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WITCH AND WIZARD THE FIRE PDF

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Witch And Wizard The Fire Pdf

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Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, salelive.info The James Patterson Pageturners Witch & Wi. Witch & Wizard_The Fire - James Patterson - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) Also by James Patterson Witch & Wizard series Witch & Wizard (with. The James Patterson Pageturners. Witch & Wizard (with Gabrielle Charbonnet) .. Then I thought the New Order thugs had set her on fire. So I guess that's how I .

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She looks fierce, her tiny mouth twisting in annoyance. The expression kind of reminds me of Wisty at the height of her frustration with me. I look at her warily. Then it sinks in: Still, dragging my dying sister back through the N.

With Wisty in my arms, I have trouble keeping up as the little girl slips under fences and around street carts, Holiday antlers bobbing. There are no people in the street except for Blood Plague sufferers, and more than one suspicious face slams a door and draws the blinds as we pass. After less than half a mile the police are on our trail again, smashing their clubs through abandoned food stands James Patterson and hurling insults at our backs. Many of the policemen are turning back.

Or are now infected. I have to duck to get through the doorway. The Fire kets and bedding covering the floor. Pearl laughs ruefully. They gave me the biggest job of anyone. Holiday decorations? Make that broken Holiday decorations.

Witch & Wizard_The Fire - James Patterson

Of course. Now the snow globe makes sense. And the antlers. I nod. I have to admit they kind of are beautiful, all shimmering shattered glass and colorful broken lights. The decorations are nice and all, James Patterson but this kid is a piece of work. My sister is dying here. Finally she notices my agitation and sets the sack aside carefully. Just let me die.

Instinctively I tense up in an offensive position. I can hardly blink before Pearl disappears in a sea of embracing bodies, and a big hand grasps my shoulder and spins me around. Before I can ask who Mama May is, he spots Wisty in the corner, blood all over the front of her shirt, and winces. James Patterson us that seems to acknowledge just how screwed Wisty really is.

Too long. Too silent. I notice a group of women across the room with the same dark, lank hair as Pearl. They hate us, I think. Mama May will set it right. The moment she enters the room, it gets warmer. She takes up space. But Mama May takes one look at Wisty and me, and her face blanches, and she frowns so deeply she looks like a big, disapproving grouper.

And look at her. I mean, they look like every other family that has gone through hardship under the N. I pull Pearl off to the side and gesture at the onlookers. What is everybody in the entire Overworld afraid of? I look at her, not understanding, and she gestures impatiently around the room at the candles, the figures, the signs of their devout religion. She shakes her head. In the beginning, we gathered in one of the halls. Instead it just made us a giant target. He sent his henchman to do his dirty work.

The Fire evil magic. He wanted to put his hands on our heads. Some of the kids went right up to him, because it was like being blessed, like we were used to at the hall. I stayed behind, but not my brother, not Zig. Ziggy was smart, but he had more faith than any of us. Ziggy was smiling, too. And then we were running. Pearl is staring straight ahead, her mouth a thin line.

He raises an eyebrow at me but lets it go. For the dead. My lungs are burning so much I think for a second that I might be flaming out and can actually feel it for the first time. The girl who can set herself on fire. Some Gift. There seems to be a ton of people surrounding me, and none of them looks like my brother. Where is Whit? Is he sick? Is he being tortured somewhere by my skeletal captors?

Two kids stand over me, prodding my arm with a stick. Not very good at it, is she? James Patterson fix the little braggart with a long, withering look. To my utter satisfaction, the kids scamper away in horror. Ah, my reputation has preceded me.

Witch & Wizard_The Fire - James Patterson

Somehow, it feels like an overwhelming relief that I can still strike fear into the hearts of children. Exhausted, I collapse back into the cushion of sleep. My heart starts to race until I see my brother. These people, whoever they are, have lost someone. My heart aches for them; I know what loss feels like, too. Believe me. The whole place is radiant with candlelight, and the broken glass dangling from the ceiling shimmers.

Then the singing starts up. The Fire mournful echo when you trace a finger along the lip of a glass. You feel it inside you. A sob catches in my throat as I hum along to the familiar melody, tears streaming down my cheeks.

