Find the full chapter list for The Man Who Made Monsters and links to related stories here.
Dr. Gabriel Seymour stared in numb silence at the monitor, at his niece’s face and open, unseeing eyes. He realized suddenly that his hands were tightened to fists at his sides and that there seemed to be a vacuum where his stomach had once been, and his head had begun to pound with the rage that filled it.
Someone behind him cleared his throat and said, “Sir, we’ve just received word that the escaped specimen from the Chicago facility was put down.”
The man sounded far away, and Dr. Seymour barely registered his words. He remembered Braedon’s face, the cold pleasure in it at having dealt him such a blow. He thought back, to a time long ago, when they had not hated each other so much, and when Dr. Seymour believed that Braedon might be a reasonable individual, not human enough to be perfectly rational, but human enough to see his imperfections and strive toward the end Dr. Seymour sought. And then Braedon’s words. “Leave her. Seymour is doing business in my territory again. He needs to be reminded of the consequences.”
His territory. His territory. He was a small-minded, unreasonable, uncivilized, inhuman piece of trash. Dr. Seymour seethed with anger, and thought, I won’t kill you. I will do worse than kill you.
“We cut the signal to its collar, but not before getting a read on the people that killed him. Most were human. One was a woman that showed up on the camera but did not register in some of the readings, which is odd but she didn’t fight like a Hunter. And the shot came from somewhere else, but we got no readings from that angle.”
Something in this registered somewhere in Dr. Seymour’s mind, but he couldn’t tear his gaze from her face, and he couldn’t make the connection between this and that. But then he thought, Greta. “Was Miss Bishop sent to clean it up?”
That snapped him back to the present, made him turn away from her to the research assistant tugging at his arm. “We contacted her. She has been at her apartment with her sister all night.”
“Another wraith,” Seymour murmured. “I know Carrick is in New York. Chaya Karnik has not set foot in the U.S. in eight years…”
“The woman, you said. She wasn’t picked up by the readings either?”
“No. And everyone with her had abilities. Varied, though we are sure they were all human.”
Seymour looked back at the monitor one more time, at his Anne, and fixed her cold, staring eyes in his memory, and then he switched the monitor off. “Are we so lucky?” he asked, but his assistant didn’t understand the question and knew better than to try to answer.
Dr. Seymour found his phone and dialed a number, and waited through the ringing until a man’s voice answered, snarling with frustration. “It was one of yours, wasn’t it? This is a fucking mess and the-”
“There’s no time,” Seymour said. “We’ve suffered losses in New York, but it has recently come to my attention that Chandler’s son may be in Chicago.”
There was a silence on the other end of the line, and then, “May be in Chicago?”
“Can you find out for me?”
“What about your mess?”
“I believe the boy was the one to clean it up.”
Another pause. Then, “Yes. I think he is here.”
“You think or you know?”
“We’ve got another shipment for you.”
“You think or you know?”
“And we will be ready to deliver in three days. Will you be ready to receive?”
“Dammit, I want Chandler’s head on a fucking plate and if I have the chance to use his son to get it-”
“We will find out for you. But it must be done carefully. It cannot be traced back to us, or Braedon Chandler will start a war, and we cannot afford that now. Can you wait?”
Dr. Seymour remembered Anne’s eyes, and Braedon Chandler’s hard words. He stared at the blank monitor, and forced the rage clouding his mind down as best he could. “I can wait,” he said finally. “But not forever.”
“We aren’t asking for forever. Just long enough to secure our interests. It would be better for us if Braedon Chandler didn’t think we could have prevented it. And better for you in the long run if you would like to maintain our business arrangement. If it comes down to supporting you and going to war with Chandler...”
Hunters. If I could eradicate every Hunter from the face of the earth… Dr. Seymour drew in a deep, slow breath, and then he said, “I cannot wait forever. But I will wait for now.”
“We’ll be in touch,” the man on the other end said.
Dr. Seymour paused for a time, gazing at the phone in his hand. Then he said, slowly, “Have Miss Bishop meet me at the Chicago facility. I would like to speak with her.”
His assistant nodded and asked timidly, “And the escaped specimen?”
“There is nothing we can do about it now. Tighten security, so that this does not happen again.”
“More security will mean more guards, which will make us easier to spot.”
Dr. Seymour saw the truth in this and scowled. But then he thought, If I can destroy Braedon Chandler and install Lennox Carrick in his place… “Leave worrying about that to me.”
He could see his path forward suddenly, and he knew how best to hurt Chandler, and weaken him among his own kind. “Leave worrying about that to me,” he repeated.
He stared at the blank monitor and thought of Anne’s unseeing eyes, and though his stomach felt like lead and his head ached with rage, he felt a cold smile spread across his face. “And when you speak to Miss Bishop, inform her that the matter is urgent. I will be there in three hours, and she must be there waiting for me when I arrive.”
“Yes, Dr. Seymour,” his assistant replied, and he fled the room to make the necessary calls.