd forgotten the sharp pain. "Just a scratch. You know head wounds always look more serious than they are."
His lips tightened. "I thought he'd killed you."
"Well, he didn't, so get over it."
Together we stared at the doctor. "You think he's going to become a wolf?" I asked.
"Might," Will answered. I picked up my gun. "He said that wouldn't work on a boxenwolf."
"Let's find out."
However Zachau did not shift; he only gibbered nonsense. For hours and hours. He came close enough once for Will to grab him, then I removed the key to our cage from his pocket. We called Edward; the Jager-Suchers arrived shortly thereafter for a clean up.
Zachau now resides in his own personal cage at Jager-Sucher headquarters. His patients are there too, along with all of his notes and potions. Elise hopes that someday she'll be able to decipher what he did to those people and himself. With luck she'll even be able to cure it.
As for Will and I, there was always another werewolf around the corner. At least we have job security.
And each other.