DEFY ME Pages 51-100 - Flip PDF Download (2023)

Everyone from Point knew Castle’s story. He always made an effort to be honest,tosharethehardest,mostpainfulmemoriesfromhislifesothattherest ofusdidn’tfeellikeweweresufferingalone. Castlethoughthe’dneverseeNouriaagain. Soifshe’sreachingoutnow— Just then, Castle catches my eye. He glances at me, then at Nazeera. A hint of a smile touches his lips and then it’s gone, his spine straight as he addresses theroom.Helooksgood,Irealize.Helooksbright,alivelikeIhaven’tseenhim inyears.Hislocsarepulledback,tiedneatlyatthebaseofhisneck.Hisfaded blueblazerstillfitshimperfectly,evenafteralltheseyears. “Ihavenews,”hesays. ButI’mprettysureIknowwhat’scomingnext. Nouria lives in Sector 241, thousands of miles away, and cross-sector communicationisnearlyunheardof.Onlyrebelgroupsarebraveenoughtorisk sending coded messages across the continent. Ian and Winston know this. I knowthis. Everyoneknowsthis. WhichmeansCastleisprobablyheretotellusthatNouriahasgonerogue. Ha. Likefather,likedaughter.

Warner “Hi,”Isay. She turns at the sound of my voice and startles when she sees my face. Her eyeswiden.AndIfeelit,rightaway,whenheremotionschange. She’sattractedtome. She’sattractedtome,andtherevelationmakesmehappy.Idon’tknowwhy. It’s not new. I learned, long ago, that lots of people find me attractive. Men. Women.Especiallyolderwomen,aphenomenonIstilldon’tunderstand.Butthis — Itmakesmehappy.Shefindsmeattractive. “Hi,”shesays,butshewon’tlookatme. I realize she’s blushing. I’m surprised. There’s something sweet about her, somethinggentleandsweetIwasn’treallyexpecting. “Areyoudoingallright?”Iask. It’s a stupid question. The girl is clearly in an awful position. Right now she’s only in our custody for as long as it takes my father to decide what to do with her. She’s currently in a fairly comfortable holding facility here on base, butshe’lllikelyendupinajuveniledetentioncenter.I’mnotsure.I’veheardmy father talk about running more tests on her first. Her parents are apparently hysterical, desperate for us to take her in and deal with her. Offer a diagnosis. They think she killed the little boy on purpose. They think their daughter is insane. Ithinksheseemsjustfine. Betterthanfine. Ican’tstoplookingather.Myeyestravelherfacemorethanonce,studying her features carefully. She seems so familiar to me, like I might’ve seen her before.Maybeinadream. I’maware,evenasIthinkit,thatmythoughtsareridiculous. But I was drawn down here, magnetized to her by something beyond my control.IknowIshouldn’thavecome.Ihavenobusinesstalkingtoher,andif

my father found me in here he’d likely murder me. But I’ve tried, for days, to forget her face, and I couldn’t. I try to sleep at night and her likeness materializesintheblackness.Ineededtoseeheragain. Idon’tknowhowtodefendit. Finally,shespeaks,and Ishakefreefrom myreverie.Iremind myselfthat I’veaskedheraquestion. “Yes,thankyou,”shesays,hereyesonthefloor.“I’mdoingfine.” She’slying. Iwanthertolookup,tomeetmyeyes.Shedoesn’t,andIfinditfrustrating. “Willyoulookatme?”Isay. Thatworkswellenough. But when she looks me directly in the eye I feel my heart go suddenly, terrifyinglystill.Askippedbeat.Amomentofdeath. Andthen— Fast.Myheartisracingtoofast. I’ve never understood my ability to be so aware of others, but it’s often served me well. In most cases, it offers me an advantage. In this case, it’s nothingshortofoverwhelming. Rightnow,everythingishittingmetwiceashard.Ifeeltwosetsofemotions —hers and mine, the both of them intertwined. We seem to be feeling the same thingsatthesametime.It’sdisorienting,soheadyIcanhardlycatchmybreath. Ifeelasurprisingdesiretotouchher.Iwant— “Why?”shesays. Iblink.“What?” “Whydoyouwantmetolookatyou?” Itakeabreath.Clearmyhead,considermyoptions.Icouldtellthetruth.I couldtellalie.Icouldbeevasive,changethesubject. Finally,Isay,“DoIknowyou?” Shelaughsandlooksaway.“No,”shesays.“Definitelynot.” She bites her lip and I feel her sudden nervousness, hear the spike in her breathing.Idrawclosertoheralmostwithoutrealizingit. She looks up at me then, and I realize, with a thrill, how close we are. There’sapalpableheatbetweenourbodies,andhereyesarebigandbeautiful, bluegreen.Liketheglobe,Ithink.Likethewholeworld. She’slookingatmeandIfeelsuddenlyoff-balance. “What’swrong?”shesays. Ihavetostepawayfromher.“Idon’t—”Ilookatheragain.“Areyousure Idon’tknowyou?” Andshesmiles.Smilesatmeandmyheartshatters.


Kenji Delalieu. Ican’tbelieveweforgotaboutDelalieu. I thought Castle’s news would be about Nouria. I thought he was going to tellusthatshereachedouttosaythatshewassomefancyresistanceleadernow, that we’d be welcome to crash at her place for a while. Instead, Castle’s news was— Delalieu. Homeboycamethrough. Castle steps aside and allows the lieutenant to enter the room, and even thoughheseemsstiffandoutofplace,Delalieulooksgenuinelyupset.Ifeelit, likeapunchtothegut,themomentIseehisface.Grief. Heclearshisthroattwoorthreetimes. When he finally speaks, his voice is steadier than I’ve ever heard it. “I’ve come to reassure you,” he says, “in person, that I’ll make sure your group remains safe here, for as long as I can manage.” A pause. “I don’t know yet exactlywhat’shappeningrightnow,butIknowitcan’tbegood.I’mworriedit won’t end well if you stay, and I’m committed to helping you while you plan yourescape.” Everyoneisquiet. “Um,thankyou,”Isay,breakingthesilence.IlookaroundtheroomwhenI say,“Wereallyappreciatethat.But,uh,howmuchtimedowehave?” Delalieushakeshishead.“I’mafraidIcan’tguaranteeyoursafetyformore than a week. But I’m hoping a few days’ reprieve will give you the necessary timetofigureoutyournextsteps.Findasafeplacetogo.Inthemeantime,I’ll providewhateverassistanceIcan.” “Okay,”Iansays,buthelooksskeptical.“That’sreally...generous.” Delalieuclearshisthroatagain.“Itmustbehardtoknowwhetheryoushould trustme.Iunderstandyourconcerns.ButIfearI’vestayedsilentfort-toolong,” he says, his voice losing its steadiness. “And now—with— With what’s

happened to Warner and to Ms. Ferrars—” He stops, his voice breaking on the lastword.Helooksup,looksmeintheeye.“I’msureWarnertoldnoneofyou thatIamhisgrandfather.” Myjawdropsopen.Actuallydropsopen. Castleistheonlypersonintheroomwhodoesn’tlookshocked. “You’reWarner’sgrandfather?”Adamsays,gettingtohisfeet.Theterrified lookinhiseyesbreaksmyheart. “Yes,”Delalieusaysquietly.“Onhismother’sside.”HemeetsAdam’seyes, acknowledging, silently, that he knows. Knows that Adam is Anderson’s illegitimateson.Thatheknowseverything. Adamsitsbackdown,reliefapparentonhisface. “I can only imagine what an unhappy life yours must’ve been,” Brendan says.Iturntolookathim,surprisedtohearhisvoice.He’sbeensoquietallthis time. But then, of course Brendan would be compassionate. Even to someone likeDelalieu,whosteppedasideandsaidnothingwhileAndersonsettheworld on fire. “But I’m grateful—we’re all grateful,” Brendan says, “for your help today.” Delalieumanagesasmile.“It’stheleastIcando,”hesays,andturnstogo. “Didyouknowher?”Lilysays,hervoicesharp.“AsElla?” Delalieufreezesinplace,stillhalfturnedtowardtheexit. “Because if you’re Warner’s grandfather,” Lily says, “and you’ve been workingunderAndersonforthislong—youmust’veknownher.” Slowly,veryslowly,Delalieuturnstofaceus.Heseemstense,nervouslike I’veneverseenhim.Hesaysnothing,buttheansweriswrittenalloverhisface. Thetwitchinhishands. Jesus. “How long?” I say, anger building inside of me. “How long did you know herandsaynothing?” “Idon’t—Id-don’t—” “How long?” I say, my hand already reaching for the gun tucked in the waistbandofmypants. Delalieutakesajerkystepbackward.“Pleasedon’t,”hesays,hiseyeswild. “Pleasedon’taskthisofme.Icangiveyouaid.Icanprovideyouwithweapons andtransportation—anythingyouneed—butIcan’t—Youdon’tunderst—” “Coward,” Nazeera says, standing up. She looks stunning, tall and strong and steady. I love watching that girl move. Talk. Breathe. Whatever. “You watchedandsaidnothingasAndersontorturedhisownchildren.Didn’tyou?” “No,” Delalieu says desperately, his face flushing with emotion I’ve never seeninhimbefore.“No,that’snot—”

Castle picks up a chair with single flick of his hand and drops it, unceremoniously,infrontofDelalieu. “Sitdown,”hesays,aviolent,unguardedrageflashinginhiseyes. Delalieuobeys. “Howlong?”Isayagain.“HowlonghaveyouknownherasElla?” “I— I’ve”—Delalieu hesitates, looks around—“I’ve known Ella s-since she wasachild,”hesaysfinally. Ifeelthebloodleavemybody. Hisclear,explicitconfessionistoomuch.Itmeanstoomuch.Isagunderthe weight of it—the lies, the conspiracies. I sink back into my chair and my heart splinters for Juliette, for all she’s suffered at the hands of the people meant to protecther.Ican’tformthewordsIneedtotellDelalieuhe’saspinelesspiece ofshit.It’sNazeerawhostillhasthepresenceofmindtospearhim. Hervoiceissoft—lethal—whenshespeaks. “You’ve known Ella since she was a child,” Nazeera says. “You’ve been here, working here, helping Anderson since Ella was a child. That means you helped Anderson put her in the custody of abusive, adoptive parents and you stoodbyastheytorturedher,asAndersontorturedher,overandover—” “No,”Delalieucriesout.“Id-didn’tcondoneanyofthat.Ellawassupposed to grow up in a normal home environment. She was supposed to be given nurturingparentsandastableupbringing.Thosewerethetermseveryoneagreed t—” “Bullshit,” Nazeera says, her eyes flashing. “You know as well as I do that heradoptiveparentsweremonsters—” “Parischangedthetermsoftheagreement,”Delalieushoutsangrily. Nazeeraraisesaneyebrow,unmoved. But something seems to have loosened Delalieu’s tongue, something like fearorguiltorpent-uprage,becausesuddenlythewordsrushoutofhim. “Paris went back on his word as soon as Ella was in his custody,” he says. “Hethoughtnoonewouldfindout.BackthenheandIwereaboutthesame,as far as rank went, in The Reestablishment. We often worked closely together becauseofourfamilyties,andIwas,asaresult,privytothechoiceshemade.” Delalieushakeshishead. “But I discovered too late that he purposely chose adoptive parents who exhibited abusive, dangerous behavior. When I confronted him about it he argued that any abuse Ella suffered at the hands of her surrogate parents would only encourage her powers to manifest, and he had the statistics to support his claim. I tried to voice my concerns—I reported him; I told the council of commanders that he was hurting her, breaking her—but he made my concerns

sound like the desperate histrionics of someone unwilling to do what was necessaryforthecause.” I can see the color creeping up Delalieu’s neck, his anger only barely contained. “I was repeatedly overruled. Demoted. I was punished for questioning his tactics. “ButIknewPariswaswrong,”hesaysquietly.“Ellawithered.WhenIfirst met her she was a strong girl with a joyful spirit. She was unfailingly kind and upbeat.” He hesitates. “It wasn’t long before she grew cold and closed-off. Withdrawn. Paris moved up in rank quickly, and I was soon relegated to little more than his right hand. I was the one he sent to check on her at home, at school. I was ordered to monitor her behavior, write the reports outlining her progress. “Buttherewerenoresults.Herspirithadbeenbroken.IbeggedParistoput her elsewhere—to, at the very least, return her to a regular facility, one that I might oversee personally—and still he insisted, over and over again, that the abuseshesufferedwouldspurresults.”Delalieuisonhisfeetnow,pacing.“He was hoping to impress the council, hoping his efforts would be rewarded with yetanotherpromotion.Itsoonbecamehissingletasktowait,tohavemewatch Ella closely for developments, for any sign that she’d changed. Evolved.” He stopsinplace.Swallows,hard.“ButPariswascareless.” Delalieudropshisheadintohishands. The room around us has gone so quiet I can almost hear the seconds pass. We’re all waiting for him to keep going, but he doesn’t lift his head. I’m studying him—his shaking hands, the tremble in his legs, his general loss of composure—andmyhearthammersinmychest.Ifeellikehe’sabouttobreak. Likehe’sclosetotellingussomethingimportant. “Whatdoyoumean?”Isayquietly.“Carelesshow?” Delalieulooksup,hiseyesred-rimmedandwild. “I mean it was his one job,” he says, slamming his fist against the wall. He hits it, hard, his knuckles breaking through the plaster, and for a moment, I’m genuinelystunned.Ididn’tthinkDelalieuhaditinhim. “You don’t understand,” he says, losing the fire. He stumbles back, sags againstthewall.“Mygreatestregretinlifehasbeenwatchingthosekidssuffer anddoingnothingaboutit.” “Wait,”Winstonsays.“Whichkids?Whoareyoutalkingabout?” ButDelalieudoesn’tseemtohearhim.Heonlyshakeshishead.“Parisnever tookElla’sassignmentseriously.Itwashisfaultshelostcontrol.Itwashisfault she didn’t know better, it was his fault she hadn’t been prepared or trained or

