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Primal Instincts
       by Jason MacDonald

He opened his eyes only to see a haze of distorted figures. He had gotten used to it by now. He had been in the cooling tank for quite some time now. No way to tell how long, but it seemed like days. He still felt disoriented from the medication they had been pumping into him. The metal they bonded to his skeleton didn't make matters any more pleasant. If he strained he could remember the name of the metal.

Adamantium.

He winced painfully. He clenched his eyes shut until the pain faded. It was a throbbing wave of pain that passed through his head whenever he tried to remember... well, remember anything as a matter-of-fact. The farther back he tried to remember, the more it hurt. He learned to avoid such attempts.

He sighed and bubbles gurgled upward, momentarily obscuring his vision more so than usual. Every breath was like that thanks to the mask that covered his nose and mouth allowing him to breath. The bubbles were the carbon dioxide being released.

He allowed himself to relax, floating in the cold water in the cooling tank. He watched the figures on the outside work frantically. It had been that way ever since he was first placed into the cooling tank. Not that it mattered, but when floating in a tank of water for God knows how long you begin to observe more than usual. A man at the back of the room slowly walked over to the tank with a notepad and a pencil. Even through the haze of water, he could see that man was wearing a lab coat.

"So how are we doing today, Logan?" the man asked. Even with Logan's acute hearing, he could barley make out the man's words. He did though, and narrowed his eyes like a savage beast. He didn't like that man, studying him like some sort of animal.

The man smiled, and then walked off. That's when Logan felt an odd itch on the back of his hand... or rather, in his hand. He began to scratch it, but could seem to rid himself of the annoying itch. His nails hadn't been cut for quite some time and were rather long, or at least longer than he would have liked. As he scratched more vigorously, he began to tear into his skin trying to relieve himself of the blasted itch. A muscle in his forearm began to twitch slightly. Then he felt something move.

SNIKT!

His eyes widened into perfect circles, a maelstrom of shock and fear overwhelming him. Three one-foot long claws had popped out from the back of his hand. The claws were a gleaming silvery metal. Suddenly, a set of the same claws popped from the back of his other hand. He looked at the both of them, now with a mixture of confusion and awe.

He looked up through the haze of water to see the obscured figures running around frantically. His eyes were trained on one individual though. The others were just details. He growled low in his thought, and the edge of his mouth curled in a silent snarl. The figure stared at him and even through the water and bulletproof sheet of glass that covered it; Logan could see the fear in his eyes. One thought pulsed in the back of his mind

Revenge!

He brought his hand up and then brought it down savagely on the glass. It left an unusually deep gash. Logan didn't even think it possible to slice through bulletproof glass with a katana. He wasn't about to argue though. He continued his savage attack on the glass until it gave way. It shattered and the water from the tank was released instantly. Logan stepped out of the empty cooling tank and ripped off the mask that allowed him to breathe underwater. He threw it against the ground then turned his attention toward the man with the notepad. He dropped his pad and began to back up anxiously.

Now Logan could smell his fear. There were others in the lab, but he didn't car... for the moment at least. The man that stood in front of him was going to pay. Come to think of it, he couldn't even remember why he hated this man so much. But he knew he could trust his gut. His primal instinct.

Logan lunged at the man and ripped into his shoulder with one swipe of his claw and it came back red. The man cried out in pain and clutched his shoulder tightly. Logan could smell the blood in the air, which only fed his lust for more. A slashed at the man's gut and then brought his other claw across the man's face and he dropped to the ground and lay still.

Something deep inside snapped. Logan could only see a haze, but not like the haze the water in the cooling tank provided: this was the haze of a berserker rage. The spilled blood had fed it, but he could feel it bubbling on the surface long before. Longer than he dared to remember.

He turned his head away from his fallen prey and gazed across the room at the other men and women in lab coats. One man was shouting into an intercom panel while the others tried to either hide of find weapons. The man who was the closest was the man using the intercom right beside a large steel door. Logan lunged so quickly, he only had time to see the flicker of fear in the man's eyes before his claws sliced into him like a hot knife through butter. Without even turning around, Logan could hear footsteps coming in long strides from behind him as well as the man's heavy breathing. He was afraid.

Logan turned around so suddenly that the man nearly dropped the axe he held in his hands. He composed himself quickly and swung the axe down in a long arc. Logan dodged to the side and brought his claw down on the axe's handle. The axe head clattered against the metal floor heavily. Logan slugged the man in the stomach. The man doubled over and Logan could see his claws protruding from the man's back. He slid off Logan's claws just when the large steel door slid open. Guards armed with guns filed into the room. Logan heard one of the men in a lab coat ordered them to kill the mutant. Logan lunged into the air and landed into the fray of guards that spewed from the doorway. Logan lashed out with his claws. Blood spurted and men cried out in pain. Logan was so fast the men could only see a flash of silvery metal before they fell to the ground holding a fatal wound. Logan forced his way through the guards. He could feel a bullet enter his left arm, but ignored the hot pain, for it had already begun to heal. He felt a couple more bullets enter his body, one in his leg and the other ricocheted off an adamantium-laced rib. Soon the guards retreated back into the hall from where they had entered. The door began to slide closed, but Logan grabbed the edge then placed his foot up against steel doorway and pushed. He pushed with his leg and pulled with his arms. His biceps were tensed to the max and veins bulged out. Logan may be short, but he is very strong and muscular. The door stopped, neither giving nor gaining any ground. A spark flew from the seam where the door and the wall met. The squeal of gears grinding came from inside the wall, then another spark flew. Then another. The door began to slide backward and the gears grinded further until the lights flickered as a giant spark burst from the seam. When the lights came back on, Logan could feel no tug from the door so he ran through.

The hall was nothing special. It was lined with metal doors; less technical than the one he just opened manually. A door on the left began sliding shut. Logan darted toward the door and slipped through just in time, only to be greeted by a spray of bullets. He stopped keeping track of where they entered his body. He could see there were only three guards left, all of which were unloading their ammunition on him.

Logan lunged at the closest man and landed in a crouch, then slashed in an uppercut fashion. Logan's claws sliced cleanly through the man's chest and up through his skull.

With catlike agility, he lunged at the next man, slashing him even before he had landed. The man cried out as he fell to the ground with a thud.

The last man looked at Logan with terrified eyes. Logan merely returned his gaze through eyes of a predator sizing up his prey. Suddenly, he leapt forward, passing the man with the sickly sound of metal striking bone. The man fell, clutching his side.

Logan's eyes scanned the room, until he found his exit. It was a small window above a desk of computers. He leapt upon the desk and thrust his clawed fist through the window with a bestial cry. Quickly, he crawled out through the window, scraping himself on the shards of glass still attached to the frame like sharp stalagmites. It didn't matter though. Pain took on a whole different meaning when he was lost to his bestial side. It fed the rage. In some strange way, it felt good.

Logan dropped down from the window and landed in two feet of snow. Directly ahead of him was a tall, barbed wire fence that faded off around both corners of the building. It must have circled the entire perimeter of the building.

He surged forward toward the fence. Toward his freedom. Suddenly, he felt terrible pain sear into his ankle. He fell to his knees and turned, looking toward the source. On the wall, several feet above the window he used, as means of escape, was a small perimeter laser still smoking from its blast. Logan grunted. That wasn't about to stop him from achieving his freedom.

In one fluid motion, Logan turned and lunged toward the fence. He landed just short of the fence and lashed out with his claws, feeling two more blasts from the laser sear his skin. He ignored them and rushed through the mangled fence and into the thick forest that lay ahead.



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