Iggy: A Maximum Ride Novel
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognise. Maximum Ride belongs to James Patterson. Nuff said.
Darkness. The smell of antiseptic. The sound of surgical tools. The pain of needles. Must be a nightmare. Am I at the School again?
"Max?" The tentative voice of a young boy whispered.
Eyes snapping open, I sat up instantly, my head colliding with something hard.
"Gazzy!" I shouted, half dazed from the collision.
My eyes were unfocused and blurry but I could make out a faint outline of a blond boy sitting in front of me.
"What happened? Where am I?" I demanded, rubbing a bump in my head. But I knew the answers before the words had left my mouth.
Oh no. This can't be happening. My vision had cleared up and I almost wished that they hadn't. Right in front of me were slender metal bars. There was old newspaper underneath me and I could barely sit up straight. I was back in a dog crate again.
So was Gazzy. His dog crate was placed in front of mine. I could make out five other crates behind him. Gazzy was staring at me with wide scared eyes.
"Is this the School?" He murmured.
"Heck no! The School burned down, remember?" I quickly snapped, trying to reassure him. But my eyes betrayed me as I noticed the white walls and the cold tile of the room. The fluorescent lights shone brightly and I blinked rapidly to adjust my eyes to the brightness of the room.
My back ached, probably from being in the same position for so long and my wings were folded awkwardly as I must have been pushed roughly into the crate. I grimaced and clutched the cold bars of the cage with my hands tightly.
Gazzy struggled to give me a comforting smile but it felt all wrong. Wasn't I supposed to be the one trying to lighten things up?
"So you are finally awake." A deeply accented voice of a man entered our presence.
On instinct, I stiffened, alert and ready for battle.
"What do you want from us?" I snarled, turning my head to see a Whitecoat towering above me. He was Asian, I could tell and his expression reminded me of Dr. Gunther-Hagen's. His face stretched into a smile which made me even angrier as he answered me.
"Nothing much. I'd just like to see what makes you tick," he said dismissively as if he was telling me about the weather.
"Yeah, and I'm sure you will give me a friendly dose of chemicals to see how I'll react to them," I sneered back, sarcastically. The man's face turned stormy and he knitted his eyebrows together in frustration.
"That's not what I meant-" The Whitecoat started to say.
"Oh sorry. Would you like to see how much physical exertion I can withstand as well? Get a sample of my brain? Tinker a bit with my DNA? I'm sure that you will have so much fun." My comments were practically dripping with sarcasm.
The Whitecoat's face swelled up, turning red with anger and it reminded me of an overripe plum.
For a few moments, his mouth opened and closed but no sound came out. Then he finally spat, "You're going to be thrown into the worst place which you could ever dream of. Much worse than hell!"
I yawned, making effort to look as if I didn't give a flying dog about what he was saying. My lack of concern had made him so angry that he was practically spiting, saliva spraying out of his mouth. He started shouting random words in Chinese which I could only imagine what they meant.
After giving me a stream of what must have been swears, I couldn't help myself and burst into laughter. My crazy maniacal amusement filled up the whole room and Gazzy smirked at me with glee. The Whitecoat kicked my crate hard, flipping it over to the side. I was knocked over inside and pressed against the side of the dog crate, metal bars painfully digging into my side.
"You won't be laughing now when I'm done with you," he finished.
Ignoring my awkward position, I stuck out my tongue.
"You know, I have the weirdest feeling of déjà vu when you say that."
Gazzy cocked his head to the side in a questioning way.
"I think that the Uber Director once said that to us. Remember that Max?" Gazzy smirked.
The Whitecoat whirled around to Gazzy's dog crate and also kicked it forcefully, accidently knocking it into a table which held test tubes. They rattled and one fell onto the floor breaking into tiny little pieces. One of the shards flew into the man legs and he hobbled away from the scene, still raging mad.
Once I was left alone with my flock, my arrogant attitude immediately turned into a serious mother hen-like fashion.
"Everyone, report!" I called out.
"Here," Iggy droned from somewhere behind.
"Here," came the muffled reply of Total.
"Here," Gazzy said, looking at me for orders.
There was a moment of silence. So still that I could hear Gazzy's deep breathing.
"Is that all? No one else?" I demanded, my heart sinking.
"No, wait. Nudge is sleeping. I can hear her snores," Iggy observed. I craned my neck to see where she was but Gazzy was blocking my view.
"I'm here too. I didn't know that I had to say 'here'," the voice of Dylan quietly said.
I smacked my forehead with a hand at Dylan's stupidity but before I could give him a retort, Mr. Anger Management Dude came back in. And he wasn't alone.
At least five others were with him, judging from the number of footsteps I could hear. Then followed a quick bark of orders in Chinese.