properly guarded. It was his fault she killed that little boy,” he says, now so brokenhisvoiceisshaking.“Whatshedidthatdaynearlydestroyedher.Nearly ruinedtheentireoperation.Nearlyexposedustotheworld.” Hecloseshiseyes,presseshisfingerstohistemples.Andthenhesinksback downintohischair.Helooksunmoored. Castle and I share a knowing glance from across the room. Something is happening.Somethingisabouttohappen. Delalieuisaresourceweneverrealizedwehad.Andforallhisprotests,he actually seems like he wants to talk. Maybe Delalieu is the key. Maybe he can tell us what we need to know about—about everything. About Juliette, about Anderson, about The Reestablishment. It’s obvious a dam broke open in Delalieu.I’mjusthopingwecankeephimtalking. It’s Adam who says, “If you hated Anderson so much, why didn’t you stop himwhenyouhadthechance?” “Don’t you understand?” Delalieu says, his eyes big and round and sad. “I neverhadthechance.Ididn’thavetheauthority,andwe’donlyjustbeenvoted into power. Leila—my daughter—was sicker every day and I was— I wasn’t myself.Iwasunraveling.Isuspectedfoulplayinherillnessbuthadnoproof.I spentmyworkhoursoverseeingthecrumblingmentalandphysicalhealthofan innocentyoungwoman,andIspentmyfreehourswatchingmydaughterdie.” “Thoseareexcuses,”Nazeerasayscoldly.“Youwereacoward.” He looks up. “Yes,” he says. “That’s true. I was a coward.” He shakes his head, turns away. “I said nothing, even when Paris spun Ella’s tragedy into a victory. He told everyone that what Ella did to that boy was a blessing in disguise.That,infact,itwasexactlywhathe’dbeenworkingtoward.Heargued that what she did that day, regardless of the consequences, was the exact manifestation of her powers he’d been hoping for all along.” Delalieu looks suddenly sick. “He got away with everything. Everything he ever wanted, he was given. And he was always reckless. He did lazy work, all the while using Ellaasapawntofulfillhisownsadisticdesires.” “Pleasebemorespecific,”Castlesayscoolly.“Andersonhadagreatdealof sadisticdesires.Whichareyoureferringto?” Delalieu goes pale. His voice is lower, weaker, when he says, “Paris has alwaysbeenperverselyfondofdestroyinghisownson.Ineverunderstoodit.I never understood his need to break that boy. He tortured him a thousand different ways, but when Paris discovered the depth of Aaron’s emotional connectiontoElla,heusedittodrivethatboyneartomadness.” “That’s why he shot her,” I say, remembering what Juliette—Ella—told me afterOmegaPointwasbombed.“AndersonwantedtokillhertoteachWarnera

lesson.Right?” But something changes in Delalieu’s face. Transforms him, sags him down. And then he laughs—a sad, broken laugh. “You don’t understand, you don’t understand,youdon’tunderstand,”hecries,shakinghishead.“Youthinkthese recent events are everything. You think Aaron fell in love with your friend of several months, a rebel girl named Juliette. You don’t know. You don’t know. You don’t know that Aaron has been in love with Ella for the better part of his entirelife.They’veknowneachothersincechildhood.” Adammakesasound.Astunnedsoundofdisbelief. “Okay, I have to be honest— I don’t get it,” Ian says. He steals a wary glanceatNazeerabeforehesays,“NazeerasaidAndersonhasbeenwipingtheir memories.Ifthat’strue,thenhowcouldWarnerbeinlovewithherforsolong? Why would Anderson wipe their memories, tell them all about how they know eachother,andthenwipetheirmemoriesagain?” Delalieuisshakinghishead.Astrangesmilebeginstoformonhisface,the kindofshaky,terrifiedsmilethatisn’tasmileatall.“No.No.Youdon’t—”He sighs,looksaway.“Parishasnevertoldeitherofthemabouttheirsharedhistory. The reason he had to keep wiping their memories was because it didn’t matter howmanytimesheresetthestoryorremadetheintroductions—Aaronalways fellinlovewithher.Everytime. “In the beginning Paris thought it was a fluke. He found it almost funny. Entertaining.Butthemoreithappened,themoreitbegantodriveParisinsane. He thought there was something wrong with Aaron—that there was something wrong with him on a genetic level, that he’d been plagued by a sickness. He wantedtocrushwhathesawasaweakness.” “Wait,” Adam says, holding up his hands. “What do you mean, the more it happened?Howmanytimesdidithappen?” “Atleastseveraltimes.” Adamlooksshell-shocked.“Theymetandfellinloveseveraltimes?” Delalieu takes a shaky breath. “I don’t know that they always fell in love, exactly.Parisseldomletthemspendthatmuchtimealone.Buttheywerealways drawn together. It was obvious, every time he put them in the same room, they werelike”—Delalieuclapshishands—“magnets.” DelalieushakeshisheadatAdam. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you all this. I’m sure it’s painful to hear, especially considering your history with Ella. It’s not fair that you were pulled intoParis’sgames.Henevershould’vep—” “Whoa, whoa— Wait. What games?” Adam says, stunned. “What are you talkingabout?”

Delalieurunsahandacrosshissweatyforehead.Helookslikehe’smelting, crumblingunderpressure.Maybesomeoneshouldgethimsomewater. “There’s too much,” he says wearily. “Too much to tell. Too much to explain.”Heshakeshishead.“I’msorry,I—” “I need you to try,” Adam says, his eyes flashing. “Are you saying our relationshipwasfake?Thateverythingshesaid—everythingshefeltwasfake?” “No,” Delalieu says quickly, even as he uses his shirtsleeve to wipe the sweatfromhisface.“No.AsfarasI’maware,herfeelingsforyouwereasreal asanythingelse.Youcameintoherlifeataparticularlydifficulttime,andyour kindness and affection no doubt meant a great deal to her.” He sighs. “I only mean that it wasn’t coincidence that both of Paris’s boys fell in love with the same girl. Paris liked toying with things. He liked cutting things open to study them.Helikedexperiments.AndParispityouandWarneragainsteachotheron purpose. “He planted the soldier at your lunch table who let slip that Warner was monitoring a girl with a lethal touch. He sent another to speak with you, to ask you about your history with her, to appeal to your protective nature by discussing Aaron’s plans for her— Do you remember? You were persuaded, from every angle, to apply for the position. When you did, Paris pulled your applicationfromthepileandencouragedAarontointerviewyou.Hethenmade it clear that you should be chosen as her cellmate. He let Aaron think he was makingallhisowndecisionsasCCRofSector45—butPariswasalwaysthere, manipulatingeverything.Iwatchedithappen.” Adam looks so stunned it takes him a moment to speak. “So . . . he knew? Mydadalwaysknewaboutme?KnewwhereIwas—whatIwasdoing?” “Knew?”Delalieufrowns.“Parisorchestratedyourlives.Thatwastheplan, from the beginning.” He looks at Nazeera. “All the children of the supreme commanders were to become case studies. You were engineered to be soldiers. You and James,” he says to Adam, “were unexpected, but he made plans for you,too.” “What?”Adamgoeswhite.“What’shisplanformeandJames?” “This,Ihonestlydon’tknow.” Adamsitsbackinhischair,lookingsuddenlyill. “Where is Ella now?” Winston says sharply. “Do you know where they’re keepingher?” Delalieushakeshishead.“AllIknowisthatshecan’tbedead.” “Whatdoyoumeanshecan’tbedead?”Iask.“Whynot?” “Ella’sandEmmaline’spowersarecriticaltotheregime,”hesays.“Critical to the continuation of everything we’ve been working toward. The

Reestablishment was built with the promise of Ella and Emmaline. Without them,OperationSynthesismeansnothing.” Castle bolts upright. His eyes are wide. “Operation Synthesis,” he says breathlessly,“hastodowithElla?” “TheArchitectandtheExecutioner,”Delalieusays.“It—” Delalieufallsbackwithasmall,surprisedgasp,hisheadhittingthebackof hischair.Everything,suddenly,seemstoslowdown. I feel my heart rate slow. I feel the world slow. I feel formed from water, watchingthesceneunfoldinslowmotion,framebyframe. Abulletbetweenhiseyes. Bloodtricklingdownhisforehead. Ashort,sharpscream. “Youtraitoroussonofabitch,”someonesays. I’mseeingit,butIdon’tbelieveit. Andersonishere.

Juliette I’mgivennoexplanations. Myfatherdoesn’tinvitemetodinner,likeEviepromised.Hedoesn’tsitme down to offer me long histories about my presence or his; he doesn’t reveal groundbreakinginformationaboutmylifeortheothersupremecommandersor eventhenearlysixhundredpeopleIjustmurdered.HeandEvieareactinglike thehorrorsofthelastseventeenyearsneverhappened.Likenothingstrangehas ever happened, like I never stopped being their daughter—not in the ways that matter,anyway. Idon’tknowwhatwasinthatneedle,buttheeffectsareunlikeanythingI’ve experienced.Ifeelbothawakeandasleep,likeI’mspinninginplace,likethere’s toomuchgreaseturningthewheelsinmybrainandItrytospeakandrealizemy lips no longer move on command. My father carries my limp body into a blindinglysilverroom,propsmeupinachair,strapsmedown,andpanicpours intome,hotandterrifying,floodingmymind.Itrytoscream.Fail.Mybrainis slowlydisconnectingfrommybody,likeI’mbeingremovedfrommyself.Only basic,instinctualfunctionsseemtowork.Swallowing.Breathing. Crying. Tears fall quietly down my face and my father whistles a tune, his movements light and easy even as he sets up an IV drip. He moves with such startlingefficiencyIdon’tevenrealizehe’sremovedmymanaclesuntilIseethe scalpel. Aflashofsilver. Thebladeissosharphemeetsnoresistanceasheslicescleanlinesintomy forearmsandblood,blood,heavyandwarm,spillsdownmywristsandintomy open palms and it doesn’t seem real, not even when he stabs several electrical wiresintomyexposedflesh. Thepainarrivesjustsecondslater. Pain. Itbeginsatmyfeet,bloomsupmylegs,unfurlsinmystomachandworksits

way up my throat only to explode behind my eyes, inside my brain, and I cry out,butonlyinmymind,myuselesshandsstilllimponthearmrests,andI’mso certainhe’sgoingtokillme— butthenhesmiles. Andthenhe’sgone. Ilieinagonyforwhatfeelslikehours. Iwatch,throughadeliriousfog,asblooddripsoffmyfingertips,eachdrop feedingthecrimsonpoolsgrowinginthefoldsofmypants.Visionsassaultme, memoriesofagirlImight’vebeen,sceneswithpeopleImight’veknown.Iwant to believe they’re hallucinations, but I can’t be certain of anything anymore. I don’tknowifMaxandEvieareplantingthingsinmymind.Idon’tknowthatI cantrustanythingImight’veoncebelievedaboutmyself. Ican’tstopthinkingaboutEmmaline. I’m adrift, suspended in a pool of senselessness, but something about her keepstugging,sparkingmynerves,errantcurrentspushingmetothesurfaceof something—an emotional revelation—that trembles into existence only to evaporate,secondslater,asifitmightbeterrifiedtoexist. Thisgoesonandonandonandonandon Lightyears. Eons. over and over whispersofclarity gaspsofoxygen andI’mtossedbackouttosea. Bright, white lights flicker above my head, buzzing in unison with the low, steady hum of engines and cooling units. Everything smells sharp, like antiseptic. Nausea makes my head swim. I squeeze my eyes shut, the only commandmybodywillobey. MeandEmmalineatthezoo MeandEmmaline,firsttriponaplane MeandEmmaline,learningtoswim

MeandEmmaline,gettingourhaircut ImagesofEmmalinefillmymind,momentsfromthefirstyearsofourlives, details of her face I never knew I could conjure. I don’t understand it. I don’t knowwherethey’recomingfrom.IcanonlyimaginethatEvieputtheseimages here, but why Evie would want me to see this, I don’t understand. Scenes play throughmyheadlikeImightbeflippingthroughaphotoalbum,andtheymake me miss my sister. They make me remember Evie as my mother. Make me rememberIhadafamily. MaybeEviewantsmetoreminisce. Mybloodhashitthefloor.Ihearit,thefamiliardrip,thesoundlikeabroken faucet,theslow tap tap oftepidfluidontile. Emmaline and I held hands everywhere we went, often wearing matching outfits.Wehadthesamelongbrownhair,buthereyeswerepureblue,andshe was a few inches taller than me. We were only a year apart, but she looked so much older. Even then, there was something in her eyes that looked hard. Serious. She held my hand like she was trying to protect me. Like maybe she knewmorethanIdid. Whereareyou?Iwonder.Whatdidtheydotoyou? IhavenoideawhereIam.Noideawhatthey’vedonetome.Noideaofthe hour or the day, and pain blisters everywhere. I feel like a live wire, like my nerves have been stapled to the outside of my body, sensitive to every minute change in environment. I exhale and it hurts. Twitch and it takes my breath away. Andthen,inaflashofmovement,mymotherreturns. The door opens and the motion forces a gentle rush of air into the room, a whisperofabreeze,gentleevenasitgrazesmyskin,andsomehowthesensation issounbearableI’mcertainI’llscream. Idon’t. “Feelingbetter?”shesays. Evieisholdingasilverbox.Itrytolookmorecloselybutthepainisinmy eyesnow.Searing. “You must be wondering why you’re here,” she says softly. I hear her working on something, glass and metal touching together, coming apart, touchingtogether,comingapart.“Butyoumustbepatient,littlebird.Youmight notevengettostay.”

