‘Ew,’ Sahalia sniped. ‘What’s wrong with you?’

Then Josie lunged at Sahalia. The two of them fell into the aisle and Sahalia started screaming.

Niko stopped the bus. ‘What’s going on back there?’ he yelled. Niko came hurrying back and grabbed Josie, trying to get her off Sahalia.

Josie wasn’t AB. She was O!

Why had I thought… why had I been certain she was AB?

She was type O and she was trying to kill Sahalia.

‘Get rope!’ Niko yelled but I couldn’t remember where the rope was.

The boxes were not in good order. Food was in with medical supplies and batteries were in with the tarps and I couldn’t find the rope.

And all the while I was looking, the little boys were screaming and clutching one another and sobbing, and Niko was trying to drag Josie off Sahalia and I still couldn’t find the rope.

Then I found it. (Under the seat in front of the little boys.)

I ripped the package open and I got the end free and by this time Josie had raked him across his face and his mask was pushed aside.

‘Your mask!’ I shouted.

Niko had Josie facedown in the aisle. Her face was pressed onto the floor mat and she was snarling and bucking.

He reached up and pushed the mask back over his face.

Josie elbowed him in the side of the head and tried to throw him off her.

I didn’t know what to do with the rope so I just handed it to Niko.

‘TIE. HER. FEET!’ he shouted.

Josie kicked me in the head but I got her feet tied up.

Niko had one of her hands in his and her other was pinned under her.

He jerked her hand out from under her body and somehow got her two hands tied together. Now she couldn’t do so much damage.

No matter how she writhed and raged, she couldn’t get free.

Niko didn’t have to tell me, I knew what we needed: the sleeping pills. It took me ages to find them. But I found a new packet of the sleeping pills and popped one out of its pouch and gave it to Niko.

He smothered it into her mouth and motioned for me to give him another. I did. A few moments later, she went still.

Sahalia still had her mask off. She was lying on the floor between the second and third seats, crying.

Niko went and helped her up.

‘I thought she was type B, like me,’ Sahalia said.

Niko said something that sounded like, ‘We didn’t know.’

‘I thought she was type AB,’ I said.

‘She said she knew her type,’ Niko told us. ‘She was sure she was B.’

How could we not have known for sure? I tried to remember. I guess when we’d all been exposed to the chemical warfare compounds, Josie had not been there.

Niko coughed and Sahalia leaned forward, concerned.

There was blood on the inside of his air mask.


I FUMBLED TOWARD THE HATCH, feet catching on the dents from the long-ago hailstorm.

Had Astrid shut me out? No. It couldn’t be that.

My heart was in my mouth and my face sweaty and cold.

Was someone up there with me? NO.

My foot tapped against the door frame. I felt down with my fingers.

The hatch was open.

The lights had just gone out below.

And then I realized how stupid we had been.

For most of the two weeks we’d been in the Greenway, we had had almost all the lights off to conserve power.

My little brother, Alex, the tech genius, had figured out how to work the complicated control panel for the store’s solar power system. He isolated the lighting just to the Kitchen and the Train (our makeshift bedroom in the back corner of the store). But for the last – I don’t know – two or three hours the lights had been on at full power.

And we had hooked up about thirty air purifiers to the system all at once.

We were out of juice. Pure and simple.

I sealed the hatch behind me and made my way down the stairs in pitch blackness.

I edged toward the door, skirting the area with the blood and the bodies. I did not want to tumble onto Robbie’s dead body.

They were calling for me. Astrid and Caroline and Henry, sounding frantic and scared.

‘I’m here! I’m okay!’ I called.

‘Where are you?’ Astrid yelled.

‘I’ll come to you,’ I shouted back. ‘Where are you?’

‘We’re in the Train!’

I was used to getting around the store in the dark, but this was different. Before there was always a glow coming from the Kitchen and the Train area. Now the whole store was pitch black.

I went first to the Automotive aisle. I knew there were some flashlights on the floor, because that was where we had been tending to Mr Appleton and Brayden before.

I found a headlamp and two flashlights and clicked them on.

As I got closer to the Train, Henry called out: ‘We can see you!’

‘We see your lights bouncing,’ Caroline added.

‘We blew the system, didn’t we?’ Astrid called.

I could tell from the quality of her voice that she had her mask off.

‘It’s safe?’ I asked her, pointing to my own.

‘I don’t know about up front. But back here, it’s okay.’

I handed her a flashlight and took my mask off. Removing my glasses for a moment, I rubbed the bridge of my nose.

‘Oh, Dean,’ Astrid said. ‘Your face.’

Maybe she’d forgotten that I had the two black eyes. Maybe she’d also forgotten that it was her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, I hoped), Jake, who’d given them to me.

Truth is, I deserved those black eyes, though that didn’t make me feel charitable toward Jake. He was handsome and popular and charming, and when the going got tough, he had started doing drugs from the Pharmacy.

Then he wandered away when we sent him outside to find out if the hospital was up and running. Astrid deserved better.

‘The power is out because we drained the solar power reserve,’ I said.

The twins gasped and I rushed to reassure them, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay. We’ve got lots of batteries and flashlights and there are even some lanterns. We’ll be fine.’

‘How will we cook?’ asked Henry.

Вы читаете Sky on Fire
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату