Ryan Zachery lived his life the way all high school teenagers should – carefree. Until he was attacked by an unknown assailer and awoke in the hospital with lycanthropy. Taken by armed guards and dragged away from everything he held dear, Ryan was thrown into a US camp made for those ‘suffering’ from lycanthropy. They caged the beast, but now he will show them that he will never be dehumanized.
Excerpt (Chapter 1):
Present Day Unknown, Canada.
There was nothing quite like being attacked unannounced. The surprise of being hit without seeing it coming made it just a bit more painful. There would be a tiny moment of pure shock, when your heart nearly burst and your brain halted in an attempt to look back on what had just happened to determine what exactly it was. The shock, the confusion and the pain, made the experience all the more unpleasant. Ryan spat out the grime and muck that had entered his mouth as he was slammed down face-first to the ground. The man who had performed this very unpleasant act was standing over him and smirking smugly, holding up his fists in preparation of Ryan's counter move. He had caught the boy off guard, and had slammed his fist into the back of his head, sending him tumbling forward into the mud. Ryan growled, agitated at having been attacked unannounced and for no apparent reason. He jumped to his feet and charged the larger man head-first, tackling him to the ground. A crowd began to brew around the fighting pair as he drove his fists like hammer into the ugly man's face. Anger was bubbling beneath the surface, and nothing could stop him now that he was in motion.“Hey! Quit it!” The guards were trampling through the small crowd, their body armor giving them great leverage. Two men in black armor with tasers strapped to their hips restrained Ryan, pulling him into a lock and yanking him off the bloodied man lying in an unconscious heap on the ground. Two others tended to the unconscious man as he was dragged off to await punishment. Ryan struggled against the guard's grasp. He hated to be manhandled, and he knew that whatever punishment they dealt out would be unjust and cruel. It wasn't his fault the fight had started. The other man had thrown the first punch. He was just staring listlessly out through the barbed-wire fence at the silent forest when he was attacked. “Let me go!” he cried out, snarling and flailing about. The men had a firm grasp under his arms, hindering his general movement. Anger was stirring inside his gut, and it only angered him more to think he was not going to win this battle. He never did. The guards stripped him down and threw him into the Dungeon, a dark murky room with no lights or windows and only a bucket to use as a bathroom. They tossed him into the cold dark room and locked the door behind him before he could turn and try to run. He shivered, his naked body reacting to the temperature. The room was made specifically to be cold in order to 'properly' punish the delinquents. But due to the prisoners' increased body heat, they had to adjust the conditioners to an extremely low temp for it to truly effect the punished. Ryan slammed his fist into the metal door with a bark, not caring that he'd most likely broken a finger or two. It would heal in an hour, as would the gash on the back of his head. The wounds always heal. Be it an hour or two or three they healed to near perfection. Nota scar marred his flesh, except the mangled mark that ran between his shoulder and neck. He tenderly touched the scar on his neck as he turned and slunk down against the wall, ignoring the hot pain grating against his back as he did so. The scar was a large red gape in his flesh that ran from the end of his shoulder up to his neck and down to just a few inches above his nipple. It was all he would ever keep in this hell. He lost everything the day he gained this mark. His family, his friends, his home; they were all gone. He had been taken away from his family nearly two years ago. After being attacked by a large animalistic creature he was brought by a team of those bastard guards to this horrid place. At the time, neither he nor his family understood why he was being taken away, and were outraged to find out he was to be taken. He had fought tooth and nail to escape the men in black armor, but they had tasered him and left him unconscious until he found himself on the inside of a white van speeding across the country to this camp. Confused and terrified, he had tried to reason with them – telling them he shouldn't be here. He'd run up to every guard or scientist he saw and pleaded that it was a mistake. He wasn't one of those. He was just attacked by a...That had eluded him for a time. What he had seen that night was a monster, a terrible creature that was unfit to walk this earth. It had bitten him, leaving behind this glaring scar in the crook of his neck. His lips peeled back in disgust. It was confirmed the next full moon that what they believed him to be was what he really was. He had been locked away in a cage under the building alongside other cages filled with the other men and women of this place. Ryan had yelled, cried, and begged to be let free. He knew what was to come. The people around him were resigned to what lay ahead, some looking at him with interest, as if they had seen this a hundred times before. He had feared he'd be in danger with all of these monsters around him. But he shouldn't have worried, for when the moon came around he, too, fell and began to Change. Limbs and skin ripping and tearing into something that he could never accept. Something he'd fear for the rest of his life.