Iclosemyeyes. Ifeelhercold,slenderfingersonmyfacejustsecondsbeforesheyanksmy eyelids back. Swiftly, she replaces her fingers with sharp, steel clamps, and I musteronlyalow,gutturalsoundofagony. “Keepyoureyesopen,Ella.Now’snotthetimetofallasleep.” Even then, in that painful, terrifying moment, the words sound familiar. Strangeandfamiliar.Ican’tfigureoutwhy. “Before we make any concrete plans to keep you here, I need to make sure”—she tugs on a pair of latex gloves—“that you’re still viable. See how you’veheldupafteralltheseyears.” Herwordssendwavesofdreadcoursingthroughme. Nothinghaschanged. Nothinghaschanged. I’m still no more than a receptacle. My body exchanges hands exchanges handsinexchangeforwhat Mymotherhasnoloveforme. Whathasshedonetomysister. “WhereisEmmaline?”Itrytoscream,butthewordsdon’tleavemymouth. Theyexpandinmyhead,explosiveandangry,pressingagainsttheridgesofmy mindevenasmylipsrefusetoobeyme. Dying. The word occurs to me suddenly, as if it were something I’ve just remembered,theanswertoaquestionIforgotexisted. Idon’tcomprehendit. Evieisstandinginfrontofmeagain. Shetouchesmyhair,siftsthroughtheshort,coarsestrandslikeshemightbe panningforgold.Thephysicalcontactisexcruciating. “Unacceptable,”shesays.“Thisisunacceptable.” She turns away, makes notes in a tablet she pulls out of her lab coat. Roughly,shetakesmychininherhand,liftsmyfacetowardhers. Evie counts my teeth. Runs the tip of one finger along my gums. She examines the insides of my cheeks, the underside of my tongue. Satisfied, she rips off the gloves, the latex making harsh snapping sounds that collide and echo,shatteringtheairaroundme. A mechanical purr fills my ears and I realize Evie is adjusting my chair. I waspreviouslyinarecliningposition,nowI’mflatonmyback.Shetakesapair ofshearstomyclothes,cuttingstraightthroughmypants,myshirt,mysleeves.

Fearthreatenstoripmychestopen,butIonlyliethere,aperfectvegetable, asshestripsmedown. Finally,Eviestepsback. I can’t see what’s happening. The hum of an engine builds into a roar. Soundslikescissors,slicingtheair.Andthen:Sheetsofglassmaterializeatthe edgesofmyvision,movetowardmefromallsides.Theylockintoplaceeasily, seamssealingshutwithacoolclicksound. I’mbeingburnedalive. HeatlikeI’veneverknownit,fireIcan’tseeorstop.Idon’tknowhowit’s happening but I feel it. I smell it. The scent of charred flesh fills my nose, threatens to upend the contents of my stomach. The top layer of skin is being slowlysingedoffmybody.Bloodbeadsalongmybodylikemorningdew,anda finemistfollowstheheat,cleansingandcooling.Steamfogsuptheglassaround meandthen,justwhenIthinkImightdiefromthepain,theglassfissuresopen withasuddengasp. Iwishshewouldjustkillme. Instead, Evie is meticulous. She catalogs my every physical detail, making notes, constantly, in her pocket tablet. For the most part, she seems frustrated withherassessment.Myarmsandlegsaretooweak,shesays.Myshoulderstoo tense,myhairtooshort,myhandstooscarred,mynailstoochipped,mylipstoo chapped,mytorsotoolong. “Wemadeyoutoobeautiful,”shesays,shakingherheadatmynakedbody. Sheprodsatmyhips,theballsofmyfeet.“Beautycanbeaterrifyingweapon,if you know how to wield it. But all this seems deeply unnecessary now.” She makesanothernote. Whenshelooksatmeagain,shelooksthoughtful. “Igavethistoyou,”shesays.“Doyouunderstand?Thiscontaineryoulive in. I grew it, shaped it. You belong to me. Your life belongs to me. It’s very importantthatyouunderstandthat.” Rage,sharpandhot,searsthroughmychest. Carefully, Evie cracks open the silver box. Inside are dozens of slim glass cylinders. “Do you know what these are?” she says, lifting a few vials of shimmering,whiteliquid.“Ofcourseyoudon’t.” Eviestudiesmeawhile. “We did it wrong the first time,” she finally says. “We didn’t expect emotional health to supersede the physical in such dramatic fashion. We expectedstrongerminds,frombothyou.Ofcourse—”Eviehesitates.“Shewas the superior specimen, your sister. Infinitely superior. You were always a bit doe-eyedasachild.AlittlemoonierthanI’dhaveliked.Emmaline,ontheother

hand,waspurefire.Weneverdreamedshe’ddeterioratesoquickly.Herfailures havebeenagreatpersonaldisappointment.” Iinhalesharplyandchokeonsomethinghotandwetinmythroat.Blood.So muchblood. “But then,” Evie says with a sigh, “such is the situation. We must be adaptabletotheunexpected.Amenabletochangewhennecessary.” Evie hits a switch and something seizes inside of me. I feel my spine straighten,myjawgoslack.Bloodisnowbubblingupmythroatinearnest,and I don’t know whether to let it up or swallow it down. I cough, violently, and blood spatters across my face. My arms. Drips down my chest, my fresh pink skin. Mymotherdropsintoacrouch.Shetakesmychininherhandandforcesme to look at her. “You are far too full of emotion,” she says softly. “You feel too much for this world. You call people your friends. You imagine yourself in love.”Sheshakesherheadslowly.“Thatwasnevertheplanforyou,littlebird. You were meant for a solitary existence. We put you in isolation on purpose.” Sheblinks.“Doyouunderstand?” I’m hardly breathing. My tongue feels rough and heavy, foreign in my mouth. I swallow my own blood and it’s revolting, thick and lukewarm, gelatinouswithsaliva. “IfAaronwereanyoneelse’sson,”shesays,“Iwould’vehadhimexecuted. I’d have him executed right now, if I could. Unfortunately, I alone do not have theauthority.” Aforceoffeelingseizesmybody. I’mhalfhorror,halfjoy.Ididn’tknowIhadanyhopeleftthatWarnerwas aliveuntiljustthismoment. Thefeelingisexplosive. It takes root inside of me. Hope catches fire in my blood, a feeling more powerful than these drugs, more powerful than myself. I cling to it with my wholeheart,and,suddenly,I’mabletofeelmyhands.Idon’tknowwhyorhow butIfeelaquietstrengthsurgeupmyspine. Eviedoesn’tnotice. “I regret our mistakes,” she’s saying. “I regret the oversights that seem so obviousnow.Wecouldn’thaveknownsomanyyearsagothatthingswouldturn out like this. We didn’t expect to be blindsided by something so flimsy as your emotions. We couldn’t have known, at the onset, that things would escalate in thisway. “Paris,” she says, “had convinced everyone that bringing you on base in Sector45wouldbebeneficialtousall,thathe’dbeabletomonitoryouinanew

environment rife with experiences that would motivate your powers to evolve. Your father and I thought it was a stupid plan, stupider still for placing you underthedirectsupervisionofanineteen-year-oldboywithwhomyourhistory was . . . complicated.” She looks away. Shakes her head. “But Anderson deliveredresults.WithAaronyoumadeprogressataratewe’donlydreamedof, andwewereforcedtoletitbe.Still,”shesays.“Itbackfired.” Hereyeslinger,foramoment,onmyshavedhead. “Therearefewpeople,eveninourinnercircle,whoreallyunderstandwhat we’re doing here. Your father understands. Ibrahim understands. But Paris, for securityreasons,wasnevertoldeverythingaboutyou.Hewasn’tyetasupreme commanderwhenwegavehimthejob,andwedecidedtokeephiminformedon a need-to-know basis. Another mistake,” Evie says, her voice both sad and terrifying. Shepressesthebackofherhandtoherforehead. “Six months and everything falls apart. You run away. You join some ridiculous gang. You drag Aaron into all of this and Paris, the oblivious fool, triestokillyou.Twice.Inearlyslithisthroatforhisidiocy,butmymercymay aswellhavebeenfornothing,whatwithyourattempttomurderhim.Oh,Ella,” she says, and sighs. “You’ve caused me a great deal of trouble this year. The paperworkalone.”Shecloseshereyes.“I’vehadthesamesplittingheadachefor sixmonths.” Sheopenshereyes.Looksatmeforalongtime. “And now,” she says, gesturing at me with the tablet in her hand, “there’s this. Emmaline needs to be replaced, and we’re not even sure you’re a suitable substitute. Your body is operating at maybe sixty-five percent efficiency, and your mind is a complete disaster.” She stops. A vein jumps in her forehead. “Perhaps it’s impossible for you to understand how I’m feeling right now. Perhaps you don’t care to know the depth of my disappointments. But you and Emmalinearemylife’swork.Iwastheonewhofoundawaytoisolatethegene that was causing widespread transformations in the population. I was the one who managed to re-create the transformation. I was the one who rewrote your genetic code.” She frowns at me, looking, for the first time, like a real person. Her voice softens. “I remade you, Ella. You and your sister were the greatest accomplishmentsofmycareer.Yourfailures,”shewhispers,touchingthetipsof herfingerstomyface,“aremyfailures.” Imakeaharsh,involuntarysound. She stands up. “This is going to be uncomfortable for you. I won’t pretend otherwise. But I’m afraid we have no choice. If this is going to work, I’ll need youtohaveahealthy,unpollutedheadspace.Wehavetostartfresh.Whenwe’re

done, you won’t remember anything but what I tell you to remember. Do you understand?” My heart picks up and I hear its wild, erratic beats amplified on a nearby monitor.Thesoundsechoaroundtheroomlikeasiren. “Yourtemperatureisspiking,”Eviesayssharply.“There’snoneedtopanic. This is the merciful option. Paris is still clamoring to have you killed, after all. But Paris”—she hesitates—“Paris can be melodramatic. We’ve all known how muchhe’shatedyouforyoureffectonAaron.Heblamesyou,youknow.”Evie tilts her head at me. “He thinks you’re part of the reason Aaron is so weak. Honestly,sometimesIwonderifhe’sright.” Myheartisbeatingtoofastnow.Mylungsfeelfittoburst.Thebrightlights abovemyheadbleedintomyeyes,intomybrain— “Now. I’m going to download this information”—I hear her tap the silver box—“directly into your mind. It’s a lot of data to process, and your body will need some time to accept it all.” A long pause. “Your mind might try to reject this, but it’s up to you to let things take their course, do you understand? We don’twanttorisksplicingthepastandpresent.It’sonlypainfulinthefirstfew hours,butifyoucansurvivethosefirsthours,yourpainreceptorswillbeginto fail,andtherestofthedatashoulduploadwithoutincident.” Iwanttoscream. Instead,Imakeaweak,chokingsound.Tearsspillfastdownmycheeksand mymotherstandsthere,herfingerssmallandforeignonmyface,andIsee,but cannot feel, the enormous needle going into the soft flesh at my temple. She empties and refills the syringe what feels like a thousand times, and each time it’s like being submerged underwater, like I’m slowly drowning, suffocating over and over again and never allowed to die. I lie there, helpless and mute, caught in an agony so excruciating I no longer breathe, but rasp, as she leans overmetowatch. “You’re right,” she says softly. “Maybe this is cruel. Maybe it would’ve been kinder to simply let you die. But this isn’t about you, Ella. This is about me.Andrightnow,”shesays,strokingmyhair,“thisiswhatIneed.”

