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Run like your life Depends on it
“We found him.”
Dr. Robert Beckham looked up, suddenly, not daring to believe it. “Excuse me?” he asked.
“We found Subject 19,” his secretary repeated. “Well, the search team found him, but you know what I mean.”
“Where?” he demanded.
“He was hiding out in a small town in Pennsylvania. Still is, since the team hasn't been given the order to grab him yet.”
That was where Beckham came in. He was the head of this whole operation, after all. His secretary looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to give the command to capture Subject 19.
Subject 19. Beckham finest work.
Beckham was known for his advances in genetics. Not the silly pea-plant experiment, but real, heavy-duty genetic research. He had discovered how to alter DNA in ways that were unheard of, unimaginable . . . and unaccepted. They had called him the Gregor Mendel from Hell. People had rioted until his practice had been shut down. Now, all his studies were strictly done underground. Until his methods would be accepted by the public, there was no other option.
Back to Subject 19. Like other experiments before him, 19 was born with what the unintelligent public would call, “super powers.” Unlike the other experiments, he had survived for almost sixteen years. He also had a rebellious streak. He fought the doctors as they tried to inject needles into his arms and never complied with the tests.
Almost a year ago, he had escaped from the underground lab. Search parties were sent all over to recover him, but until now, no one had had any idea where he was.
“Sir?” Beckham's secretary inquired impatiently.
The doctor closed his eyes and leaned aback in his office chair. Then he said, “I have very specific orders for the search party. They will not capture Subject 19.”
“But sir! Sub—”
He held up his hand to silence her. “Let me finish. I don't want Subject 19 captured. I want him dead.”
The secretary's jaw dropped. “B-but s-s-sir,” she said, trying to regain her composure. “Think about what you're saying. 19 is the most successful experiment we have to date. If we kill him . . .”
“19 is also rebellious and destructive,” Beckham said firmly. “If he is not willing to cooperate, then he is of no use to me. Understand?”
She swallowed. “Yes sir.” She left to deliver the message, her footsteps echoing like gunshots.
Branches whipped him across the face. His lungs couldn't get enough air. His legs felt like lead. Still, Subject 19 kept on running like his life depended on it—because it did.
They'd found him. Those cruel, inhumane scientists from Hell had finally tracked him down. and were going to drag him back to the lab he had tried so hard to escape.
Over his dead body.
He glanced over his shoulder. They were still on his tail, even if he couldn't see them through the trees.
He had to risk it. It would drain him of almost all his strengthen, but he didn't have any other options. He focused all his energy into his legs, forcing himself to put one foot in front of the other . . . faster . . . faster.
Suddenly, he was sprinting at speeds a freight train would envy. If he sped up even more, he'd be flying. He couldn't hear himself think other the sound of the wind. Aside from the burning agony in his lungs and the sting of branches hitting him in the face, it was bliss.
That bliss ended when he tripped over a random tree root. His stomach lurched and he went down hard, rolling over the hard ground, unable to find his footing because of his momentum.
A jolt of white-hot pain shot up his spine. His lower back had slammed into a tree trunk. A groan escaped his lips. There wasn't an inch of his body that didn't feel it'd just been trampled. What he wouldn't give just to be able to lie there forever and never get up.
But he had too. The only other option was to be taken back to the lab—and that was not an option. 19 forced himself to his feet. It was a slow and painstaking process, but believe it or not, standing was the easy part. 19 took one step and immediately felt like throwing up. Using his super speed had taken a lot out of him. If he could rest for a couple of minutes he'd be fine, but 19 didn't have minutes—he had seconds.
19 stumbled through the forest, clinging to trees for support, occasionally bumping into them. The important thing was that he was moving, no matter how slowly. But his burst of speed hadn't bought him as much time as he'd have liked. The cars weren't far behind him now; he could hear the roar of the engines.
Hurry, he urged himself. Come on, man, move it! They're gaining on you.
Subject 19 moved like an alcoholic on Tequila Night. His feet refused to stay steady, spots danced in front of his eyes, and was it his imagination or was the thicket of trees thinning?
“Stop right there!” a voice bellowed.
19 whirled around, lost his balance and fell to the ground. He was in a clearing, that much he could tell. A man was slamming the door of a car with one hand and pointing a handgun at him with the other. The man advanced slowly, afraid to get too close. “Don't try any of your tricks,” he growled.
Subject 19 wasn't in any state to “try any of his tricks.” He was gasping for breath on all fours, head spinning and stomach churning.
The man with the gun came closer. His hand was shaking, like he'd never held a gun before in his life. Well, that was understandable. He was a scientist, not a police officer. If 19 had the strength, he could use that to his advantage.
Suddenly, cars broke through the trees, forming a circle around 19. One after another, men got out of their respected cars, each pointing guns at him.
Trapped. And this time, 19 knew the stakes were higher. They had guns, instead of tranquilizers. They drove black SUVs instead of specialized ambulances equipped with enough anesthesia to subdue the Lochness Monster. How else were they supposed to transport him safely to the lab . . . unless they weren't planning on bringing him back.
There was no time to recover. If he had any chance of making it out of the clearing alive, he had to act now.
Shakily, he pushed himself to his feet. His legs wobbled, but thankfully, they didn't collapse.
“Get back on the ground!” one of the men yelled. “Get on the ground or we'll shoot!”
Yeah, 19 thought. Because I've always done what you've told me to do.
He took a deep breath, then another. He positioned himself on the balls of his feet.
“SHOOT!” someone order.
Shots were fired.
But Subject 19 was already gone.