Amazing Grace, 2
Why would someone manufacture genetic mutationsin a hidden laboratory beneath a mental institution? The answer may be more than Grace can bear.
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After stopping the power-hungry CO of Global Solutions from burning the world, Grace McKenna turns her attention to Hammel Mental Institute, the asylum where Benedict was locked up without reason, determined to close the place down.
Her investigation uncovers mysterious donations, vanishing patients and a hidden laboratory beneath the building. Still coming to terms with her abilities, Grace faces the possibility that the mutation was manufactured. But who by and, more importantly, what for?
Soft footsteps pulled my attention away from my view of the street. Twenty four hours ago, Benedict Thomas had been a resident of Hammel Mental Institute, an alleged danger to mankind. In the intermediate time, I'd broken him out, helped him stop the sky from burning and invited him to live with me. Oh, and we'd had some great sex. I mean really, really great—his abnormal power was the ability to tweak mental and physical attributes, which happened to include my endocrine gland and that resulted in orgasms that almost reignited the atmosphere.
Now he shambled towards me wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and a lazy smile. His wavy brown hair was tousled from sleep, while there were still red half-moons imprinted on his uppers arms from the rest.
“G'morning,” he drawled, looping his arms around my waist.
I snuggled against his bare chest. “Good morning.”
“Yeah. Just... watching the sunrise.”
“We got to live another day.”
I sighed. “Yes. Yes, we did.”
“Try not to think about that.” His mental voice warmed me even as his arms hugged me tighter. “We still saved thousands.”
“I know.” I could have used my own telepathy to reply, but that ability was new and its addition scared me. What else would I be able to do?
“I could help you find out,” Benedict said.
It took a moment for me to realize he'd plucked the thought out of my head. I wriggled out of his embrace. “Don't do that.”
“Well, it's not like you're sharing your concerns Grace. I can help you. You just need to trust me.”
“I know. And I do. But it's...” I shook my head. “How did this happen, Benedict? People don't just wake up with special abilities.”
“No. I'm not positive, but my best guess it's something to do with Global Solutions. That's what we have in common, after all.”
Something in his tone brought me around to face him. “Do you know of any others?”
His expression went tight. “What's for breakfast?”
“Benedict. I need to know.”
“Grace, I'm not sure—”
“Are there others?”
I wasn't about to let him brush me off. He stared at me for a moment, then must have either gone off my expression or mentally picked up on my determination as he ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily.
“Yes,” he said. “As far as I'm aware, every inmate at Hammel MI has at least one ability.”
Shock jolted me. “What? Why didn't you tell me about that?”
“We were a little busy. Small matter of the sky being ablaze, remember?”
Oh, I remembered. Callahan had sent me to Hammel to speak to Benedict, who'd refused to talk to anyone but me. I'd not understood at first. Then he'd revealed that he knew about my abilities. He wanted me there because I was the one person who could have gotten him out.
And I'd done exactly that.
“They're not there for a good reason, are they?” I asked him. “No more than you were.”
“None have mental problems, if that's what you mean. However, I'm sure GS has what it considers a good reason for holding them.”
Yesterday I learned the mental institute was owned by Global Solutions. That put a whole new spin on his being committed. He'd gotten in Callahan's way and GS's former director had used his position to incarcerate him. That was wrong on so many levels, but this? This went beyond the pale. I couldn't get my head around the enormity of the implications.
“All of them?” I asked.
“That's an approximation of the situation, yes.”