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Six's Legacy

Six's Legacy

Page 9

Let them look.

They’ll never find me.

I run for a few miles through trees, until I come to a road in a small mining town. I’m running barefoot, so the road slaps hard against my feet, killing my joints. I don’t care; I’ll get a pair of sneakers eventually.

I find a truck idling at the town’s only stoplight. I lightly hop into the back of the pickup, letting the truck take me farther and farther away from the Mogadorian complex. When the trucker stops for gas a few hours later, I dash, still invisible, into the cab, rifling through his stuff. I take a handful of quarters, a pen, a couple scraps of paper, and an uneaten bag of barbecue chips.

I run behind the gas station and sit in the shade. I draw a map of the complex’s entrance on one side of the paper, and a diagram of the tunnels inside as best as I can remember. It will be a long time before I put this to use, but I know my memory of their hideaway is the most valuable thing I possess, and it must be preserved.

Once I finish the diagram, I throw my head back. It’s sunset, but I can still feel of the warmth of the sun on my face. I open the bag of chips and eat them in three messy bites. The salty-sweet chips taste delicious, wonderful.

I am in a motel room, at long last. For a full day I wandered, driven by the urge for shelter and rest. There was no way I could afford a room, and in my desperation I began to consider thievery. Pick a few pockets, plunk down the cash I’d need. Using my Legacy, stealing would be a piece of cake.

But then it occurred to me I wouldn’t need to steal, not yet anyway. Instead I went into the lobby of a small motel, went invisible, and snuck into the hotel manager’s office. I lifted the key for room 21 off the hook. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get the floating key past the crowded lobby and I paused for a moment, frozen in the office. But soon the key disappeared too, in my palm.

I’d never made an object disappear before, only myself and my clothes. A hint of my Legacy’s other uses.

I’ve been in the room for a couple hours. So I feel less like I’m thieving, I sleep above the covers, in the chill of the room’s AC.

I catch myself: I’ve been invisible the whole time I’ve been in the room, clenched from the exertion of sustaining it. It’s like holding your breath.

I get up and approach the mirror across the room, letting it go. My body fills in in the mirror, and I see my face for the first time in over seven months.

I gasp.

The girl who stares back at me is almost unrecognizable. I’m hardly even a girl anymore.

I stare at myself for a long time, standing alone in the room, unattended, unaccompanied, aching for Katarina, aching for a worthy tribute to her.

But it’s right there. In the new hardness and definition of my face, in the muscled curve of my arm. I am a woman now, and I am a warrior. Her love and the loss of her is etched forever in the firm set of my jaw.

I am her tribute. Survival is my gift to her.

Satisfied, I return to the motel bed and sleep for days.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Years have passed.

I live an unsettled life, hopping from town to town. I avoid connections or ties, and focus on developing my fighting abilities and developing my Legacies. Invisibility was followed by telekinesis, and in recent months I’ve discovered a new ability: I can control and manipulate the weather.

I use that Legacy sparingly, as it’s an easy way to attract unwanted attention. It manifested months ago, in a small suburb outside Cleveland. I had been following a lead on one of the Garde that didn’t go anywhere and, discouraged, I was ambling back towards my motel, sipping an iced coffee. My leg burst into searing pain, and I dropped my drink on the ground.

My third scar. Three was dead.

I fell to the ground in pain and in rage, and before I knew what was happening the sky above me filled with clouds. A full-on lightning storm followed.

I am in Athens, Georgia, now. It’s a cool little city, one of the best I’ve passed through in the past couple years. College students everywhere. I’ve got a bit of a vagabond roughness to my appearance that stands out in suburban areas, but surrounded by college-age hippies and music nerds and hipsters I don’t look quite so unusual. This makes me feel safe.

All of my leads have gone dead, and I have yet to discover one of my kind. But I know it is coming. Time to assemble the Garde. If my Legacies are developing at this rate, I am certain the same is true of the others like me. There will be signs soon, I can feel it.

I am patient, but excited: I am ready to fight.

I wander the street, sipping the dregs of an iced coffee. It’s become my drink of choice. I have resorted to pickpocketing to finance my appetites, but it’s become so easy that I never have to outright fleece anyone. I just take a few bucks here or there to get by.

I am suddenly knocked by a gust of wind, practically off my feet. For a second I think I’ve lost control, that it’s my own power that caused it. But the wind ends as soon as it began, and I realize it did not come from me. But it has swung the door of another café open.

I almost keep walking, but my eye is caught by an open computer terminal at the back of the café. I use internet cafés to keep tabs on the news, looking for items that could turn into a lead on my kind. Doing it makes me feel closer to Katarina. I have become my own Cêpan.

I chuck my empty cup in the trash outside and step into the air-conditioned chill of the place. I take my seat, and begin scanning the news.

An item from Paradise, Ohio, catches me. A teenager was seen leaping from a burning building. New to town. Named John. The reporter mentioned how hard it was to get solid information on him.

I stand up so quickly I send the chair flying out from under me. I know in an instant he’s one of us, though I don’t know how I know. Something in that gust of wind. Something about the way butterflies are now fluttering in my stomach, brushing my insides with their wings.

Perhaps this recognition is a part of the charm, something that lets us know that a hunch is more than I hunch. I know.

I just know.

My heart races with excitement. He’s out there. One of the Garde.

I run out of the café and onto the street. Left, right . . . I’m not sure which way to turn, how to get to Paradise as quickly as I can.

I take a deep breath.

It’s beginning, I think. It’s finally beginning.

I laugh at my own paralysis. I remember that the bus station is a mile down the road. I make a habit of memorizing all transport routes into and out of any town I visit, and the bus route out of Athens returns to my mind. The beginning of a plan to get to Paradise starts to develop.

I turn and begin the walk to the station.

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