They sat together at chow, talking quietly together. On the way back to the barracks, Dray took Lill aside.
“I don’t mean to snoop, but are you and Ché—is it a serious relationship?”
“Not really. Why?”
“I think Tay likes him.”
“How would you know a thing like that?”
“Twins,” he said as if that explained it. “It’s a psy bond we’ve had since birth.”
Lill blinked at him, having never heard of something like that. “Really? So you know everything the other is thinking?”
“Mostly. Sometimes I see things she sees when I’m away from her.”
Lill nodded slowly, examining Dray’s athletic build. “Well, if I give Ché to your sister to play with, what am I gonna do?”
His smile told her she wouldn’t have to worry about that. She enjoyed his company even more than Ché’s. In the morning, another couple was gone. There was no hiding the Sergeant’s worry now. For once, he didn’t even hit on Lill. She overheard him talking to the other non-commissioned officers on the way to chow.
“They’ve never taken this many before.”
“Are they showing up anywhere else?”
“No. That’s what worries me.”
“Not your best?”
“No. The ones disappearing are the dregs—so far.”
“They’ll turn up.”
“They’ll turn up dead, you mean,” Tab said to his companions. “I don’t like this. The recruits are starting to wonder who’ll be next. Working like this is unsettling. I can’t handle a bunch of stupid, scared people.”
“You going to command?”
“Hell, no! Keep it quiet, that’s my motto.”
“Good luck, Tab. We’ll keep an eye out, but they ain’t no guarantees ’round this place.”
Tab trotted to catch up with Lill. “I need you to keep any eye on things tonight,” he murmured.
“When am I supposed to sleep?”
“I’ll get you a stim pack. I can’t stay in the barracks. I need someone with an ounce of sense watching.”
“What do I do after?”
“Report to me at muster. This isn’t normal, not this many.”
“Wait a second,” she stopped him abruptly. “Not this many? You mean you expect to lose some recruits?”
He sighed, running his stubby fingers across his close cropped scalp. Turning her aside, he led her into a space between two buildings.
“One thing the higher ups do around here is take recruits from the prison section and use them for experiments.”
He shushed her. “I don’t want to lose you, Lill. So don’t let on you know. Tell me what you see, that’s all.”
“It’s pitch dark in that barracks….”
“I’ll take care of it. Check your footlocker before light’s out. Don’t let lover boy know.” His tone held scorn.
“I thought you had more self-control.”
“I’m lonely. Find a way for us to be together if it’s bothering you.”
Looking furtively around, he kissed her hard on the mouth, leaving her stunned and tingling.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Lone Wolf – visit the publisher’s website, Second Wind Publishing.