Kenji Thewholethinghappenssoquicklyittakesmeasecondtoregisterexactlywhat wentdown. Delalieuisdead. DelalieuisdeadandAndersonisalive. Andersonisbackfromthedead. I mean, right now he’s flat on the ground, buried under the weight of every single piece of furniture in this room. Castle stares, intently, from across the space, and when I hear Anderson wheezing, I realize Castle isn’t trying to kill him;he’sonlyusingthefurnituretocontainhim. I inch closer to the crowd forming around Anderson’s gasping figure. And thenInotice,withastart,thatAdamispressedupagainstthewalllikeastatue, hisfacefrozeninhorror. Myheartbreaksforhim. I’m so glad Adam dragged James off to bed hours ago. So glad that kid doesn’thavetoseeanyofthisrightnow. Castlefinallymakeshiswayacrosstheroom.He’sstandingafewfeetaway fromAnderson’spronefigurewhenheasksthequestionwe’reallthinking: “Howareyoustillalive?” Andersonattemptsasmile.Itcomesoutcrooked.Crazy.“Youknowwhat’s alwaysbeensogreataboutyou,Castle?”HesaysCastle’snamelikeit’sfunny, like he’s saying it out loud for the first time. He takes a tight, uneven breath. “You’resopredictable.Youliketocollectstrays.Youloveagoodsobstory.” Anderson cries out with a sudden, rough exhalation, and I realize Castle probably turned up the pressure. When Anderson catches his breath, he says, “You’reanidiot.You’reanidiotfortrustingsoeasily.” Anotherharsh,painfulgasp. “Whodoyouthinkcalledmehere?”hesays,strugglingtospeaknow.“Who do you think has been keeping me apprised”—another strained breath—“of everysinglethingyou’vebeendiscussing?”

Ifreeze. Ahorrible,sickfeelinggathersinmychest. Weallturn,asagroup,tofaceNazeera.She’sstandingapartfromeveryone else, the personification of calm, collected intensity. She has no expression on herface.ShelooksatmelikeImightbeawall. ForasplitsecondIfeelsodizzyIthinkImightactuallypassout. Wishfulthinking. That’s it—that’s the thing that does it. A room full of extremely powerful people and yet, it’s this moment, this brief, barely there moment of shock that ruinsusall.IfeeltheneedleinmyneckbeforeIevenregisterwhat’shappening, and I have only a few seconds to scan the room—glimpsing the horror on my friends’faces—beforeIfall.

Warner I’msittinginmyofficelisteningtoanoldrecordwhenIgetthecall.Iworry,at first, thatitmightbeLena,beggingmetocomebacktoher,butmyfeelingof revulsionquicklytransformstohatewhenIhearthevoiceontheline.Myfather. Hewantsmedownstairs. The mere sound of his voice fills me with a feeling so violent it takes me a minutetocontrolmyself. Twoyearsaway. Twoyearsbecomingthemonstermyfatheralwayswantedmetobe.Iglance in the mirror, loathing myself with a new, profound intensity I’d never before experienced.EverymorningIwakeuphopingonlytodie.Tobedonewiththis life,withthesedays. He knew, when he made that deal, what he was asking me to do. I didn’t. I wassixteen,stillyoungenoughtobelieveinhope,andhetookadvantageofmy naiveté.Heknewwhatitwoulddotome.Heknewitwouldbreakme.Anditwas allhe’deverwanted. Mysoul. I sold my soul for a few years with my mother, and now, after everything, I don’tevenknowifit’llbeworthit.Idon’tknowifI’llbeabletosaveher.I’ve been away too long. I’ve missed too much. My mother is doing so much worse now, and no doctor has been able to help her. Nothing has helped. My efforts havebeenworsethanfutile. Igaveupeverything—fornothing. I wish I’d known how those two years would change me. I wish I’d known how hard it would be to live with myself, to look in the mirror. No one warned me about the nightmares, the panic attacks, or the dark, destructive thoughts thatwouldfollow.Nooneexplainedtomehowdarknessworks,howitfeastson itself or how it festers. I hardly recognize myself these days. Becoming an instrumentoftorturedestroyedwhatwasleftofmymind. Andnow,this:Ifeelempty,allthetime.Hollowedout.

Beyondredemption. I didn’t want to come back here. I wanted to walk directly into the ocean. I wantedtofadeintothehorizon.Iwantedtodisappear. Ofcourse,he’dneverletthathappen. Hedraggedmebackhereandgavemeatitle.Iwasrewardedforbeingan animal.Celebratedformyeffortsasamonster.NevermindthefactthatIwake up in the middle of every night strangled by irrational fears and a sudden, violenturgetoupendthecontentsofmystomach. NevermindthatIcan’tgettheseimagesoutofmyhead. Iglanceattheexpensivebottleofbourbonmyfatherleftformeinmyroom andfeelsuddenlydisgusted.Idon’twanttobelikehim.Idon’twanthisopiate, hispreferredformofoblivion. At least, soon, my father will be gone. Any day now, he’ll be gone, and this sectorwillbecomemydomain.I’llfinallybeonmyown. Orsomethingclosetoit. Reluctantly,Ipullonmyblazerandtaketheelevatordown. When I finally arrive in his quarters as he requested, he spares me only the briefestlook. “Good,”hesays.“You’vecome.” Isaynothing. Hesmiles.“Whereareyourmanners?You’renotgoingtogreetourguest?” Confused,Ifollowhislineofsight.There’sayoungwomansittingonachair inthefarcorneroftheroom,and,atfirst,Idon’trecognizeher. WhenIdo,theblooddrainsfrommyface. Myfatherlaughs.“Youkidsremembereachother,right?” Shewassittingsoquietly,sostillandsmallthatIalmosthadn’tnoticedher atall.Mydeadheartjumpsatthesightofherslightframe,asparkoflifetrying, desperately,toignite. “Juliette,”Iwhisper. Mylastmemoryofherwasfromtwoyearsago,justbeforeIlefthomeformy father’ssick,sadisticassignment.Herippedherawayfromme.Literallyripped heroutofmyarms.I’dneverseenthatkindofrageinhiseyes,notlikethat,not oversomethingsoinnocent. Buthewaswild. Outofhismind. She and I hadn’t done anything more than talk to each other. I’d started stealingdowntoherroomwheneverIcouldgetaway,andI’dtrickthecameras’ feeds to give us privacy. We’d talk, sometimes for hours. She’d become my

friend. Inevertouchedher. Shesaidthatafterwhathappenedwiththelittleboy,shewasafraidtotouch anyone. She said she didn’t understand what was happening to her and didn’t trustherselfanymore.Iaskedherifshewantedtotouchme,totestitoutandsee if anything would happen, and she looked scared and I told her not to worry. I promised it’d be okay. And when I took her hand, tentatively, waiting for disaster— Nothinghappened. Nothinghappenedexceptthatsheburstintotears.Shethrewherselfintomy armsandweptandtoldmeshe’dbeenterrifiedthattherewassomethingwrong withher,thatshe’dturnedintoamonster— Weonlyhadamonth,altogether. But there was something about her that felt right to me, from the very beginning.Itrustedher.Shefeltfamiliar,likeI’dalwaysknownher.ButIalso knewitseemedadramaticsortofthought,soIkeptittomyself. Shetoldmeaboutherlife.Herhorribleparents.She’dsharedherfearswith me, so I shared mine. I told her about my mom, how I didn’t know what was happeningtoher,howworriedIwasthatshewasgoingtodie. Juliettecaredaboutme.Listenedtomethewaynooneelsedid. It was the most innocent relationship I’d ever had, but it meant more to me thananything.Forthefirsttimeinyears,Ifeltlessalone. The day I found out she was finally being transferred, I pulled her close. I pressedmyfaceintoherhairandbreathedherinandshecried.Shetoldmeshe wasscaredandIpromisedI’dtrytodosomething—Ipromisedtotalktomydad eventhoughIknewhewouldn’tcare— Andthen,suddenly,hewasthere. Herippedheroutofmyarms,andInoticedthenthathewaswearinggloves. “Whatthehellareyoudoing?”hecried.“Haveyoulostyourmind?Haveyou lostyourselfentirely?” “Dad,”Isaid,panicking.“Nothinghappened.Iwasjustsayinggood-byeto her.” His eyes widened, round with shock. And when he spoke, his words were whispers.“Youwerejust—Youweresayinggood-byetoher?” “She’sleaving,”Isaidstupidly. “YouthinkIdon’tknowthat?” Iswallowed,hard. “Jesus,” he said, running a hand across his mouth. “How long have you beendoingthis?Howlonghaveyoubeencomingdownhere?”

My heart was racing. Fear pulsed through me. I was shaking my head, unabletospeak. “What did you do?” my dad demanded, his eyes flashing. “Did you touch her?” “No.” Anger surged through me, giving me back my voice even as my face flushedwithembarrassment.“No,ofcoursenot.” “Areyousure?” “Dad,whyareyou”—Ishookmyhead,confused—“Idon’tunderstandwhy you’re so upset. You’ve been pushing me and Lena together for months, even though I’ve told you a hundred times that I don’t like her, but now, when I actually—”Ihesitated,lookingatJuliette,herfacehalfhiddenbehindmydad. “Iwasjustgettingtoknowher.That’sall.” “Youwerejustgettingtoknowher?”Hestaredatme,disgusted.“Ofallthe girls in the world, you fall for this one? The child-murderer bound for prison? Thelikelyinsanetesttubeexperiment?Whatiswrongwithyou?” “Dad, please— Nothing happened. We’re just friends. We just talk sometimes.” “Just friends,” he said, and laughed. The sound was demented. “You know what?I’llletyoutakethiswithyou.I’llletyoukeepthisonewhileyou’regone. Letitsitwithyou.Letitteachyoualesson.” “What?Takewhatwithme?” “A warning.” He leveled me with a lethal look. “Try something like this again,”hesaid,“andI’llkillher.AndI’llmakesureyougettowatch.” Istaredathim,myheartbeatingoutofmychest.Thiswasinsane.Wehadn’t evendoneanything.I’dknownthatmydadwouldprobablybeangry,butInever thought he’d threaten to kill her. If I’d known, I never would’ve risked it. And now— My head was spinning. I didn’t understand. He was dragging her down the hallandIdidn’tunderstand. Suddenly,shescreamed. ShescreamedandIstoodthere,helplessashedraggedheraway.Shecalled my name—cried out for me—and he shook her, told her to shut up, and I felt something inside of me die. I felt it as it happened. Felt something break apart insideofmeasIwatchedhergo. I’dneverhatedmyselfsomuch.I’dneverbeenmoreofacoward. Andnow,hereweare. Thatdayfeelslikealifetimeago.IneverthoughtI’dseeheragain. Juliettelooksupatmenow,andshelooksdifferent.Hereyesareglassywith

tears.Herskinhaslostitspallor;herhairhaslostitssheen.Shelooksthinner. Sheremindsmeofmyself. Hollow. “Hi,”Iwhisper. Tearsspill,silently,downhercheeks. I have to force myself to remain calm. I have to force myself not to lose my head. Mymotherwarnedme, yearsago,to hidemyheartfrommyfather, and everytimeIslipped—everytimeIletmyselfhopehemightnotbeamonster—he punishedme,mercilessly. Iwasn’tgoingtolethimdothattomeagain.Ididn’twanthimtoknowhow much it hurt to see her like this. How painful it was to sit beside her and say nothing.Donothing. “Whatisshedoinghere?”Iask,hardlyrecognizingmyownvoice. “She’shere,”hesays,“becauseIhadhercollectedforus.” “Collectedforwhat?Yousaid—” “I know what I said.” He shrugs. “But I wanted to see this moment. Your reunion. I’m always interested in your reunions. I find the dynamics of your relationshipfascinating.” I look at him, feel my chest explode with rage and somehow, fight it back. “Youbroughtherbackherejusttotortureme?” “Youflatteryourself,son.” “Thenwhat?” “I have your first task for you,” he says, pushing a stack of files across his desk.“Yourfirstrealmissionaschiefcommanderandregentofthissector.” Mylipspart,surprised.“Whatdoesthathavetodowithher?” Myfather’seyeslightup.“Everything.” Isaynothing. “I have a plan,” he says. “One that will require your assistance. In these files”—he nods at the stack in front of me—“is everything you need to know about her illness. Every medical report, every paper trail. I want you to reform thegirl.Rehabilitateher.AndthenIwantyoutoweaponizeherabilitiesforour ownuse.” I meet his eyes, failing to conceal my horror at the suggestion. “Why? Why would you come to me with this? Why would you ask me to do something like this,whenyouknowourhistory?” “You are uniquely suited to the job. It seems silly to waste my time explaining this to you now, as you won’t remember most of this conversation tomorrow—” “What?”Ifrown.“Whywouldn’tI—”

“—butthetwoofyouseemtohavesomekindofimmutableconnection,one thatmight,Ihope,inspireherabilitiestodevelopmorefully.Morequickly.” “Thatdoesn’tmakeanysense.” He ignores me. Glances at Juliette. Her eyes are closed, her head resting against the wall behind her. She seems almost asleep, except for the tears still streakingsoftlydownherface. Itkillsmejusttolookather. “As you can see,” my father says, “she’s a bit out of her mind right now. Heavily sedated. She’s been through a great deal these last two years. We had nochoicebuttoturnherintoasortofguineapig.I’msureyoucanimaginehow thatgoes.” He stares at me with a slight smile on his face. I know he’s waiting for something.Areaction.Myanger. Irefusetogiveittohim. Hissmilewidens. “Anyhow,” he says happily, “I’m going to put her back in isolation for the next six months—maybe a year, depending on how things develop. You can use thatopportunitytoprepare.Toobserveher.” ButI’mstillfightingbackmyanger.Ican’tbringmyselftospeak. “Isthereaproblem?”hesays. “No.” “You remember, of course, the warning I gave you the last time she was here.” “Ofcourse,”Isay,myvoiceflat.Dead. And then, as if out of nowhere: “How is Lena, by the way? I hope she’s well.” “Iwouldn’tknow.” It’sbarelythere,butIcatchthesuddenshiftinhisvoice.Theangerwhenhe says,“Andwhyisthat?” “Ibrokethingsoffwithherlastweek.” “Andyoudidn’tthinktotellme?” Finally, I meet his eyes. “I never understood why you wanted us to be together.She’snotrightforme.Sheneverwas.” “Youdon’tloveher,youmean.” “Ican’timaginehowanyonewould.” “That,”hesays,“isexactlywhyshe’sperfectforyou.” I blink at him, caught off guard. For a moment, it almost sounded like my fathercaredaboutme.Likehewastryingtoprotectmeinsomeperverse,idiotic way.

