Read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Chapter 25
Warner knows I don’t have a choice. He wants to force me into another situation where he can see the impact of my abilities, and he has no problem torturing an innocent child to get exactly what he wants.
Right now I have no options.
I have to take a chance before this little boy steps forward in the wrong direction.
I quickly memorize as much as I can of the traps and dodge/hop/narrowly avoid the spikes until I’m as close as possible.
I take a deep, shaky breath and focus on the shivering limbs of the boy in front of me and pray to God I’m making the right decision. I’m about to pull off my shirt to use as a barrier between us when I notice the slight vibration in the ground. The tremble that precedes the terror. I know I have half of a second before the spikes slice up through the air and even less time to react.
I yank him up and into my arms.
His screams pierce through me like I’m being shot to d***h, one bullet for every second. He’s clawing at my arms, my chest, kicking my body as hard as he can, crying out in agony until the pain paralyzes him. He goes weak in my grip and I’m being ripped to pieces, my eyes, my bones, my veins all tumbling out of place, all turning on me to torture me forever with memories of the horrors I’m responsible for.
Pain and power are bleeding through his body into mine, jolting through his limbs and crashing into me until I nearly drop him.
It’s like reliving a nightmare I’ve spent 3 years trying to forget.
“Absolutely amazing,” Warner sighs through the speakers, and I realize I was right. He must be watching through a 2-waymirror. “Brilliant, love. I’m thoroughly impressed.”
I’m too desperate to be able to focus on Warner right now. I have no idea how long this sick game is going to last, and I need to lessen the amount of skin I’m exposing to this little boy’s body.
My skimpy outfit makes so much sense now.
I rearrange him in my arms and manage to grab hold of his diaper. I’m holding him up with the palm of my hand. I’m desperate to believe I couldn’t have touched him long enough to cause serious damage.
He hiccups once; his body quivers back to life.
I could cry from happiness.
But then the screams start back up again, no longer cries of torture but of fear. He’s desperate to get away from me and I’m losing my grip, my wrist nearly breaking from the effort. I don’t dare remove his blindfold. I’d rather d*e than allow him to see this space, to see my face.
I clench my jaw so fast I’m afraid I’m going to break my teeth. If I put him down, he’ll start running. And if he starts running, he’s finished. I have to keep holding on.
The roar of an old mechanical wheeze revives my heart. The spikes slip back into the ground, one by one until they’ve all disappeared. The room is harmless again so swiftly I fear I may have imagined the danger. I drop the boy back onto the floor and bite down on my lip to s*****w the pain welling in my wrist.
The child starts running and accidentally bumps my b**e legs.
He screams and shudders and falls to the floor, curled up into himself, sobbing until I consider destroying myself, ridding myself of this world. Tears are streaming fast down my face and I want nothing more than to reach out to him and help him, hug him close, kiss his beautiful cheeks and tell him I’ll take care of him forever, that we’ll run away together, that I’ll play games with him and read him stories at night and I know I can’t. I know I never will. I know it will never be possible.
And suddenly the world shifts out of focus.
I’m overcome by a rage, an intensity, an anger so potent I’m almost elevated off the ground. I’m boiling with blind hatred and disgust. I don’t even understand how my feet move in the next instant. I don’t understand my hands and what they’re doing or how they decided to fly forward, fingers splayed, charging toward the window. I only know I want to feel Warner’s neck snap between my
own two hands. I want him to experience the same terror he just inflicted upon a child. I want to watch him d*e. I want to watch him beg for mercy.
I catapult through the concrete walls.
I crush the glass with 10 fingers.
I’m clutching a fistful of gravel and a fistful of fabric at Warner’s neck and there are 50 different guns pointed at my head. The air is heavy with cement and sulfur, the glass falling in an agonized symphony of shattered hearts.
I slam Warner into the corroded stone.
“Don’t you dare shoot her,” Warner wheezes at the guards. I haven’t touched his skin yet, but I have the strangest suspicion that I could smash his rib cage into his heart if I just pressed a little harder.
“I should k**l you.” My voice is one deep breath, one uncontrolled exhalation.
“You—” He tries to s*****w. “You just—you just broke through concrete with your b**e hands.”
I blink. I don’t dare look behind me. But I know without looking backward that he can’t be lying. I must have. My mind is a maze of impossibility.
I lose focus for one instant.
Every moment is loaded.
“If any of you hurt her I will shoot you myself,” Warner barks.
“STAND DOWN, SOLDIER—”
The rage is gone. The sudden uncontrollable anger is gone. My mind has already surrendered to disbelief. Confusion. I don’t know what I’ve done. I obviously don’t know what I’m capable of because I had no idea I could destroy anything at all and I’m suddenly so terrified so terrified so terrified of my own two hands. I stumble backward, stunned, and catch Warner watching me hungrily, eagerly, his emerald eyes bright with boyish fascination. He’s practically trembling in excitement.
There’s a snake in my throat and I can’t s*****w it down. I meet Warner’s gaze. “If you ever put me in a position like that again, I will k**l you. And I will enjoy it.”
I don’t even know if I’m lying