I lock eyes with Whit across the room. To me. I shake my head. Silent, silent. Not yet. Something jabs me in the ribs and I flip onto my feet, muscles tensed, ready to tear it to shreds. Go where? The Fire the wringer, physically and emotionally. I could sleep until next Holiday season. Find a disguise. Pearl stands up, hands on her hips. I owe them this. I reluctantly start climbing into the crusty clothing. Small brain? I sigh in frustration. It used to be so easy before.

Wait a minute. Something is different. James Patterson me in wonder, and I feel things shifting: Pearl holds up a piece of Holiday glass so I can see my reflection. So sue me. Pearl nods skeptically.

If anything, she looks worse today. Trust me. To the Underworld. To the Shadowland. To Celia, the love of my life, trapped among the Lost Ones. If I could just get back to Celia, I know she could tell me what to do. As a spirit. And she had helped Wisty and me so many times before. I need her now, no matter what. Like this one.

The words lap at my ears like an echo in a seashell. I drag myself out of the garbage on the street. I will not let my sister die. As screwed up as a lot of his theories were, Byron seemed to be right about one thing: So maybe, just maybe, it could work now?

What was it she said? I crouch down by Wisty. Just hang in there. Pearl sees my angry expression and shrugs. This has to work. Wisty coughs violently, and red drops of blood appear on the corners of her mouth. I lick my lips and try to swallow my panic. I let go of Pearl and start to riffle through my journal for a spell, but Pearl snatches the book away with nimble fingers practiced in theft.

And this is the best advice your big brother is ever going to give you. I expect her to make some snide remark, but when she speaks, her voice is sad and sincere. And he used to keep an eye out for me, too. Pearl grips my hand tightly as if it had been her idea all along. I shut my eyes tightly, and a shudder goes through me as I imagine the blurred, skeletal image of Death pointing a spindly finger at Wisty, then turning away in defeat.

He looks more like The One, actually. The Fire the single lightbulb in the room flickers and shatters. My fingers burn with the spark of raw, healing power. When the surge subsides, I peek at Wisty tentatively. I hold my breath, waiting to see the effects of my power, the color rushing into her cheeks, the familiar wry smile, her own magic emanating from her again. It has to have worked. I felt it. My pulse quickens. Pearl is looking at me with big, nervous eyes.

What if whatever I just did actually killed Wisty instead of saved her? Her eyes are dazed and feverish, burning into mine. I have the power to heal.

SO, so cold. I flinch, adrenaline rushing to my head as my body sends out the alert: So many people want me dead. And where is my brother? I squint to focus my eyes. Her eyes are glued to me, a little smile on her grimy face. She has this weird beauty to her, and for a second I think she might be an angel. Then I see the glint of her knife.

The Fire feel paralyzed. I try to scream for help, but it comes out as a raspy, gurgling moan. The kid raises an amused eyebrow at me. She moves toward me. A whimper escapes my lips.

I try to slow the blood thundering into my brain, and after a minute she looks up. I stare at this morbid little girl, not sure at all what to make of her.

But thanks to my help, you pulled through. She prattles on for what seems like forever, relating the list I feel totally drained, like all the blood, energy, power. My hands are blue is the only thing I keep thinking. If I could just get warm, work up a little magic, I could figure all of this out. Want me to cough some blood your way? She reluctantly moves closer and tries to push up the rags behind me with the very tips of her fingers so she can avoid actually touching me. That does it. I may not be totally well, but my magic is coming back.

The girl is evidently impressed. A newspaper blows across the street like tumbleweed. There might as well be crickets, the road is so quiet. The Fire I stand up, uneasy. Curiosity piqued, I amble after them, leaving my cardboard sign in the dust.

The smell hits me first. That smell. The nauseating stench of burning flesh and singed hair hangs in the air with the plume of black smoke. I cough, eyes watering. In the center, tied to a post, is what looks like a large piece of meat, still smoking. And then I see a tuft of hair clinging to the charred scalp, and my head starts spinning.

James Patterson My throat goes dry, and I feel paralyzed with horror. Followers of the N. Richer than most, certainly. But still they look like people you see every single day in the capital, people with families and jobs. People with some speck of compassion, surely. Until you see the emptiness in their eyes.

