Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm sci-fi, mpreg
Gregor was sweating and trembling with effort by the time he climbed out through the vent of what looked like a store room. There were metal racks pressed against the walls holding stacks of opaque plasticene bins marked with black and red labels that the dim blue glow of the safety lighting made impossible to read.
He scrubbed his face with his sleeve, then cursed and pulled off his formal jacket, dropping it on the floor. He was covered in dust and stunk of fear.
Instinct was telling him to keep moving, to get out and run and not stop until he was safe. But he forced that impulse down, knowing he needed to pause and think, not just rush around blindly until he was captured.
He fought to get his breath back under control and sunk down against the floor. His calves and wrists ached from being used to propel himself backward through what had felt like miles of ducting. There were stinging scrapes across his palms and knuckles. His abdominals felt sore from the embryo Transfer and the exertion.
He would have killed for a glass of water. His tongue was so dry it stuck to the roof of his mouth. He moved it around, trying to get some saliva flowing, but it was no good.
Gregor allowed himself a moan in the dim quiet. He was so thirsty. It was the worst kind of torture.
He stretched his legs out and massaged his calf muscles, digging his fingers in hard. At least he could ease one discomfort and it gave him time to plan.
It had been silly of him to think that he could avoid Hanson forever. He knew how obsessive Hanson could get, the drive and ambition that should have made him a good First was warped into madness by his pleasure in hunting and killing human prey. His primal instinct was too close to the surface and he’d never found a healthy outlet through which to express it.
When Gregor had first met Hanson he’d been dazzled by the man’s brilliance and artistry. He’d blinded himself to any faults and let himself be lost in admiration for Hanson’s ability to do anything and do it well. From painting to vehicle repair to home gengineering projects, Hanson had that amazing spark that most people could only dream of. He could have done anything in his life.
It was just too bad that he’d chosen to focus on ever more unpleasant ways to kill people. Torture was his passion, but murder was Virgil Hanson’s chosen art.
Gregor remembered that pain that warped and twisted into miserable pleasure. He’d really believed he was in love with Hanson, until his self-disgust got to be too much.
The worst thing was knowing that he would have stayed with Hanson longer if he hadn’t looked in the mirror one day and been disgusted by what he was becoming. Hanson was turning him into a craven creature, one that begged to be broken because he didn’t think he deserved better. It had been a horrifying wake up call and he had fled more from himself than Hanson. Because he’d been young and naive and he’d thought love could solve anything.
Now that he was older and wiser, he was glad he’d gotten out when he had. Young-him hadn’t recognized the signs, but through the eyes of hindsight he realized Hanson had been grooming him to be a victim. If he’d waited even a few weeks longer he would be dead. Just another name on an ever growing list.
Ten years later and here he was, running away again. He snorted at the thought.
Perhaps there were some people that would say he should stay and fight. He should face Hanson bravely, and using some clever scheme defeat him. It would regain him his self-respect and he would receive the ephemeral reward of facing his boogeyman and defeating him. But Gregor was a realist and a survivor, and he wanted to live, which wouldn’t happen if he let Hanson find him.
Gregor stood up with a groan, his spine popping loudly. He did some quick stretches and bends to loosen himself up, knowing he would appreciate the flexibility later. Running for his life was hard work, and if he needed to fight back he didn’t want a muscle cramp to get in the way of his escape.
He figured Park would call in the Law Officers and they would handle Hanson. Even if they just ran him off, as long as Gregor stayed out of sight he would survive. It wasn’t his job to face down the S-class criminal.
Touching his toes one last time, he went to the racks of bins and started opening lids. The light was poor, but he figured he’d recognize something useful if he saw it.