Witch and wizard, p.1
Witch & Wizard, page 1part #1 of Witch & Wizard Series
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Oh, yes—what he said
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
First eBook Edition: December 2009
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Excerpt from “What I Believe” in Two Cheers for Democracy, copyright 1939 and renewed 1967 by E. M. Forster, reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
PROLOGUE: YOU'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
BOOK ONE: NO CRIME, JUST PUNISHMENT
Chapter 1: Whit
Chapter 2: Wisty
Chapter 3: Wisty
Chapter 4: Wisty
Chapter 5: Wisty
Chapter 6: Wisty
Chapter 7: Wisty
Chapter 8: Whit
Chapter 9: Whit
Chapter 10: Whit
Chapter 11: Wisty
Chapter 12: Wisty
Chapter 13: Whit
Chapter 14: Whit
Chapter 15: Wisty
Chapter 16: Whit
Chapter 17: Whit
Chapter 18: Whit
Chapter 19: Wisty
Chapter 20: Wisty
BOOK TWO: VERY DICKENSIAN
Chapter 21: Wisty
Chapter 22: Whit
Chapter 23: Wisty
Chapter 24: Whit
Chapter 25: Wisty
Chapter 26: Whit
Chapter 27: Whit
Chapter 28: Whit
Chapter 29: Wisty
Chapter 30: Whit
Chapter 31: Whit
Chapter 32: Wisty
Chapter 33: Wisty
Chapter 34: Wisty
Chapter 35: Wisty
Chapter 36: Whit
Chapter 37: Whit
Chapter 38: Whit
Chapter 39: Wisty
Chapter 40: Wisty
Chapter 41: Wisty
Chapter 42: Wisty
Chapter 43: Wisty
Chapter 44: Wisty
Chapter 45: Wisty
Chapter 46: Whit
Chapter 47: Whit
Chapter 48: Whit
Chapter 49: Wisty
Chapter 50: Wisty
Chapter 51: Whit
Chapter 52: Whit
Chapter 53: Whit
BOOK THREE: BRAVE NEW WORLDS
Chapter 54: Wisty
Chapter 55: Wisty
Chapter 56: Wisty
Chapter 57: Wisty
Chapter 58: Wisty
Chapter 59: Wisty
Chapter 60: Whit
Chapter 61: Wisty
Chapter 62: Whit
Chapter 63: Whit
Chapter 64: Wisty
Chapter 65: Wisty
Chapter 66: Wisty
Chapter 67: Wisty
Chapter 68: Wisty
Chapter 69: Wisty
Chapter 70: Wisty
Chapter 71: Wisty
Chapter 72: Whit
Chapter 73: Whit
Chapter 74: Whit
Chapter 75: Wisty
Chapter 76: Wisty
Chapter 77: Wisty
Chapter 78: Wisty
Chapter 79: Wisty
Chapter 80: Whit
Chapter 81: Whit
Chapter 82: Wisty
Chapter 83: Wisty
Chapter 84: Wisty
Chapter 85: Wisty
Chapter 86: Whit
Chapter 87: Wisty
Chapter 88: Whit
Chapter 89: Wisty
Chapter 90: Wisty
Chapter 91: Wisty
Chapter 92: Wisty
Chapter 93: Whit
Chapter 94: Wisty
Chapter 95: Whit
Chapter 96: Whit
Chapter 97: Whit
Chapter 98: Whit
Chapter 99: Wisty
Chapter 100: Wisty
EPILOGUE: THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Chapter 101: Wisty
Chapter 102: Wisty
Chapter 103: Wisty
EPILOGUE THE LAST…
Chapter 104: Wisty
I believe in aristocracy…. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos.
—E. M. Forster, from Two Cheers for Democracy
YOU'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
IT’S OVERWHELMING. A city’s worth of angry faces staring at me like I’m a wicked criminal—which, I promise you, I’m not. The stadium is filled to capacity—past capacity. People are standing in the aisles, the stairwells, on the concrete ramparts, and a few extra thousand are camped out on the playing field. There are no football teams here today. They wouldn’t be able to get out of the locker-room tunnels if they tried.
This total abomination is being broadcast on TV and the Internet too. All the useless magazines are here, and the useless newspapers. Yep, I see cameramen in elevated roosts at intervals around the stadium.
There’s even one of those remote-controlled cameras that runs around on wires above the field. There it is—hovering just in front of the stage, bobbing slightly in the breeze.
So there are undoubtedly millions more eyes watching than I can see. But it’s the ones here in the stadium that are breaking my heart. To be confronted with tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of curious, uncaring, or at least indifferent, faces… talk about frightening.
And there are no moist eyes, never mind tears.
No words of protest.
No stomping feet.
No fists raised in solidarity.
No inkling that anybody’s even thinking of surging forward, breaking through the security cordon, and carrying my family to safety.
Clearly, this is not a good day for us Allgoods.
In fact, as the countdown ticker fl
It’s a point driven home by the very tall, bald man up in the tower they’ve erected midfield—he looks like a cross between a Supreme Court chief justice and Ming the Merciless. I know who he is. I’ve actually met him. He’s The One Who Is The One.
Directly behind his Oneness is a huge N.O. banner—THE NEW ORDER.
And then the crowd begins to chant, almost sing, “The One Who Is The One! The One Who Is The One!”
Imperiously, The One raises his hand, and his hooded lackeys on the stage push us forward, at least as far as the ropes around our necks will allow.
I see my brother, Whit, handsome and brave, looking down at the platform mechanism. Calculating if there’s any way to jam it, some means of keeping it from unlatching and dropping us to our neck-snapping deaths. Wondering if there’s a last-minute way out of this.
I see my mother crying quietly. Not for herself, of course, but for Whit and me.
I see my father, his tall frame stooped with resignation, smiling at me and my brother—trying to keep our spirits up, reminding us that there’s no point in being miserable in our last moments on this planet.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m supposed to be providing an introduction here, not the details of our public execution.
So let’s go back a bit….
NO CRIME, JUST PUNISHMENT
BY ORDER OF THE NEW ORDER,
and the Great Wind—The One Who Is
let it be known that as of
NOW, THIS MOMENT, or
TWELVE O’CLOCK MIDNIGHT.
whichever shall arrive first, following the
SWIFT TRIUMPH of the ORDER of the
ONES WHO PROTECT, who have obliterated the
BLIND AND DUMB FORCES of passivity and
complacency PLAGUING this world,
ALL CITIZENSmust, shall, and will abide by
THESE THREE ORDERS FOR ORDER:
All behaviors NOT in keeping with N.O. law, logic, order, and science (including but not limited to theology, philosophy, and IN PARTICULAR the creative and dark arts, et cetera) are hereby ABOLISHED.
ALL persons under eighteen years of age will be evaluated for ORDERLINESS and MUST COMPLY with the prescribed corrective actions.
The One Who Is THE ONE grants, appoints, decides, seizes, and executes at will. All NOT complying shall be SEIZED and/or EXECUTED.
—As declared to The One Who Writes Decrees
by THE ONE WHO IS THE ONE
SOMETIMES YOU WAKE UP and the world is just plain different.
The noise of a circling helicopter is what made me open my eyes. A cold, blue-white light forced its way through the blinds and flooded the living room. Almost like it was day.
But it wasn’t.
I peered at the clock on the DVD player through blurry eyes: 2:10 a.m.
I became aware of a steady drub, drub, drub—like the sound of a heavy heartbeat. Throbbing. Pressing in. Getting closer.
What’s going on?
I staggered to the window, forcing my body back to life after two hours of being passed out on the sofa, and peeked through the slats.
And then I stepped back and rubbed my eyes. Hard.
Because there’s no way I had seen what I’d seen. And there was no way I had heard what I’d heard.
Was it really the steady, relentless footfall of hundreds of soldiers? Marching on my street in perfect unison?
The road wasn’t close enough to the center of town to be on any holiday parade routes, much less to have armed men in combat fatigues coursing down it in the dead of night.
I shook my head and bounced up and down a few times, kind of like I do in my warm-ups. Wake up, Whit. I slapped myself for good measure. And then I looked again.
There they were. Soldiers marching down our street. Hundreds of them as clear as day, made visible by a half-dozen truck-mounted spotlights.
Just one thought was running laps inside my head: This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.
Then I remembered the elections, the new government, the ravings of my parents about the trouble the country was in, the special broadcasts on TV, the political petitions my classmates were circulating online, the heated debates between teachers at school. None of it meant anything to me until that second.
And before I could piece it all together, the vanguard of the formation stopped in front of my house.
Almost faster than I could comprehend, two armed squads detached themselves from the phalanx and sprinted across the lawn like commandos, one running around the back of the house, the other taking position in front.
I jumped away from the window. I could tell they weren’t here to protect me and my family. I had to warn Mom, Dad, Wisty—
But just as I started to yell, the front door was knocked off its hinges.