Who knows who this doomed woman was, or if she even possessed any magic at all? The New Order, with its bold red banners blanketing the Overworld, feeds on bloodlust. These are its children. Reality finally comes into sharp focus, and my heart races.

I stumble forward, frothing with fury and purpose. But what else is there to say? The frenzied group is turning from the crisp remains of the poor soul strapped to the pillar. I let out a long breath, nodding. My relief lasts only a second, though, since the next thing I hear is a whistle. Or all of my large and small intestines. The other Death Squaddies move in, and now the real party begins.

I could attempt to hurl a spell at them to hold them off, but something tells me that life will be much, much worse if they know who I really am. I try to focus on something Even with Celia waiting for me in the Shadowland. Celes, I might be seeing you sooner than I thought.

I feel this dark energy building within me, growing into a power that needs to get out and find a target. I finish with a poem that always seemed particularly gruesome: I limp away from the chaos just as the beatings start, soldiers and businesspeople scrabbling like dogs, all trying to go for the jugular.

I pause for a second on the corner, listening to the cries coming from the alley. I hesitate and consider going back to heal them all. Let them destroy one another. I allow my disguise to fall away as I walk. Mama May flashes her biggest smile at all of us and bangs on a bucket to signal that the meal is ready. An excited murmur goes through the room. Mama May reveals two poorly plucked pigeons, skinny The Fire as sparrows.

They look like another family has already picked them over. I stare at Whit pointedly. Take it. I start to say something, but Whit puts a hand on my arm and shakes his head. An oversize turkey dominates the middle of the circle, and creamed corn edges up on green beans. And the pie.

Apple, pumpkin, pecan. I could eat pie for the rest of my life. Cutting out of family time early to do one thing or another. I gawk at him. Things are getting more dangerous. James Patterson Still, later, as the Needermans exchange their Holiday gifts, I almost wish we had left and avoided intruding on their intimate family moment.

I take mine, raising an eyebrow at Whit. The fall of the New Order? Open it already! At the bottom of each giant garbage bag is a single strand of silver tinsel. This really means a lot.

Suddenly I miss my parents so much I can The Fire almost feel them in the room with me. Voices that The One silenced for good. Before I can turn away, Mama May spots the hot, salty tears rushing down my cheeks. Her strong arms envelop me in a crushing hug. So many traditions lost, so many people dead.

I feel safe. He hands each of us a dessert plate heaped with pie. After all those people were executed in the square last month, the hall is pretty much defunct.

James Patterson untouched. The One is the only being I can see who has any control in this world. Maybe The One is God. His dazzlingly convincing smile and his straight white teeth make him a living poster for the clean, optimistic New Order.

Beautiful but hard. His name is Pearce. Pearce surveys the rows upon rows of surveillance screens that light up the control tower, showing every corner of the compound. With a tap of his fingertip, The One can. James Patterson incinerate any of the children pictured.

He often does so for sport on lazy afternoons. When Pearce remains bitterly silent, The One clears his throat. The One presses his lips together. So am I to understand that you employed demonstrably incompetent idiots to do a job that I brought you here specifically to do? The words The Fire are out before he can stop them.

His mouth twists into a sour grimace. Then, without a word, The One strikes Pearce hard across the face. There is only one person in the world whom he hates more than the witch.

The young soldier reaches a tentative hand toward The One. If he is strong enough, if he has it in him, he will James Patterson have no better opportunity. An inch or two more, and he can touch that smooth, bald head, watch the skin peel away from the skull and the body collapse. Hand shaking, he hesitates.

The One whirls around, and at the same time Pearce jerks upward, as if choked by an invisible vise. He never should have left. Just as he is losing consciousness, Pearce falls abruptly to the floor in a pitiful heap. Regaining his composure, he salutes, turns sharply, and strides as confidently as he can manage toward the door. The Fire out of the room. Pearce stops in the doorway, his nerves buzzing. If you want to go back to the mountains, I can take away every ounce of power I gave you.

He touches his cheek and finds it still wet with blood. Considering how insane things are right now, getting up at five in the morning, tramping through a city crawling with soldiers, using a big chunk of my M to conspicuously morph my arm into an ax, and hacking down a tree in the middle of Overland Park on a banned Holiday is probably one of the riskiest, stupidest things I could do.

