Unraveled Page 2

We’d had no food on our impromptu mission to Alcatraz. I had been too busy trying to rescue the scientist the Guild had imprisoned there, and other than a spot of tea brought to us by Dr. Albert Einstein, my stomach has been empty for hours.

Cormac’s tray is loaded with roasted lamb shanks and buttery hot bread. I assume the cocktail is for him.

Then I realize I can’t eat with these gages on. Cormac can’t hold out forever. If he doesn’t want me to have access to my hands again, there are worse things he could do to me. He needs my ability or he’d have cut them off instead of binding them. I don’t feel any better though. If it’s not gages to control me, it will be a prison cell, or alteration to make me docile, which leaves only one solution: I have to earn his trust back.

“Are you going to feed me, then?”

Cormac’s mouth twists into a grimace at the request and his fingers squeeze the bridge of his nose. “You’re already giving me headaches.”

Apparently he’s not into grand, romantic gestures like feeding the woman he imprisoned. I can see the conflict with each flick of his eyes between the plate and myself, but finally he cocks his head to the side to activate his complant. It’s so like Cormac to call someone else in to do the dirty work.

“Hannox,” Cormac calls, connecting his complant to his right-hand man. He’s been ordering around the mysterious Hannox since the moment I met him. “Take Amie to a secure room and put two armed guards in front of the door. If anyone tries to get in, I want you to kill her.”

There’s a pause.

“Even me,” he confirms. “Assume the possibility of Protocol One until we arrive in Arras.”

“It seems like a bit much to kill someone for entering a room,” I say as his head settles back into a more natural position.

“In your case there’s no such thing as being overly cautious,” Cormac says. “I should have learned that the night I met you. I’ve since learned who you really are.”

I want to tell him that I knew exactly who he was the night he came to retrieve me from my home in Romen. He destroyed my family when my parents tried to run and save me from a life locked in a tower. Since then he’d only succeeded in showing me time and again how big a monster he truly was.

“Does that mean you’re going to take these off?” I ask.

“I don’t see why not.” Cormac relaxes into his chair, smirking. “If you try anything, your sister is dead. You can’t possibly save her.”

Death threats always bring out the twinkle in his black eyes.

“Maybe I’ll leave her behind,” I hedge. “You’ve turned her into someone else. I don’t know who she is anymore or what lies you’ve told her about me.”

“She’s the last member of your family, Adelice. I know exactly what you would do for her.”

“She’s not the last,” I point out. Cormac knows that better than anyone. The Guild altered my mother, removed her soul, and sent her to Earth to hunt me. As a Remnant, she bears only my mother’s face. But she is still alive, no matter what she’s done. I’d recently even met another family member, someone I didn’t know existed: Dante, my biological father, who ran from the Guild so they couldn’t force him to use his alteration skills. His brother, Benn, raised me as his own and died trying to protect me from the Guild. Cormac had taken a lot from me, but he hadn’t wiped away my whole family. And there were other people I loved now, even if things were a bit complicated between us.

But despite my brave face, I try not to think of Amie. She’s close to me at last. With my hands free I have all the weapons I need to reach her. It’s possible I could enter her chambers through a window or an adjacent room. There might even be options for escape that don’t involve walking past the armed guards. But rescuing Amie and returning to Earth won’t get me anywhere. There will be no peace between the worlds—no peace for myself or those I love—until I create it.

“Amie may as well be the last member of your family.”

I ignore Cormac’s comment, focusing on gathering as much information as I can before he clams up again. “What is Protocol One exactly?”

“Don’t tell me you spent all that time on Earth among Kincaid and his Tailors and you don’t know,” he says, licking his lips as though I’ve provided him with something delicious to savor.

“Humor me.”

“It simply means that no one, myself included, can see Amie until we reach our destination and certain safety clearance has been granted.”

“Why can’t you see her?” I ask.

“What do Tailors do, Adelice?” He leans toward me, egging me on.

“They alter objects, and implant and erase memories,” I say.


The answer is so obvious that it hits me like a well-thrown brick. “They change appearances.”

“I don’t know how far you’ve come with your alteration abilities. I know you can unwind,” he says. Cormac witnessed me removing Kincaid’s time strand on Alcatraz, revealing my newfound abilities to him. Now I wish I had let them fight their own battle instead of getting involved.

“I can’t alter my appearance,” I tell him, realizing that Cormac was warning Hannox that I might try to take his appearance and trick them into releasing Amie. “If I could, wouldn’t I have done it before now? To avoid capture?”

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