Eventually,hesighs. He picks up a pen and a pad of paper and begins writing something down. “I’llseewhatIcandoaboutrepairingthedamageyou’vedone.Lena’smother mustbehysterical.Untilthen,gettowork.”Henodsatthestackoffileshe’sset beforeme. Reluctantly,Ipickafolderoffthetop. Iglancethroughthedocuments,scanningthegeneraloutlineofthemission, andthenIlookupathim,stunned.“Whydoesthepaperworkmakeitsoundlike thiswasmyidea?” Hehesitates.Putsdownhispen.“Becauseyoudon’ttrustme.” Istareathim,strugglingtounderstand. Hetiltshishead.“Ifyouknewthiswasmyidea,you’dnevertrustit,would you?You’dlooktoocloselyforholes.Conspiracies.You’dneverfollowthrough the way I’d want you to. Besides,” he says, picking up his pen again. “Two birds.Onestone.It’stimetofinallybreakthecycle.” I replace the folder on the pile. I’m careful to temper the tone of my voice whenIsay,“Ihavenoideawhatyou’retalkingabout.” “I’m talking about your new experiment,” he says coolly. “Your little tragedy.This,”hesays,gesturingbetweenmeandJuliette.“Thisneedstoend. Andsheisunlikelytoreturnyouraffectionswhenshewakesuptodiscoveryou arenotherfriendbutheroppressor.Isn’tshe?” AndIcannolongerkeepthefuryorthehysteriaoutofmyvoicewhenIsay, “Whyareyoudoingthistome?Whyareyoupurposelytorturingme?” “Is it so crazy to imagine that I might be trying to do you a favor?” My father smiles. “Look more closely at those files, son. If you’ve ever wanted a chanceatsavingyourmother—thismightbeit.” I’vebecomeobsessedwithtime. Still, I can only guess at how long I’ve been here, staring at these walls without reprieve. No voices, only the occasional warped sounds of faraway speech. No faces, not a single person to tell me where I am or what awaits me. I’ve watched the shadows chase the light in and out of my cell for weeks, their motionsthroughthesmallwindowmyonlyhopeformarkingthedays. A slim, rectangular slot in my door opens with sudden, startling force, the apertureshotthroughwithwhatappearstobeartificiallightontheotherside. Imakeamentalnote. Asingle,steamingbun—notray,nofoil,noutensils—isshovedthroughthe slotandmyreflexesarestillfastenoughtocatchthebreadbeforeittouchesthe filthy floor. I have enough sense to understand that the little food I’m given

every day is poisoned. Not enough to kill me. Just enough to slow me down. Slighttremorsrockmybody,butIforcemyeyestostayopenasIturnthesoft bunaroundinmyhand,searchingitsflakyskinforinformation.It’sunmarked. Unextraordinary.Itcouldmeannothing. There’snowaytobesure. This ritual happens exactly twice a day. I am fed an insignificant, tasteless portion of food twice a day. For hours at a time my thoughts slur; my mind swimsandhallucinates.Iamslow.Sluggish. Mostdays,Ifast. To clear my head, to cleanse my body of the poison, and to collect information.Ihavetofindmywayoutofherebeforeit’stoolate. Somenights,whenI’matmyweakest,myimaginationrunswild;mymind isplaguedbyhorriblevisionsofwhatmight’vehappenedtoher.It’storturenot knowing what they’ve done with her. Not knowing where she is, not knowing howsheis,notknowingifsomeoneishurtingher. Butthenightmaresareperhapsthemostdisconcerting. At least, I think they’re nightmares. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction, dreams from reality; I spend too much time with poison running through my veins. But Nazeera’s words to me before the symposium—her warning that Juliettewassomeoneelse,thatMaxandEviearehertrue,biologicalparents... Ididn’twanttobelieveitthen. It seemed a possibility too perverse to be real. Even my father had lines he wouldn’t cross, I told myself. Even The Reestablishment had some sense of inventedmorality,Itoldmyself. ButIsawthemasIwascarriedaway—IsawthefamiliarfacesofEvieand Maximillian Sommers—the supreme commander of Oceania and her husband. AndI’vebeenthinkingofthemeversince. They were the key scientists of our group, the quiet brains of The Reestablishment.Theyweremilitary,yes,buttheyweremedical.Thepairoften kepttothemselves.Ihadfewmemoriesofthemuntilveryrecently. UntilEllaappearedinmymind. ButIdon’tknowhowtobesurethatwhatI’mseeingisreal.Ihavenoway of knowing that this isn’t simply another part of the torture. It’s impossible to know. It’s agony, boring a hole through me. I feel like I’m being assaulted on both sides—mental and physical—and I don’t know where or how to begin fightingback.I’vebegunclenchingmyteethsohardit’scausingmemigraines. Exhaustion feasts, slowly, on my mind. I’m fairly certain I’ve got at least two fractured ribs, and my only hours of rest are achieved standing up, the single position that eases the pain in my torso. It’d be easy to give up. Give in. But I

can’tlosemyselftothesemindgames. Iwon’t. SoIcompiledata. I spent my whole life preparing for moments like these by people like this andtheywilltakefulladvantageofthatknowledge.Iknowthey’llexpectmeto prove that I deserve to survive, and—unexpectedly—knowing this brings me a much-needed sense of calm. I feel none of my usual anxiety here, being carefullypoisonedtodeath. Instead,Ifeelathome.Familiar. Fortifiedbyadrenaline. Under any other circumstances I’d assume my meals were offered once in the morning and once at night—but I know better than to assume anything anymore. I’ve been charting the shadows long enough to know that I’m never fedatregularhours,andthattheerraticscheduleisintentional.Theremustbea messagehere:a sequenceof numbers,a patternof information,something I’m notgrasping—becauseIknowthatthis,likeeverythingelse,isatest. Iaminthecustodyofasupremecommander. Therecanbenoaccidents. I force myself to eat the warm, flavorless bun, hating the way the gummy, overly processed bread sticks to the roof of my mouth. It makes me wish for a toothbrush. They’ve given me my own sink and toilet, but I have little else to keep my standards of hygiene intact, which is possibly the greatest indignity here. I fight a wave of nausea as I swallow the last bite of bread and a sudden, prickling heat floods my body. Beads of sweat roll down my back and I clench myfiststokeepfromsuccumbingtooquicklytothedrugs. Ineedalittlemoretime. There’samessagehere,somewhere,butIhaven’tyetdecidedwhere.Maybe it’sinthemovementsoftheshadows.Orinthenumberoftimestheslotopens andcloses.ItmightbeinthenamesofthefoodsI’mforcedtoeat,orintheexact number of footsteps I hear every day—or perhaps it’s in the occasional, jarring knockatmydoorthataccompaniessilence. There’s something here, something they’re trying to tell me, something I’m supposed to decipher—I gasp, reach out blindly as a shock of pain shoots throughmygut— I can figure this out, I think, even as the drug drags me down. I fall backward, onto my elbows. My eyes flutter open and closed and my mind drownsevenasIcountthesoundsoutsidemydoor— onehardstep twodraggingsteps

onehardstep —and there’s something there, something deliberate in the movement that speakstome.Iknowthis.Iknowthislanguage,Iknowitsname,it’srightthere atthetipofmytonguebutIcan’tseemtograspit. I’vealreadyforgottenwhatIwastryingtodo. Myarmsgiveout.Myheadhitsthefloorwithadullthud.Mythoughtsmelt intodarkness. Thenightmarestakemebythethroat.

Kenji I thought I’d spent time in some pretty rough places in my life, but this shit is like nothing else. Perfect darkness. No sounds but the distant, tortured screams ofotherprisoners.Foodisdisgustingslopshovedthroughaslotinthedoor.No bathroomsexceptthattheyopenthedoorsonceaday,justlongenoughforyou tokillyourselftryingtofindthedisgustingshowersandtoilets.Iknowwhatthis is.IrememberwhenJuliette— Ella.Ella. Ellausedtotellmeaboutthisplace. Some nights we’d stay up for hours talking about it. I wanted to know. I wantedtoknoweverything.AndthoseconversationsaretheonlyreasonIknew whattheopendoormeans. I don’t really know how long I’ve been here—a week? Maybe two? I don’t understand why they won’t just kill me. I try to tell myself, every minute of every damn day, that they’re just doing this to mess with our heads, that the torturedmindisaworsefatethanabulletinthebrain,butIcan’tlie.Thisplace isstartingtogettome. Ifeelmyselfstartingtogoweird. I’m starting to hear things. See things. I’m beginning to freak myself out aboutwhatmight’vehappenedtomyfriendsorwhetherI’llevergetoutofhere. ItrynottothinkaboutNazeera. When I think about Nazeera I want to punch myself in the face. I want to shootmyselfinthethroat. WhenIthinkaboutNazeeraIfeelaragesoacuteI’mactuallyconvinced,for aminute,thatImightbeabletobreakoutoftheseneonhandcuffswithnothing butbruteforce.Butitneverhappens.Thesethingsareunbreakable,evenasthey stripmeofmypowers.Andtheyemitasoft,pulsingblueglow,theonlylightI eversee. Jtoldmehercellhadawindow.Minedoesn’t. Aharshbuzzingsoundfillsmycell.Ihearasmoothclickintheheavymetal

door.Ijumptomyfeet. Thedoorswingsopen. Ifeelmywaydownthedrippingcorridor,thedim,pulsinglightofmycuffs doinglittletoguidemyway. The shower is quick and cold. Awful in every way. There are no towels in this shithole, so I’m always freezing until I can get back to my room and wrap myselfinthethreadbareblanket.I’mthinkingaboutthatblanketnow,tryingto keepmythoughtsfocusedandmyteethfromchatteringasIwendmywaydown thedarktunnels. Idon’tseewhathappensnext. Someone comes up on me from behind and puts me in a choke hold, suffocating me with a technique so perfect I don’t even know if it’s worth a struggle.I’mdefinitelyabouttodie. Superweirdwaytogo,butthisisit.I’mdone. Shit.