She looks at Wisty and nods her chin in the direction of the fireplace. Been going for almost two days now. I feel nauseated. Wisty catches my expression and looks perplexed. As much as I want to tell her about what I witnessed in that alley, more than anything I just want to forget it and get my sister far away from the capital. She winks at me and Pearl, and in a moment the broken ornaments, sitting crudely on the branches, transform into a rainbow of winking electrical lights, the colors glowing in the dark room.

I whistle in appreciation, and the other Needermans gather around, the kids oohing and aahing. I smile at Pearl, but her tiny face is a mask. Mama May coughs. What do you say? But I worked hard for those pieces of broken glass. What has she ever worked for? Can they keep this whole family warm at night? Warm and safe? A dizzying number of Death Squad recruits flood into the space, their black boots like rats scurrying over one another, their weapons trained on the space between our eyes.

I was almost getting too comfortable for a second there. This is more like my life. I look around frantically for a weapon or a way out of this situation, but there are too many soldiers and too many guns and too many snarling, biting wolves, their mangy coats reeking of rotting flesh, bloodlust in their eyes. We are animals caught in a trap, staring into the face of our demise.

Where can we go? My mind races with my pulse, and I sense my sister next to me, tensed, ready to spring on my cue. Pearl looks mesmerized by the wolves, her small body The Fire literally shaking. They knew this day would come. Should work nicely for your hanging gallows. Some of the soldiers are stomping at the floor, and one phobic guy is shrieking in fear. Frantic, dizzy, we circle up and up.

The next floor is bombed out, and the only thing that stands between us and the bloody, snarling jaws of the wolves is a shattered window. James Patterson One of the men laughs as his wolf strains against the chains. Where else are you gonna go? Yet here we still are. Wisty sighs in frustration. And then a crushing thud. A small sign of support and unity. We are not the only ones still battling this unjust system. So why are these N. I squint up at the window. She struggles against them, her little face fierce with determination, but the men laugh, yanking her arms back and forth.

You know, for safekeeping. I told her to stick with Mama May and run. And we always keep our promises. Resentfully, I dash down the alley of rubble after my brother, mice fleeing in our path. The Fire for what seems like forever, I turn to Whit, still angry.

He looks at me, confused. Who have we made promises to, Whit? The Resistance kids. Mom and Dad. I just need to catch my breath. I roll my eyes. The alarm goes off, its plaintive wail cutting into the still night air. Whit shoots me an annoyed look and steps out from behind the Dumpster. Then he jumps right back into our conversation. The I sound angrier than I mean to. He looks me in the eyes, measuring his words. The Fire gaze that he pretended never to notice but that we all could see as plain as day.

But maybe the New Order finally broke her. I cross my arms and walk a couple of paces, thinking of my lost friends and feeling the bubble of grief well up and lodge itself in my throat. Then I turn around. We owe them more than this. More than just letting them go. Whit nods. His face struggles between hope and defeat.

They could be anywhere by now. James Patterson by going back there. Maybe they turned it into the new Resistance HQ. Oh no. He plants his hand and vaults his legs over in a graceful move even I have to admire. Kinda poetic. And out of the way. And, as my brother has already discovered, full of food. Well, if you Whit sees my expression and shrugs. Three words: My stomach complains loudly and Whit grins, holding the bag out to me.

Reluctantly I reach into the sack. CAN you hear me? I hold my breath and inhale her scent. If this is a dream, I never want to wake up. I so want it to be you. Celia surveys the Dumpster. The Fire baby. I grin. My heart aches. I almost forgot!

She places the object in my hand, and I can actually feel it. She smiles, pleased. You can write your story, no matter where The One forces you to run. A message. From your parents. And your mom said to be brave, and not to be afraid to let go. I jerk awake and bump my head against the metal of the Dumpster. My hand, still reaching for Celia, is thrown over the side and is freezing in the night air. Hopelessness floods through me. The pen. There are few armed soldiers this far out, but I can still hear the shrill howls of dogs scrabbling in the distance.

Dogs that have been trained on our scent. Mobs probably lurking in every alleyway, eager to burn us to ashes. We have to keep moving, and now that I have a destination in mind, I want to get there as soon as possible.

