Unmarked, page 1part #2 of The Legion Series
Digital Galley Edition
This is uncorrected advance content collected for your reviewing convenience. Please check with publisher or refer to the finished product whenever you are excerpting or quoting in a review.
PRAISE FOR KAMI GARCIA’S
THE LEGION SERIES
“A rare sequel that surpasses the original.”
—RANSOM RIGGS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hollow City
2013 BRAM STOKER AWARD NOMINEE FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
“Tense and deliciously twisty, UNBREAKABLE is a breath-stealing midnight run through some of the creepiest locales I’ve seen rendered in fiction.”
—RANSOM RIGGS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
“A fast-paced race through a world of demons and spirits, darkness and light.… I can’t wait for the next book!”
—ALLY CONDIE, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Matched trilogy
“Paranormal action, secret societies, and romantic suspense! The Legion series is now definitely on my must-read list.”
—RICHELLE MEAD, #1 international bestselling author of Vampire Academy
“UNBREAKABLE keeps you engaged and on edge. I found myself intrigued in Kennedy Waters’ world and not wanting to put this book down. Looking forward to book two!”
—JASON HAWES, cocreator and star of Ghost Hunters and a New York Times bestselling author
“Strong, engaging characters and a romance to die for.”
—RACHEL CAINE, New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series
“An eerily fun and emotionally accurate venture into the complex layers of paranormal encounters from both sides. Looking forward to book two!”
—GRANT WILSON, cocreator of Ghost Hunters and a New York Times bestselling author
“Supernatural meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kami Garcia is Joss Whedon’s talent-sister! I didn’t just read UNBREAKABLE; I lived it. When it comes to supernatural suspense, Garcia is the Slayer.”
—NANCY HOLDER, New York Times bestselling author of Buffy: The Making of a Slayer and the Wicked saga
ALSO BY KAMI GARCIA
“Red Run”: A Short Story
BY KAMI GARCIA AND MARGARET STOHL
Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story
Dangerous Dream: A Beautiful Creatures Story
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Kami Garcia, LLC
All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.
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First Edition: October 2014
[CIP to come]
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America
PRAISE FOR KAMI GARCIA’S THE LEGION SERIES
ALSO BY KAMI GARCIA
NINE DAYS EARLIER 2. BLACK SKY
3. BROKEN MIRRORS
4. DEMON SLAYER
5. NUMBER 16
6. DEAD PATRIOTS
7. CIRCLE OF SALT
8. THE BLOOD OF ANGELS
9. BULLETS AND BEAR TRAPS
10. CONSPIRACY THEORY
11. PROMISES IN THE DARK
12. BLACK-EYED GIRL
13. DEAD PATRIOTS
14. BRICK AND MORTAR
15. PHANTOM DREAMS
16. HEROES AND MONSTERS
17. MAKER OF NIGHTMARES
18. THE EYE OF PROVIDENCE
19. BATTLE CRUET
20. LION’S DEN
21. DIVIDING LINES
22. GATES OF HELL
23. COLLATERAL DAMAGE
24. BULLET WITH BUTTERFLY WINGS
25. LOST BOY
27. MASTER OF BONES
28. NIGHTMARES AND ASH
31. FEAR ME
32. DIARIO DE DEMONI
33. SERPENT OF BONES
35. THE VESSEL
36. WHITE DOVE
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
—William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Iron bars were the only things separating us.
He sat on the cell floor, leaning against the wall, in nothing but a pair of jeans. I glanced at the chain binding his wrists. With his head bowed, he looked exactly the same.
But he’s not.
I let my fingers curl around the wet bars. Several times a day, holy water rained down from the sprinklers in the ceiling. I fought the urge to unlock the door and let him out.
“Thanks for coming.” He hadn’t moved, but I knew he didn’t need to see me to sense my presence. “No one else will.”
“Everyone’s trying to figure this out. They don’t know what to do about—” The words caught in my throat.
“About me.” He rose from the floor and walked toward me—the bars separating us.
As he drew closer, I counted the links in the chain hanging between his wrists. Anything to keep from looking him in the eye. But instead of moving away, I gripped the bars tighter. He reached out and wrapped his hands around the metal above mine. Close but not touching.
“Don’t!” I shouted.
Steam rose from the cold-iron bars as the holy water seared his scarred skin. He held on too long, intentionally letting his palms burn.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he whispered. “It’s not safe.”
Hot tears ran down my cheeks. Every decision we’d made up to this point felt wrong: the chains coiled around his wrists, the cell doused in holy water, the bars keeping him caged like an animal.
