Altered

Altered by Gennifer Albin Read Free Book Online

Book: Altered by Gennifer Albin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gennifer Albin
Tags: love_sf
different from us. They’re smart, capable. They keep to packs. But they’ve been hollowed out, stripped of what makes you and me human.”
    Jost’s face pales, and I know what he’s thinking. Rozenn, his wife, who the Guild ripped from the docks of his hometown—has she met a similar fate? I’ve been haunted by the violent death of my father at the barrel of a Guild gun during our escape attempt, but knowing what would have happened if he’d been caught changes things. Although nothing can erase from my mind the image of blood seeping from a black body bag. My mother could have been turned into a Rem, but she was terminated, according to Cormac. Amie, my sister, was safely rewoven to another family. It eases some of the guilt that’s weighed me down since we got here to know that my family was spared from the worst. But how long will Amie be safe?
    “Don’t worry, Rems don’t make it long around here,” Dante tells us, responding to Jost’s expression. “The conditions are too uncontrollable, the food too scarce, and sooner or later, the packs turn on each other.”
    I remember the storage units housed at the Coventry. I stumbled onto them while searching for information on Amie. Thin strands in crystal boxes. Personal identifying sequences marked ACTIVE. Something clicks into place, leaving a sickening realization in my mind. When I’d ripped people in Arras, their remains had been sent away, and yet I’d known the first time I saw those strands in the depository that they couldn’t possibly be people’s remains. The strands were what was left of them after the Guild had created these monsters. Their souls.
    “Why though?” I ask. “Why would the Guild send them here?”
    “How do you wage a war without an army? Do you think Guild officials would willingly volunteer? And they can’t send citizens without revealing that Earth exists,” Dante says in an even tone, but there is a fervor simmering below the surface of his words. “The area under the Interface is totally controlled by Kincaid, but that doesn’t mean the Guild is willing to let it go.”
    War. The inhabitants of the Icebox struggle enough day to day, barely surviving in the conditions caused by the Interface blocking the sun. The Remnants can’t merely be to keep them out of the mines, and somehow I know everything is related to the paper we took from Greta’s shop. It all comes back to the looms.
    “If Kincaid controls the Icebox—” I begin.
    “He controls all the territory under the Interface,” Dante corrects.
    “Okay,” I say, “but outside the Interface?”
    “That’s Guild territory,” Dante says. “Their mines occupy a large portion of the uncovered area on Earth.”
    “But how do you collect the solar energy then?” Jost asks.
    “Kincaid doesn’t care much about Guild boundaries, but it makes Sunrunning dangerous. If you get caught, you don’t come back.”
    “How do you manage it?” I ask.
    Dante leans in and grins. “I don’t get caught.”
    Neither side respects the other’s territory. That much is clear. Sunrunners might be dangerous, but they’re also the only people with the courage to stand up to the Guild.
    “Why did you run from Arras?” Dante asks us.
    “We’ve lost people to the Guild,” Jost answers for us. “We saw through the Guild’s lies, and the truth brought us here.”
    Jost is telling the truth without giving anything away.
    Dante isn’t appeased by this answer. “Strange things have been happening around here. More Guild presence. A ship was downed from the sky. I can’t help thinking that your typical refugee doesn’t show up with the sign of Kairos printed on her arm.”
    This is why he’s interested in us. “My father did it before the Guild killed him,” I admit. “Before I ran.”
    “And he never explained to you what it was?” Dante presses.
    “There wasn’t time. The Guild was onto us, so I had to go before I could ask. I assumed it was another Lewys family

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