I clenched my jaw so hard that it ached.
I could feel my surprise betray me. Don’t you need to go out there? I asked. What’s Hayes going to do to them?Clancy only waved me off. Again.
Don’t worry about it, Ruby. Everything is under control.One crack might not be enough to bring a fortress’s defenses down, but it was enough to splinter into two cracks, and then three, and then four. After the initial breakthrough, it became a mission of mine to find different ways to slip into Clancy’s mind. I never got to stay for very long before I was unceremoniously tossed out, of course; but every small victory spurred me on to achieve another, and then another. I could catch him when his thoughts were focused on something else, trick him into trying to protect one memory when I was really going after another. It surprised Clancy, but I thought it also, in a secret way, excited him. Enough, at least, to have me start practicing on others.It was like running downhill in a way; the momentum carried me through all sorts of experiments, big and small. I made a spectacular mess of dinner one night when I pulled each of the six kids working on it aside and planted six very different ideas about what they were supposed to be making for the meal—all at the same time. I had one girl so convinced her name was Theodore that she began to cry whenever anyone told her otherwise. It became so easy, in fact, to convince someone to do what I asked, or suggest that they had done something they really hadn’t, that Clancy told me it was time to move on to trying to do the same without having to touch the unsuspecting test subject first.
I was getting there, slowly, and maybe not entirely surely, but there was something almost delicious about feeling the same powerful swell of abilities that had once terrorized me corked and controlled. Every aspect of them became sharper, easier.But on the Tuesday that followed, we were interrupted again.
One of the older Yellows, a girl named Kylie, came pounding on Clancy’s door. She didn’t wait to be let in; I actually fell off the bed with the force of her entrance.
What’s this about you denying our request to leave? Tangles of dark curls flew around her face. You let Adam leave, you let Sarah’s group leave, you even let Greg and his guys go, and you and I both know they have the collective brainpower of a fly—A tear trickled down my cheek; I was ruined already.
Q growled and I liquefied deep inside. My traitorous body swelled and warmed all the while my mind revolted, spewing obscenities. How could I allow my body to betray me so completely? Why am I so f**ked up?Q watched my unravelling in wonderment. His mouth parted, pale eyes blazing.
All of this was wrong. So, so wrong. I fell headlong into mourning.Q ran his nose down mine, breathing deep. Something hard and tight squeezed my stomach. I didn’t move. I couldn’t move.