“I know you’d never hurt me.”
The words had barely left my lips when Jared lunged at the bars. He grabbed at my throat and I jumped back, his cold fingers grazing my skin as I slipped out of reach.
“You’re wrong about that, little dove.” His voice was different, cruel and soulless.
Laughter echoed off the walls chills rippled through me. I realized what everyone else had known all along.
The boy I knew was gone.
The one caged before me was a monster.
And I was the one who had to kill him.
NINE DAYS EARLIER
I’m standing in front of the burning building. Ash-covered bed sheets hang from the shattered windows, outside the rooms where people are still trapped. Inside, screams rise over the roaring flames, and my skin crawls.
I want to run through the wall of black smoke and save them, but I can’t move. My eyes drift down to my shaking hand, and I realize why.
I’m the one holding the match.
I bolted upright in bed, my heart pounding.
They started the night the walls of the penitentiary had crumbled around me, and I’d been having them ever since. I pressed my hands against my ears, trying to silence the sound of the screams.
It was just a dream.
And what I had done in real life was worse than setting fire to a house full of innocent people.
I had freed a demon.
Andras, the Author of Discords. A demon that had been imprisoned for more than a century.
Three months ago, he killed my mother and the other Legion members in her generation. Judging from the newspaper articles I obsessively collected, he’d probably killed even more since I released him. Some days I thought about it less than others.
This wasn’t one of those days.
I spent the day in the library reading articles, and printing weather charts and maps.
By dinnertime, I was burned out. As I trudged across the muddy quad, the rain soaked through the tall, black leather boots my mom gave me the night she died. Between and the rain and the Pennsylvania winter temperatures, pneumonia was becoming a real possibility. But it was worth the risk to wear something she had given me.
Other girls rushed by in their uniform skirts and Wellies, dodging puddles like land mines, while I stomped through every one. It hadn’t stopped raining since the night I assembled the Shift—the paranormal key that had unlocked Andras’ cage—and the sky looked as broken as I felt.
How could I have ever mistaken the Shift for a weapon capable of destroying Andras?
The details of that night were branded in my memory, as inescapable as the nightmares. Sitting on the prison floor, with the Shift’s cylindrical casing in my hand and the disks scattered in my lap. Jared, Lukas, Alara, and Priest on the other side of the cell door, urging me to put it together. The paralyzing fear, when I slid the last piece of the device in place.
That was nineteen days ago.
Nineteen days since I fell outside the prison, and the razor wire cut up legs.
Nineteen days since I sat in the emergency room covered in mud, while a doctor stitched up the gashes and the police questioned me. Nineteen days since I saw my friends or heard the sound of Jared’s voice.
The doctor had sounded apologetic when he finished. “You’re all patched up, but you will probably have a few scars.” I remember laughing. Scars from a piece of razor wire were nothing compared to the emotional scars that night would leave behind.
Hours later, while I was watching the storm batter the windows in my hospital room, when I heard voices outside my door. I only caught bits and pieces of the conversation, but it was enough.
“—from social services. Do you have any idea why your daughter ran away, Mrs. Waters?”
A runaway—that was the story I gave the police.
“It’s Diane Charles, not Waters. Kennedy’s mother is dead. I’m her aunt.”
“Your niece has been unresponsive for the most part, Ms. Charles. We need to conduct a psychiatric evaluation to determine her mental state before we can release her into your custody.”
“My custody?” Aunt Diane’s voice rose. “When I agreed to become her legal guardian, Kennedy was an honor student who’d never been in any trouble. I have no idea what she’s gotten herself mixed up in, but I don’t want her bringing whatever it is into my house. And what if she runs away again?”
“I understand your concern, but you are her only relative—”
“Who you can locate,” Aunt Diane snapped. “Have you even tried to find her father?” The fact that my aunt was willing to hand me over to a man I hadn’t seen in twelve years made it clear just how much she didn’t want me. Aunt Diane lowered her voice. “Kennedy’s mother and I were not close. My sister had issues, which she obviously passed on to her daughter, and I feel terrible about it. But I’m not equipped to deal with a troubled teenager.”
On any other night, I would’ve stormed into the hallway and verbally annihilated my aunt for insulting my mom. But she was right about me, even if she didn’t know the real reason why. Letting me live with her would be a death sentence.
