NOTHING WOULD make Ryan Banks happier than the complete extermination of the vampire population.
He despised the annual visits to the security centers his position as Vampire Control and Security Director mandated. He didn’t give a rat’s fuck how vampires were treated as long as the males were branded and sterilized and pregnant females were aborted of the young they carried.
Banks followed Charles Framer through the Seattle facility and tried to shut out the man’s inane babbling. He sneered at the back of Framer’s head.
How Framer had conned his way into the Section Chief position was beyond comprehension. It wouldn’t have happened on his watch. In his five years as Director, not one weakling had secured a position of authority in any of the security centers.
He needed to get rid of Framer and hire someone with a spine. But firing a government employee wasn’t easy and Framer had managed to keep a clean record.
Framer was soft. Too many fools like him and the damn vampires would be moving back into the Restricted Zones. Not that the fuckers weren’t there anyway.
He strode up alongside Framer, towering over him by a good six inches. “What about the Resistance? How many have your officers brought in this month?”
“Two weeks ago, we brought in five and three more yesterday.”
“They were terminated?” He hoped Framer would give the wrong answer.
“Of course. They were all put down right away.”
“What about the Wolf Guards?”
“They’ve killed about two dozen vampires in the last week, but none were Resistance members.”
“Why am I paying those turncoats if they aren’t doing better than that?”
Framer didn’t answer.
Banks suspected Framer had a healthy fear of dealing with the Wolf Guards. Not that Banks blamed him. Wolf Guards had a laundry list of bad qualities. Big, aggressive vampires willing to betray their own kind for profit, they would intimidate anyone with a brain.
“Put more pressure on the vampire community. They’re getting out of control.”
“Yes, sir.” Framer led him into the holding area.
A dozen or more newly processed vampires were locked in cages where they had enough room to stand but barely move beyond that. They all sat, looking out at their captors.
The musky scent of the males reminded him of the woods and wild things. Combined with the stench of vomit, body waste, blood, burned flesh from the branding, and fear stink, the smell was overwhelming.
He stopped before a cage holding a juvenile. The young male had drawn his arm up, keeping it tucked against his body. He rocked slightly on the floor of his cage and stared straight ahead. Flies buzzed around him, attracted to the stink of blood and feces. The pests lit and crawled over the raw brand on the back of his hand, but he didn’t respond.
Bruises marked his stomach and side where his t-shirt had ridden up. His lower lip was split and swollen and the skin around his left eye was black and purple. Despite his injuries, he was pretty enough to be female.
He looked up at Banks with dazed, pain-filled eyes.
Banks’ stomach tightened. His right eye twitched. The little bastard’s striking resemblance to—
His right hand clenched into a fist. “Disgusting creature.”
He walked on.
A weeping female lay huddled in the corner of a cage. Blood soaked the crotch and inner seams of her pants.
“Was she pregnant?” Banks asked.
“About eight months along. The med tech was in, so we didn’t have to keep her overnight.”
“Doesn’t matter how long you hold them. I don’t even care if you put them down instead of bothering with an abortion. Some centers have opted for lethal injection. Easier and cheaper.”
“I know, but I try to be as fair as possible. They can’t help that they exist.”
“You sound like those bleeding-hearts in the Red Rose Society. Vampires are nothing more than dangerous animals.”
Framer squirmed. “I don’t want to kill females. They aren’t dangerous.”
Banks looked down his nose at the shorter man. “Makes me wonder if I can count on you once we move forward.”
“I follow orders, Mr. Banks. I do my job.”
Banks arched an eyebrow. “I’m not sure you have the stomach for it.”
Framer flushed. “You have nothing to worry about.”
“Prove it.” Banks pointed at the young male. “Have him put down. Now. Right here.”
Framer’s eyes widened. “But … but why? He can’t be more than sixteen.”
The young vampire shrank back against the bars.
Banks liked his fear. “Because I said to, that’s why.”
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