In a Badger Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2) - Shelly Laurenston


“I want my sisters! ”

The general stared down at the eleven-year-old child screaming at him and his soldiers.

He didn’t know what had happened. She’d started off as such an amiable asset. Quiet. Unassuming. She hadn’t put up a fight when they’d come for her. Her sisters had. The weird pack of people living in a small group of houses in the middle of Wisconsin had barely managed to hold the two older girls back.

Of course, they hadn’t really looked like sisters. One was black and tall, the other Asian and petite with massive shoulders—he’d assumed she was a gymnast. His sister’s daughter had the same kind of shoulders and she was going to the Summer Olympics.

In all honesty, he’d wanted to give those two girls the number of a recruiter. Anyone who fought that hard should consider life in the military.

But their little sister hadn’t put up a fight. She’d just put her head down, grabbed a backpack filled with notebooks, and followed his men out to the car. And she’d kept quiet for the first two weeks.

Then, something had changed. She had changed. Drastically. One of the psychiatrists they hired to monitor the child’s emotions said she was suffering from a “bout of depression” and that she needed medication.

At first, the general had not wanted to hear about medication. Medicating an eleven-year-old girl seemed the height of inappropriateness in his estimation, and no one wanted to affect the way the prodigy’s brain worked. He’d assumed she just needed discipline. She needed to see him as the father figure she’d never had. So he’d gone to see her, trying to engage her in dialogue.

That hadn’t helped. She had simply stared at him with a sour expression until, after about a week of visits, she’d suddenly launched a heavy metal lab instrument at him. Nearly got him in the head, too, but he’d ducked in time. Then she’d started screaming, “I want my sisters!” and she hadn’t really stopped since.

No matter what they said to her, or tried to bribe her with, she didn’t want to hear it. She wanted her sisters and she wanted them now apparently.

Despite his best intentions, he’d finally given in to the psychiatrist and he’d gotten approval from his superiors to medicate the girl.

At this moment, medical personnel were waiting outside the lab with a needle filled with whatever drug they’d chosen because Little Miss kept spitting her pills back out when they forced them on her.

The general tried again, “Now, Miss Stasiuk—”

She slammed her hand against the granite countertop. “It’s MacKilligan. I’m a MacKilligan!” she screamed. “And I want my sisters! ”

“I tried,” he told her before stepping back. “Nurse?”

The psychiatrist’s personal nurse walked in with a stainless steel tray, a filled syringe on top.

As soon as the child saw it, she actually became frightened. Her eyes widened and she scrambled back until she hit the lab table behind her.

“Stay away from me,” she begged. “Stay away from me.”

“It’s all right, Miss Sta . . . uh . . . MacKilligan,” he soothed. “We just want to make you feel better. Isn’t that right, Nurse?”

The nurse nodded as she moved forward. “That’s it.”

The child stared at the nurse for a long moment before she suddenly accused, “You’re trying to kill me.”

That statement was said so calmly but so definitively that everyone in the room froze and stared at her.

“What?” the general asked.

“You’re trying to kill me,” she accused again.

The general blinked, shocked. “Of course we’re not. Miss MacKilligan—”

“You want me dead! You’re working for the other side!”

“What other side? What are you talking about? No one is trying to kill you. We’re trying to help you!”

Her face red, fingers curled into tight little fists, her entire body one taut line of tense muscles, the little viper screeched, “You’re trying to kill meeeeee!”

Her voice was so loud, the general actually felt she’d made the lab windows shake, but he was sure that was simply his imagination run amok under such strange circumstances.

“No one is trying to kill you!” he yelled over the child’s screams. “We built this entire base for you. So calm down and take your medicine!”

The nurse stood beside him now and, with a sigh, she called for two orderlies. The men came in and went to the girl, attempting to grab her arms and hold her still. But the fight the general hadn’t seen when they’d first brought her in—he saw it now.

Like a whirling dervish of panic, the child swung her arms and