“And yes, I’m Addie,” she said.
Callum looked at her, but she stayed focused on the outside. His head swung back to me and I had to drop my eyes because I didn’t want him to see the fear there.
“Wren.” His voice was firm, controlled. “What just happened?”
I should have come up with a lie. A story to tell him to fill in the holes. Maybe I could just tell him he attacked someone and I pulled him off in time.
But that lie made me feel sick. He’d thank me and his gratitude would likely make me hurl.
I’d waited too long to answer and he was staring at me like he already knew something terrible had happened. I was shaking a little as I crossed my arms over my chest.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I shouldn’t have left you.”
“I hurt someone?”
I nodded. My throat burned again and I tried to swallow. It didn’t help.
“I killed someone?”
“Yes,” I choked out. He was silent and I looked up. He was perfectly still, the horror creeping over his features.
“It’s not your fault,” Addie said. “I’ve seen what the shots do and been there myself and—”
Callum held his hand up and she closed her mouth, shrugging her shoulders at me like she didn’t know what else to say.
I didn’t, either. The footsteps outside were gone so I slid down the wall beside him. His eyes were closed, his hands clasped together at the back of his neck.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “It’s my fault. I said I wouldn’t let you hurt anyone and I did.”
What was one more body to add to my tally? I wanted to point that out to him, to remind him that I’d killed more people than he ever would. But I doubted that would be comforting.
He shook his head, dropping his hands from his neck and looking me straight in the eye. I thought he would be sad, but his eyes were hard, angry. I braced myself, thinking he was going to yell at me, but he slipped his hand into mine and squeezed it.
“It’s not your fault,” he said. “It’s HARC’s fault.”
Addie muttered something that sounded like agreement. My head snapped up as it occurred to me that she might be in the same situation as Callum.
“Are you okay?” I asked. “Did they give you shots?”
“Yes. I’m fine for now, though. I’m between rounds.”
“What do you mean?” Callum asked.
“They do multiple rounds,” Addie said. “You must be on the first.”
“I guess. I was only there a few weeks.”
“Yeah, probably on the first, then. You start going off the deep end, then they’ll give you something that makes you feel normal again. Some sort of cure or antidote or something. Then they start it up again.”
Callum’s eyes widened with hope at the same time mine did.
“I don’t know that for sure,” Addie said quickly. “But my friends said I was a mess last week and now I’m fine. Good timing, by the way. Thanks for that.”
“Your dad might have known,” I said. It could be why he was so quick to get us the tracker locator. I made a fist and dug my fingers into my palm. Leb hadn’t bothered to check on Callum’s status.
“If there is an antidote, maybe the rebels will have it,” Callum said hopefully. “Or they’ll get it for us.”
I gave him a doubtful look. I’d barely persuaded Leb to help us, and only in exchange for something.
“I can’t stay like this.” He swallowed, turning to Addie. “I’ll just get worse, right?”
“Probably,” she said quietly. “The ones who didn’t get multiple rounds, the ones they let run the course . . . yeah, they never got better.”
The lump in my throat was unexpected, and I had to swallow several times before I could speak.
“We have to at least ask the rebels,” he said.
I nodded. “We will. And when they say no we’ll go get it ourselves.”
Addie raised her eyebrows. “Seriously? You know you’ll have to go inside HARC to get it.”
She pressed her lips together as she took a step toward me. “You just broke me out and now you want to—”
A noise outside made us turn. The shed door swung open.
It was a HARC officer.
Pointing a gun at us.
I SHOT TO MY FEET AND DOVE FOR THE OFFICER, PAINFULLY aware that I didn’t have a helmet. Addie got there first, grabbing the officer’s arm just as he got a shot off. The bullet sailed past her and through the shed wall.
He fired again and Addie stumbled as the bullet hit her chest. The officer whirled around to me just as I slammed into him, knocking him into the dirt. Callum scrambled across the ground and wrestled the gun from the officer’s grasp.
The shouts outside meant the other officers in the area had heard the commotion. I stomped on the human’s leg until I heard a crack, and he screamed and clawed at the dirt to get away from me.
I jumped over him and ran through the door, reaching my hand out for Callum’s. He grabbed it and Addie dashed through the door behind him.
We ran across the yard and back to the poorly paved street. I whipped my head around to see a group of about five officers chasing us. I ducked as one fired, putting my hands over the back of my head like that would stop a bullet.
Addie’s long legs made her a fast runner, and she pulled ahead of us and turned left as she approached a crossroads. Bullets flew past my ears as we sprinted after her just in time to see her take another sharp left behind a two-story building. I rounded the building and she was waiting at the far edge, back pressed against the side as she watched the street we’d just come from. The officers blew past and we waited half a second before darting back out to the street and running the opposite direction.
We got to the edge of town, where the trees were thick before giving way to the open land in front of the HARC fence. We stopped in the darkness there, and I turned to look out at the houses in the distance. The HARC officers were nowhere in sight, but shuttles hovered over the city, spotlights sweeping the streets.
“This . . . was the entirety of your plan . . . wasn’t it?” Addie gasped, putting a hand against a tree as she tried to catch her breath. “Just grab me and run?”
“You have a better one?” Callum asked with a frown.
“I’m willing to bet I could come up with something.”
I rolled my eyes as I pulled the map of Austin out of my pocket. We weren’t far from the rebels. We could make it to their house in about ten minutes, once we were sure we’d lost HARC.