Home > In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2)

In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2)
Author: Shelly Laurenston, Charlotte Kane

PROLOGUE

“I want my sisters! ”

The general stared down at the eleven-year-old child screaming at him and his soldiers.

He didn’t know what had happened. She’d started off as such an amiable asset. Quiet. Unassuming. She hadn’t put up a fight when they’d come for her. Her sisters had. The weird pack of people living in a small group of houses in the middle of Wisconsin had barely managed to hold the two older girls back.

Of course, they hadn’t really looked like sisters. One was black and tall, the other Asian and petite with massive shoulders—he’d assumed she was a gymnast. His sister’s daughter had the same kind of shoulders and she was going to the Summer Olympics.

In all honesty, he’d wanted to give those two girls the number of a recruiter. Anyone who fought that hard should consider life in the military.

But their little sister hadn’t put up a fight. She’d just put her head down, grabbed a backpack filled with notebooks, and followed his men out to the car. And she’d kept quiet for the first two weeks.

Then, something had changed. She had changed. Drastically. One of the psychiatrists they hired to monitor the child’s emotions said she was suffering from a “bout of depression” and that she needed medication.

At first, the general had not wanted to hear about medication. Medicating an eleven-year-old girl seemed the height of inappropriateness in his estimation, and no one wanted to affect the way the prodigy’s brain worked. He’d assumed she just needed discipline. She needed to see him as the father figure she’d never had. So he’d gone to see her, trying to engage her in dialogue.

That hadn’t helped. She had simply stared at him with a sour expression until, after about a week of visits, she’d suddenly launched a heavy metal lab instrument at him. Nearly got him in the head, too, but he’d ducked in time. Then she’d started screaming, “I want my sisters!” and she hadn’t really stopped since.

No matter what they said to her, or tried to bribe her with, she didn’t want to hear it. She wanted her sisters and she wanted them now apparently.

Despite his best intentions, he’d finally given in to the psychiatrist and he’d gotten approval from his superiors to medicate the girl.

At this moment, medical personnel were waiting outside the lab with a needle filled with whatever drug they’d chosen because Little Miss kept spitting her pills back out when they forced them on her.

The general tried again, “Now, Miss Stasiuk—”

She slammed her hand against the granite countertop. “It’s MacKilligan. I’m a MacKilligan!” she screamed. “And I want my sisters! ”

“I tried,” he told her before stepping back. “Nurse?”

The psychiatrist’s personal nurse walked in with a stainless steel tray, a filled syringe on top.

As soon as the child saw it, she actually became frightened. Her eyes widened and she scrambled back until she hit the lab table behind her.

“Stay away from me,” she begged. “Stay away from me.”

“It’s all right, Miss Sta . . . uh . . . MacKilligan,” he soothed. “We just want to make you feel better. Isn’t that right, Nurse?”

The nurse nodded as she moved forward. “That’s it.”

The child stared at the nurse for a long moment before she suddenly accused, “You’re trying to kill me.”

That statement was said so calmly but so definitively that everyone in the room froze and stared at her.

“What?” the general asked.

“You’re trying to kill me,” she accused again.

The general blinked, shocked. “Of course we’re not. Miss MacKilligan—”

“You want me dead! You’re working for the other side!”

“What other side? What are you talking about? No one is trying to kill you. We’re trying to help you!”

Her face red, fingers curled into tight little fists, her entire body one taut line of tense muscles, the little viper screeched, “You’re trying to kill meeeeee!”

Her voice was so loud, the general actually felt she’d made the lab windows shake, but he was sure that was simply his imagination run amok under such strange circumstances.

“No one is trying to kill you!” he yelled over the child’s screams. “We built this entire base for you. So calm down and take your medicine!”

The nurse stood beside him now and, with a sigh, she called for two orderlies. The men came in and went to the girl, attempting to grab her arms and hold her still. But the fight the general hadn’t seen when they’d first brought her in—he saw it now.

Like a whirling dervish of panic, the child swung her arms and legs, spinning away from the men, screaming wildly before she took off running.

“Grab her!” the nurse ordered while the orderlies chased the child around the large lab. But every time they got close to her, she’d duck under their legs, jump over their grasping hands, or throw something at them so she could make her mad escape.