JulietteElla Mr.AndersonsaysIcanhavelunchathishousebeforeImeetmynewfamily.It wasn’t his idea, but when Aaron, his son—that was the boy’s name—suggested it,Mr.Andersonseemedokaywithit. I’mgrateful. I’m not ready to go live with a bunch of strangers yet. I’m scared and nervous and worried about so many things, I don’t even know where to start. Mostly, I feel angry. I’m angry with my parents for dying. Angry with them for leavingmebehind. I’manorphannow. But maybe I have a new friend. Aaron said that he was eight years old— about two years older than me—so there isn’t any chance we’d be in the same grade,butwhenIsaidthatwe’dprobablybegoingtothesameschoolanyway, hesaidno,wewouldn’t.Hesaidhedidn’tgotopublicschool.Hesaidhisfather wasveryparticularaboutthesekindsofthingsandthathe’dbeenhomeschooled byprivatetutorshiswholelife. We’re sitting next to each other in the car ride back to his house when he says, quietly, “My dad never lets me invite people over to our house. He must likeyou.” Ismile,secretlyrelieved.IreallyhopethatthismeansI’llhaveanewfriend. I’d been so scared to move here, so scared to be somewhere new and to be all alone, but now, sitting next to this strange blond boy with the light green eyes, I’mbeginningtofeellikethingsmightbeokay. At least now, even if I don’t like my new parents, I’ll know I’m not completelyalone.Thethoughtmakesmebothhappyandsad. IlookoveratAaronandsmile.Hesmilesback. Whenwegettohishouse,Itakeamomenttoadmireitfromtheoutside.It’s abig,beautifuloldhousepaintedtheprettiestblue.Ithasbigwhiteshutterson the windows and a white fence around the front yard. Pink roses are growing aroundtheedges,peekingthroughthewoodenslatsofthefence,andthewhole

thinglookssopeacefulandlovelythatIfeelimmediatelyathome. Myworriesvanish. I’m so grateful for Mr. Anderson’s help. So grateful to have met his son. I realize, then, that Mr. Anderson might’ve brought his son to my meeting today just to introduce me to someone my own age. Maybe he was trying to make me feelathome. A beautiful blond lady answers the front door. She smiles at me, bright and kind, and doesn’t even say hello to me before she pulls me into her arms. She hugs me like she’s known me forever, and there’s something so comfortable aboutherarmsaroundmethatIembarrasseveryonebyburstingintotears. Ican’tevenlookatanyoneafterIpullawayfromher—shetoldmehername wasMrs.Anderson,butthatIcouldcallherLeila,ifIwanted—andIwipeatmy tears,ashamedofmyoverreaction. Mrs. Anderson tells Aaron to take me upstairs to his room while she makes ussomesnacksbeforelunch. Stillsniffling,Ifollowhimupthestairs. His room is nice. I sit on his bed and look at his things. Mostly it’s pretty clean except that there’s a baseball mitt on his nightstand and there are two dirtybaseballsonthefloor.Aaroncatchesmestaringandscoopsthemupright away. He seems embarrassed as he tucks them in his closet, and I don’t understandwhy.Iwasneververytidy.Myroomwasalways— Ihesitate. I try to remember what my old bedroom looked like but, for some reason, I can’t.Ifrown.Tryagain. Nothing. AndthenIrealizeIcan’tremembermyparents’faces. Terrorbarrelsthroughme. “What’swrong?” Aaron’svoiceissosharp—sointense—thatIlookup,startled.He’sstaring atmefromacrosstheroom,thefearonhisfacereflectedinthemirrorsonhis closetdoors. “What’swrong?”hesaysagain.“Areyouokay?” “I— I don’t—” I falter, feeling my eyes refill with tears. I hate that I keep crying.HatethatIcan’tstopcrying.“Ican’tremembermyparents,”Isay.“Is thatnormal?” Aaronwalksover,sitsnexttomeonhisbed.“Idon’tknow,”hesays. We’re both quiet for a while. Somehow, it helps. Somehow, just sitting next tohimmakesmefeellessalone.Lessterrified. Eventually,myheartstopsracing.

After I’ve wiped away my tears, I say, “Don’t you get lonely, being homeschooledallthetime?” Henods. “Whywon’tyourdadletyougotoanormalschool?” “Idon’tknow.” “What about birthday parties?” I ask. “Who do you invite to your birthday parties?” Aaron shrugs. He’s staring into his hands when he says, “I’ve never had a birthdayparty.” “What?Really?”Iturntofacehimmorefully.“Butbirthdaypartiesareso fun.Iusedto—”Iblink,cuttingmyselfoff. Ican’trememberwhatIwasabouttosay. I frown, trying to remember something, something about my old life, but when the memories don’t materialize, I shake my head to clear it. Maybe I’ll rememberlater. “Anyway,”Isay,takingaquickbreath,“youhavetohaveabirthdayparty. Everyonehasbirthdayparties.Whenisyourbirthday?” Slowly, Aaron looks up at me. His face is blank even as he says, “April twenty-fourth.” “Apriltwenty-fourth,”Isay,smiling.“That’sgreat.Wecanhavecake.” Thedayspassinastifledpanic,anexcruciatingcrescendotowardmadness.The hands of the clock seem to close around my throat and still, I say nothing, do nothing. Iwait. Pretend. I’vebeenparalyzedherefortwoweeks,stuckintheprisonofthisruse,this compound.Eviedoesn’tknowthatherplottobleachmymindfailed.Shetreats me like a foreign object, distant but not unkind. She instructed me to call her Evie,toldmeshewasmydoctor,andthenproceededtolie,ingreatdetail,about howI’dbeeninaterribleaccident,thatI’msufferingfromamnesia,thatIneed tostayinbedinordertorecover. She doesn’t know that my body won’t stop shaking, that my skin is slick withsweateverymorning,thatmythroatburnsfromtheconstantreturnofbile. She doesn’t know what’s happening to me. She could never understand the sicknessplaguingmyheart.Shecouldn’tpossiblyunderstandthisagony. Remembering. Theattacksarerelentless. Memories assault me while I sleep, jolting me upright, my chest seizing in

panic over and over and over until, finally, I meet dawn on the bathroom floor, thesmellofvomitclingingtomyhair,theinsideofmymouth.Icanonlydrag myselfbacktobedeverymorningandforcemyfacetosmilewhenEviechecks onmeatsunrise. Everythingfeelswrong. The world feels strange. Smells confuse me. Words don’t feel right in my mouthanymore.Thesoundofmyownnamefeelsatoncefamiliarandforeign. My memories of people and places seem warped, fraying threads coming togethertoformaraggedtapestry. ButEvie.Mymother. Irememberher. “Evie?” Ipopmyheadoutofthebathroom,clutchingarobetomywetbody.Isearch myroomforherface.“Evie,areyouthere?” “Yes?”Ihearhervoicejust secondsbeforeshe’s suddenlystanding before me, holding a set of fresh sheets in her hands. She’s stripping my bed again. “Didyouneedsomething?” “We’reoutoftowels.” “Oh—easilyrectified,”shesays,andhurriesoutthedoor.Notsecondslater she’sback,pressingawarm,freshtowelintomyhands.Shesmilesfaintly. “Thanks,”I say, forcing myown smile tostretch, to spark lifein my eyes. AndthenIdisappearintothebathroom. The room is steaming; the mirrors fogged, perspiring. I grip the towel with one hand, watching as beads of water race down my bare skin. Condensation wearsmelikeasuit;Iwipeatthedampmetalcuffslockedaroundmywristsand ankles,theirglowingbluelightmyconstantreminderthatIaminhell. Icollapse,withaheavybreath,ontothefloor. I’m too hot to put on clothes, but I’m not ready to leave the privacy of the bathroom yet, so I sit here, wearing nothing but these manacles, and drop my headintomyhands. Myhairislongagain. Idiscovereditlikethis—long,heavy,dark—onemorning,andwhenIasked heraboutit,Inearlyruinedeverything. “What do you mean?” Evie said, narrowing her eyes at me. “Your hair has alwaysbeenlong.” Iblinkedather,rememberingtoplaydumb.“Iknow.” She stared at me awhile longer before she finally let it go, but I’m still worried I’ll pay for that slip. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how to act. My

mind is being attacked, assaulted every day by emotion I never knew existed. Mymemoriesweresupposedtobeerased.Instead,they’rebeingreplenished. I’mrememberingeverything: My mother’s laugh, her slender wrists, the smell of her shampoo, and the familiarityofherarmsaroundme. ThemoreIremember,thelessthisplacefeelsforeigntome.Thelessthese soundsandsmells—thesemountainsinthedistance—feelunknown.It’sasifthe disparate parts of my most desperate self are stitching back together, as if the gapingholesinmyheartandheadarehealing,fillingslowlywithsensation. This compound was my home. These people, my family. I woke up this morningrememberingmymother’sfavoriteshadeoflipstick. Bloodred. Irememberwatchingherpaintherlipssomeevenings.IrememberthedayI snuckintoherroomandstoletheglossymetaltube;Irememberwhenshefound me, my hands and mouth smeared in red, my face a grotesque reimagining of herself. ThemoreIremembermyparents,themoreIbegintofinallymakesenseof myself—my many fears and insecurities, the myriad ways in which I’ve often feltlost,searchingforsomethingIcouldnotname. It’sdevastating. Andyet— Inthisnew,turbulentreality,theonepersonIrecognizeanymoreishim.My memories of him—memories of us—have done something to me. I’ve changed somewhere deep inside. I feel different. Heavier, like my feet have been more firmly planted, liberated by certainty, free to grow roots here in my own self, freetotrustunequivocallyinthestrengthandsteadinessofmyownheart.It’san empowering discovery, to find that I can trust myself—even when I’m not myself—to make the right choices. To know for certain now that there was at leastonemistakeInevermade. Aaron Warner Anderson is the only emotional through line in my life that evermadesense.He’stheonlyconstant.Theonlysteady,reliableheartbeatI’ve everhad. Aaron,Aaron,Aaron,Aaron Ihadnoideahowmuchwe’dlost,noideahowmuchofhimI’dlongedfor.I had no idea how desperately we’d been fighting. How many years we’d fought formoments—minutes—tobetogether. Itfillsmewithapainfulkindofjoy. ButwhenIrememberhowIleftthingsbetweenus,Iwanttoscream. IhavenoideaifI’lleverseehimagain.

Still,I’mholdingontothehopethathe’salive,outthere,somewhere.Evie said she couldn’t kill him. She said that she alone didn’t have the authority to have him executed. And if Aaron is still alive, I will find a way to get to him. ButIhavetobecareful.Breakingoutofthisnewprisonwon’tbeeasy—Asit is,Eviealmostneverletsmeoutofmyroom.Worse,shesedatesmeduringthe day, allowing me only a couple of lucid hours. There’s never enough time to think,muchlesstoplananescape,toassessmysurroundings,ortowanderthe hallsoutsidemydoor. Onlyoncedidsheletmegooutside. Sortof. She let me onto a balcony overlooking the backyard. It wasn’t much, but eventhatsmallstephelpedmeunderstandabitaboutwherewewereandwhat thelayoutofthebuildingmightlooklike. Theassessmentwaschilling. Weappearedtobeinthecenterofasettlement—asmallcity—inthemiddle ofnowhere.Ileanedovertheedgeofthebalcony,craningmynecktotakeinthe breadth of it, but the view was so vast I couldn’t see all the way around. From where I stood I saw at least twenty different buildings, all connected by roads and navigated by people in miniature, electric cars. There were loading and unloadingdocks,massivetrucksfilinginandout,andtherewasalandingstrip in the distance, a row of jets parked neatly in a concrete lot. I understood then thatIwaslivinginthemiddleofamassiveoperation—somethingsomuchmore terrifyingthanSector45. Thisisaninternationalbase. Thishastobeoneofthecapitals.Whateverthisis—whatevertheydohere— itmakesSector45looklikeajoke. Here,wherethehillsaresomehowstillgreenandbeautiful,wheretheairis freshandcoolandeverythingseemsalive.Myaccountingisprobablyoff,butI think we’re nearing the end of April—and the sights outside my window are unlikeanythingI’veeverseeninSector45:vast,snowcappedmountainranges; rollinghillsthickwithvegetation;treesheavywithbright,changingleaves;and a massive, glittering lake that looks close enough to run to. This land looks healthy.Vibrant. Ithoughtwe’dlostaworldlikethisalongtimeago. Evie’sbeguntosedatemelessthesedays,butsomedaysmyvisionseemsto frayattheedges,likeasatelliteimageglitching,waitingfordatatoload. Iwonder,sometimes,ifshe’spoisoningme. I’mwonderingthisnow,rememberingthebowlofsoupshesenttomyroom forbreakfast.Icanstillfeeltheglueyresidueasitcoatedmytongue,theroofof

mymouth. Uneasechurnsmystomach. I haul myself up off the bathroom floor, my limbs slow and heavy. It takes meamomenttostabilize.Theeffectsofthisexperimenthaveleftmehollow. Angry. Asifoutofnowhere,mymindconjuresanimageofEvie’sface.Iremember her eyes. Deep, dark brown. Bottomless. The same color as her hair. She has a short, sharp bob, a heavy curtain constantly whipping against her chin. She’s a beautifulwoman,morebeautifulatfiftythanshewasattwenty. Coming. Thewordoccurstomesuddenly,andaboltofpanicshootsupmyspine.Not asecondlaterthere’sasharpknockatmybathroomdoor. “Yes?” “Ella, you’ve been in the bathroom for almost half an hour, and you know howIfeelaboutwastingti—” “Evie.”Iforcemyselftolaugh.“I’malmostdone,”Isay.“I’llberightout.” Apause. Thesilencestretchesthesecondsintoalifetime.Myheartjumpsup,intomy throat.Beatsinmymouth. “Allright,”shesaysslowly.“Fivemoreminutes.” IclosemyeyesasIexhale,pressingthetoweltotheracingpulseatmyneck. Idryoffquicklybeforewringingtheremainingwaterfrommyhairandslipping backintomyrobe. Finally, I open the bathroom door and welcome the cool morning temperatureagainstmyfeverishskin.ButIhardlyhaveachancetotakeabreath beforeshe’sinmyfaceagain. “Wear this,” she says, forcing a dress into my arms. She’s smiling but it doesn’tsuither.Shelooksderanged.“Youlovewearingyellow.” I blink as I take the dress from her, feeling a sudden, disorienting wave of déjàvu.“Ofcourse,”Isay.“Ilovewearingyellow.” Hersmilegrowsthinner,threatenstoturnherfaceinsideout. “CouldIjust—?”Imakeanabstractgesturetowardmybody. “Oh,”shesays,startled.“Right.”Sheshootsmeanothersmileandsays,“I’ll beoutside.” Myownsmileisbrittle. Shewatchesme.Shealwayswatchesme.Studiesmyreactions,thetimingof my responses. She’s scanning me, constantly, for information. She wants

confirmationthatI’vebeenproperlyhollowedout.Remade. Ismilewider. Finally,shetakesastepback.“Goodgirl,”shesayssoftly. Istandinthemiddleofmyroomandwatchherleave,theyellowdressstill pressedagainstmychest. There was another time when I’d felt trapped, just like this. I was held against my will and given beautiful clothes and three square meals and demandedtobesomethingIwasn’tandIfoughtit—foughtitwitheverythingI had. Itdidn’tdomeanygood. IsworethatifIcoulddoitagainI’ddoitdifferently.IsaidifIcoulddoit overI’dweartheclothesandeatthefoodandplayalonguntilIcouldfigureout whereIwasandhowtobreakfree. Sohere’smychance. Thistime,I’vedecidedtoplayalong.