Wisty jogs to catch up. James Patterson first. Listen, when I used my M to heal you, I felt this amazing relief to have you back, but there was something else, too. It felt right, like healing was exactly what my magic was meant for. Who knows? Maybe someone at the clinic has heard something about our friends. Might be safer. I make a mental note to keep up my workout routine into my forties. The paunch is not working for me. The Fire Moaning, bleeding, dying kids.

And this is the best advice your big brother is ever going to give you. My pulse quickens. I have to work fast. I expect her to make some snide remark. When the surge subsides. I peek at Wisty tentatively. With that small effort. This has to work. I let go of Pearl and start to riffle through my journal for a spell. Wisty struggles in the grubby linens. What if whatever I just did actually killed Wisty instead of saved her?

He looks more like The One. Pearl slouches next to me. I hold my breath. He would not yet our hearts divide. I feel totally drained. If I could just get warm. A whimper escapes my lips. I try to slow the blood thundering into my brain.

I try to lurch away from her. The girl is evidently impressed. I grip the covers with white-knuckle panic. I stare at this morbid little girl. Her eyes are glued to me. I must sound utterly crazy.

I may not be totally well. But thanks to my help. I could figure all of this out. The kid raises an amused eyebrow at me. That does it. I feel paralyzed. And where is my brother? I squint to focus my eyes. My vision is still a little blurry. I feel a twinge of anger. Not knowing what else to do. She has this weird beauty to her. She sits cross-legged next to me and starts whittling at splinters of wood. I try to scream for help. Want me to cough some blood your way? Just get over here and help me sit up.

So many people want me dead. She reluctantly moves closer and tries to push up the rags behind me with the very tips of her fingers so she can avoid actually touching me. Then I see the glint of her knife. The air tastes stale and recycled. I realize with relief. My hands are blue is the only thing I keep thinking. My heart constricts when she gets to the part about how our parents really are dead.

I flinch. She prattles on for what seems like forever. She moves toward me. A terrific fire crackles in the hearth.

I stand up. I notice that. Who knows who this doomed woman was. A newspaper blows across the street like tumbleweed. I cough. Glancing around. The frenzied group is turning from the crisp remains of the poor soul strapped to the pillar.

This morning. Then an icy. The smell hits me first. That smell. My throat goes dry. I amble after them. I am actually the only person on this block. Curiosity piqued. Rounding the corner of the alley. These are its children. But what else is there to say? The blackened.

Witch & Wizard: The Fire

Not a rally — a witch burning. Richer than most. There might as well be crickets. Followers of the N. Until you see the emptiness in their eyes. All I see is a large group of New Order citizens. Then I hear a laugh down the block. This is the middle of the most frenzied. And then I see a tuft of hair clinging to the charred scalp. Reality finally comes into sharp focus. The nauseating stench of burning flesh and singed hair hangs in the air with the plume of black smoke.

But after three hours on a busy corner in the business district with only a meager handful of beans to show for it. People with some speck of compassion. In the center. But still they look like people you see every single day in the capital. The New Order. I stumble forward. The thought of her is like another kick to the gut. AND every muscle in my body tenses as hundreds zero in on me like bloodthirsty piranhas.

My relief lasts only a second. The other Death Squaddies move in. I could attempt to hurl a spell at them to hold them off. The crowd pulses and sways in front of me as a man with a greasy black mustache and thin little lips. Even with Celia waiting for me in the Shadowland.

Things are happening too fast for me to register the pain of each injury. My vision returns just in time to see a steel-toed boot connect with my abdomen.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a van pull up. I try to focus on something else besides the fists raining down on me. Or all of my large and small intestines.

I might be seeing you sooner than I thought. One yanks my arms behind my back while two more take turns kneading my face into pizza dough. Then I think of that pitiful. I pause for a second on the corner.

Let them destroy one another. Joints rheumatic. I hesitate and consider going back to heal them all. I feel this dark energy building within me. I finish with a poem that always seemed particularly gruesome: No more a flashing eye — no more a sonorous voice or springy step.

Guilt at having created even more violence eats at me. Lungs rotting away piecemeal. I limp away from the chaos just as the beatings start. I allow my disguise to fall away as I walk. I start to say something.

