Zero Repeat Forever by G. S. Prendergast

Zero Repeat Forever by G. S. Prendergast

Author:G. S. Prendergast
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


EIGHTH

I watch her in the dim light from some candles I found and left burning on the little table by the bed. It feels wrong to touch her as she sleeps, but I want to try to treat her injuries. I seem to know things about treating injuries, without knowing how. I focus on her, on the details of her, her smell. Without that effort I will lose myself.

She twitches and gasps. Before I even reach her, she’s wailing and tugging at the restraint.

“No . . . uhh, no . . . untie me, please. . . .”

As I kneel beside the bed, she pulls herself as far away as she can get, her shackled arm stretched out. The speed and strength of her emotions is slightly surprising to me. She’s crying and furious at the same time.

“Untie me, you piece of shit! You son of a bitch!” Then she closes her eyes and turns away from me, curling up, her bleeding ankle leaving a streak of blood on the sheet. I move to the other side of the bed to face her, but she turns away again. I move back and she turns away. Finally, in desperation, I grab her face and turn it to me. She snarls something I don’t quite understand, then spits on me.

I won’t hurt you, I sign.

Her good leg swings up and curls around my neck. Before I know what is happening, she has flipped me down on the bed and is crushing my neck between her knees. As I pry them apart, she kicks me hard in my injured shoulder and then in the side of the head. I tumble backward on the floor, my helmet banging on the edge of a chair as I fall.

“Don’t fucking touch me!” she yells. I stand, head throbbing, shoulder stinging, and take two steps back. Focus now. This is going to be harder than I thought. I didn’t really think at all. I just grabbed her and ran. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I take a moment to reconsider my options.

I could leave her, let her die.

No, I can’t do that. Not after finding her again. That has to mean something.

I could hope that her injuries aren’t as bad as I think they are.

I’m pretty sure they are.

I could try to find her people.

They would kill me. Or worse, my people would kill her.

I could try to knock her out again, like I did in the trailer.

Ah no. Anything but that. Think.

I can overpower her. I’m much stronger than her, despite her fighting spirit. But the thought of it makes me feel sick. There will be screaming and crying. As it is, the scent of her fear nearly chokes me.

Please, I sign. But of course she doesn’t know the signs.

Her face is soaked with blood, mucus, and tears. She lifts her injured arm to wipe it, but I think both the bones of her forearm are broken. She gasps and whimpers as her hand flops unnaturally.



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