Chapter no 46

Shatter Me

“Omega Point?”

“The last letter in the Greek alphabet. The final development, the last in a series.” He stops in front of me and for the first time I notice the omega symbol stitched into the back of his jacket. “We are the only hope our civilization has left.”

“But how—with such small numbers—how can you possibly hope to compete—”

“We’ve been building for a long time, Juliette.” It’s the first time he’s said my name. His voice is strong, smooth, stable. “We’ve been planning, organizing, mapping out our strategy for many years now. The collapse of our human society should not come as a surprise. We brought it upon ourselves.

“The question wasn’t whether things would fall apart,” he continues. “Only when. It was a waiting game. A question of who would try to take power and how they would try to use it. Fear,” he says to me, turning back for just a moment, his footsteps silent against the stone, “is a great motivator.”

“That’s pathetic.”

“I agree. Which is why part of my job is reviving the stalled hearts that’ve lost all hope.” We turn into another corridor. “And to tell you that almost everything you’ve learned about the state of our world is a lie.”

I stop in place. Nearly fall over. “What do you mean?”

“I mean things are not nearly as bad as The Reestablishment wants us to think they are.”

“But there’s no food—”

“That they give you access to.” “The animals—”

“Are kept hidden. Genetically modified. Raised on secret pastures.”

“But the air—the seasons—the weather—”

“Is not as bad as they’ll have us believe. It’s probably our only real problem—but it’s one caused by the perverse manipulations of Mother

Earth. Man-made manipulations that we can still fix.” He turns to face me. Focuses my mind with one steady gaze.

“There is still a chance to change things. We can provide fresh drinking water to all people. We can make sure crops are not regulated for profit; we can ensure that they are not genetically altered to benefit manufacturers. Our people are dying because we are feeding them poison. Animals are dying because we are forcing them to eat waste, forcing them to live in their own filth, caging them together and abusing them. Plants are withering away because we are dumping chemicals into the earth that make them hazardous to our health. But these are things we can fix.

“We are fed lies because believing them makes us weak, vulnerable, malleable. We depend on others for our food, health, sustenance. This cripples us. Creates cowards of our people. Slaves of our children. It’s time for us to fight back.” His eyes are bright with feeling, his fists clenched in fervor. His words are powerful, heavy with conviction, articulate and meaningful. I have no doubt he’s swayed many people with such fanciful thoughts. Hope for a future that seems lost. Inspiration in a bleak world with nothing to offer. He is a natural leader. A talented orator.

I have a hard time believing him.

“How can you know for certain that your theories are correct? Do you have proof?”

His hands relax. His eyes quiet down. His lips form a small smile. “Of course.” He almost laughs.

“Why is that funny?”

He shakes his head. Just a bit. “I’m amused by your skepticism. I admire it, actually. It’s never a good idea to believe everything you hear.”

I catch his double meaning. Acknowledge it. “Touché, Mr. Castle.” A pause. “You are French, Ms. Ferrars?”

“My mother, perhaps.” I look away. “So where is your proof?”

“This entire movement is proof enough. We survive because of these truths. We seek out food and supplies from the various storage compounds The Reestablishment has constructed. We’ve found their fields, their farms, their animals. They have hundreds of acres dedicated to crops. The farmers are slaves, working under the threat of death to

themselves or their family members. The rest of society is either killed or corralled into sectors, sectioned off to be monitored, carefully surveyed.”

I keep my face blank, smooth, neutral. I still haven’t decided whether or not I believe him. “And what do you need with me? Why do you care if I’m here?”

He stops at a glass wall. Points through to the room beyond. Doesn’t answer my question. “Your Adam is healing because of our people.”

I nearly trip in my haste to see him. I press my hands against the glass and peer into the brightly lit space. Adam is asleep, his face perfect, peaceful. This must be the medical wing.

“Look closely,” Castle tells me. “There are no needles attached to his body. No machines keeping him alive. He arrived with three broken ribs. Lungs close to collapsing. A bullet in his thigh. His kidneys were bruised along with the rest of his body. Broken skin, bloodied wrists. A sprained ankle. He’d lost more blood than most hospitals would be able to replenish.”

My heart is about to fall out of my body. I want to break through the glass and cradle him in my arms.

“There are close to two hundred people at Omega Point,” Castle says. “Less than half of whom have some kind of gift.” I spin around, stunned.

“I brought you here,” he says to me carefully, quietly, “because this is where you belong. Because you need to know that you are not alone.”

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