An oversize turkey dominates the middle of the circle. In fact. The kids are all talking at once. Take it. They look like another family has already picked them over. Cutting out of family time early to do one thing or another.

Mama May reveals two poorly plucked pigeons. Mama May flashes her biggest smile at all of us and bangs on a bucket to signal that the meal is ready.

Everybody gather round. And the pie. I could eat pie for the rest of my life. An excited murmur goes through the room. I beam at Whit excitedly.

I stare at Whit pointedly. I feel safe. We were together not so long ago. So many traditions lost. WHIT keeps pushing for us to just take off. Maybe The One is God. He looks away from me. Pearl shrieks her high hyena laugh. I figured you might need a little sparkle for that ugly mug.

Things are getting more dangerous. Using my near-death experience is a little manipulative. Her strong arms envelop me in a crushing hug. He hands each of us a dessert plate heaped with pie. This really means a lot. Mama May spots the hot. Whit huffs and stalks away. I gawk at him. At the bottom of each giant garbage bag is a single strand of silver tinsel. I normally hate to have my hair touched. The fall of the New Order?

Open it already! Just then Pearl Marie runs up to us. Suddenly I miss my parents so much I can almost feel them in the room with me.

Whit and I try to give them space. I almost wish we had left and avoided intruding on their intimate family moment. Look what God got us anyway — nothing but sickness and death. The One is the only being I can see who has any control in this world. Voices that The One silenced for good. I take mine.

After all those people were executed in the square last month. It used to be the season for getting together. Before I can turn away. The trouble is. Regaining his composure. If you want to go back to the mountains. There is only one person in the world whom he hates more than the witch. Hand shaking. So am I to understand that you employed demonstrably incompetent idiots to do a job that I brought you here specifically to do? If he is strong enough.

Blood is dripping onto the floor in bright. He touches his cheek and finds it still wet with blood. He often does so for sport on lazy afternoons. The One whirls around. After all. With white-blond hair combed severely back from his forehead. The One strikes Pearce hard across the face. The One raises an eyebrow. His name is Pearce. When Pearce remains bitterly silent. The One presses his lips together.

His mouth twists into a sour grimace. The young soldier reaches a tentative hand toward The One. Pearce surveys the rows upon rows of surveillance screens that light up the control tower. With a tap of his fingertip. Biting his tongue to keep from screaming.

He never should have left. Beautiful but hard. I can take away every ounce of power I gave you. Pearce falls abruptly to the floor in a pitiful heap. An inch or two more. The One can incinerate any of the children pictured.

The girl is there. Pearce feels a familiar fury heat up his cheeks and his ears. Pearce stops in the doorway. He is tallish. His dazzlingly convincing smile and his straight white teeth make him a living poster for the clean. Just as he is losing consciousness. The One clears his throat. The words are out before he can stop them.

I tackle Wisty and together we tumble out of the fourth-story window. I whistle in appreciation. We are animals caught in a trap. I smile at Pearl. What has she ever worked for? Where else are you gonna go? Wisty sighs in frustration. Should work nicely for your hanging gallows. In the pandemonium. I was almost getting too comfortable for a second there.

What do you say? A dizzying number of Death Squad recruits flood into the space. But I worked hard for those pieces of broken glass. Considering how insane things are right now. I look around frantically for a weapon or a way out of this situation. Mama May coughs. They knew this day would come. Can they keep this whole family warm at night? Warm and safe? Wisty winks at me. Some of the soldiers are stomping at the floor. The next floor is bombed out. As much as I want to tell her about what I witnessed in that alley.

She winks at me and Pearl. Pearl looks mesmerized by the wolves. Been going for almost two days now. Wisty catches my expression and looks perplexed. She looks at Wisty and nods her chin in the direction of the fireplace.

One of the men laughs as his wolf strains against the chains. The Needermans seem to have disappeared. Where can we go? My mind races with my pulse. I feel nauseated. I want to join in their moment. This is more like my life. Yet here we still are. So why are these N. Back in the days of the Resistance. I told her to stick with Mama May and run.

She struggles against them. We are not the only ones still battling this unjust system. I just got you back. I squint up at the window.

