Ryan Zachery lived his life the way all high school teenagers should – carefree. Until he was attacked by an unknown assailer and awoke in the hospital with lycanthropy. Taken by armed guards and dragged away from everything he held dear, Ryan was thrown into a US camp made for those ‘suffering’ from lycanthropy. They caged the beast, but now he will show them that he will never be dehumanized.
Present Day Unknown, Canada.
There was nothing quite like being attacked unannounced. The surprise of being hit without seeing it coming made it just a bit more painful. There would be a tiny moment of pure shock, when your heart nearly burst and your brain halted in an attempt to look back on what had just happened to determine what exactly it was. The shock, the confusion and the pain, made the experience all the more unpleasant.
Ryan spat out the grime and muck that had entered his mouth as he was slammed down face-first to the ground. The man who had performed this very unpleasant act was standing over him and smirking smugly, holding up his fists in preparation of Ryan’s countermove. He had caught the boy off guard, and had slammed his fist into the back of his head, sending him tumbling forward into the mud.
Ryan growled, agitated at having been attacked unannounced and for no apparent reason. He jumped to his feet and charged the larger man head-first, tackling him to the ground. A crowd began to brew around the fighting pair as he drove his fists like hammer into the ugly man’s face. Anger was bubbling beneath the surface, and nothing could stop him now that he was in motion.
“Hey! Quit it!” The guards were trampling through the small crowd, their body armor giving them great leverage. Two men in black armor with tasers strapped to their hips restrained Ryan, pulling him into a lock and yanking him off the bloodied man lying in an unconscious heap on the ground. Two others tended to the unconscious man as he was dragged off to await punishment.
Ryan struggled against the guard’s grasp. He hated to be manhandled, and he knew that whatever punishment they dealt out would be unjust and cruel. It wasn’t his fault the fight had started. The other man had thrown the first punch. He was just staring listlessly out through the barbed-wire fence at the silent forest when he was attacked.
“Let me go!” he cried out, snarling and flailing about. The men had a firm grasp under his arms, hindering his general movement. Anger was stirring inside his gut, and it only angered him more to think he was not going to win this battle. He never did.
The guards stripped him down and threw him into the Dungeon, a dark murky room with no lights or windows and only a bucket to use as a bathroom. They tossed him into the cold dark room and locked the door behind him before he could turn and try to run. He shivered, his naked body reacting to the temperature. The room was made specifically to be cold in order to ‘properly’ punish the delinquents. But due to the prisoners’ increased body heat, they had to adjust the conditioners to an extremely low temp for it to truly effect the punished.
Ryan slammed his fist into the metal door with a bark, not caring that he’d most likely broken a finger or two. It would heal in an hour, as would the gash on the back of his head. The wounds always heal. Be it an hour or two or three they healed to near perfection. Not a scar marred his flesh, except the mangled mark that ran between his shoulder and neck.
He tenderly touched the scar on his neck as he turned and slunk down against the wall, ignoring the hot pain grating against his back as he did so. The scar was a large red gape in his flesh that ran from the end of his shoulder up to his neck and down to just a few inches above his nipple. It was all he would ever keep in this hell. He lost everything the day he gained this mark. His family, his friends, his home; they were all gone.
He had been taken away from his family nearly two years ago. After being attacked by a large animalistic creature he was brought by a team of those bastard guards to this horrid place. At the time, neither he nor his family understood why he was being taken away, and were outraged to find out he was to be taken. He had fought tooth and nail to escape the men in black armor, but they had tasered him and left him unconscious until he found himself on the inside of a white van speeding across the country to this camp.
Confused and terrified, he had tried to reason with them – telling them he shouldn’t be here. He’d run up to every guard or scientist he saw and pleaded that it was a mistake. He wasn’t one of those. He was just attacked by a…
That had eluded him for a time. What he had seen that night was a monster, a terrible creature that was unfit to walk this earth. It had bitten him, leaving behind this glaring scar in the crook of his neck.
His lips peeled back in disgust. It was confirmed the next full moon that what they believed him to be was what he really was. He had been locked away in a cage under the building alongside other cages filled with the other men and women of this place. Ryan had yelled, cried, and begged to be let free. He knew what was to come. The people around him were resigned to what lay ahead, some looking at him with interest, as if they had seen this a hundred times before.
He had feared he’d be in danger with all of these monsters around him. But he shouldn’t have worried, for when the moon came around he, too, fell and began to Change. Limbs and skin ripping and tearing into something that he could never accept. Something he’d fear for the rest of his life.
