End of Days Page 20

He stands stiffly with his back to the door without moving in. He looks so out of place that I almost feel sorry for him. He shakes his head at me.

I try to blend in as best I can. We shouldn’t have to be here long before the guards leave the area.

Obi must have his hands full with all these new people. I sprung the Alcatraz rescue on them at the last minute, so it’s a wonder he even managed to collect boats and organize people to rescue the captives on the island. Of course he didn’t have time to prepare for them once they got here.

I imagine it’s been quite a day for the Resistance. Obi’s not just running freedom fighters anymore. He’s had to put together a refugee camp full of scared, hungry people while still keeping the organization as stealthy as possible.

I have my issues with Obi. I can’t say he’s going to be my best friend or anything, but I have to admit, he’s taken on a lot that no one else would.

I consider going deeper into the building to try to see if I can find Doc or Dee-Dum. The twins are sure to know where Doc is. But it’s too crowded and chaotic in here, and I don’t like the idea of being trapped in the middle of a building full of panicking refugees if something happens.

I’m about to tell Raffe we should go as soon as the guards move on when I hear my name. It’s not a voice I recognize, and I can’t tell who said it since no one is looking at me. Everyone looks busy having their own conversations.

Then someone else says my name on the other side of the hallway. Still, no one is looking at us.

‘Penryn.’

I see the guy who spoke. He has curly hair and wears a huge shirt that hangs on his scarecrow shoulders and a pair of oversized pants held up by a cinched belt. It’s as if he’s used to being extra large and hasn’t mentally adjusted to his postapocalyptic weight. He’s several people away from me down the hallway but still close enough to hear. I don’t recognize him or anyone around him.

‘Penryn?’ asks the woman speaking to the guy. ‘What kind of name is that?’

They’re not calling me. They’re talking about me.

The guy shrugs. ‘Probably some foreign name that means angel slayer.’

‘Yeah, right. So do you believe it?’

‘What? That she killed an angel?’

How did they know about that?

He shrugs again. ‘Don’t know.’ He lowers his voice. ‘All I know is that it would be amazing to have a safety pass from the angels.’

The woman shakes her head. ‘No way would they keep their word. How would we even know if they’re really putting a bounty on her head?’

I exchange glances with Raffe at the word bounty.

‘Some street gang could’ve just made this whole thing up to kill her,’ she says. ‘Maybe she’s one of their enemies or something. Who knows? The whole world’s gone crazy.’

‘I know one thing,’ says another guy closer to me. He wears glasses with a big crack on one lens. ‘Whether it was the angels or gangs or demons from hell who put the bounty on that girl, it ain’t gonna be me who turns her in.’ He shakes his head.

‘Me neither,’ says another man nearby. ‘I heard it was Penryn who saved us from that nightmare on Alcatraz.’

‘Obadiah West saved us,’ says the woman. ‘And so did those funny twins. What were their names?’

‘Tweedledee and Tweedledum.’

‘That can’t be right.’

‘I kid you not.’

‘Yeah, but it was the girl Penryn who told them to do it. She’s the one who got them to rescue us.’

‘I heard she threatened to sic her monster sister on them if they didn’t.’

‘Penryn—’

‘She’s a friend of mine,’ says one woman I’ve never seen before. ‘We’re like sisters.’

I lower my head, hoping no one recognizes me. Luckily, no one even notices us. As I make my way toward the door, I see a flyer taped to it. The only thing I catch as I pass are the words ‘Talent Show.’

I have visions of amateur tuba players and tap dancers. A talent show is an odd thing to have during the apocalypse. But then again, it’s an odd thing to have at any time.

Raffe pushes through the door, and we head back into the night.

16

Outside, the air is fresh and quiet compared with the stuffiness and noise inside. We skulk in the shadows until we reach the adobe mission-style building that Obi uses as his headquarters. This door has the same flyer. I pause to read it.

TALENT SHOW

Don’t miss the biggest thing since the last Oscars!

Bigger than the Great Attack! Bigger than Obi’s ego! Bigger than Boden’s BO!

Come one, come all

To the greatest show of all!

Win a custom-made, bulletproof, luxury RV!

Filled with every survival supply imaginable.

Yup. Even that.

Next Wed. at noon at the Stanford Theater on University Ave.

Amaze your friends. Befuddle your enemies. Show off your talents.

Auditions every evening

Ladies welcome

The usual betting rules apply on the contestants.

~ Brought to you by You Know Who ~

This flyer has comments scrawled all over it in different handwriting:

‘Nothing could be bigger than Obi’s ego.’

‘Is that what the ladies are calling it? Hey, Obi – leave some women for the rest of us, would ya?’

‘Obadiah West is a great man. A hero. Even I’m thinking about giving him a kiss.’

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