The Resistance kids. The soldiers lean out the window. I dash down the alley of rubble after my brother. I glance. Mom and Dad. A small sign of support and unity. You know. And we always keep our promises. Who have we made promises to. He looks at me. I turn to Whit. His face struggles between hope and defeat. We owe them more than this.

More than just letting them go. I cross my arms and walk a couple of paces. Then he jumps right back into our conversation. But maybe the New Order finally broke her. It was dumb to waste all that energy on a weak fire and Holiday lights so soon after being sick. I can see the small twitch of muscles around his mouth.

My adrenaline surges. The alarm goes off. Whit nods. Maybe they turned it into the new Resistance HQ. Then I turn around. I vote we try to find Janine. The blinking light from the OneDer Burger sign gives his face an eerie hue. I slow to a halt next to a closed fast-food joint. I sound angrier than I mean to. Whit shoots me an annoyed look and steps out from behind the Dumpster. I roll my eyes. Going … to … barf. He looks me in the eyes. Captain Wisteria.

They could be anywhere by now. I just need to catch my breath. Or of kind. Jamilla — everyone we can track down — to help out.

Like me. Whit sees my expression and shrugs. Oh no. My stomach complains loudly and Whit grins. Three words: Whit has always been athletic. He plants his hand and vaults his legs over in a graceful move even I have to admire. The mealy. My temper simmers. Reluctantly I reach into the sack. Kinda poetic. And out of the way. A little fancier than the Shadowland.

Celia surveys the Dumpster. If this is a dream. If so. She smiles. Her long dark curls frame her face. I reach out to touch her face. My heart aches. She places the object in my hand. You can write your story. I have to admit. I hold my breath and inhale her scent. And your mom said to be brave.

I jerk awake and bump my head against the metal of the Dumpster. I so want it to be you. I grin. A message. You can write with it anywhere. If my parents can still contact us through Celia. I never want to wake up. Her face — her perfect. Hopelessness floods through me. My hand.

From your parents. I almost forgot! CAN you hear me? The pen. I want to get there as soon as possible. It felt right. Mobs probably lurking in every alleyway. Wisty jogs to catch up. Who knows? Maybe someone at the clinic has heard something about our friends. But the steam-pipe area is likely toxic. She looks up. Dogs that have been trained on our scent.

After what Pearl said about fulfilling the Prophecy. There are few armed soldiers this far out. I felt this amazing relief to have you back. We have to keep moving. Wisty and I are just about to focus our energy on an eight-year-old girl emaciated with sickness when my sister looks up as if coming out of a trance. We have to keep going if we want to get to everyone. Wisty and I get a sort of assembly line of healing going. We help her move a few of the delirious kids from the floor to free cots.

Might be safer. But I stop when I see her face. I shrug self-consciously. Kids on filthy cots or sprawled on mats on the floor among the decades-old auto grease.

Just One person. Her face is lined with worry. I make a mental note to keep up my workout routine into my forties. If you can stomach it. She still knows her way around the clinic and heads to the end with the youngest kids.

Wisty is pressing her lips together. The first patient we visit is a little boy with sallow skin and the telltale plague scabs on his face. All any of them wants is a mother.

Wisty gasps. So if the cleansing can take out a few thousand young potential dissenters in the process. A young nurse named Lenora whom Wisty recognizes nods to us as we gather bandages. My sister is standing over a thin. The paunch is not working for me.

The New Order wants to expand its fancy headquarters into the old town. I look to my sister. His big brown eyes are still lucid as they peer at us. For one. I nod to my sister. For a moment nothing happens. We watch in awe as his breathing evens out and the red drains from his eyes. She beckons me over toward the far end. I want to bash his bald head in. My fingertips heat up.

Each healing process takes a lot out of me. They feel like tiny birds in my arms. But then the boy smiles up at me. The whispers are replaced by harsh silence as this sinks in.

She wails. I want to ask about Emmet especially. Whit and I are disguised. The Jamilla we knew. I start to pack up supplies as Whit whispers healing words to Jamilla. I recognize her corkscrew hair. A woman — the nurse who first greeted us — is following behind them. Scared of us. No response. Her eyes. Whit puts a cool cloth on her head.