As he adjusted his weight against the cold, hard stone wall he scowled at the memory of waking up to find he had gone on a similar rampage as the rest of the room’s occupants. He was a werewolf. Infected by the disease that had swept the Nations in a flurry of fur and fang. Forever cursed, forever alone.
Ryan sighed as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep. But it was too hard, for his skin prickled and his nose caught the scent of the bucket in the corner. He groaned and slammed his hand against the wall again.
They called this place a rehabilitation center, but the camp was more a prison than anything else. The dark room he was trapped in was a common punishment in prison systems, known as the “Hole.” The guards outside fondly referred to it as a“Dungeon” for its similarity to the prisons they kept people in under castles in medieval times.
He had only been thrown in this place three times, excluding this one. The first time was upon his arrival when he punched out a guard in shock. He hadn’t known why he was here, and he had still believed strongly that he wasn’t a werewolf. They threw him in here and he puked at the strange smells that invaded his nose.
The second and third times were both because of fights. Here in the camp there wasn’t much to do during recess – a designated time where the subjects, as the scientists preferred to call them, are allowed to roam a confined space outside to keep themselves in shape – other than fight.
He had been, and still was, a favorite among the crowd to fight for the simple fact that he was so young. Most of the men were in their thirties or forties, as well as the women. He though was only nineteen, and as such was seen as an easier target for their brutality. Ryan ran his hand over the stubble of shaved hair atop his head and snorted, half in spite and half to try and get rid of the foul taste of dirt from his mouth. What had he done to deserve this? Of all the things he had done in life, what was it that sent him here? What made him what he is and why?
I’ll never know… and that’s my downfall.
Ryan Zachery is a werewolf, having been attacked and bitten one day after graduating high school. He was thrown into a “camp” for others that had been infected like him. They are treated like animals and prisoners, not like human beings at all. The guards are evil, the doctors are evil and no one seems to care. They are thrown into a cage to change when the full moon comes. Men and women are thrown together in the camps and fights break out all the time between the different “cliques.” The guards don’t generally care except when it’s Ryan getting into the fights. They don’t like him and they like throwing him into the Dungeon. Ryan is fighting with himself and the wolf inside him. He doesn’t want to become this horrible beast but it seems as though he has no choice and the place where he is staying is almost encouraging him and others to do exactly that. It is a constant struggle and he’s trying to stay out of trouble but it seems that everyone is picking on him purposely. Ryan hates his life at the camp, hates everyone there with the exception of his roommate, a Frenchman who speaks very little English. But, all of that changes when they get a new roommate, Anna Clarke.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The copy that I was given appeared to be the final edited copy in PDF format and I’ll be damned if I could find one error in the document! There were errors, but they were corrected, so they don’t count. Anyway, I really, really liked this story. The werewolf story has been told before but not like this. The people have become infected because of an experimental virus that was made in Romania by the government that leaked. Also, the people are treated as animals and basically all of their rights have been taken away from them. No one knows how they are treated at the camps because no one is allowed to visit or to do stories about it. Everyone thinks that they are being well taken care of and they are out of harm’s way. They don’t realize that they aren’t the monsters that people think they are…..the doctors and guards are.
I really enjoyed Michael Loring’s storytelling. He is very descriptive when he needs to be but not overly descriptive to the point that you are bored or skipping ahead to the meat of the story. All of the story is the “meat.” There is no filler or slow down at all. This story was very full of drama, suspense, comedy, love and intrigue. I had to keep myself from reading ahead to find out what was going to happen because I was so caught up in the story. This is an amazing read and I can’t wait to read the next story in the series. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes werewolf stories, suspense, drama and wants a different take on the werewolf story. I give this book 5 books.
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About the Author
Michael Loring was born in Bristol, Connecticut, but has lived in a variety of places such as Florida and Tennessee. He likes to think of himself as an amateur Lycanthropologist, studying werewolves ever since he was eight years old when he first saw An American Werewolf In London. He spent most of his life switching between home school and public school, always focusing on his passion of writing no matter what. His interest in writing was sparked in the second grade when his teacher encouraged him to write short stories for the class, earning him more than one award at school assemblies for Creative Writing.
He currently resides back in his birthplace of Connecticut with a house full of women who like to drive him up the wall until he finishes his chores. Though they seem to avoid him during the night of the full moon for some unexplainable reason…