IT’S QUITE HIDEOUS to get kidnapped in the dead of night, right inside your own home. It went something like this.
I woke to the chaotic crashing of overturning furniture, quickly followed by the sounds of shattering glass, possibly some of Mom’s china.
Oh God, Whit, I thought, shaking my head sleepily. My older brother had grown four inches and gained thirty pounds of muscle in the past year. Which made him the biggest and fastest quarterback around, and, I must say, the most intimidating player on our regional high school’s undefeated football team.
Off the playing field, though, Whit could be about as clumsy as your average bear—if your average bear were hopped-up on a case of Red Bull and full of himself because he could bench-press 275 and every girl in school thought he was the hunk of all hunks.
I rolled over and pulled my pillow around my head. Even before the drinking started, Whit couldn’t walk through our house without knocking something over. Total bull-in-a-china-shop syndrome.
But that wasn’t the real problem tonight, I knew.
Because three months ago, his girlfriend, Celia, had literally vanished without a trace. And by now everyone was thinking she probably would never come back. Her parents were totally messed up about it, and so was Whit. To be honest, so was I. Celia was—is—very pretty, smart, not conceited at all. She’s this totally cool girl, even though she has money. Celia’s father owns the luxury-car dealership in town, and her mom is a former beauty queen. I couldn’t believe something like that would happen to someone like Celia.
I heard my parents’ bedroom door open and snuggled back down into my cozy, flannel-sheeted bed.
Next came Dad’s booming voice, and he was as angry as I’ve ever heard him.
“This can’t be happening! You have no right to be here. Leave our house now!”
I bolted upright, wide awake. Then came more crashing sounds, and I thought I heard someone moan in pain. Had Whit fallen and cracked his head? Had my dad been hurt?
Jeez, Louise, I thought, scrambling out of bed. “I’m coming, Dad! Are you all right? Dad?”
And then the nightmare to start a lifetime of nightmares truly began.
I gasped as my bedroom door crashed open. Two hulking men in dark-gray uniforms burst into my room, glaring at me as if I were a fugitive terrorist-cell operative.
“It’s her! Wisteria Allgood!” one said, and a light bright enough to illuminate an airplane hangar obliterated the darkness.
I tried to shield my eyes as my heart kicked into overdrive. “Who are you?!” I asked. “What are you doing in my freaking bedroom?”
“BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with her!” one of the humongous men cautioned. They looked like Special Forces operatives with giant white numbers on their uniforms. “You know she can—”
The other nodded, glancing around my room nervously. “You!” he snapped ha
I stared at him, my head spinning. The New Order? These weren’t ordinary policemen or EMS personnel.
“Um—I—I—,” I stammered. “I need to put on some clothes. Can I… can I have a little privacy?”
“Shut up!” the first commando guy barked. “Grab her! And protect yourself. She’s dangerous—all of them are.”
“No! Stop! Don’t you dare!” I screamed. “Dad! Mom! Whit!”
Then it hit me like a runaway tractor trailer on ice. This was what had happened to Celia, wasn’t it?
Oh God! Cold sweat beaded on the back of my neck. I need to get out of here, I thought desperately. Somehow, some way.
I need to disappear.
THE SERIOUSLY MUSCLE-BOUND MEN in gray suddenly froze, their blocklike heads whipping back and forth like puppets on strings.
“Where is she? She’s gone! Vanished! Where’d she go?” one said, his voice hoarse and panicky.
They shone flashlights around the room. One of them dropped to his knees and searched under my bed; the other rushed over to look in my closet.
Where’d I go? Were these guys totally insane? I was right there. What was going on?
Maybe they were trying to trick me into running for it so they had an excuse to use force. Or maybe they were escapees from an asylum who had come to get me the way they’d come to get poor Celia—
“Wisty!” My mom’s anxious shout from the hallway pierced the fog that had invaded my brain. “Run away, sweetheart!”
“Mom!” I shrieked. The two guys blinked and stepped back in surprise.
“There she is! Grab her! She’s right there! Quick, before she disappears again!”
Big klutzy hands grabbed my arms and legs, then my head. “Let me go!” I screamed, kicking and struggling. “Let. Me. Go.”
But their grip was like steel as they dragged me down the hall to the family room and dumped me on the floor like a sack of trash.
I quickly scrambled to my feet, more floodlights whiting out my vision. Then I heard Whit shouting as he was thrown onto the living room floor next to me.
by James Patterson / Literature & Fiction / Mystery Thriller / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes