Home > The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)(14)

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)(14)
Author: Rick Yancey

As if with a weary sigh, the sun dipped beneath the horizon. The green eye brightened against the darkening sky. Constance and I jogged up the platform into the plane and strapped in side by side.

The door locked into place with a loud hiss. A second later we were taxiing toward the runway. I looked over at Constance: her grin frozen in place and her dark eyes expressionless as a shark’s. My hand shot out and grabbed her forearm, and I felt the hate boiling through the fabric of her heavy parka. The hate and rage and disgust cascaded from her into me, and I knew: Regardless of her orders and all of Vosch’s promises, once she acquired the target and our usefulness was over, she would kill me and Zombie and everyone else. There was too much risk in letting us live.

Which meant I had to kill her.

The plane lurched forward. My stomach protested; a wave of nausea rolled over me. Weird. I’d never had motion sickness before.

I leaned my back against the bulkhead and closed my eyes. The hub, answering my desire, shut down my hearing and tactile senses. In the gift of the numb silence that enfolded me, I worked through the options.

Constance had to die, but killing Constance compounded the Evan problem. Vosch might dispatch a second operative, but he’ll have lost all tactical advantage. If I kill Constance, he might decide to take us all out with a Hellfire missile.

Unless he didn’t need to kill Walker.

Unless Walker was already dead.

There was a sour taste in my mouth. I swallowed, fighting the urge to throw up.

Vosch had to run Walker through Wonderland. It was the only way to know why Evan rebelled against his programming—if the flaw lay in Walker or in the program or in some toxic combination of the two. A fundamental flaw in the program would create an unsustainable paradigm.

But if Walker was dead, Vosch couldn’t identify the flaw in the system, and the whole operation could collapse: You can’t have a war, especially of the endless variety, if everyone’s on the same side. Whatever went “wrong” in Walker could go wrong in the other Silencers. He had to know why Evan’s programming failed.

I can’t let it happen. I can’t risk giving Vosch what he wants.

Denying him what he wanted might be the only hope we had left. And there was only one way to do that.

Evan Walker had to die.



ZOMBIE ON THE ROAD, shrinking.

Zombie and Dumbo walking down the empty road awash in starlight, fading.

Sam pulls the silver chain from his pocket and holds it tightly in his hand.


Have I broken one yet?

And the dark closing around Zombie like a monster’s mouth until there is no Zombie, only the monster, only the dark.

He presses his other hand against the cold glass. On the day the bus took him to Camp Haven, he watched Cassie on the brown road, holding Bear, shrinking away to nothing, swallowed by the dust like Zombie was swallowed by the dark.

Behind him, Cassie says to Evan Walker in her angry voice, “Why didn’t you stop him?”

“I tried,” Evan Walker answers.

“Not very hard.”

“Short of breaking his legs, I don’t know what I could have done.”

When Sam takes his hand away, the glass holds the memory of it like the bus window once did, a misty imprint of where his hand had been.

“After you lost Sam, could anyone have stopped you from finding him?” Evan Walker asks. Then he goes outside.

Sam can see his sister’s face reflected in the glass. Like everything else since they came, Cassie’s changed. She’s not the same Cassie shrinking on the dusty road. Her nose is kind of crooked, like the nose of someone pressing her face against a windowpane.

“Sam,” she says. “It’s late. What do you say—wanna sleep in my room tonight?”

He shakes his head. “I have to watch Megan. Zombie’s orders.”

She starts to say something. Then she stops. Then she says, “Okay. I’ll be there in a minute to say your prayers with you.”

“I’m not going to pray.”

“Sam, you have to pray.”

“I prayed for Mommy and she died. I prayed for Daddy and he died, too. When you pray for people, they die.”

“That isn’t why they died, Sam.”

She reaches for him. He pulls away. “I’m not going to pray for anybody anymore,” he tells her.

In the bedroom, Megan sits on the bed, holding Bear.

“Zombie left,” Sam tells her.

“Where’d he go?” she whispers. A whisper is as loud as her voice goes. Cassie and Evan Walker hurt something in her throat when they pulled out the pill-bomb.

“He’s going on recon to find Ringer and Teacup.”

Megan shakes her head. She doesn’t know who Ringer and Teacup are. Her hand squeezes Bear’s head and Bear’s mouth puckers like he wants a kiss.

“Be careful,” Sam says. “Don’t hurt his head.”

The window in this bedroom is boarded up. You can’t see outside. At night, after you turn off the lamp, the dark is so heavy, you can feel it pressing against your skin all over. Dangling from the ceiling are loose wires and a couple of balls that Zombie said were supposed to be Jupiter and Neptune. This is the room where Evan Walker tried to kill the evil Grace lady with wire from the mobile. There’re bloodstains on the carpet and splatters of blood on the walls. It’s like his mother’s bedroom after she got the Red Death and her nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. She bled from her nose and her mouth, and near the end, blood came out of her eyes and even her ears. Sam remembers her blood; he can’t remember her face.

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