Gods of Blood and Bone
Seeds of Chaos Book 1
If you live.
Implanted with a bomb in my brain, a GPS tracker, and my first level, they sent me to fight for the favor of the gods. They didn’t care if half of us died along the way, if those who lived grew powerful enough to protect Earth from annihilation.
We fought on a vicious alien planet, surrounded by monsters, magic, and the constant threat of death, and something inside me snapped. For the right to control my own destiny, I would do anything. But power always has its price.
My name is Eve Redding, and I am the new god.
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The electrical immobilizers clamped on my wrists and ankles caused the areas around them to burn with a strangely tingling sensation. It felt like touching my tongue to the tip of a nine-volt battery.
I tried to arch my back and kick out, and the sensation spread violently, causing my muscles to go rigid-limp against my will. I whimpered against the rubber-tasting patch covering my mouth, and tried to imbue some rage into the glare I leveled at my captors. The masked woman chuckled at me. The other one, a man, placed a large metal case on the ground and unlocked it with the hissing sound of hydraulics.
“Please, you said I’d get a Seed. Can I have it now?” the boy said, desperation lacing his voice.
I turned my glare on their sniveling accomplice. How could I have been so stupid? I should have ignored his fake distress, like everyone else. I’d almost done so, but then he met my eyes, his own pitiful and full of fear. He’d mouthed, “help” at me. So I’d walked into the alley.
And here I was now, bound and gagged by two masked people. A large transport vehicle had pulled up to oh-so-conveniently hide the mouth of the alley, and thus my current predicament, from the people on the street. They probably wouldn’t have helped, anyway. Strangers would take one look at the girl being abducted by masked, vaguely military-looking people, and scurry on with their eyes firmly pointed to the grey pavement. Gotta get to work. Lucky to be among the steadily decreasing percentage with a job. No time to deal with other people’s problems.
The boy looked away from me and snatched eagerly at something in the silent man’s outstretched hand. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled to me. “I wish I was stronger.” Then he shuddered and unclenched his fist around a little glass ball, which dropped to the ground.
“What do you think you’re doing? Pick that up!” the woman hissed. “You can’t leave stuff like that just lying around. There can’t be any evidence we were here. None.”
The boy gulped and snatched it back up, then met my eyes again. “I had to. I didn’t have a choice. You don’t know what it’s like.” His voice dropped to a whisper, and his chin quivered a bit. “But you will.”
“Shut up,” the man spoke for the first time, drawing something from his metal case and stepping ominously over to me.
At that, I tried once more to move my useless body. My muscles locked themselves into a painful half-relaxation, and though the force of my scream burned my throat, it came out of my nose weak and muffled.
The man bent over me and jammed a pen-sized piece of metal into my leg. It pierced the skin, and a second later he withdrew it and handed it to the woman, who plugged the other end into the side of a clunky link pad.
My breath heaved out of my lungs, and my eyes opened painfully wide, but every attempt at movement only forced me to lie more and more still.
The screen of the pad popped up with my face, under my name, Eve Redding, and a slew of other data.
What the hell? It was me in a white hospital gown—the same picture I’d had taken a few months before, when people had come to do a surprise, school-wide medical examination. We’d been told it was to ensure none of the students had communicable diseases. Why did they have that picture?
I swallowed. In a situation like this, there could be no good reason.
“It’s her,” the woman said. “Hurry. We don’t have much time. We’ll have to leave her here.”
That didn’t sound good, either. But if they were leaving me, at least I wasn’t being kidnapped for human trafficking or something. I’d make a bad slave to some rich foreigner. Too rebellious, and not pretty enough to make up for it.
The man nodded and grabbed me by my arm, which was bound behind my back. He lifted my weight roughly. He turned me onto my stomach and lifted the hair off the nape of my neck. There was pressure, and then a sharp pain at the base of my skull.
I tried to jerk away, but I couldn’t even move an inch. Frustration, terror, and rage boiled up in me, pushing out any forced humor, and a tear slipped down my nose onto the painfully rough concrete pressed against my cheek.
Tears—the only outlet my body had. I hated crying.
Another pain, slightly lower down.
Another tear of rage.
He flipped me back over and the woman came forward, another glass ball in her hand, but this one was filled with a creamy liquid. She knelt in front of me and pressed it to my neck. “I hope this one survives.”
There was one last quick, sharp pain.
She stripped off my electrical immobilizers and tapped the back of her wrist port against the patch on my mouth, causing it to disintegrate. I drew breath to scream, and tried to jerk away from her, but my body didn’t listen. The alley walls and the woman’s back as she stepped into the transport vehicle all spun crazily. I realized it was because my eyes were rolling back into my head as I passed out.