As we watched the interviews, we realized Daniel had been right. Jude got worse, no matter what Kells did to try to fix him. She attempted to hide her distress as he grew older, more dangerous, but the drugs she pumped into him didn’t always mitigate his behavior. Sometimes he didn’t seem to know who he was; he was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and when someone “else” emerged, Claire was the only one who could get him, the real him, to break through, which Daniel guessed was why Kells had been willing to foster her, gender notwithstanding.
Hearing and watching Kells talk about Jude made the hair rise on my skin. You could tell she was losing control but she couldn’t admit it. Jude was her success story after years and years of failure. She couldn’t accept that in trying to cure the anomaly, she had actually done something worse. Her only true success had been managing to keep Claire and Jude alive after induction. Claire was completely normal, actually, despite Kells’s efforts to make her otherwise. Kells guessed Claire wasn’t a carrier. If she had been, Kells could’ve triggered the mutation the way she had with Jude.
“That explains why Jude survived after the asylum but Claire didn’t,” Daniel said. But then again, almost to himself, “But what about his hands?”
Jude’s hands. The hands he supposedly didn’t have anymore, after the patient room door at the Tamerlane had slammed shut on him, separating him from me, and his wrists from his hands.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Daniel mumbled.
“Doesn’t it, though?” Stella looked from Daniel to me to Jamie. “Jude has a healing factor.”
“So did Noah,” Jamie said. I shot him a look. “Does. So does Noah.”
Which is why he had to be alive. “Which is why he’s still out there,” I said.
“But Jude can’t heal without hurting someone else,” Stella said. “When the door slammed shut on him in the asylum, you wouldn’t have been affected, because you’re . . . different.”
“Oh my God,” Daniel said.
“What?” I looked at him.
“Rachel and Claire,” Daniel said. “They were normal, not carriers. They were at the Tamerlane with you and Jude. Jude healed because of them. He killed them, not . . .”
Me. Not me.
I swallowed. There was no way to really ever know what had happened, or who was more responsible. I’d wished that the building would collapse. I’d wished for Jude to die. It had collapsed and he hadn’t died, but if Rachel and Claire had been killed because of Jude’s ability, because his body had needed to heal itself, it still wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been the one to hurt him. So who was responsible for that? Him or me? Did it matter?
“A question, though,” Stella said, interrupting the silence. “Something I don’t get. Maybe one of you can help me out. Why no girls? Why did Kells foster only boys till Claire? I mean, if I’m a carrier, and Mara’s a carrier, and we’ve manifested, then why—”
Daniel cut in. “Why were most of the twins boys?”
“There was something in New Theories about the Y chromosome and a healing factor,” Daniel said, getting up to search for the book. “Most greater abilities were of different subtypes that could bind to an X or Y chromosome, but not that one. It had to be a Y.”
I thought about the children Kells had experimented on. Eight little boys, once healthy and now dead. She’d been trying to solve a problem, she’d said, to fix the anomaly, to create someone who could heal himself and, by extension, others—and her, too.
She had been trying to create Noah, but she’d made Jude instead.
I TOLD EVERYONE WHAT I thought. They were silent, but they knew I was right. I knew I was right. In trying to develop a cure for what was making people sick, she’d just made them sicker. If she’d been alive, she’d still be trying.
And as we watched deeper and deeper into the night, we found out that once she’d tracked down my grandmother as being a known carrier (by methods she never specified), she’d started watching my family. Everything had been arranged, planned—Jude and Claire’s move to Rhode Island, enrolling them in my school so Jude and Claire could get close to me—all of it. Daniel even found records that showed a subsidiary of Horizons LLC, paying for 1281 Live Oak Court, the address that I’d once thought was Jude’s. Whoever Noah had met there weren’t his parents, but they were liars.
“She couldn’t have done all of this on her own,” Daniel said. “We know she didn’t—she was recording these interviews for someone, using research she didn’t come up with herself. Someone was supporting her, funding her, making everything she did possible.”
“Lukumi,” I said.
“We think,” Jamie added.
Daniel rubbed his eyes like a little kid. “This is much, much bigger than just us,” Daniel said. “I mean, look at the archives. There are millions, maybe billions of pages in there. And what Kells said before, about tracing the gene back to our grandmother? There are other carriers out there. Like you,” he said, looking at me. “But what doesn’t make any sense is, if that’s true, why hasn’t anyone else discovered you guys by now?”
No one understood the answer to this better than I did. “Because if we tell anyone the truth, people just think we’re crazy.”
“Okay, well, at this point you’re right, Mara. All roads are leading to Lukumi,” Daniel said. “He’s the only person whose name keeps coming up.”
“Actually, that’s not his real name,” I said.
“Uh, what?” Stella had been reading something, but looked up.
“Noah and I looked for him,” I explained. “We went back to Little Havana, we did the requisite Google search. ‘Lukumi’ is the name of some Santeria case that went to the Supreme Court.”
Jamie nodded. “Of course it is. That doesn’t make this harder at all.”
“Whoever he is,” Daniel started, “he’s the only one who can actually prove that you’re innocent.”
Well, not innocent exactly.
“He’s the only one who knows about you.”
The only person alive, anyway.
“Which means that if I were a betting man, I’d bet he knows about Noah, too.”
I was betting on that too.
We watched interviews and read papers and worked all night, combing through everything we’d brought with us from the archives. Property records, the deed to my parents’ house, the bar admissions certificate of the man who’d referred my father to the Lassiter case, medical records from the sixties, medical records from the nineties, pictures of scarring on the inside of Jamie’s throat. (“What in fresh hell?” Jamie said.) But there were still so many pieces of the puzzle missing.