As he adjusted his weight against the cold, hard stone wall he scowled at the memory of waking up to find he had gone on a similar rampage as the rest of the room's occupants. He was a werewolf. Infected by the disease that had swept the Nations in a flurry of fur and fang .Forever cursed, forever alone. Ryan sighed as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep. But it was too hard, for his skin prickled and his nose caught the scent of the bucket in the corner. He groaned and slammed his hand against the wall again. They called this place a rehabilitation center, but the camp was more a prison than anything else. The dark room he was trapped in was a common punishment in prison systems, known as the “Hole.” The guards outside fondly referred to it as a“Dungeon” for its similarity to the prisons they kept people in under castles in medieval times. He had only been thrown in this place three times, excluding this one. The first time was upon his arrival when he punched out a guard in shock. He hadn't known why he was here, and he had still believed strongly that he wasn't a werewolf. They threw him in here and he puked at the strange smells that invaded his nose. The second and third times were both because of fights. Here in the camp there wasn’t much to do during recess – a designated time where the subjects, as the scientists preferred to call them, are allowed to roam a confined space outside to keep themselves in shape – other than fight. He had been, and still was, a favorite among the crowd to fight for the simple fact that he was so young. Most of the men were in their thirties or forties, as well as the women. He though was only nineteen, and as such was seen as an easier target for their brutality. Ryan ran his hand over the stubble of shaved hair atop his head and snorted, half in spite and half to try and get rid of the foul taste of dirt from his mouth. What had he done to deserve this? Of all the things he had done in life, what was it that sent him here? What made him what he is and why?
I'll never know... and that's my downfall.
About the Author:
Michael Loring was born in Bristol, Connecticut, but has lived in a variety of places such as Florida and Tennessee. He likes to think of himself as an amateur Lycanthropologist, studying werewolves ever since hewas eight years old when he first saw An American Werewolf In London. He spent most of his life switching between home school and public school, always focusing on his passion of writing no matter what. His interest in writing was sparked in the second grade when his teacher encouraged him to write short stories for the class, earning him more than one award at school assemblies for Creative Writing.
He currently resides back in his birthplace of Connecticut with a house full of women who like to drive him up the wall until he finishes his chores. Though they seem to avoid him during the night of the full moon for some unexplainable reason…
TAGLINE - We will not be caged.
Where to Stalk Michael:
So I'm going to start of this review by saying that I LOVE werewolves!!! Epp that was the first thing about this book that drew me in. I didn't even know what the story was about other than werewolves were involved and ahhh I was hooked. So then I actually read the blurb thinking it might be smart to get an idea what this book was going to be about. And let me say the blurb pulled me in even further because it seemed like such a different take on the whole werewolf thing. However, what sold me completely and utterly on this book was the prologue. OMG can I tell you that 1977 was an amazing year. Well sorta. You'd have to understand my craziness, but the way in which Lycanthropy came about is such a different take that I love it. And then looking at the present and the werewolf camps that are set up to contain werewolves is.....different. And interesting.
Okay so our main character for this book is a Ryan Zachery. And he was human his whole life, until graduation night. After that night he woke up in a hospital bed and was told that he had been infected with lycanthropy and was hulled away to camp. The camp is said to be a great and safe place for werewolves to be and it's pretty and nice and....ohhhh like a get away away thing. However, the reality of the situation is completely different. The "camp" is a horrid place to be. They are treated like dirty animals and barely given "stuff" to eat. They get "recess" but it's just a horrid place to be. The guards are evil people and punishments are cruel. I get that werewolves are dangerous and the idea of Lycanthropy spreading is scary and I get that some form of policemanship (yes I just made up that word lol). However, the extreme that the camps are is bad.
So Ryan's situation is interesting. The guards seem to especially hate him and ya know I'd be kind of scared of him too because he seems to sometimes truly channel his inner wolf and even in the most desparate and bad of times he seems to almost overpower the guards and break free. No matter what they do (it's been 2 years) Ryan still holds on to what makes him human; his humanity. He really doesn't form realtionships with anyone that way he doens't have to worry about losing anyone. However, when Anna arrives in the camp, eveything changes for Ryan. I was so lost in this book that it flew by for me. It was such a different take that you can't help but connect with the characters and want things to change. And hoping that eventually something good will happen. You continue to have hope for the characters and have to keep reading just to find out if it will.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this story. The details and the characters were so well written that you just connected with every emotion and feeling and situation. It was almost like you were living there yourself, or you had someone going through what Ryan and the others were going through. This story held everything that a great book should. Once you start this book you won't be able to put it down. I highly recommend this book; especially anyone who loves reading about werewolves.