Author: P Hana

Page 36


He lunged for me and I quickly ducked, darting out of the way so fast he hit the ground. He jumped to his feet and I lifted the gun. Clicked off the safety.

His face was tight with fury, his eyes focused on me.

“Go ahead,” he said, taking a step closer, so the barrel of the gun was almost touching his forehead. “Please. Prove to everyone you’re no better than a human.” He jerked his head to the reservation. “You’re already doing a bang-up job of killing us all anyway.”

I slowly lowered the gun. He’d taken Wren and he was a murderer and a psychopath and he deserved to die.

But a weight lifted from my chest as I realized I wasn’t going to kill him. Maybe I would have liked to. Maybe it would have made me feel better.

I still wasn’t going to do it.

“We took all the fuel out of the other shuttles,” I said as I clicked the safety back on. “And told the rebels what you were planning.” I nodded at the meager crowd of defeated reservation Reboots behind me. “So there won’t be any further communications with them.”

The shuttles roared to life and I glanced over my shoulder to see Riley waving for me to get on.

I met Micah’s gaze as I took a step backward. “Did you really think you could just get rid of her and everyone would listen to you?” A smile started to form on my lips. “Do you really think you killed her by handing her over to a few humans?”

I ducked as I stepped onto the shuttle, grasping the edge of the door as I looked at him. “There’s no way Wren is dead,” I said as the shuttle began to lift off the ground. “I’d be scared, if I were you.”



I TRIED TO START THE VAN AGAIN, BUT APPARENTLY HAVING A DOOR in its engine wasn’t a good thing. I didn’t know the exact distance from old Austin to New Austin, but it wasn’t too far to walk. Twenty miles, maybe. Once Callum found out what Micah did, he’d head straight for the cities to find me. We’d been planning to go to Austin, and it was our home, so I felt pretty confident he’d go there first.

I left the shotguns and put one handgun in my pants, one in Addie’s. I emptied the vehicle of ammo before I left, but they didn’t have much extra.

I walked to Addie and knelt beside her. “Addie,” I said quietly, shaking her shoulder. I didn’t know why I was being quiet, because as far as I knew, old Austin had been deserted for over twenty years. The streets were quiet, empty, the only sound the wind rustling the trees.

“Addie!” I shook her harder, but she didn’t stir.

I let out a long sigh as I looked at the HARC van. It was possible they would send someone to check why it had stopped in the middle of old Austin.

I squinted ahead at the capitol. That was north. New Austin was northwest, but I wasn’t exactly sure how west. I ran my hand down my face as I tried to remember the old maps of Texas. I couldn’t picture the new cities mixed with the old. I needed a map, even an old one.

I grabbed one of Addie’s arms and hauled her over my shoulder. I groaned under her weight as I stood. Hopefully she’d wake up soon. I didn’t know how far I could carry her.

My leg burned as I limped forward, and I kept my broken arm close to my chest. I steadied Addie with my right arm, hooking it around her neck to keep her in place.

The capitol really was so much bigger. I’d heard about it, and I knew the one in the New Austin rico was nothing more than a small knockoff, but I hadn’t realized by how much. The huge, round dome was on top of a massive base, and there appeared to be a statue of a person at the very top. They’d missed that detail in the new version.

I glanced at the buildings on either side of the wide road as I walked. I’d hoped to see one of the old cities with Callum, and it was too bad he wasn’t here now. He probably would have known more about the city than I did.

There were still cars parked on either side of the street, rusting and missing parts. Some were even abandoned in the middle of the road.

It must have been nice to have access to something with wheels all the time. That would have been really helpful right about now.

I hobbled to the end of the street and turned to look at the capitol as I headed west on the street that ran in front of it. Part of me wanted to go inside, see what was left of it, but I didn’t think going in any building was particularly safe. Nothing was sturdy, and the last thing I needed was to be buried alive in the middle of a dead city.

I turned north again when I reached a street that was somewhat clear. The buildings were huge on this street, twenty, thirty stories tall with hundreds of windows.

There was some destruction, some streets that were more rubble than buildings, but overall it wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe. I thought Austin was gone, mostly destroyed, but it was more like it was deserted. Had all these people died of KDH?

It seemed sad they’d rejected Reboots. Micah was right on one count—we had a found a way to survive. Maybe if the humans hadn’t panicked, we could have stayed in this city. Humans or Reboots could have lived in these buildings instead of tents and thrown-together houses.

But HARC had always been about control, so maybe starting their own cities and fencing the humans in was more appealing. Or maybe it really was the only way to contain the virus and keep humans safe. What did I know?

It was just getting dark when my leg finally started to heal and Addie moaned. She squirmed on my shoulder and I stopped and slowly kneeled down as I slid her off onto the concrete.

She blinked at me, rubbing one of her arms. The gashes on her arms and legs were still open, and one of her legs was broken. Given how many hours it had taken me to heal, she had quite a ways to go.

I estimated I’d barely made it two miles, maybe less, and we’d stopped in the middle of the road. A big, redbrick building was to my right, and on my left a gray building with big windows and a blue sign that read Kerbey Lane Café. She looked left, then right, then left again.

“Where are we?”

“Austin,” I said. “The original.”

Her head tilted up as she surveyed the building next to us, her eyes wide.

“And those guys in the van?” she asked.

“They tried to grab us.”

She gave me an amused look. “Obviously that didn’t work out so well for them.”

I plopped down in the middle of the road with her. “It did not.”

She examined the area around us, wincing as she moved. She rubbed her arm and inspected the long gash.