- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.


And about now you’re wondering when the story turned into the April show.

Not that it did. It’s still my story, but April just happens to have a big part in it being as she’s my wife and all. She’s my Ninety-Nine, and she means a lot to me.

All of which Kilbourne knows. He knew that when he took her, too.

Really, if he wanted me to cooperate with him, she was the perfect tool for that. I’d do anything for her, and he knew that, too. So none of that really was any kind of surprise.

Well… One part of it was.

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“If you think you can make me do what you want by threatening April, then…” Clayton began, hating himself for the truth. “Then you’re absolutely right, but don’t hurt her. Just let her go, and I will let you do whatever you want. Looks like the suit and his team let us down again, so… I mean, maybe they’re hiding behind that whole ‘can’t do anything in this country’ bit, but I doubt that. It’s probably Larabee’s doing again. Much as I like the guy, he can’t build anything that works.”

“Clayton! You are not letting this guy take you, not even for my sake. I’m sure you think that’s heroic, but shut up. Now.”

Clay shook his head. If it was him they wanted, they could have him. He would probably survive whatever this was, so he’d stay and she could go. He pushed her back. “Let April go. You could even answer a few questions, and I’ll be very helpful in whatever experiment it is you’re planning on.”

Kilbourne laughed. “You’re amusing, Moore, but your wife isn’t going anywhere. You’ll cooperate, I’m sure, but I hardly need to bargain for that.”

“April, if he shoots me, just run. I should have a few healing shifts and be fine.”

“Clay, I swear, if you even think about—”

“He doesn’t know, does he, Mrs. Moore?”

Clay turned to April, hit by those same doubts from before. “What is he talking about, April? He’s just screwing with us, right?”

She nodded. “Yes. He’s—It doesn’t matter what he’s doing. We’re going to get out of this. We’re walking away right now.”

“Or not,” Clay said as some of the goons from the room he’d avoided showed up at the end of the hallway. They were really trapped now. “Damn it, April. Why couldn’t you just have gone when I said to? At least I can survive this. Probably.”

“And maybe not,” she said, getting close to him as the men circled them.

Kilbourne shook his head. “It is a bit impressive seeing what you can do for myself, Moore. You could do a lot better without that time limit, and I could help you with that.”

“But you won’t. You’re not going to give me a way out of here. You’re not going to make my lame ability better. Then I could actually use it, and that you can’t afford.”

“Ah, but what I learn from you can be used to perfect the next one.”

Clay stared at him. “What, you have some other kid in a vat? Or did you already create them? You’re going to use me to—No wonder you didn’t care if that sadist killed me. You just wanted to know what I could take so that you could modify your next one. Where is this poor bastard, then?”

“Ask your wife.”

Clay shook his head. He knew that Kilbourne was just playing games now. It would almost seem like stalling, but Clay and April should be the ones doing that, not Kilbourne. They should be trying to buy time for the suit and his people to rush in to the rescue. Clay had already given up on that again, though. Last time he’d been rescue because of April, and this time she was stuck with him.

“No,” she whispered. “He can’t know. He doesn’t.”

Clay wrapped his arms around her, not liking this. “What are you talking about? What can’t he know? Is this what you wouldn’t tell me earlier?”

“He can’t know,” she repeated, but Kilbourne gave her an evil smile that made her shudder.


She closed her eyes with a wince. Her voice was almost too soft for Clay to hear. “Clayton… I’m pregnant.”

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