Creature of Unknown Origin


I looked over at Howie and he caught my eye. We knew better than to get between Delia

and a target, and what a target Dr. Richards had made herself to be. The only question that remained

was whether or not Delia could control herself long enough to help Ava, and that meant not hurting

Dr. Richards.

“Maybe we should start by cleaning up and taking inventory?” I suggested.

All three sets of blazing eyes turned to me. In his corner by the lab table, Howie made

himself even smaller, shrinking farther back into his chair as he watched with wide, mournful eyes.

If I could read minds, I’d know he was right in what he was probably thinking: I just signed my

own death warrant. I held my breath as the seconds ticked by and the three women before me

seemed to circle the wagons without moving a muscle. To my relief, Ava visibly took a breath and

loosened up. Unfortunately, Delia’s wrath had zeroed in on me, and Dr. Richards didn’t look like

she was ready to help us willingly anytime soon.

But before either could say a word against me, Ava stepped forward. “Spencer’s right. We

can’t get anything done if we just stand here and play the blame game. It’s a witch hunt at this

point, anyway .”

“You’re right,” Delia smiled thi nly. I swallowed thickly, watching as her eyes surveyed

the room, her nose turned up in that way it does when she’s trying not to bash heads in. She took

a step closer to Dr. Richards, drawing herself up to her full height despite her injured leg. If the

d aggers of her eyes weren’t sharp enough, her voice, however low, was sharper. “If you think for

one second, I’m letting you out of my sight or if I think you’ll hurt Ava, I will not hesitate to kill


“That’s cute,” Dr. Richards drawled, stepping around Delia, “but I think you need me more

than I need you.”

“Not if you want your Riddleson issue to go away,” Ava laughed low and almost sweetly.

The gleam in her eyes betrayed just how much satisfaction she got from reminding Dr. Richards

of our deal.

My ey es flicked to Dr. Richards. Her face looked stricken, a terror in her eyes like she’d

seen her own personal torture in Hell.

“We had a deal,” she said quietly, clearly grasping at straws to regain some semblance of


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