Author: P Hana

Page 37


“They slowed our healing time,” I said. “It took me a few hours.”

She moaned. “If it took you a few hours, it’s going to take me a week.”

“Probably not quite that long,” I said with a smile.

“And so you hoisted me on your back and carried me . . .” Addie glanced behind her. “Have we been going for a while?”

“Only a couple miles.”

“Oh, only a couple miles.” She rolled her eyes, grinning as she bumped her shoulder against mine. “Is it awesome being you? Do you just sit around and revel in your awesomeness?”

I gave her a baffled look, not entirely sure how to respond to that. She laughed, pushing her dark hair behind her shoulder.

“Thank you,” she said more seriously.

“You’re welcome.”

She paused for a moment, rubbing her fingers across her forehead. “I’m sorry I got us into this.”

“I don’t think it was you who pushed us out of a shuttle.”

“But it was me who talked to too many people at the reservation about the plan. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for me.”

“I don’t know about that.” I shrugged. “I could have left you up there to get tortured. It’s not like it would have caused any lasting damage.”

She snorted, which turned into a full laugh. “Uh, yeah. I guess you could have. But I think I prefer it this way.” She ran her hands over her hair. “I was losing my mind there.”

“You and me both.” I hopped to my feet, extending my hand to her. “Can you walk? We should probably find somewhere to stay for the night.”

She took my hand and stood slowly, putting all her weight on her left leg. She tried to step forward and winced.

“It’s still broken,” she said. “I could drag it, or—”

“Let’s go in there,” I said, pointing to the café. “The windows are still mostly intact. Looks like it’s not about to cave in.”

She gave me a grateful look and I gestured for her to lean against me. She hobbled across the street slowly with me.

The door had been broken a long time ago, and what was left of it swung open and closed in the wind. As we walked inside, a small animal scurried across the floor and Addie moaned.

“I hate rats.”

“They don’t taste too bad.”

“Oh my God, never tell me that story.”

I shut the door and pulled a chair in front of it to keep it closed. The inside had likely once been bright green, but now the paint was peeled off the walls. Tables and chairs were scattered everywhere, and a row of booths ran along one wall. The plastic was cracked, the stuffing torn out in some places. I decided not to tell Addie there may very well have been more rats living in those seats as I gently placed her down in one.

I sat down on the other side, brushing cobwebs off the dirty table.

“Where are we going?” Addie asked, scooting back in the booth and leaning against the wall. “Austin? The real one?”

“Yes. If we can find it.” I raised my eyebrows at her. “I don’t suppose you have a map of Texas in your head?”

“Nope, sorry.” She squinted out the dirty window. “Surely we could find a map around here somewhere? At one of those old fueling places maybe? They used to sell, like, a whole bunch of stuff there. I bet back during the war people took the food and left the maps.”

“That’s a good idea, actually.”

“I’m going to pretend you don’t sound all surprised about that.”

I laughed as I pulled my knees to my chest and rested my head on them. “Sorry.”

“You think Callum and the Reboots will still go to Austin?” she asked.

I nodded, rubbing my finger across a crack in the table. “They wouldn’t stay at the reservation. And Callum knows Austin’s the first place I’d go to look for him.”

“Agreed. Maybe he murdered Micah when he found out what happened and took over everything.”

I gave her a skeptical look. “Callum isn’t really the murdering type. He has morals.”

“Morals shmorals. I bet when he finds out what Micah did he’ll lose it.” Addie leaned her head against the wall. “The only reason he’s all high and mighty about killing people is because he was only at HARC for a few weeks. He doesn’t understand what we went through.”

I nodded, trying to hide my surprise. “Did he talk about it with you?”

“Not really. Mostly I just noticed it with you guys. Sometimes I wanted to be like, ‘Dude, chill. You’re so uppity sometimes.’”

I laughed, quickly covering it with my hand. I cleared my throat. “He’s not uppity. He’s stubborn.”

“Whatever.” She waved her hand in the air. “I think it would bug me, having to be the bad one all the time.”

I shrugged. “I’m used to it.”

“Whatever you say.” She shifted, wincing as she pulled her broken leg onto the booth. “Thank you for not leaving me there.”

“I’m going to pretend you don’t sound surprised about that.”

Addie grinned. “I’m a little surprised.”

“Don’t sugarcoat it.”

“Come on. You would barely talk to me at the reservation. It was like you’re anti-friend.”

“I’m not anti-friend,” I said softly, playing with dangling threads on the edge of my pants.

“Just didn’t like me, then?”

“I only ever had one friend,” I said, not looking at her. “HARC killed her not long before I escaped with Callum.”

“Oh.” She was quiet for a moment. “Why?”

“She was a Fifty-six, and was on her first round of those crazy drugs. She kept getting worse and worse. I think she sort of lost hope. She was upset about attacking me every night. We were roommates.” I swallowed. “She went on a rampage, killed a bunch of guards, and then basically gave herself up to HARC.”

Addie let out a long breath. “Crap. I’m sorry.”

I leaned back against the wall and stared at the sagging ceiling. “I already knew that Reboots escaped,” I said quietly. “Leb had told me at least a week before she died, and I didn’t do anything to help her.”

“You would have been in the exact same position you were with Callum if you’d helped her,” Addie said. “On the run with a crazy Reboot who needed the antidote.”