Kenji I wake up, bound and gagged, a roaring sound in my ears. I blink to clear my vision. I’m bound so tightly I can’t move, so it takes me a second to realize I can’tseemylegs. Nolegs.Noarms,either. TherevelationthatI’minvisiblehitsmewithfull,horrifyingforce. I’mnotdoingthis. Ididn’tbringmyselfhere,bindandgagmyself,andmakemyselfinvisible. There’sonlyoneotherpersonwhowould. Ilookarounddesperately,tryingtogaugewhereIamandwhatmychances mightbeforescape,butwhenIfinallymanagetoheavemybodytooneside— justlongenoughtocranemyneck—Irealize,withaterrifyingjolt,thatI’mona plane. Andthen—voices. It’sAndersonandNazeera. Ihearthemdiscussingsomethingabouthowwe’llbelandingsoon,andthen, minuteslater,Ifeelitwhenwetouchground. The plane taxis for a while and it seems to take forever before the engines finallyturnoff. IhearAndersonleave.Nazeerahangsback,sayingsomethingaboutneeding tocleanup.Sheshutsdowntheplaneanditscameras,doesn’tacknowledgeme. Finally, I hear her footsteps getting closer to my head. She uses one foot to rollmeontomyback,andthen,justlikethat,myinvisibilityisgone.Shestares atmeforalittlewhilelonger,saysnothing. Finally,shesmiles. “Hi,” she says, removing the gag from my mouth. “How are you holding up?” AndIdeciderightthenthatI’mgoingtohavetokillher. “Okay,”shesays,“Iknowyou’reprobablyupset—” “UPSET? YOU THINK I’M UPSET?” I jerk violently against the ties.

“JesusChrist,woman,getmeoutofthesegoddamnrestraints—” “I’llgetyououtoftherestraintswhenyoucalmdown—” “HOWCANYOUEXPECTMETOBECALM?” “I’m trying to save your life right now, so, actually, I expect a lot of things fromyou.” I’mbreathinghard.“Wait.What?” Shecrossesherarms,staresdownatme.“I’vebeentryingtoexplaintoyou thattherewasreallynootherwaytodothis.Anddon’tworry,”shesays.“Your friends are okay. We should be able to get them out of the asylum before any permanentdamageisdone.” “What?Whatdoyoumeanpermanentdamage?” Nazeera sighs. “Anyway, this was the only way I could think of stealing a planewithoutattractingnotice.IneededtotrackAnderson.” “Soyouknewhewasalive,thatwholetime,andyousaidnothingaboutit.” Sheraiseshereyebrows.“Honestly,Ithoughtyouknew.” “How the hell was I supposed to know?” I shout. “How was I supposed to knowanything?” “Stop shouting,” she says. “I went to all this trouble to save your life but I sweartoGodIwillkillyouifyoudon’tstopshoutingrightnow.” “Where,”Isay,“THEHELL,”Isay,“AREWE?” And instead of killing me, she laughs. “Where do you think we are?” She shakesherhead.“We’reinOceania.We’reheretofindElla.”

Warner “Wecanliveinthelake,”shesayssimply. “What?”Ialmostlaugh.“Whatareyoutalkingabout?” “I’m serious,” she says. “I heard my mum talking about how to make it so peoplecanliveunderwater,andI’mgoingtoaskhertotellme,andthenwecan liveinthelake.” Isigh.“Wecan’tliveinthelake,Ella.” “Why not?” She turns and looks at me, her eyes wide, startlingly bright. Bluegreen.Liketheglobe,Ithink.Likethewholeworld.“Whycan’twelivein thelake?Mymumsaysth—” “Stopit,Ella.Stop—” I wake suddenly, jerking upward as my eyes fly open, my lungs desperate for air.Ibreatheintoofastandcough,chokingontheovercorrectionofoxygen.My body bows forward, chest heaving, my hands braced against the cold, concrete floor. Ella. Ella. Pain spears me through the chest. I stopped eating the poisoned food two days ago, but the visions linger even when I’m lucid. There’s something hyperreal about this one in particular, the memory barreling into me over and over, shooting swift, sharp pains through my gut. It’s breathtaking, this disorientingrushofemotion. Forthefirsttime,I’mbeginningtobelieve. Ithoughtnightmares.Hallucinations,even.ButnowIknow. Nowitseemsimpossibletodeny. Iheardmymumtalkingabouthowtomakeitsopeoplecanliveunderwater I didn’t understand right away why Max and Evie were keeping me captive

here, but they must blame me for something—maybe something my father is responsiblefor.SomethingIunknowinglytookpartin. MaybesomethingliketorturingtheirdaughterEmmaline. When I was sent away for two years, I was never told where I was going. The details of my location were never disclosed, and during that time period I lived in a veritable prison of my own, never allowed to step outside, never allowedtoknowmorethanwasabsolutelynecessaryaboutthetaskathand.The breaksIwasgivenwerecloselyguarded,andIwasrequiredtowearablindfold asIwasusheredonandoffthejet,whichalwaysmademethinkImust’vebeen working somewhere easily identifiable. But those two years also comprised someofthedarkest,saddestdaysofmylife;allIknewwasmydesperateneed for oblivion. I was so buried in self-loathing that it seemed only right to find solace in the arms of someone who meant nothing to me. I hated myself every day.BeingwithLenawasbothreliefandtorture. Evenso,Ifeltnumb,allthetime. After two weeks here, I’m beginning to wonder if this prison isn’t one I’ve knownbefore.Ifthisisn’tthesameplaceIspentthosetwohorribleyearsofmy life. It’s hard to explain the intangible, irrational reasons why the view outside my window is beginning to feel familiar to me, but two years is a long time to growfamiliarwiththerhythmsofaland,evenoneyoudon’tunderstand. IwonderifEmmalineishere,somewhere. It makes sense that she’d be here, close to home—close to her parents, whose medical and scientific advances are the only reason she’s even alive. Or somethingclosetoalive,anyway. Itmakessensethatthey’dbringJuliette—Ella,Iremindmyself—backhere, toherhome.Thequestionis— Whybringherhere?Whataretheyhopingtodowithher? Butthen,ifhermotherisanythinglikemyfather,IthinkIcanimaginewhat theymighthaveinmind. Ipushmyselfoffthefloorandtakeasteadyingbreath.Mybodyisrunning onmereadrenaline,sostarvedforsleepandsustenancethatIhaveto— Pain. It’sswiftandsuddenandIgaspevenasIrecognizethefamiliarsting.Ihave noideahowlongit’lltakeformyribstofullyheal.Untilthen,Iclenchmyteeth asIstand,feelingblindlyforpurchaseagainsttheroughstone.Myhandsshake as I steady myself and I’m breathing too hard again, eyes darting around the familiarcell. Iturnonthesinkandsplashice-coldwateronmyface. Theeffectisimmediate.Focusing.

Carefully, I strip down to nothing. I soak my undershirt under the running wateranduseittoscrubmyface,myneck,therestofmybody.Iwashmyhair. Rinsemymouth.Cleanmyteeth.AndthenIdowhatlittleIcanfortherestof my clothes, washing them by hand and wringing them dry. I slip back into my underweareventhoughthecottonisstillslightlydamp,andIfightbackashiver inthedarkness.Hungryandcoldisatleastbetterthandruggedanddelirious. This is the end of my second week in confinement, and my third day this week without food. It feels good to have a clear head, even as my body slowly starves. I’d already been leaner than usual, but now the lines of my body feel unusuallysharp,eventomyself,allnecessarysoftnessgonefrommylimbs.It’s onlyamatteroftimebeforemymusclesatrophyandIdoirreparabledamageto myorgans,butrightnowIhavenochoice.Ineedaccesstomymind. Tothink. Andsomethingaboutmysentencingfeelsoff. The more I think about it, the less sense it makes that Max and Evie would wantmetosufferforwhatIdidtoEmmaline.Theyweretheoneswhodonated their daughters to The Reestablishment in the first place. My work overseeing Emmaline was assigned to me—in fact, it was likely a job they’d approved. It would make more sense that I were here for treason. Max and Evie, like any other commanders, would want me to suffer for turning my back on The Reestablishment. Buteventhistheoryfeelswrong.Incongruous. The punishment for treason has always been public execution. Quick. Efficient. I should be murdered, with only a little fanfare, in front of my own soldiers. But this—locking people up like this—slowly starving them while stripping them of their sanity and dignity—this is uncivilized. It’s what The Reestablishmentdoestoothers,nottoitsown. It’s what they did to Ella. They tortured her. Ran tests on her. She wasn’t locked up to inspire penitence. She was in isolation because she was part of an ongoingexperiment. And I am in the unique position to know that such a prisoner requires constantmaintenance. IfiguredI’dbekepthereforafewdays—maybeaweek—butlockingmeup forwhatseemstobeanindeterminateamountoftime— Thismustbedifficultforthem. For two weeks they’ve managed to remain just slightly ahead of me, a feat theyaccomplishedbypoisoningmyfood.IntrainingI’dneverneededmorethan a week to break my way out of high-security prisons, and they must’ve known this.Byforcingmetochoosebetweensustenanceandclarityeveryday,they’ve

giventhemselvesanadvantage. Still,I’munconcerned. The longer I’m here, the more leverage I gain. If they know what I’m capableof,theymustalsoknowthatthisisunsustainable.Theycan’tuseshock and poison to destabilize me indefinitely. I’ve now been here long enough to havetakenstockofmysurroundings,andI’vebeenfilingawayinformationfor nearly two weeks—the movements of the sun, the phases of the moon, the manufacturerofthelocks,thesink,theunusualhingesonthedoor.Isuspected, butnowknowforcertain,thatI’minthesouthernhemisphere,notonlybecause IknowMaxandEviehailfromOceania,butbecausethenorthernconstellations outsidemywindowareupsidedown. Imustbeontheirbase. Logically, I know I must’ve been here a few times in my life, but the memoriesaredim.ThenightskiesareclearerherethantheywereinSector45. The stars, brighter. The lack of light pollution means we are far from civilization,andtheviewoutthewindowprovesthatwearesurrounded,onall sides, by the wild landscape of this territory. There’s a massive, glittering lake notfarinthedistance,which— Somethingjoltstolifeinmymind. Thememoryfromearlier,expanded: Sheshrugsandthrowsarockinthelake.Itlandswithadullsplash.“Well, we’lljustrunaway,”shesays. “Wecan’trunaway,”Isay.“Stopsayingthat.” “Wecan,too.” “There’snowheretogo.” “Thereareplentyofplacestogo.” Ishakemyhead.“YouknowwhatImean.They’dfinduswhereverwewent. Theywatchusallthetime.” “Wecanliveinthelake,”shesayssimply. “What?”Ialmostlaugh.“Whatareyoutalkingabout?” “I’m serious,” she says. “I heard my mum talking about how to make it so peoplecanliveunderwater,andI’mgoingtoaskhertotellme,andthenwecan liveinthelake.” Isigh.“Wecan’tliveinthelake,Ella.” “Why not?” She turns and looks at me, her eyes wide, startlingly bright. Bluegreen.Liketheglobe,Ithink.Likethewholeworld.“Whycan’twelivein thelake?Mymumsaysth—” “Stopit,Ella.Stop—”

A cold sweat breaks out on my forehead. Goose bumps rise along my skin. Ella. EllaEllaElla Overandoveragain. Everythingaboutthenameisbeginningtosoundfamiliar.Themovementof mytongueasIformtheword,familiar.It’sasifthememoryisinmymuscle,as ifmymouthhasmadethisshapeathousandtimes. Iforcemyselftotakeasteadyingbreath. Ineedtofindher.Ihavetofindher. HereiswhatIknow: Ittakesjustunderthirtysecondsforthefootstepstodisappeardownthehall, andthey’realwaysthesame—samestride,samecadence—whichmeansthere’s onlyonepersonattendingtome.Thepacesarelongandheavy,whichmeansmy attendant is tall, possibly male. Maybe Max himself, if they’ve deemed me a high-priorityprisoner.Still,they’veleftmeunshackledandunharmed—why?— andthoughI’vebeengivenneitherbednorblanket,Ihaveaccesstowaterfrom thesink. There’s no electricity in here; no outlets, no wires. But there must be camerashiddensomewhere,watchingmyeverymove.Therearetwodrains:one inthesink,andoneunderneaththetoilet.There’sonesquarefootofwindow— likely bulletproof glass, maybe eight to ten centimeters thick—and a single, smallairventinthefloor.Theventhasnovisiblescrews,whichmeansitmust be bolted from inside, and the slats are too narrow for my fingers, the steel blades visibly welded in place. Still, it’s only an average level of security for a prison vent. A little more time and clarity, and I’ll find a way to remove the screen and repurpose the parts. Eventually, I’ll find a way to dismantle everythinginthisroom.I’lltakeapartthemetaltoilet,theflimsymetalsink.I’ll make my own tools and weapons and find a way to slowly, carefully disassemblethelocksandhinges.OrperhapsI’lldamagethepipesandfloodthe roomanditsadjoininghallway,forcingsomeonetocometothedoor. The sooner they send someone to my room, the better. If they’ve left me aloneinmycellthislong,it’sbeenfortheirownprotection,notmysuffering.I excelathand-to-handcombat. I know myself. I know my capacity to withstand complicated physical and mentaltorture.IfIwantedto,Icouldgivemyselftwo—maybethree—weeksto forgothe poisonedmeals andsurvive on water alone beforeI lostmy mind or mobility.IknowhowresourcefulIcanbe,giventheopportunity,andthis—this effort to contain me—must be exhausting. Great care went into selecting these soundsandmealsandritualsandeventhisvigilantlackofcommunication.