They have a look of utter terror in their eyes. No one else moves. Her eyes drift over us. The soldiers seem to be doing a routine inspection of some sort. The soldiers are selecting beds to be wheeled into an armored truck.

A broad. These people are sick. Another tragedy. Not now. But before I can sort out these strange emotions. Whit shakes her shoulders. But as I get closer. At first the mob comes together. But Dana shakes her head. I had this hairpin … a woman yanked it out of my hair and then they were all around us.

Whit fingers their open gashes where the ropes cut into their flesh. Cold horror stops me in my tracks as I spot a crowd in the clearing. I just wanted to save you from all that. Whit rushes to the girls and works at untying their binds.

As I lurch at the frenzied masses. With their whimsical. She looks at Dana. My accusation is clear: How could he not tell me about something so serious? His face is pained. Stacks and stacks of kindling are piled at their feet. Can you tell us your names? The girl wails in desperation. They want to burn every imaginative kid in sight. Home is long gone for us. I look at the crowd. If only she knew where to run to. Whit nods grimly. My stomach twists and heaves.

We were just walking. A real witch is. In minutes we have them freed and the square cleared of the murderous bigots. But the reality is even worse than that. We could take them easily. But when I see the angry. Really scared. Cowards at heart. What are we going to do about it? The other girl is maybe two or three years younger. The two are sisters. The sisters shuffle off into the gray streets of our fallen city. I snap my fingers and watch as they transform into squirrels.

Like flame. Our middle-aged-staff disguises have fallen away. Talking is always my first form of defense. Not just big-boned but. He strokes strands around my face.

My cheeks heat up in a mix of embarrassment and vanity. T-shirts that emphasize their gigundo muscles. I suspect we just might find out why all those kids were so afraid. The soldier laughs. We could hop the fence. I can feel Whit tense beside me. You have my word on it. It is my great honor to meet you. My eyes flick to the bank of the harbor. As they get closer.

No extra charge for the service. Whit sees me looking at the water and shakes his head. He blew me right over. He wraps his black cloak tightly around him as the wind coming off the water ripples his fair hair. Must we always resort to violence? I take a step in front of Wisty. Fafner slinks toward Pearce like a dog with its tail between its legs. As Wisty and I stand there with our eyes bugging out of our heads and our mouths hanging open in disbelief.

I know the way egos work — you just have to push the right buttons. I found out Janine — calm. The rest of us stand around awkwardly. I stand up straighter. And now we have to deal with this egomaniacal kid. The way he says it — suggesting things that are much more uncomfortable for an older brother to imagine than just a fire show — makes my hands ball into fists.

I swear. Pearce looks like a child next to these seven-foot goons. The guy is seriously unhinged. Its skull rolls to a stop in front of us. Touchy subject apparently. This is not the world we were promised as children.

I bet I could take you. I flex my fingers in response. This is obviously a guy who is used to having things done his way.

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And then the most insane thing happens: How does he know all of this about me? We might be in it deeper than I thought. I am horrified. I watched a good friend die. Like I was a blade of grass. Fafner is shaking now. I let Celia slip through my fingers again. Golden Boy? Now that the glamour has worn off. My brother holds up a hand. Pearce smirks at me with the look of a person who enjoys torturing small animals.

My fingers start to tingle. The guys holding me drop my arms. Blood from his nose is making awful. So much for the New Order freak roast. I start to move toward Pearce. The biggest goon of the bunch steps forward and nods. A test. Rency …? I glance around at the eerie setting — the demolished buildings. Wisty shoots me a look of alarm and disapproval. No one else to bear witness. Apart from homeless plague sufferers squatting in the doorways of half-fallen buildings.

I meant you against me. No one to hear me beg for mercy. A breeze wafts in the smell of the sea-water behind us. What kind of coward has a guy twice his size fight in his place? As in. I nod at Pearce uneasily. Maybe I can just knock him unconscious long enough to get out of here. Write a poem about it? I might be in love. But Rency is built like a bulldozer. Pearce steps into the circle. But still the pain throbs. I grasp at his fingers.

All of it. I barely come up to his chest. I have a hazy understanding that that awful sound — that shrieking.

CARROLL from California
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