Dying Light
too.”
His eyes are luminous in the firelight, flames dancing in those
shadowed orbs. “That’s why I brought you here, Jesse. I want us to
all be together.”
    “ Stop fucking with
me.”
    “ I only wanted you to meet
Maisie. I’ll take you back to your friends now.” He takes a step
toward me like he has no problem grabbing a girl that’s on
fire.
    “ Don’t touch
me.”
    His grin doubles. He laughs like I’m
being absurd. “I’m the only way out of here.”
    “ Find another way to let
me go or I’ll burn this place to the ground.”
    “ Your sister—”
    “ She’s not my sister. If
you wanted me to have a sister, you should’ve raised me with her
instead of leaving me in that hellhole.”
    “ Please.” Georgia steps
forward, placing herself more fully in front of Maisie. “Please
don’t hurt my daughter.”
    “ Georgia,” Caldwell snaps.
His face warps from glee to fury in a second. “There’s no need to
beg. She won’t hurt Maisie. Will you, Jesse?”
    He’s right. I can’t firebomb a kid any
more than I could firebomb Winston, who sits trembling at her feet.
His fear dowses my anger. The flames flicker and die
away.
    What do I do? Gabriel doesn’t answer me. Maybe Caldwell is
right. Maybe the partis really do block each other’s
signals.
    The flames are gone but I keep my
shield up.
    Caldwell comes closer, his grin back.
“Don’t wear yourself out.”
    “ You’d like that wouldn’t
you?”
    His smile is
brilliant. Yes ,
the smile says. Go ahead and weaken
yourself for me.
    A long, thick silence stretches
between us, tension still palpable in the air.
    “ Be careful with that
one.” Gabriel’s voice makes me jump. A look of curiosity crosses
Caldwell’s face.
    Caldwell? Tell me
something I don’t know.
    “ Maisie. She isn’t like
the others.”
    My eyes fall on the girl wrapped in
her mother’s arms. What are you talking about?
    Silence.
    “ So?” Caldwell asks. “Will
you allow me to carry you out of here?”
    For a moment I can only blink at him.
It can’t be this easy. He can’t simply have wanted to arrange a pep
talk and reunion and then he’s going to drop me off with my friends
only to start trying to kill me tomorrow. Also, the longer I’m
here, the more I learn about him. Maybe I can figure out how to
kill him once and for all.
    I might not be able to
fight him now . If
we blow up this needle, Winston will definitely get caught in the
crossfire. I can’t bring myself to endanger him like that. I also
don’t trust Caldwell to take me home. I’ll wake up somewhere worse
and I know it.
    If he wants to play the batshit crazy
card, so can I.
    “ No, we have so much
catching up to do. I think I’ll stick around for dinner.” I mirror
his grin, daring him to challenge me. “What’re we
having?”

Chapter 17
    Ally
     
    G loria’s erratic driving doesn’t seem nearly as bizarre in
Chicago as it did back home. I thought Nashville drivers were bad,
but fifteen minutes on I-80 has reeducated me in a way I never
expected. Even at this late hour, the traffic is unruly.
    Gloria cuts across three lanes of
traffic, while I white-knuckle her sketchbook. I finger the pages,
intent on opening it.
    “ Don’t.” Gloria turns the
wheel hard, rocking me in my seat.
    “ Is there something worse
than Tate Tower exploding?” I ask.
    She doesn’t answer, her eyes remaining
fixed on the dim highway stretching out before us.
    “ About that.” Nikki leans
up between the two front seats. “We don’t have any context. It
could happen anytime, right?”
    I turn so I can see her face. “A.M.P.s
can narrow an event they view to a specific day.”
    Gloria glances at the sketchbook in my
lap as if seeing something through the closed cover. “It happens
the day after tomorrow.”
    Neither of us question her.
    I look down at the cover too, scraping
a nail along the metal rings binding the pages together. “We have a
little time. Until then, we have to focus on getting

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