I quickly gave a look at Gazzy, he was the only person in my line of vision. We exchanged a knowing glance before I saw a sheet of white fabric being thrown over his crate. I could only guess that the others were given the same treatment, given the protests and shouts from Dylan and Total. The same was done for me and I felt myself being lifted up and carried somewhere.
For next few minutes, I concentrated and sorted out my thoughts. So my Flock were in China now. We were captured by another brand of crazy scientists. Now we are probably in for some testing. I mentally kicked myself for letting my Flock get into this situation. We had just escaped from a lab and now we are back. Things never seemed to change.
I clenched my fists in anger, now that I wasn't being watched by my Flock, I could let my frustration show on my face. I wouldn't dare let the Flock see my mini break down, I needed to keep up a reputation with them as a leader.
Still, I hated myself for not being ready. Fatigue was not an excuse. I had let my guards drop and assume, even for a moment that I was safe from people who would want to use me for their own greedy good. It hadn't occurred to me that there were other labs in the rest of the world. But of course there was! After all, Ella was transferred here, wasn't she?
My heart fluttered with anticipation at the thought of finally being close to Ella. Perhaps I could get a hold of her here.
When I do, I'm going to reprimand her and lecture her so much. I don't care that she is my sister and that she is the same age as I, but she's going to get it. Running off the like that! She better have a damn good reason.
It was with a great relief, when I had finally been placed down somewhere with my Flock. But where it was, was so unexpected.
I had already felt a change of temperature and atmosphere but I couldn't be sure. After all, my shots could have been playing tricks on me for all I knew.
As soon as the covers were lifted off my crate, I tensed up, adrenaline rushing into my veins. The scientists unlocked my cage much to my confusion and pushed me out into the open. In less than a second I took in my surroundings. There were trees around the place. Rough dirt was under my bare feet. There was hardly any light, the trees were too dense and the canopy was high above. I was in a forest.
But I paid no attention to this fact. I was going to fight the nearest Whitecoat here before they do anything. Of course, it could be a trap but at that moment, I didn't care. As the Whitecoat was tumbling back from me, I grabbed him by the cuff and threw a blow into his face.
"What the bloody..." The Whitecoat never finished his sentence. I kicked him in the family jewels and he screeched in pain. My grip on the Whitecoat's lab shirt tightened and I punch him in the chin, effectively knocking him out. I roughly kicked the Whitecoat away. Let the other scientists help him.
To my side, I saw that five other crates were being carried out. Iggy, Dylan, Nudge, Total and Gazzy were released but the Whitecoats had taken caution and scrambled back before they could even do so much as look at them.
Total was trembling and I could sense that something was wrong. I walked over to him and crouched down towards his eye level.
The dog looked up at me with scared black eyes. His ears were drooping and his tail was tucked between his legs. I swiftly picked Total up, I was no dog expert but I could safely assume that this was not normal behaviour for dogs.
Dylan came up to me and gently stroked Total's white ruffled fur.
"It was the lab."
I blinked at him.
"Being back in a lab scared him. Bad memories see?" He tapped Total's head with a slender finger.
I pushed Total into Dylan's arms since as he was more experienced at this type of thing.
I came over to Gazzy and Nudge. They were both looking as if they had been put through a lot of tests. Nudge was holding herself in her arms and Gazzy had laid a hand on her shoulder. Gazzy's hair was unruly and a layer of dirt had covered it making his blond hair have streaks of brown.
"Where are we?" He whispered.
Suddenly a long sharp stick came out of nowhere and planted itself in where Dylan's head had been. Dylan whirled around and stared into the dense thicket of the trees.
"We can give an answer to that," another heavily accented voice of a teenage girl penetrated the scene.
She slipped out of the undergrowth to reveal herself, never taking her eyes off Dylan. Her hands frozen on a long slender bow loaded with an arrow.
The girl looked like something out of a wild life anime movie. Upon her shoulders was the grey skin of an animal I couldn't identify. Her hair was untied and spread out long her shoulders and it was dark orange with black streaks. The girl wore dark clothing which camouflaged with the background it seemed to be weaved out of grasses and vines. Her eyes were a startling amber and cat-like ears protruded from the sides of her head. And when I say cat-like, I really mean cat-like as in genetically mutated humans ears made to be like a cat's. I noticed a tail posed behind her and upon closer in inspection, her hands were clawed and had soft pads underneath.
"Mutant," I spat, moving protectively near Dylan. He wasn't part of my Flock, but I didn't want him to die.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill that mutt," the girl hissed.
Mutt? The girl was talking about Total.
And she wanted him dead.
So what do the Flock is going to do? Tell me in your review!
I don't have a Beta reader so please tell me if you spot any mistakes and I'll correct them.
Next chapter coming up: Max and co. meets the whole pride and gets new enemies.