Itdoesn’tmakesensethatthey’dgotoallthistroublefortreason.No.Imust beinpurgatoryforsomethingelse. Irackmybrainforamotive,butmymemoriesaresurprisinglythinwhenit comestoMaxandEvie.Stillforming. Withsomedifficulty,I’mabletoconjureupflickersofimages. Abriefhandshakewithmyfather. Aburstoflaughter. Acheerfulswellofholidaymusic. Alaboratoryandmymother. Istiffen. Alaboratoryandmymother. I focus my thoughts, homing in on the memory—bright lights, muffled footsteps, the sound of my own voice asking my father a question and then, painfully— Mymindgoesblank. Ifrown.Stareintomyhands. Nothing. Iknowagreatdealabouttheothercommandersandtheirfamilies.It’sbeen my business to know. But there’s an unusual dearth of information where Oceaniaisconcerned,andforthefirsttime,itsendsashockoffearthroughme. Therearetwotimelinesmerginginmymind—alifewithElla,andalifewithout her—andI’mstilllearningtosiftthroughtheinformationforsomethingreal. Still, thinking about Max and Evie now seems to strain something in my brain. It’s as if there’s something there, something just out of reach, and the more I force my mind to recall them—their faces, their voices—the more it hurts. Whyallthistroubletoimprisonme? Whynotsimplyhavemekilled? Ihavesomanyquestionsit’smakingmyheadspin. Justthen,thedoorrattles.Thesoundofmetalonmetalissharpandabrasive, thesoundslikesandpaperagainstmynerves. Iheartheboltunlockandfeelunusuallycalm.Iwasbuilttohandlethislife, itsblows,itssick,sadisticways.Deathhasneverscaredme. Butwhenthedoorswingsopen,Irealizemymistake. I imagined a thousand different scenarios. I prepared for a myriad of opponents.ButIhadnotpreparedforthis. “Hibirthdayboy,”hesays,laughingashestepsintothelight.“Didyoumiss me?” AndI’msuddenlyunabletomove.


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Does Warner propose to Juliette in Defy Me? ›

Amidst all the chaos they've just survived, Warner proposes to Juliette!!!!!!!! She agrees, and then they celebrate his birthday. We get to see them happy, and after everything they've just been through, thank you Tahereh!

Who is Ella in Defy Me? ›

Juliette Ferrars, also known by her birth name Ella Sommers, is the main protagonist and a narrator of the Shatter Me Series. She has a lethal touch and was locked up in an Asylum for over 264 days.

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Why is Juliette called Ella? ›

Aaron calls her Ella, by her birth name and she doesn't mind, but Aaron also calls her Juliette. In the end, she finally decides she will keep her name as Juliette Ferrars but Aaron decides to call her Ella privately but also Juliette. In Believe Me, they finally get married.

Do Warner and Juliette sleep together? ›

Juliette discovers that she has the ability to control her lethal touch, therefore having the ability to touch anyone she wants. With this realization, she can choose whoever she wants to be with, and Juliette recognizes her love for Warner. She admits this to him, and they go on to sleep together.

Does Juliette love Adam or Warner? ›

Later on in Shatter Me, Adam finally kisses Juliette and Juliette realizes she is in love with Adam. Adam tells her he loves her and they both decide to escape from The Reestablishment and Aaron Warner.

Does Juliette forget Warner? ›

At the end of the torture, Juliette still remembers her prior life as Juliette, but also remembers herself as Ella–memories of her time before Sector 45 coming in hot and heavy–memories of Warner, and of the other children of the supreme commanders.

How old is Juliette Ferrars? ›

Juliette Ferrars is a 17-year-old girl whose touch paralyzes and kills, taking living organisms' energy. Juliette is in an asylum because three years prior, she killed a small boy in a store with her unusual touch.

Is Shatter Me going to be a movie? ›

Shatter Me is going to be an upcoming TV adaption of the book of the same name by Tahereh Mafi. Film rights were purchased by 20th Century Fox before the book was published. Fox-based Chernin Entertainment will produce the film. The screenwriter is Mike Le.

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Feb 24, 2023

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What race is Juliette? ›

Juliet Capulet
FamilyLord Capulet (father) Lady Capulet (mother) Tybalt Capulet (cousin) Rosaline Capulet (cousin)
SpouseRomeo Montague
6 more rows

Does Juliette have a sister Shatter Me? ›

Emmaline Sommers was the daughter of the Supreme Commander of Oceania, Evie Sommers, and her husband, Maximillian Sommers. She was also the older sister of Juliette Ferrars.

Is Juliette a vampire or werewolf? ›

Romeo and Juliet are both immortals, Romeo being a werewolf and Juliet being a vampire. However, both of them love so completely from the moment that they lay eyes on each other, that neither one can do anything but love the other. Of course, as with the Shakespeare version, there is the family feuds.

Is there anything inappropriate in Shatter Me series? ›

Swearing is prevalent, but doesn't go beyond "s--t." Characters kiss, grope, and remove clothing with talk of wanting to have sex. At the core of Shatter Me is the idea of power.

Does Juliette ever get pregnant? ›

Season Three

While auditioning for a role in the Patsy Cline biopic Juliette starts to break down over her failed relationship with Avery and later learns that she is pregnant. Fortunately the father of the baby turns out to be Avery and she tells him at the CMAs that they are expecting a girl.

Does Juliette get pregnant? ›


Can Adam really touch Juliette? ›

Special Abilities

Power Negation: Adam has the ability to disable other abilities. This is why he can usually touch Juliette without being harmed and why Warner is not able to sense his energy. However, the ability is not constant and can be turned off both through concentration or lack thereof.

What does Warner confess to Juliette? ›

Warner confesses his love.

Warner divulges what a monster his dad really is. Then he confesses his love for Juliette. He asks her to deny that she loves him back, and she CAN'T ANSWER.

Is Ignite Me spicy? ›

Ignite Me is a spicy standalone paranormal romance set in the Immortal Vices and Virtues Universe.

Does Brendan have a crush on Juliette? ›

Brendan has a thick British accent and uses words such as "bloody" and "blimey". In Unravel Me, it is shown that Brendan has a slight crush on Juliette, but Kenji tells him it won't happen.

Does Juliette shave her head Shatter Me? ›

Juliette shaves her head.

She meets with a few children of supreme commanders around the world (including Warner's ex-gf).

Does Juliette shave her head in the Shatter Me series? ›

That night Warner and Kenji find out that Juliette had moved into Anderson's old quarters, drunk some of his most expensive alcohol, and also shaved her head.

Does Juliette have an accent Shatter Me? ›

No! Juliette was born and raised until about 10-11 years old in New Zealand, so you might think, oh yeah her accent is Australian, but in... reveal me, I think, Juliette was being told about her heritage, and she insisted she couldn't have been born in New Zealand, because she didn't have an accent.

How did Warner betray Juliette? ›

They believe there is still poison in her system. Warner is trying to confess everything to Juliette, but she distracts him with nakedness. Afterward, he finally tells her, and she runs out horrified. Kenji comes in to find out why Juliette is so upset.

Is Shatter Me a love triangle? ›

“Shatter Me” screams “young-adult dystopia” with the two male leads following the love triangle trope to a T. Adam, the nice one, and Warner, the bad boy/villain/anti-hero.

Is Shatter Me appropriate for 13 year olds? ›

Kids can read whatever they want :)

I think this is absolutely great for kids for the age 10-12 it is a great book with so much entertainment and it is great for kids who want to expand reading curriculum!

Is there a kiss in Shatter Me? ›

There's a lot we love about the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi—the poetic writing, the dynamic characters, the kissing, the dystopian setting, the kissing, the fast-paced action. Did we mention the kissing? Let's revisit some of our favorite YA kissy scenes!

Will there be a 6th Shatter Me book? ›

Shatter Me Series 6-Book Box Set: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me, Restore Me, Defy Me, Imagine Me. Brief content visible, double tap to read full content. Full content visible, double tap to read brief content. Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.

Can a flipbook be downloaded? ›

If you want to download a flipbook, simply select the flipbook and click the Download button. Now the downloaded flipbook will appear in Downloads. Here you can see all your downloaded flipbooks.

How do I export a flipbook? ›

If you want to share you animation with someone, you can export it as a movie or sequence of images.
  1. Select File > Export FlipBook.
  2. Choose the exported format of the FlipBook. Choose from sequenced PNGs or PSDs, WMV, MP4, or animated GIF. ...
  3. Set the frame range of the exported file. ...
  4. Tap Export. ...
  5. Tap Save.

How do I download a flipbook from PubHTML5? ›

How to download my PDF file and my publications online 33570 Views
  1. Step1. Log your PubHTML5 account on the website.
  2. Step2. Click "MY PUBS" and select the book you want to download.
  3. Step3. Click "Download" button to download the flipbook.
  4. Step4. Here you can download the original pdf document and the Flipbook zip file.

How do I extract a flipbook? ›

Save OPF files (FlipBook ) as PDF online & free
  1. Open your OPF file with your standard application on your computer as usual.
  2. There go to File -> Print or just press. Ctrl. + P. ...
  3. Choose "Microsoft XPS Document Writer" as your printer.
  4. Click on "OK" or "Print".
  5. Select a destination for your XPS file and click on "Save".

How do I make a PDF flipbook offline for free? ›

How to convert your PDF to a flipbook
  1. Upload the PDF you want to convert to a flipbook. Drag-and-drop your PDF file on our platform and click "Next" to begin conversion.
  2. Publish your online flipbook. ...
  3. Share your digital publication.

How do I make a PDF flipbook offline? ›

Open the project file for your flipbook. Click on Upload Publication button and select Offline Publication section in the pop-up window. Click on the 3 dots on the right to choose the directory where you want to save your publication.

How do I create a digital flipbook PDF? ›

The simplest way to create an online flipbook.
  1. UPLOAD PDF FILE. Upload your PDF and flipbook maker will convert it into an HTML5 flipbook that can be instantly opened and shared, and will look and work amazingly on any device.

Does Adobe have a flipbook? ›

You can create virtual flipbooks with programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. You'll need to upload and sequence your individual animated book drawings.

How do I download a flip HTML file to PDF? ›

How to Convert HTML to PDF
  1. Step 1: Paste your web page URLs. Multiple web pages can be converted at a time. Paste each URL on a separate line.
  2. Step 2: Save PDF results. Click Convert HTML to PDF and wait until processing completes. Then press Download and save your PDF documents.

How do I share a digital flipbook? ›

To get a link, please open your online account, hover over your publication, and click Share.
  1. You can copy the link to your publication and send it to your customers.
  2. It is also possible to get a link to a specific page in your flipbook. ...
  3. With this link, your readers can open your publication on the specified page.

How do I open flipbook offline? ›

You can click [Help] button to get help or click [Edit] button to edit the book in list. You can simply tap on the book thumbnail to read the flipbook offline. Click [Share] button, then you can share your flipbook on other platforms.

How do I download a PDF from Flipviewer? ›

To save the right page as a PDF document, please select "Save Right Page" and click on the "Save" button. To save both left and right page, i.e. the double spread page, as a PDF document, please select "Save Double-Spared Page" and click on the "Save" button.


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