Read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Chapter 47
My jaw is dangling from my shoelace.
“You would be invaluable to our resistance,” he tells me.
“There are others . . . like me?” I can hardly breathe.
Castle offers me eyes that empathize with my soul. “I was the first to realize my affliction could not be mine alone. I sought out others, following rumors, listening for stories, reading the newspapers for abnormalities in human behavior. At first it was just for companionship.” He pauses. “I was tired of the insanity. Of believing I was inhuman; a monster. But then I realized that what seemed a weakness was actually a strength. That together we could be something extraordinary. Something good.”
I can’t catch my breath. I can’t find my feet. I can’t cough up the impossibility caught in my throat.
Castle is waiting for my reaction.
I feel so nervous so suddenly. “What is your . . . gift?” I ask him.
His smile disarms my insecurity. He holds out his hand. Cocks his head. I hear the creak of a distant door opening. The sound of air and metal; movement. I turn toward the sound only to see something hurtling in my direction. I duck.
Castle laughs. Catches it in his hand.
He shows me the key now caught between his fingers.
“You can move things with your mind?” I don’t even know where I found the words to speak.
“I have an impossibly advanced level of psychokinesis.” He twists his lips into a smile. “So yes.”
“There’s a name for it?” I think I’m squeaking. I try to steady myself.
“For my condition? Yes. For yours?” He pauses. “I’m uncertain.”
“And the others—what—they’re—”
“You can meet them, if you’d like.”
“I—yes—I’d like that,” I stammer, excited, 4 years old and still believing in fairies.
I freeze at a sudden sound.
Footsteps are pounding the stone. I catch the pant of strained breathing.
“Sir—” someone shouts.
Castle starts. Stills. Pivots around a corner toward the runner. “Brendan?” “Sir!” he pants again.
“You have news? What have you seen?”
“We’re hearing things on the radio,” he begins, his broken words thick with a British accent. “Our cameras are picking up more tanks patrolling the area than usual. We think they may be getting closer—”
The sound of static energy. Static electricity. Garbled voices croaking through a weak radio line.
Brendan curses under his breath. “Sorry, sir—it’s not usually this distorted—
I just haven’t learned to contain the charges lately—”
“Not to worry. You just need practice. Your training is going well?”
“Very well, sir. I have it almost entirely under my command.” Brendan pauses. “For the most part.”
“Excellent. In the meantime, let me know if the tanks get any closer. I’m not surprised to hear they’re getting a little more vigilant. Try to listen for any mention of an attack. The Reestablishment has been trying to pinpoint our whereabouts for years, but now we have someone particularly valuable to their efforts and I’m certain they want her back. I have a feeling things are going to develop rather quickly from now on.”
A moment of confusion. “Sir?”
“There’s someone I’d like for you to meet.” Silence.
Brendan and Castle step around the corner. Come into view. And I have to make a conscious effort to keep my jaw from unhinging. I can’t stop staring.
Castle’s companion is white from head to toe.
Not just his strange uniform, which is a blinding shade of shimmering white, but his skin is paler than mine. Even his hair is so blond it can only be accurately described as white. His eyes are mesmerizing. They’re the lightest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. Piercing. Practically transparent. He looks to be my age.
He doesn’t seem real.
“Brendan, this is Juliette,” Castle introduces us. “She arrived just yesterday. I was giving her an overview of Omega Point.”
Brendan’s smile is so bright I nearly flinch. He sticks out his hand and I almost panic before he frowns. Pulls back, says, “Er, wait—sorry—,” and flexes his hands. Cracks his knuckles. A few sparks fly out of his fingers. I’m gaping at him.
He shrinks back. Smiles a bit sheepishly. “Sometimes I electrocute people by accident.”
Something in my heavy armor snaps off. Melts away. I feel suddenly understood. Unafraid of being myself. I can’t help my grin. “Don’t worry,” I tell him. “If I shake your hand I might kill you.”
“Blimey.” He blinks. Stares. Waits for me to take it back. “You’re serious?” “Very.”
He laughs. “Right then. No touching.” Leans in. Lowers his voice. “I have a bit of a problem with that myself, you know. Girls are always talking about electricity in their romance, but none are too happy to actually be electrocuted, apparently. Bloody confusing, is what it is.” He shrugs.
My smile is wider than the Pacific Ocean. My heart is so full of relief, comfort, acceptance. Adam was right. Maybe things can be okay. Maybe I don’t have to be a monster. Maybe I do have a choice.
I think I’m going to like it here.
Brendan winks. “It was very nice meeting you, Juliette. I’ll be seeing you?” I nod. “I think so.”
“Brilliant.” He shoots me another smile. Turns to Castle. “I’ll let you know if I hear anything, sir.”
And Brendan disappears.
I turn to the glass wall keeping me from the other half of my heart. Press my head against the cool surface. Wish he would wake up.
“Would you like to say hello?”
I look up at Castle, who is still studying me. Always analyzing me. Somehow his attention doesn’t make me uncomfortable. “Yes,” I tell him. “I want to say hello.”