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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Chapter 18

Eightteen

Read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Chapter 18

Eightteen

No one moves.

Fletcher’s face is etched in permanent horror as he crumbles to the ground. I’m so struck by the impossibility of it all that I can’t decide whether or not I’m dreaming, I can’t determine whether or not I’m dying, I can’t figure out whether or not fainting is a good idea.

Fletcher’s limbs are bent at odd angles on the cold, concrete floor. Blood is pooling around him and still no one moves. No one says a single word. No one betrays a single look of fear.

I keep touching my lips to see if my screams have escaped.

Warner tucks his gun back into his jacket pocket. “Sector 45, you are dismissed.”

Every soldier falls on one knee.

Warner slips the metal amplification device back into his suit and has to yank me free from the spot where I’m glued to the ground. I’m tripping over myself, my limbs weak and aching through the bone. I feel nauseous, delirious, incapable of holding myself upright. I keep trying to speak but the words are sticking to my tongue. I’m suddenly sweating and suddenly freezing and suddenly so sick I see spots clouding my vision.

Warner is trying to get me through the door. “You really must eat more,” he says to me.

I am gaping with my eyes, gaping with my mouth, gaping wide open because I feel holes everywhere, punched into the terrain of my body.

My heart must be bleeding out of my chest.

I look down and can’t understand why there’s no blood on my dress, why this pain in my heart feels so real.

“You killed him,” I manage to whisper. “You just killed him—”

“You’re very astute.”

“Why did you kill him why would you kill him how could you do something like that—”

“Keep your eyes open, Juliette. Now’s not the time to fall asleep.”

I grab his shirt. I stop him before he gets inside. A gust of wind slaps me across the face and I’m suddenly in control of my senses. I push him hard, slamming his back up against the door. “You disgust me.” I stare hard into his crystal-cold eyes. “You disgust me—”

He twists me around, pinning me against the door where I just held him. He cups my face in his gloved hands, holding my eyes in place. The same hands he just used to kill a man.

I’m trapped.

Transfixed.

Slightly terrified.

His thumb brushes my cheek.

“Life is a bleak place,” he whispers. “Sometimes you have to learn how to shoot first.”

Warner follows me into my room.

“You should probably sleep,” he says to me. It’s the first time he’s spoken since we left the rooftop. “I’ll have food sent up to your room, but other than that I’ll make sure you’re not disturbed.”

“Where is Adam? Is he safe? Is he healthy? Are you going to hurt him?”

Warner flinches before finding his composure. “Why do you care?”

I’ve cared about Adam Kent since I was in third grade. “Isn’t he supposed to be watching me? Because he’s not here. Does that mean you’re going to kill him, too?” I’m feeling stupid. I’m feeling brave because I’m feeling stupid. My words wear no parachutes as they fall out of my mouth.

“I only kill people if I need to.”

“Generous.”

“More than most.”

I laugh a sad laugh, sharing it with only myself.

“You can have the rest of the day to yourself. Our real work will begin tomorrow. Adam will bring you to me.” He holds my eyes. Suppresses a smile. “In the meantime, try not to kill anyone.”

“You and I,” I tell him, anger coursing through my veins, “you and I are not the same—”

“You don’t really believe that.” “You think you can compare my—my disease—with your insanity—”

Disease?” He rushes forward, abruptly impassioned, and I struggle to hold my ground. “You think you have a disease?” he shouts. “You have a gift! You have an extraordinary ability that you don’t care to understand! Your potential—”

“I have no potential!”

“You’re wrong.” He’s glaring at me. There’s no other way to describe it. I could almost say he hates me in this moment. Hates me for hating myself.

“Well you’re the murderer,” I tell him. “So you must be right.”

His smile is laced with dynamite. “Go to sleep.”

“Go to hell.”

He works his jaw. Walks to the door. “I’m working on it.”

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