Chapter no 55

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

Tick tock.

Castle called an impromptu meeting to brief everyone on the details of tomorrow’s fight; there are less than 12 hours until we leave. We’ve gathered in the dining hall because it’s the easiest place to seat everyone at once.

We had 1 final meal, a handful of forced conversation, 2 tense hours filled with brief, spastic moments of laughter that sounded more like choking. Sara and Sonya were the last to sneak into the hall, both spotting me and waving a quick hello before they sat down on the other side of the room. Then Castle began to speak.

Everyone will need to fight.

All able-bodied men and women. The elderly unable to enter battle will stay back with the youngest ones, and the youngest ones will include James and his old group of friends.

James is currently crushing Adam’s hand.

Anderson is going after the people, Castle says. The people have been rioting, raging against The Reestablishment now more than ever. Our battle gave them hope, Castle says to us. They’d only heard rumors of a resistance, and the battle concretized those rumors. They are looking to us to support them, to stand by them, and now, for the first time, we will be fighting with our gifts out in the open.

On the compounds.

Where the civilians will see us for what we are.

Castle is telling us to prepare for aggression on both sides. He says that sometimes, especially when frightened, people will not react positively to seeing our kind. They prefer the familiar terror as opposed to the unknown or the inexplicable, and our presence, our public display might create new enemies.

We have to be ready for that.

“Then why should we care?” someone shouts from the back of the room. She gets to her feet and I notice her sleek black hair, one heavy sheet of ink that stops at her waist. Her eyes are glittering under the fluorescent lights. “If they’re only going to hate us,” she says, “why should we even defend them? That’s ridiculous!”

Castle takes a deep breath. “We cannot fault them all for the foolishness of one.”

“But it’s not just one, is it?” a new voice chimes in. “How many of them are going to turn on us?”

“We have no way of knowing,” Castle says. “It could be one. It could be none. I am merely advising you to be cautious. You must never forget that these civilians are innocent and unarmed. They are being murdered for their disobedience— for merely speaking out and asking for fair treatment. They are starved and they’ve lost their homes, their families. Surely, you must be able to relate. Many of you still have family lost, scattered across the country, do you not?”

There’s a general murmur among the crowd.

“You must imagine that it is your mother. Your father. Your brothers and sisters among them. They are hurting and they are beaten down. We have to do what little we can to help. It’s the only way. We are their only hope.”

“What about our men?” Another person gets to his feet. He must be in his late 40s, round and robust, towering over the room. “Where is the guarantee that we will get Winston and Brendan back?”

Castle’s gaze drops for only a second. I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed the pain flit in and out of his eyes. “There is no guarantee, my friend. There never is. But we will do our best. We will not give up.”

“Then what good was it to take the kid hostage?” he protests. “Why not just kill him? Why are we keeping him alive? He’s done us no good and he’s eating our food and using resources that should go to the rest of us!”

The crowd bursts into an aggravated frenzy, angry, insane with emotions. Everyone is shouting at once, shouting things like, “Kill him!” and “That’ll show the supreme!” and “We have to make a statement!” and “He deserves to die!”

There’s a sudden constriction in my heart. I’ve almost begun to hyperventilate and I realize, for the very first time, that the thought of Warner dead is anything but appealing to me.

It horrifies me.

I look to Adam for a different kind of reaction but I don’t know what I was expecting. I’m stupid to be surprised at the tension in his eyes, his forehead, the stiff set of his lips. I’m stupid to have expected anything but hatred from Adam. Of course Adam hates Warner. Of course he does.

Warner tried to murder him.

Of course he, too, wants Warner dead. I think I’m going to be sick.

“Please!” Castle shouts. “I know you’re upset! Tomorrow is a difficult thing to face, but we can’t channel our aggression onto one person. We have

to use it as fuel for our fight and we have to remain united. We cannot allow anything to divide us. Not now!”

6 ticks of silence.

“I won’t fight until he’s dead!” “We kill him tonight!”

“Let’s get him now!”

The crowd is a roar of angry bodies, determined, ugly faces so scary, so savage, so twisted in inhuman rage. I hadn’t realized that the people of Omega Point were harboring so much resentment.

“STOP!” Castle’s hands are in the air, his eyes on fire. Every table and chair in the room has begun to rattle. People are looking around, scattered and scared, unnerved.

They’re still unwilling to undermine Castle’s authority. At least for now. “Our hostage,” Castle begins, “is no longer a hostage.”

Impossible. It’s impossible.

It’s not possible.

“He has come to me, just tonight,” Castle says, “and asked for sanctuary at Omega Point.”

My brain is screaming, raging against the 14 words Castle has just confessed.

It can’t be true. Warner said he was going to leave. He said he was going to find a way to get out.

But Omega Point is even more shocked than I am. Even Adam is shaking with anger beside me. I’m afraid to look at his face.

“SILENCE! PLEASE!” Castle holds out another hand to quell the explosion of protests.

He says, “We have recently discovered that he, too, has a gift. And he says he wants to join us. He says he will fight with us tomorrow. He says he will fight against his father and help us find Brendan and Winston.”

Chaos Chaos Chaos

explodes in every corner of the room. “He’s a liar!”

“Prove it!”

“How can you believe him?”

“He’s a traitor to his own people! He’ll be a traitor to us!” “I’ll never fight beside him!”

“I’ll kill him first!”

Castle’s eyes narrow, flashing under the fluorescent lights, and his hands move through the air like whisks, gathering up every plate, every spoon, every glass cup in the room and he holds them there, right in midair, daring someone to speak, to shout, to disagree.

“You will not touch him,” he says quietly. “I took an oath to help the members of our kind and I will not break it now. Think of yourselves!” he shouts. “Think of the day you found out! Think of the loneliness, the isolation, the terror that overcame you! Think of how you were cast off by your families and your friends! You don’t think he could be a changed man? How have you changed, friends? You judge him now! You judge one of your own who asks for amnesty!”

Castle looks disgusted.

“If he does anything to compromise any of us, if he does one single thing to disprove his loyalty—only then are you free to pass judgment upon his person. But we first give him a chance, do we not?” He is no longer bothering to hide his anger. “He says he will help us find our men! He says he will fight against his father! He has valuable information we can use! Why should we be unwilling to take a chance? He is no more than a child of nineteen! He is only one and we are many more!”

The crowd is hushed, whispering amongst itself and I hear snippets of conversation and things like “naive” and “ridiculous” and “he’s going to get all of us killed!” but no one speaks up and I’m relieved. I can’t believe what I’m feeling right now and I wish I didn’t care at all about what happens to Warner.

I wish I could want him dead. I wish I felt nothing for him. But I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

“How do you know?” someone asks. A new voice, a calm voice, a voice struggling to be rational.

The voice sitting right beside me.

Adam gets to his feet. Swallows, hard. Says, “How do you know he has a gift? Have you tested him?”

And he looks at me, Castle looks at me, he stares at me as if to will me to speak and I feel like I’ve sucked all of the air out of this room, like I’ve been thrown into a vat of boiling water, like I will never find my heartbeat ever again and I am begging praying hoping and wishing he will not say the words

he says next but he does.

Of course he does.

“Yes,” Castle says. “We know that he, like you, can touch Juliette.”

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