“You don’t have to take this on alone,” the social worker said. “There are programs designed for at-risk teens. Group homes, boarding schools…”
The next morning, Aunt Diane offered me a handful of pathetic excuses. “I only want what’s best for you, Kennedy. Winterhaven Academy is a lovely place, and very expensive.” She had rambled on, without waiting for a response. “The doctor said you can leave for school as soon as your legs heal. I’ve already made all the arrangements.”
I stared at the TV mounted on the wall behind her, as a news station showed clips of golden retrievers and Labradoodles tearing one another apart in a dog park. The headline on the ticker read: Two Children Dead After Rabies Outbreak in Local Suburb. A painful reminder that I had no idea what Andras was capable of, or how far his reach extended.
When my aunt finally headed back to Boston that night, I started getting answers.
Electrical storms and torrential rain hit West Virginia nonstop on the first day Andras was free. Lightning had sliced through the darkness outside my window, sending the nurses scurrying through the halls whenever the hospital lost power.
By the second day, rain wasn’t the only thing falling from the sky. News channels across West Virginia and Pennsylvania streamed live video of crows dropping out of the sky like black hail.
On day three, while scientists tested dead birds for disease, violence had spread like a virus. The killing began in Moundsville, West Virginia, only miles from the hospital and West Virginia State Penitentiary, where I had assembled the Shift. The bodies of a local pastor and his wife were discovered hanging from the rafters of their church, the walls plastered with pages from the Book of Enoch; a retired warden from the prison was electrocuted, a toaster and electric razor floating in bathtub next to his body; and a theology professor from the university was stabbed to death in his office, dozens of books from a locked bookcase, stolen.
The violence only increased from there. The next day, outside of Morgantown, West Virginia, a Boy Scout leader drowned his troop and himself. In Pittsburg, a retired firefighter burned down half the houses on his block, and then walked into one of the infernos. Three maximum-security prisons were put on lockdown after riots broke out, and the wardens were murdered, their bodies left hanging from the guard towers.
On the fifth day, girls started disappearing. One girl every day for the last fourteen days: Alexa Sears, Lauren Richman, Kelly Emerson, Rebecca Turner, Cameron Anders, Mary Williams, Sarah Edelman, Julia Smith, Shannon O’Malley, Christine Redding, Karen York, Marie Dennings, Rachel Eames, Roxanne North. Their names were burned into my mind without any help from my eidetic memory.
By the end of the week, I was dressed in the same Winterhaven Academy uniform I was wearing now.
I elbowed my way through the cliques of girls hanging out underneath the massive arched walkway, known as the Commons. Even on January 2nd, the teary-eyed freshmen were still huddled together crying because their parents hadn’t let them to come home for Christmas.
A pack of girls with streaked black eyeliner straddled the wall between two of the pillars—sitting half in and half out of the rain—as they passed a contraband cigarette between them. In direct opposition, the lip-gloss mafia gossiped near the bathrooms, reeking envy and imitation strawberry.
I sidestepped through the cloying scent and pushed open the bathroom door. With another week of winter break loo
Water from my uniform dripped onto the linoleum as I stood in front of the mirror, wringing out my brown hair. I never bothered to carry an umbrella. The rain reminded me of the night in the prison—and of murdered families and charred homes, drowned Boy Scouts and missing girls.
Things I don’t deserve to forget.
As I twisted my shoulder length hair into a ratty ponytail, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. I barely recognized the girl staring back at me. My coffee-colored eyes were lost in the bluish-black shadows around them, and my olive skin looked pale and washed out against the white button down shirt I was wearing.
The last few weeks had taken a serious toll on me. Most days, I was lucky if I remembered to eat, and the nightmares kept me from getting more than a few hours of sleep.
An image flashed through my mind. The girl in the white nightgown—the first spirit I’d ever encountered, and the one that would’ve killed me if Jared and Lukas hadn’t saved me. All I needed were the handprints around my neck, and I could pass for her.
The fluorescent light above my head flickered.
I froze, my hand instinctively moving to the silver medal on my necklace. The Hand of Eshu, the protective symbol Alara had given me.
A sudden pop sent a shower of sparks raining down over me. I ducked and covered my head, my mind scanning through mental pictures of the room. Was there anything in here I could use as a weapon?
Find out what you’re up against.
I glanced at the ceiling. Black smoke coated the inside of one of the light bulbs.
A burnt out bulb. Not a paranormal attack.
I’d been anticipating one since the night I freed Andras, but nothing had happened. Yet. What would Jared think if he’d seen me jump out of my skin over a light bulb? My thoughts always found their way back to him.
Where was he right now? Was he safe?
What if something had happened to him?
by Kami Garcia / Young Adult / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Romance have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes