Welcome to Everlake Preparatory School.
This series is set in the fictional U.S. state of Sequoia and centres around a pandemic similar, but more extreme than the coronavirus.
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This book is dedicated to Lord Squidington who’s been in quarantine because of Co-squid 19.
We know it’s been a struggle, buddy, especially when your girl got squidnapped during the clamdemic. You went through so many em-oceans and had to really ink about how to save her. It was turtley stressful. Especially when you swam down to the seabed on a rescue mission, but when you saw the bottom of the ocean, you blushed. Life’s a beach like that. But you shore made it through anyway! You swam into that shark’s sea-cret hideaway and rescued your bay. It was inkredible.
Hopefully next year won’t be so cra-sea!
O f all the torturous moments I’d endured in this lab, nothing compared to when the earpiece died. Losing contact with the Night Keepers had driven fear into my heart and made me question for a few hopeless seconds whether I was ever going to be found.
But then I’d replayed all of their promises in my mind. They were spending every day hunting for me and they wouldn’t stop until I was free. The problem was, I’d been hidden by a monster as calculating as his son. And I knew in my heart that if Saint had wanted to keep me locked away forever, he could have pulled it off. So why should I expect any less from his father?
But Saint was still Saint. If anyone could find a way to the centre of his father’s labyrinth, it was him. I’d given him every scrap of information I could. Everything from the colour of the walls, to the details of each face I saw, even though they were always hidden behind masks and visors. They only wore name badges with their first names and the Night Keepers couldn’t track anyone down from that alone. So I had no substantial clues to my whereabouts. Nothing to go on at all. Just faith that my boys would somehow pull through for me.
A hacking cough tore at my throat and I grasped my neck, wincing against the pain. I brought my knees to my chest, my back to the wall in the glass box of an isolation room which I spent all of my time in. It was cold and bare and smelled like chemicals.
I may have been immune to the Hades Virus, but the amount of it that I was being exposed to regularly meant that I was sick all the same, my body being forced to create antibodies as fast and as much as possible just so that they could harvest them from my blood and create their own version of the vaccine.
I scrunched my eyes up and thought of my boys, missing them with all my heart. They were going to find me. I had complete faith in them. If anyone could track this place down, it was Saint Memphis. And if there was an army fit to break down the doors of hell and face what lay in the hottest part of the fire, it was the Night Keepers. But it was on me to survive until then. Which I damn well would. I’d faced demons bigger than the Hades Virus. I’d gone up against the most ruthless of beasts and had them purring in my arms by the end of it. I would not be destroyed by this monster, even when it clawed its way deep inside me and built a home in my body. I would drive it out and be strong for when the time came to run.
A shiver wracked through me and I clenched my jaw against the biting cold. Pills were waiting for me beside my bed. But the painkillers made me sleep, hours slipped by until I was disorientated and confused. That was when they took my blood, harvesting what they wanted from me. If they tried it when I wasn’t sedated, more than one of the nurses ended up injured from how hard I fought them. There were still scratches on one bitch’s arms that hadn’t healed yet, and I relished seeing them. It was a small blow to have struck against them, but I’d take each and every win I could get right now.
Eventually, I would have to give in and take my meds. I needed to keep my temperature down and ensure I had every chance of surviving this. But I only ever took half of what they left for me. If I took nothing, they’d just inject me with it anyway. They weren’t going to let me die unless there was nothing they could do to stop it. I was their little vaccine farm after all.
I pressed my face against my knees, picturing each of my Night Keepers as they hunted for me. Saint and his dark soul, plotting the cruellest of fates for my enemies; Kyan thirsting for blood with vengeance written into his flesh as if it were inked there alongside his tattoos; Blake preparing to fight for me with all the strength he’d built from his pain and suffering; Monroe waiting to charge in and save me like a dark knight with fury and justice in his heart.
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