Rolling his eyes, the general nodded at one of his men. That soldier closed the door, cutting off the child’s exit route. The general motioned to two others.

With precise movements, those soldiers went for the girl, one sweeping the child up into his arms and holding her with her back against his chest.

“If you will,” the general said to the nurse.

She placed the tray down on a lab table and uncapped the syringe. She moved toward the child.

Struggling and screaming, the girl tried her best to fight off the man holding her body while another soldier held her arm out, but these trained men held her easily without harming her.

Grateful this disaster was almost over, the general exhaled and let his gaze roam the room. That’s when a metal grate in the ceiling was kicked away by a sneakered foot, slamming into an orderly’s head and dropping him to the ground with a serious head wound.

The Asian half-sister of the prodigy jumped from the duct and down to the floor; the older sister followed. When her feet hit the ground, she grabbed the second orderly and tossed him across the room with amazing ease while the other girl charged the soldier holding her sister. As she moved toward him, she suddenly brought up one foot, placing it against the lab drawers. She pushed off toward the other lab station, slammed her other foot against the granite, and launched herself toward the soldier.

She wrapped her entire body around his head, but the soldier continued to hold on to his captive. The second soldier went for the oldest sister, but she grabbed his outstretched arm and swung him into the lab table. Then she grabbed him by the back of his neck, pinning him facedown to the table. She raised her leg and slammed it down on the back of the soldier’s calf, breaking his knee. His scream echoed out across the room.

The general sighed in aggravation. He would deserve a medal after this assignment was over. Because this was goddamn ridiculous!

The soldier at the front of the room yanked the door open and yelled out, “I need help in here!” to the ones who stood guard in the hallway. They rushed in. They had their firearms pulled, but they stopped as soon as they entered and immediately lowered their weapons.

The general didn’t know why until he felt the cold barrel of a gun pressed against his temple.

“Let my sister go,” the eldest calmly stated, loud enough for them to hear but without the panic of her baby sister, “or I’ll blow the motherfucker’s brains out.”

It was a sad day when trained military couldn’t handle three little girls, the eldest not even eighteen yet.

With the middle sister still wrapped around his head, the soldier released the little girl. Stevie MacKilligan stepped away from him, brushing blond hair off her face and out of her eyes.

When she was done, she focused on the nurse, who was still holding the syringe.

“You were so ready to give that to me,” she said.

“It’s just something to help you,” the nurse asserted softly, rationally. “To keep you calm.”

“Really?” The child snatched the syringe away from the nurse. “Then you try it.”

The psychotic little bitch went up on her toes and slammed the syringe into the nurse’s neck, pressing the plunger once the needle had entered flesh.

Screeching, the nurse fell back against the lab table. The general understood, though. That had to hurt.

But then the nurse kept screeching, falling to the floor, rolling to her back, and suddenly foaming at the mouth, her entire body spasming wildly.

Until she stopped. Everything.

Moving, breathing . . . living.

The general slowly looked from the nurse’s corpse back to the girl.

Her expression smug, she said, “Told you she was trying to kill me.”

* * *

Charles Taylor ignored the complaints from the She-wolves in his Pack. They wanted him to call the cops. The FBI. Call the White House. Call anybody! “Do something!” they’d demanded in order to get little Stevie back.

But Charles knew better.

Some things you just had to let play out in their own time. And this was one of those times.

His granddaughter and her half-sister had disappeared exactly two-and-a-half weeks after the US government had shown up on Pack territory.

And Charles knew where they’d gone. To get their baby sister back.

His granddaughter and her half-sisters were not like the other kids. They weren’t even like the Pack pups. And so instead of intervening, he’d let them handle it themselves.

While the Pack females were busy on the phone, making calls, trying to get information, his granddaughter and half-sister had been holed up in their rooms. Quiet. They’d gone real quiet.

Something so disturbing that Charles had ordered his Pack to stand down. To stop whatever they were doing. They’d thought he’d given up on the little one because she wasn’t his granddaughter by blood, but that was far from the truth. He’d simply learned that sometimes a wolf had to stay hidden in the trees until everything blew over.

That was how one survived.

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