Primal Instincts by Peter Gulgowski
English | 2020 | Young Adult | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Bred for entertainment, designed for war.
Nick Davis awoke in a facility with no recollection of how he got there. Memories of his life before this moment are few and blurred. Now, his survival depends on his ability to shapeshift into a wolf for a televised battle to the death known as The Primal Battle.
His prison—the Institute.
His directive—to be a ruthless hunter.
But where does humanity fit in to the merging of science and media?
Desperate to unravel the mysteries of his past, Nick uncovers a sinister secret the Institute would kill to keep hidden. They think they know him down to the very code of his DNA, but true power lies in the unpredictability of freewill.
To survive the Institute, he must play their game. Yet Nick knows the cost may be too high. Can he fight the animalistic rage of his genetic programming to cling to the human roots he knows exist within him? Or will what’s left of his humanity be lost to the allure of violent chaos?
Rapid, pounding, uneven, my heart pumps torrents of adrenaline through my veins. Fire wraps around it, swirling around my lungs with each breath I take.
I’m gliding just above the forest floor, my paws slamming against dirt and gravel. Above me, black clouds veil the moon in a covering of nightfall.
Low to the ground, I realize it isn’t only my feet making contact with the ground—it’s my hands, too. All four limbs move in rhythm with each other, propelling me forward into the dark, shadowed maze of night. My vision is narrow, focused in the center and blurred around the fringes of my view. Certain objects highlight themselves with a faint burst of yellow illumination, dissolving into the next object as quickly as I see the last.
Boulder, tree-trunk, and now—a deer.
Scents, diverse and muddled amongst the decay of autumn, carry themselves through the air, like ships on a curving river bound to the flow of water.
But I pause.
The hammering in my ears drowns out the sounds of night, but I focus deeper, narrowing my senses outward and beyond.
There’s a crackle in the distant brush, but not loud enough to signal my prey. Filtering through, I notice a slow-moving creek letting out into a lake buried deep in the woods. I passed it earlier, its surface smooth like obsidian glass beneath the cloudy night sky.
Nothing. The stillness of the forest is infuriating. I couldn’t have lost it. Not this close to the kill.
Frustrated, I turn my head just slightly, trying to capture my trail again and letting out a shaky breath.
Come on, Nick.
Pawing at the ground, I pull the cool air into my nose. I take a moment to process each scent, sifting through layer by layer. It’s only a few layers deep that I recapture the sweet, rich track of my prey floating on a current of the forest’s breath.
My limbs move quicker, fueled by the adrenaline of the hunt. In the distance, the fleeing deer leaps over a moss-covered, fallen tree.
I hear its own heart beating only a few beats faster than mine. Its organs highlight, and I capture a glimpse of its racing heart thumping against the cavity of its chest.
A few seconds behind, I leap over the same tree, lurching through the chilled air, momentarily weightless.