Threat Level:Red (The Disavowed Book 3)

By: David Leadbeater

So many choices . . . He settled for an old classic—the meat cleaver. So simple. So menacing. So full of promise. An implement for all occasions. In addition, some of his men carried Tasers. He motioned to one of them now.

“The girl.”

Davic crouched in front of Henry Curran, making eye contact. “So this is how it goes. I ask—you answer. One single deviation from that instruction gives young Yvette a nasty shock, two makes ole Henners lose something precious to Mr. Cleaver here. Three—a bigger shock. Four—well, you get the idea. This is it, Mr. SolDyn. Mr. Bigshot CEO. Are you ready?”

“I’ll tell you anything. Just don’t hurt her.”

“All right. Back to DR579. What is it?”

Curran didn’t hesitate. “An experimental drug we were developing toward the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Everything started out well but, as these things often do, we ended up no further forward and shelved it.”

“Is that it?”

“Yes. It’s—”

Davic made a fist in the air. Yvette screamed as the guard stuck his Taser against her bicep and squeezed the trigger. Her pain made Henry cry out, “What? I told you—”

“I repeat. Is that it?”

Davic bent down and carefully positioned Curran’s bare right foot so that it lay underneath the cleaver’s bright blade. He grinned.

The man gaped, his mouth working silently. Could it be that he didn’t really know? Davic turned the pressure up a notch. “Think carefully now or the rest of your life’s gonna be a little lopsided.”

At that moment Chloe Curran screamed and made a break for her daughter. “Leave her alone! You bastards! She’s just a child.”

Davic sat back to watch, amusement on his face. As she ran, a guard caught up and clubbed her over the head with the butt of his rifle. Mrs. Curran went sprawling, hitting the floor face first and sliding cross the polished wood, leaving a little smear of blood in her wake. When she looked up, weeping, Davic saw that her nose was broken.

“Leave us alone.” The woman wept. “We’ve done nothing to you. Nothing.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Davic said quietly. “You’ve heard of Maisie Miller, yes? On your CNN. Your Fox News. Henry here helped me kill her family. Wipe them out. Stop them testifying at a trial a few years ago. Henry here helped deliver Maisie to me at my home where I could corrupt her at my leisure, usually in the same room where I made her watch the death of her mother and father. Isn’t that right, Henry?”

Curran stared straight ahead, eyes blank and totally hopeless. He didn’t meet the gaze of Davic, not even the questioning gaze of his wife. He was done.

“DR579,” he said emptily, “developed several side effects. It has hallucinogenic properties. If given in the right dosage through the correct delivery system it could become a powerful designer pill. A party drug. It would make a person get higher, faster. The effect could last longer and . . . it would be more addictive than other, similar, drugs.”

“Goodbye, Ecstasy,” Davic whispered happily. “Hello, Rapture.”

“So that’s your way of rebuilding your empire?” Curran spat the last word. “Mass-producing a highly addictive party drug? Making it available to the masses?”

Davic grinned. “Can you think of a better way?”

“Look, Mr. Davic. There’s a reason we kept DR579 under wraps. There’s a reason it was never produced. I mean, Christ, it’s locked away.”

Now Davic tapped the man’s foot with the edge of the cleaver. “And there you have it. Nail on the head. I want the entry codes, Henry, all the way from the front fucking door to the secret lab and this pill’s inner sanctum. I want it all.”

“There are only a few pills in there,” Curran said frankly, still trying in some way to ward Davic off. “Not enough for what you want.”


The cleaver came down hard. Blood spurted. Curran stared stupidly at where two small toes had been, then started screaming.

“You were warned.” Davic said. “I ask, you answer. And in any case, hasn’t a man like you, the leader of possibly the biggest multinational company in the world, ever heard of reverse engineering? Ah, yes. Even through your pain I see your sudden fear. I can see that you have.”

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