Chapter no 8

Quantum Radio

Penny held the gun with both hands, her body trembling now, eyes wide, staring at the dead man.

Ty gasped for breath and rose on shaking legs. The puddle of blood beneath Heinrich spread out, filling the channels between the cobblestones like tendrils of a dark, flowing beast.

“You have to go,” Penny said as she slipped the gun into the windbreaker she was wearing.

Ty’s hand drifted to his pocket, to the USB drive that held his research. Penny seemed to read his thoughts. “I don’t want your research.”

A million questions ran through Ty’s mind. But he said the thing that hurt him the most. “You lied to me.”

“I did.”


“I had to.”

“Why, Penny?”

“I can’t explain—” “Try.”

“Ty, you have to go. The police are probably on their way—and so are the people he works for.”

“The people you work for.” “Yes.”

“Who? Why? What’s happening here, Penny?”

She stepped closer to him and gripped his shoulders, making him wince from the pain.

“They only told me to watch you. I didn’t know what they were going to do, Ty. I promise.”

“It was all a lie.”

“At the start. But not after. I… didn’t expect that.”

“You’re lying,” he whispered.

She flinched at the words, clearly hurt. “I just killed a man for you, Ty. If that doesn’t tell you that I love you, then I certainly don’t have the words to convince you.”

For a moment, the world faded away, the alley and the blood flowing toward Ty, and he was completely focused on the words she’d just said, words he had never heard her say before: I love you.

They stared at each other a long moment, and it was as if that statement had erased everything—Heinrich, the blast, their phone call after work—as though those words had rewound the clock of their relationship to that pure and better time before this night.

Penny let her hands slip from his shoulders and down into his pockets. Ty tensed, thinking she was reaching for the USB drive, but she took his phone instead.

Squatting down, she removed the phone’s SIM card, placed it on a cobblestone, and quickly smashed it with the butt of the handgun.

“Don’t get another phone. Even a pay-as-you-go. They can track your voice if you use it. Or if you log in to any service or app.”

“Who are they, Penny?”

“We don’t have time for this, Ty. What you discovered is a threat to them, to the world they’re trying to create. It’s going to change everything.”

“We need to go to the police.”

“If you do, you’ll be dead within hours. Or in their custody. You don’t understand what you’re dealing with here.”

A siren called out in the night, then another. “You have to go,” Penny hissed.


“Away from me, for one.” “Why?”

“They can track me. I didn’t know it until tonight.” She glanced at Heinrich. “Go, Ty.”


“Somewhere they’ll never suspect—where you can get help.” “Where will you go?”

“It doesn’t matter.” “It matters to me.”

She leaned in and kissed him, recklessly, throwing her arms around him. He ignored the pain in his back and hugged her tight, closing his eyes. When he opened them, the blood flowing in the canals between the cobblestones had reached them, soaking into her tennis shoes, moving toward him next.

She relaxed the hug and stared into his eyes. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know this: there is a much stronger person inside of you, Ty, waiting to come out. You’ll be surprised. But don’t let that person change who you are. It happens before you know it.”

She kissed his cheek. “Don’t forget the way you were before tonight.

That’s who I fell in love with.”

As the siren blared closer, she hugged him and whispered in his ear. “Go, Ty. Before it’s too late.”

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